Sunday, March 29, 2015
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 [email protected]

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

Vanden High library project nears completion

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Vanden girls end stellar season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Cheers for Jupiter – and roller derby

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Vacaville police make arrest after pursuit

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Red Cross volunteers help assemble first aid kits

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
PG&E helps replace stolen equipment

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Justin-Siena names new principal

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

 
Free paper shredding option returns to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Vacaville bridal, quinceanera show a hit

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Event benefits child who attends Cambridge School

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Best barometer of investment success: Wealth

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B8

Hike in minimum wage cuts deep into businesses

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B8

 
Tips on hydrozoning your garden

By Tina Saravia | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Gang chief, international fugitive among dozens paroled

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Experts: Sex bias case will embolden women despite verdict

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Crash victim’s father calls for more focus on pilot welfare

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Man rescued after falling 200 feet off California sea cliff

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Popular Yosemite National Park lookout opens early in season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Some British Airways frequent flier accounts miles breached

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

7 shot and injured at Florida spring break house party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Boko Haram kills 39, legislator, disrupting Nigeria election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Hundreds rally against Indiana law, say it’s discriminatory

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida in Syria seize major city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

Thanks for making prom dreams come true

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Free speech a right worth protecting

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Liberty, property rights 2 sides of same coin

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8

 
Sound Off: March 29, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Improve Allan Witt Park; how about rest of Fairfield?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: March 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Pope finds popularity and dissent at 2-year mark

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Truth does not change

By The Rev. Art Zacher | From Page: C3

Horoscopes: March 29, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B8

 
Daughter choses stepdad over father to walk her down the aisle

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B8

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Second Julie Andrews memoir expected in 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Chrissie Hynde memoir coming in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

.

Sports

 
Warriors beat Bucks 108-95, clinch top seed in West

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Wisconsin heads to Final Four after 85-78 win over Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Burns scores winner in SO to lift Sharks past Flyers, 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Power leads Penske sweep in qualifying for IndyCar opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Revolution win first of season, beating Earthquakes 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jenest pitches SCC baseball team to shutout of Contra Costa

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

AP sources: Texas fires coach Barnes after 17 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kazmir, Quintana both strong; A’s beat White Sox 10-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Zunino homers twice, but Giants rally to edge Mariners 9-8

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gordon, Earnhardt among the winners and fans of Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Prince Bishop wins Dubai World Cup, California Chrome 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams easily wins opening match at Miami Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimmy Walker leads hometown Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

A glance at women in leadership roles in business worldwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
For business, more women in charge means bigger profits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

US drillers scrambling to thwart OPEC threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Test trial to use computer servers to heat homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Obituaries

Robert Roberts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janice Jewel Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Betty Mason

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Tiffany Lyn (Helzer) Kemp

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard F. Coleman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
James Lee Lewis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics