My Four Bits A blog for my four bits worth of thoughts

Category Archives: Health

Lura – Fisher Woman!

That’s something I never thought I would say! πŸ˜€

I took Lura to a Fly-fishing retreat last weekend! This was an all expense paid trip for winners of a drawing put on by Casting For Recovery here in Montana. What a fantastic group!!! She had a blast and was extremely chatty about the thing all the way home. Very enjoyable.

The retreat was not all fishing but it did bring the ladies together to chat and discuss anything they wanted about Breast Cancer. One (and possibly the main) thing they got from this retreat is that they got to talk with people in the same situation as themselves. Nice to know others who are in the same boat. πŸ˜‰

So, now she has the ‘bug’ so to speak. She took me to my favorite Sport store a couple of times this last week and we are looking for a few things to finish out her gear. The CFR group gave all the ladies a Rod and Reel combo along with a lot of flies and other misc. gear. I think she may be better outfitted than I am. πŸ˜€ The one thing that we are looking for is a vest to put all of her stuff in. They aren’t cheap but, she will get one. Come fish or no-fish!

We even went out practicing on the local lake Friday. She does really well and when I finally tied a dry fly on for her, she had a fish on the very first cast. πŸ˜€ She did get tired and a bit sore but, we’re learning to expect that.

The retreat was not all fishing but it was totally fun and did bring the ladies together. They had a lot of presentations and could discuss anything they wanted about Breast Cancer. One thing (possibly the main) they got from this retreat is that they got to talk with people in the same situation as themselves. Nice to know others who are in the same boat. πŸ˜‰

Special thanks go out to
Casting For Recovery the group and helpers ,
Upper Canyon Outfitters Owners and guides,
all the extra people who helped at the retreat,
including the ranch owners that allowed the ladies on their land to access a better fishing creek (the Ruby River was unusually muddy that weekend),
and to all the people and businesses who donated to this great cause.

Blessings to y’all!


Ok, most of you know but, just putting it here for now as well.

Lura has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I will be trying to keep everyone up to speed but, it’s not easy with the size of the family, the different methods of communication and my limited abilities at texting. πŸ˜‰

So, this is the beginning of another long journey. Seems like we both can’t be healthy at the same time.


Post surgery report

Just got back from post surgery tests and Dr visits.

Dr asked first off if I felt good about the results of the surgery. I told him he was definitely my Friend! Dr says that everything looks great! During the surgery he was amazed at the pericardium. He said it was like peeling bark off a tree. And very thick. They could see a definite increase in volume that the heart was putting out as they went along. In the end there was almost double the volume!!! Exactly what we were hoping for. The only question left to answer now is if there was any damage done to the Heart Muscle itself. So far no indications. Only time will tell on that one.

He did finally tell me that with this surgery there would be a lot of pain for a while (slight understatement). He didn’t figure that it make any difference to me before the surgery. And, I was so very motivated to have this surgery, that it wouldn’t have made a difference in my decision to go ahead or not! He was CORRECT! I remember on that day when we agreed to the surgery, he asked me how soon I would want to have it done. I told him I was available that day and any day after.
So, now reconstruction, rebuilding, etc.Β of my muscles and stamina. He said that I would not be running a marathon today. But, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, now. We’ll see what possibilities will open up. It appears that I have a lot of living left to do. πŸ˜€

To thank these people and Hospital is really not enough. But it’s all I have. So,

Thank you

Billings Clinic

Dr. Kolla

Dr. Millikan

All of the great RN’s LRN’s, CPAs, Assistants, aids et all!

Way too many to name. But, they all made a remarkable imprint on my spirit and soul.

Blessings to all of you. And, thanks for being there for an old guy who right out of anestesia asked if he would be able to play the Banjo!



I’m BaaaCKKK

Sitting in the best hospital in the world! (well my world anyways). Surgery was done Wed. And, they said I did well. I don’t remember a lot after the Anest. guy said “talk with ya when you wake up”! As for the surgery, I didn’t have to go on bypass which was a possibility. The DR was able to reach everything through some ribs in the chest cavity.

Recovery, yesterday, started good. But, the pain meds they were using were causing my BP to plummet. So, they changed that and I spent the worst and most painful night of my life “dialing” in the right configuration. The results this morning are fantastic!

Lura is finally getting some sleep. Way too rough on loved ones.

Well more to come. But, time for Nurse change. So, lots’ of tests and some walking I think.

It’s good to be alive. πŸ˜‰

Pre Surgery Day

Woo Hoooo!!! They finally confirmed that the sack around my heart (pericardium) is constricting it. It is not letting the heart relax enough to fully refill between compressions. So, they have to strip that off the Β heart. Sounds nastier than it is. Drs. are hoping to do it endoscopically so they won’t have to open the chest again. I frowned when I heard that. So, the nurse asked me why? I was hoping the new surgeon would do the knots better so they don’t hurt when a little childs’ head. She went to talk with the dr about scheduling. When she came back with all kinds of good news. The surgery is bumped up and Dr said no problem with removing that wire and knot. So I said GREAT! We are a go. I also get a new surgeon and the one I know will be assisting. So, it’s a two for one deal!

Today, Tues. 1/8/2013, we’re doing pre-op stuff at the Hospital. Eating breakfast at the cafeteria at the moment. Not too bad.

Well, more to come later.


Heart Cath episode III

Well, Ok. The surgeon wants to do a Heart Catheterization of his own. He says he needs to measure volumes and flow. Nobody can figure out why the last guy didn’t take the measurements while he was in there a month ago. Everyone is scratching their heads on that.

The only thing we can figure was that a veil was dropped over the Dr during the test. I guess I just wasn’t supposed to have the surgery at that time.

So, Yippee Yioooo! It’s off to radiology I go.

I told the Nurse and Drs that I was getting a bit concerned that I may be on a death panel of some sort. Doesn’t really matter except that if they aren’t going to go ahead with this surgery, then tell me and I’ll get on with life as best I can. The waiting is really getting annoying.


Oh, well.

CHF Congestive Heart Failure

After having open heart – OH surgery in 2009 to replace a defective aortic heart valve, I am now looking at another open heart surgery!!!

Apparently I have CHF and the reason has finally been determined. Seems that sometimes OH surgery can sometimes cause the pericardium (the bag around the heart) to become enlarged and calcify. This causes a constriction of the heart so that it cannot relax enough to refill from the veins in between heart beats. This results in reduced blood flow and at times fluid retention.

The solution to this is to remove the pericardium (pericardiectomy) either completely or partially. This unfortunately, involves opening the chest.

So, now we wait to see when the surgery will take place.

The prognosis for this surgery is Fantastic! From what I have read, people feel a lot better with more energy after this. So, I am actually excited! It would be nice to be able to walk up and down stairs without having to rest for hours afterwards. Not to mention getting to play with the grand-kids again!

And, then of course, there’s the fishing. πŸ˜‰

Good News, Bad News! 12/17/12

So, Bad news is I need another Open Chest surgery and Good news is I GET another Open Chest surgery!! πŸ˜€

Just got off the phone with my heart nurse and apparently the Cardiac CT that I had done last Friday shows definitly that my pericardium is enlarged and constricting my heart. That is the reason for my Constrictive heart failure (CHF) .