After 18 medical tests, a bit of doubt and a few setbacks, I have reached that important step in life, at long last, where I medically qualify for a kidney and pancreas transplant.
Time for balloons and champagne. Where's the Dixieland band?
Dr. Ronald Benoit, the UPMC urologist who performed a prostate biopsy on me Monday, informed officials at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, that my prostate glan is clear of cancer. My high prostate-specific antigen test, or PSA, from last month apparently was an unexplained fluctuation was nothing but sound and fury signifying nothing, as Shakespeare might say. The biopsy to prove that that PSA was just an anomaly, a random fluctuation or indicative of a virus, represented the final test I had to pass. Apparently I did pass it with flying colors.
So let's review:
The heart is pumping. The prostate glan is enlarged but stable and noncancerous. The carotid artery is a vertiable Autobahn of blood flow. All pulses are pulsating, All organs are doing their organ duties. The colon has no pulips. And the lungs, as you might suspect from reading this blog, are duly functional wind-bags.
I need but two replacement parts -- a kidney and a pancreas -- then I'm ready to rock.
There still is one hurdle. My medical insurance provider must agree to the transplant. Actually, it only will need to pay for some of the preliminary procedures with Medicare kicking in once I have the transplant or go on dialysis. Still, I must await word from the insurance company before I'm officially placed on the official lists for kidney and pancreas transplants.
I also must follow a strict procedure of having regular blood tests with prostate exams and PSA tests required every six months. I must also undergo an annual stress test to assure that the ticker is still ticking adequatley to support a transplant.
And when I called dear Suellen to tell her the good news -- that her husband medically qualifies for the transplants -- she just had one key question.
"That's good," she said with doubt in her voice. "You medically qualify, but do you mentally qualify?"
OK, hold the champagne.