Thursday, August 27, 2015

A 2nd Opinion and a Request for Prayers

I called into work Monday night to let my supervisor (Steve Hanson) know that I'd be coming in and submitting my retirement papers the next day. I don't think I'd been in contact with anyone from work up until this time so this was a bit of a blindside to him as it was to me as well. He asked about whether I'd sought out a 2nd opinion and I told him I hadn't. He strongly urged me to check out Mayo Clinic in Rochester and he was right. I needed to pull out all of the stops. The doctor from the morning was content to see if a regimen of prednisone would suffice and leave it at that. He mentioned a steroid injection beyond the eardrum and into the middle ear that has been beneficial for some but not at all effective for others and detrimental to at least one person. What could be more detrimental than what I was already facing I thought especially with what seemed like poor odds if I chose to stay the course.

Bryan, my older brother was encouraging me to seek out someone higher up on the food-chain of ENT doctors who would be able to take this to the next level. I consulted a neurologist friend, Eugene, on the east coast and he was all in favor of that. With all of the push in this direction Tammy took the lead and began looking for someone at Mayo Clinic who had the qualifications Eugene advised us to look for. And she found him in the name of Dr Charles W. Beatty.

We called his office early on Tuesday and were able to secure an appointment with him the following morning at 8:30. Otherwise he was booked solid into October. There must've been a cancellation or was it a God-thing or both?

We knew this was going to be difficult on Elaine having to get up too early and traveling in the car the 75 miles to Mayo but she did so well with all of it. We couldn't leave her unattended in the waiting area while we were in with the doctor so we wheeled her in with us. She sat there as sweet as could be, quietly watching.

While we waited for the doctor I read through the medical reports I'd run around to get the previous day in order to have them for Dr Beatty. I was disheartened to read the notes from the ENT doctor we'd seen on Monday: "The patient has a profound left sensorineural hearing loss. He is on day 3 of 50 mg of prednisone. I will have him continue this for a total of 8 days and then we'll taper off the prednisone. I would like to see him in 2-3 weeks to reevalutate his hearing. There is no evidence of bleeding or clot in his hearing organ however this is a possibility and given his history of coagulopathy, his complete recovery will unfortunately be unlikely."

I pretty much had accepted that as a given but to read it was something else. I'd honestly be happy with 50% recovery.

Dr Beatty came into the room and I felt very comfortable in his presence. He described what I'd been through and what I was going through in such detail and accuracy and I knew he knew exactly what we were up against. But he didn't, because they don't really understand Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss or SSHL. They have some theories as to what's happening but nothing conclusive. Treating with steroids is one of the few options that yields results with prednisone being the main go-to drug. The other option is an intratympanic dexamethasone injection, meaning an injection of strong steroids beyond the eardrum and into the inner ear. This was Dr Beatty's recommendation and I had no reservations about it whatsoever.

I gave a quick wink to Tammy about getting a photo of the procedure for my blog. She rolled her eyes and smiled then asked the doctor if he was okay with that, and he was.

He told us that for this treatment to be effective it needs to be done preferably within the first 10 days of the onset of the hearing loss. This was day 8 3/4 for me so we were still in optimal range. There was some pain as he applied a numbing agent to a small area on my eardrum but that was all. The injection itself wasn't noticeable. I had to remain still in the position I was in for 30 minutes after the shot was administered to allow the steroid to soak the region. I couldn't swallow, yawn, pop my ears or speak during that time because any of those activities would allow the medication to slip away through my eustachian tube and be lost.

Dr Beatty said to give it 2 to 3 days to see if there's any improvement. If there's none by that time there really isn't anything else that can be done.

We left there a few hours after we arrived, guardedly optimistic for at least some improvement. It's been about 36 hours since the injection and I'm noticing no difference at all yet.

Please pray for me. Thank you.


Vannevar said...

you got it.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thanks my friend. Sincerely, thanks!

Jackie said...

I have prayed for healing and will continue to pray for healing.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thanks, Jackie.

Randy Kerr said...

You got this.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Randy, thank you.