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Our journey with the Norton Thoracic Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center for Lung Transplant Evaluation began on this date (July 6th) in Phoenix, AZ.
This journey is going to encompass a full two weeks of testing and procedures to see if Michael qualifies for a “double lung” transplant. Thus far, we have met with individuals including a social worker, a researcher, pharmacist, financial advisor, and a dietician. In addition, Michael has had another COVID screening (13 since July 2020), 32 vials were drawn for lab work, bone scan, split lung perfusion scan, along with Carotid and Femoral Doppler. Today, he had a Manometry test to check his acid reflux and has to wear a monitor for 24 hours.
The pharmaceutical representative told us he will be on about 30 pills a day, and his out of pocket dollars will be around $6,000 to $10,000 a year.
You have to remember this journey began 12 months ago on July 18, 2020 when Michael got sick with what he thought was a sinus infection. Needless to say, he tested positive for COVID July 21, 2020. He was sick for 3 weeks and got his negative result for the first time August 9, 2020.
Thank goodness he had been walking in the neighborhood 5-6 miles a day 5 to 6 times per week. We feel this is the reason he did not end up on a ventilator when he was sick. It took an additional three weeks for him to walk to the end of the driveway.
In September 2020, our Internal Medicine Specialist sent us to get a base line with a Pulmonologist, Dr. Ariffin Alam and a Cardiologist, Dr. Arsalan Shahzad.
In October 2020, Michael was diagnosed with Restrictive Lung Disease, which included ground-glass in the lungs and scaring of his lungs.
In December 2020, lung capacity was at 50%, so now it is called “Severe”Restrictive Lung Disease. He was told there was no cure. “You won’t get better, only worse.”
March 2021, capacity was at 40% and July 2021, he was at 38% total capacity for his lungs. Covid caused him to lose 62% of his lung capacity. He is on an Oxygen Concentrator at night with 4ml, and if he exerts himself during the day he is on oxygen with 10ml. Thus, we are now on this journey to complete the lung evaluation and to get him on a transplant list. His Infectious Disease doctor told us on Dec 1, 2020, that a Hail Mary pass would need to be completed to keep him alive. Without new lungs his days were numbered.
We need to share, that Michael’s college roommate and life-long friend, Dr. George (Ben) Thornton (Virology Scientist) did hours of research and data collection to get us where we are today. Ben and his wife, Linda, literally brought us to Phoenix, AZ. Ben insisted we needed to be at the best center in the USA. St. Joseph’s Hospital and Norton Thoracic Institute are rated the number one medical center in the United States for lung transplants.
At this time, we are in the midst of daily testing to SEE if he qualifies for the lung transplant list. Please pray that July 23rd, is a “yes” and a green light! If it is, we will be in Phoenix, AZ awhile.. Many thanks to: Bob Fontenot, a former colleague of Michael’s who has helped tremendously by taking him to his Lung Rehab Therapy in The Woodlands. In addition, he has received encouragement and support from John & Phyllis Neubauer, David & Darlene Blair, our kids (Andrew, Amanda, Wendy, Jason, and grand-child Hunter), along with Cathy’s sisters (Janice & Nancy) & her colleagues at TISD. Also, Michael’s sister, Jan & Bill Carraway, the Southeast Church of Christ, Nancy & Bill Bowen and their church; West Conroe Baptist Church, Marsha & Charles Montes, along with Mike’s former colleague, Tom and Lillie Beth Wilson.
Thank you to all the individuals who have gotten their prayer warriors out there to pray on Michael’s behalf. Keep Michael and this team in your prayers, and we will post updates as we get them.