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With increasing awareness and growing interest in Mike’s diagnosis of Mesothelioma, his prognosis, treatment options and expected course, I have found it is time to create a CaringBridge Site to aid in the delivery of information to keep everyone current as the ability to provide updates to everyone in a timely fashion is becoming increasingly difficult.
A brief summary of Mike’s story – late spring/early summer 2020 Mike was experiencing notable fatigue and increased shortness of breath with activity and a general feeling of unwellness. Mid August 2020 he had made a visit to the ER for unresolved chest pain that he assumed was related to a pulled muscle following a fall. A second ER visit in September for breathing issues related to the chest pain led to a CT scan which revealed a pleural effusion in his lower right lung. This was monitored for a period of time until October when his PCP decided additional work up was needed and pulmonology was consulted. Bear in mind, this is all occurring in the midst of a pandemic, so the wait time for an appointment in Pulmonology was quite lengthy. Finally a visit in February led to pulmonary function tests, a full cardiac work up, including ECHO and EKG, and labs. Again, more waiting to obtain results and more lengthy waits to schedule next diagnostics etc… Mike’s fatigue was increasing throughout the winter months and by spring 2021 the fatigue was nearly debilitating. Mike was existing and not much more. He was going to work in the morning, coming home and sleeping until he went to work again the next morning. Many days Mike would literally fall asleep in the truck in the driveway and sleep up to an hour before making his way into the house. Throughout the winter, his appetite was poor and nausea became increasingly bothersome to the point that he would occasionally vomit. He picked up a cold somewhere in the winter months and the cough that developed with that never went away and the hoarse voice never left. Over the course of spring, nausea and vomiting escalated to a daily occurrence. Visibly he was looking as sick as he sounds at this point. April finally brought a little heightened concern from medical providers and more diagnostics were ordered. A thoracentesis was ordered in effort to identify the fluid accumulating around the lower right lung. Up to this point, it was suspected to be blood due to blunt trauma from the reported fall the previous summer. Unfortunately, when Mike presented for the desired thoracentesis it could not be completed due to insufficient fluid visualized on ultrasound. Back to Pulmonology which meant another wait for an appointment six weeks later. At that visit, a chest xray was repeated and revealed increase in the pleural effusion. Labs had markedly changed and were very concerning for what was clearly something bad. Finally, a repeat CT with contrast in early July revealed a suspected malignancy, differential of mesothelioma vs pleural metastasis, in Mike’s right lung requiring a biopsy. Biopsy was obtained on 7/14/21 and pulmonologist called on 7/15/21 confirming the diagnosis of mesothelioma. And that's when our lives were forever changed.