Friday, October 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Tempting fate after hospital-free year

wade kelvin column sig copy

By
From page A7 | August 07, 2014 |

The beginning of August marks an anniversary for me. For the first time in 12 years, I’ve gone an entire year without being admitted to a hospital.

I have chronic lymphedema. It’s a condition where lymph fluid doesn’t properly circulate in the body and can pool in legs, arms and elsewhere. Those limbs can swell and are susceptible to infections such as cellulitis, a painful inflammatory skin infection. It is not contagious. And while lymphedema itself is not fatal, infections arising from it can be. There’s no cure but the condition can be managed.

In the United States, lymphedema is usually a complication of cancer surgery or other surgeries. I’ve never had surgery. A parasite in other parts of the world can cause it, but I hadn’t been outside the country until long after I developed lymphedema. I’ve seen too many doctors to count and they don’t know. For me, I believe it’s a combination of heredity, sustained injuries to my system years ago and obesity.

I have Stage III lymphedema, which is the worst kind. Despite a regimen that included exercises, bed rest and compression, I had regular infections. Some started with mild flu-like symptoms and other times it hit me like a freight train, with my left leg feeling like a python was squeezing it at the same time it was being overinflated.

In October 2003, I got sick the day before I was to drive my brothers down to San Diego for our father’s funeral. My doc advised me to go into the hospital, but I couldn’t miss my dad’s funeral. So she gave me antibiotics and I drove in terrible pain, while concealing it from my family. We Wades are stubborn like that.

At its worst, I was getting sick every five weeks.

Nine years later, in October 2012, I had one of the worst complications of cellulitis: blood poisoning, or sepsis. I was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (for the second time). Up until that point, I’d always downplayed my hospital admissions to my brothers because I didn’t want them to worry. Afterward, I decided to be open about it with them.

I had to face the fact that my old nemesis staphylococcus aureus may eventually kill me.

A hospital stay early last year found me in an isolation room. Seeing staff suit up in masks, gowns and gloves to interact with me reminded me of the final days of my mom’s life, when I had to don those same precautions to see her as she battled methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. Fortunately, I tested negative for anything contagious. But when you’re immune-compromised like me, you can be a sitting duck for pathogens that ride along my usual infections.

I pleaded with doctors for a year to go on a regimen that I thought could work to keep me out of the hospital. They disagreed. My friend Pam, who has a medical background, gave me advice on how to convince my doctors to try my idea. It worked. We compromised: I tried their ideas and they tried mine. Part of it was joining Weight Watchers and since May of last year I’ve lost more than 150 pounds. With an assist from a great cardiologist and an infectious disease specialist, Dr. Vinod Trivedi, we put together a supplement and medication combination that has me feeling better than I have in years.

While I still get sick sometimes, it’s far less frequent and it’s manageable without going in the hospital.

My girlfriend Cathi, who has stood by me through all this, didn’t want me to write this column for fear of jinxing myself. But that’s OK. I’m savoring life one day at a time. Peace.

Kelvin Wade, a former Fairfield resident, is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Sacramento. Email him at kelvinjwade@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Maureen BairdAugust 07, 2014 - 7:35 am

    Thank you or saring your condition and current situation. My husband and I always enjoy your thoughtful columns and are praying for continued imrovement.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • KelvinAugust 07, 2014 - 11:20 am

    Thank you. I appreciate that.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Dad finds passion creating set pieces for son’s shows

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Real estate agent pens, produces movie

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Neighborhood candy hunts of the past

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Candy from sky highlights North Texas Street event

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Vintage Fair on tap at McBride Senior Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Judge approves Stockton’s bankruptcy plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California eyes $500 billion in water spending

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Marine wants new charges in Iraq war crime tossed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Roseville officer accused of criminal threats

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Poll: Democrats leading in all statewide races

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Man charged with murder in SWAT officer shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Teen arrested in threat at Sacramento school

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Police make arrest in slaying of Oakland mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Retrial in assault case over stray cat feeding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Missing California hunter roasted bugs, lizards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Pilot identified in California jet crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Lawsuit: Surgical gowns let diseases pass through

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Fearing Ebola? Doctors say get a flu shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Questions, answers about California’s Ebola policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Maine in standoff with nurse over Ebola safeguards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Relatives suspected poisoning in family’s deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pair convicted in secret $1.6 M Navy silencer deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Guard troops sent to site of Hawaii lava flow

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Terminally ill woman may postpone taking her life

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Man’s own dog helps police bust him on drug charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Vatican admits Sistine Chapel frescoes ‘whitened’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Israel closes Jerusalem holy site after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Fearing uprising, Iraq militants hunt ex-police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Death penalty sought for trooper ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Man’s prosecution unwarranted

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
Are we safe now?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 14 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Brown’s moderate stance resonates with voters

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 
 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My husband sends texts filled with ‘dirty talk’ to an old flame

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Jorge Garcia makes the most of ‘Hawaii Five-O’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Monica Potter wants to save her show ‘Parenthood’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: Jake Gyllenhaal, tightly coiled and creepy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Exhibit on Paul Simon’s life to debut at Rock Hall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
PBS touts 2013-14 ratings growth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reality TV show ‘Big Brother’ to debut in China

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
‘The View’ now under ABC News as further revamping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Review: ‘Sleep’ a decidedly average psych thriller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Oct. 31, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

Winter’s wife has blues listening to his new album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

 
 
Benicia fends off Vanden, 35-21

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B7 | Gallery

New dynasty: Giants capture 3rd title in 5 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Bye week helps 49ers Vernon Davis’ recovery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Sonoma Raceway to host IndyCar Series finale in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Warriors exercise options on Barnes, Ezeli

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Mack making impact for Raiders even without sacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Prep football capsules: Week 9

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Not so sweet: Chocolate prices are set to rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Apple CEO publicly acknowledges that he’s gay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment | Gallery

FTC accuses Gerber of false claim on baby formula

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Oscar Lee Vezeau

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Robert Louis Wright

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9