Jan 18, 2021 Latest post:
Feb 23, 2021
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place about the roller coaster ride of Walter dealing with cancer, heart failure, and sleep apnea in 2021.
Retired from University of California Davis in 2019, diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020, and monitoring a gradually worsening heart condition over past couple years. Despite having cancer and heart failure, the most impactful health issue I have had for years is severe central and obstructive sleep apnea - I stop and start breathing over 250 times a night, oxygen saturation bounces down and up from 95 to 70 as often as 60x a hour, preventing any real sleep. CPAP and BIPAP tried and failed. So, always tired physically and mentally.
Prostate cancer thought to be localized was due to be removed by surgery on January 15. However, an echocardiogram from Dec 2020 showed worsening heart conditions that prompted a chest CT a few days prior to planned prostate surgery. This heart CT showed possible signs of cancer metastasis prompting a bone scan which also showed possible metastasis to the ribs, and to the brain. So prostate surgery canceled while a brain scan scheduled. While waiting for brain scan to be performed my cardiologist calls and says he wants to prioritize heart over prostate and do open heart surgery on Friday January 22 to replace damaged aorta and aortic valve.
What do I know for sure as of January 17, 2021? Prostate cancer, PSA=5, bilateral, confirmed by biopsy, Gleason score 4=3=7. Mainly asymptomatic except for frequent urination. Confined to prostate or metastatic - don't know for sure. Heart failure - increasingly dilated aorta and worsening aortic regurgitation due to congenital bicuspid valve. Over past year symptoms have become apparent and somewhat debilitating, including weekly atrial fibrillation, fatigue, and coughing due to lung congestion. Sleep apnea - really annoying being awake and short of breath all night.
I feel like I am whining a lot - overall my spirits are pretty good and the scientist in me loves all the test data. However, I am less enthused about radical prostatectomy, open heart surgery, or brain cancer - not necessarily in that order.
Its almost impossible for us to keep up with tests, changing diagnoses, and treatment plans, much less keep friends and family up to date. So this site is to help people keep up with the seemingly minute by minute changes.