Dr. AIX's POSTS NEWS — 03 July 2016

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Life is not all about music, audio, and struggling with the realities of high-resolution music. On Thursday of this past week, I underwent surgery to have an overactive parathyroid gland removed from my throat. I’ve never been much for regular health checkups and annual physical exams but over the past couple of years I’ve established a good relationship with the doctor that helped me through the pneumonia I picked up at the 2015 CES show. The results of a recent blood test prompted him to request a personal visit at his office. His assistant didn’t say anything more than, “Dr. K would like to see you as soon as possible” during our brief phone conversation.

So I set up an appointment for the next day. He told me that my elevated PTH level might indicate I have hyperparathyroidism, a condition that causes an imbalance in your calcium levels and can lead to bone loss. The good news is that humans have 4 parathyroid glands and if one of them is misbehaving, a skilled surgeon can carefully remove it and the ones left behind can pick up the slack. My next appointment was with the same doctor that had removed my oldest son’s cancerous thyroid gland about a year ago.

Dr. Yeh is the Section Chief of Endocrine Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is a very highly regarded physician. My son’s results were excellent, so I knew I was in good hands. He told me that given my age, I should have the bad parathyroid gland taken out. He scheduled some sort of nuclear scan to identify which one of the glands was bad and a bone density scan to see if any of my bones were diminishing (thankfully, my running has kept my bones in tact!). The surgery was scheduled for the 30th, last Thursday.

The routine procedure takes about an hour. It’s an out patient experience. They make a small, one-inch incision, in the middle of your neck, slide in the appropriate tools, remove some tissue, and then sew you back up. After looking at the scar on my son’s neck, I was quite pleased that medical technology and techniques have been able to leave behind so little evidence of the cut. My younger brother (9 years younger) also battled thyroid cancer through a few surgeries and has a scar across his entire neck…almost up to one ear!

My wife drove me to the hospital on Thursday morning and I waited. It felt like I was in a movie…it simply didn’t feel real for some reason. The nurses and aids prepared me for the surgery. The doctor’s associate came by to explain what to expect. The anesthesiologist also stopped by and gave me something “to take the edge off”. And at around 11 am, I remember being wheeled into the operating room and then nothing. I was out.

I woke up at around 2:30 pm… far later than I had expected. Something was amiss. It took a while for me to work my way back to full consciousness. Dr. Yeh came by and told me that they discovered a nearby lymph node that appeared to be “discolored”. They sliced off a piece and had a pathologist quickly examine it. It was cancerous. Following the surgery, I learned that my wife was consulted, lots of things explained, decisions made, and I woke up without my thyroid gland and problematic parathyroid gland. It seems…like my son and brother…that thyroid glands don’t do so well in our family.

So life took a dramatic turn on Thursday. I stayed the night in the hospital, my PTH levels have returned to normal, and now I get to take a synthetic replacement hormone to keep my endocrine system in balance. And I’m going to miss running my 10th Will Rogers 5K tomorrow!

But I’m very happy with the outcome. I debated sharing this personal situation on my blog but decided there was no downside to spreading my news. Hopefully, there won’t be any more surprises. Have a happy 4th of July!

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About Author

Dr. AIX

Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, has been producing and engineering music for over 40 years. He learned electronics as a teenager from his HAM radio father while learning to play the guitar. Mark received the first doctorate in music composition from UCLA in 1986 for a "binaural" electronic music composition. Other advanced degrees include an MS in computer science, an MFA/MA in music, BM in music and a BA in art. As an engineer and producer, Mark has worked on projects for the Rolling Stones, 311, Tool, KISS, Blink 182, Blues Traveler, Britney Spears, the San Francisco Symphony, The Dover Quartet, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams, The Allman Brothers, Bad Company and many more. Dr. Waldrep has been an innovator when it comes to multimedia and music. He created the first enhanced CDs in the 90s, the first DVD-Videos released in the U.S., the first web-connected DVD, the first DVD-Audio title, the first music Blu-ray disc and the first 3D Music Album. Additionally, he launched the first High Definition Music Download site in 2007 called iTrax.com. A frequency speaker at audio events, author of numerous articles, Dr. Waldrep is currently writing a book on the production and reproduction of high-end music called, "High-End Audio: A Practical Guide to Production and Playback". The book should be completed in the fall of 2013.

(59) Readers Comments

  1. Best of luck to you – and a fast recovery.

  2. Hi Mark:
    Glad they caught the cancer in time.
    I had three of my PTHs removed in ’13 before I could go on the kidney list. I’m sure your doctor advised you about ‘Hungry Bones’ after-effects. It took me more than a month to get my strength and healthy feeling back: I was dizzy and mentally out of it for the first week.
    Hope you enjoy better times ahead.
    Kevin

  3. Hope you get back on all thrusters soon Mark. Best wishes from Ireland.

  4. The one thing most everyone forgets is how the nature of life takes no backseat to any of what we call day to day distractions from being a car, music, sports enthusiast or whatever or anything else for that matter. Every once in a while sometimes subtly or much more in ones face reminders appear such as what happened with your surgery to give us the little wake up call that says we are all here for a borrowed time. Glad you caught this early and can get back to the pleasant distraction of High Res and enlighten the rest of us of the same.

    • Very true…it doesn’t take much to set the priorities right again.

  5. Best wishes for a continued speedy recovery. Happy 4th.

  6. Wow, that must have been a surprise but sounds like you are in good hands which is so important. My wife went through a similar thing a year ago following what was expected to be a routine biopsy on some breast tissue, so I have some idea of what you are going through. All the best for your recovery and training for the 11th Will Rogers 5K. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Mark, Wish you the best of results and recovery in the coming months.
    Take good care of yourself and family.
    Happy Independence day USA
    Sal

  8. WOW! that sure can be a scare, puts all of your priorities in order and could be life changing, glad it all worked out for you and your family.

  9. As a society, we’re oddly reticent to talk about health issues with strangers. This lack of sharing info is probably why we grow up so lacking in basic “health literacy.” A lot of the things that happen are random bad luck or genetics, so there’s no great reason they should be personal secrets. Some are lifestyle-related, but for most of us, by the time we really become aware of those kinds of consequences, we’re 60-ish and can’t turn back the clock for a do-over.

    But …sorry for the philosophical diversion … pleased that you’re doing well, and hope for an excellent recovery !!!

    Doug D

    • I don’t mind sharing…especially if it triggers someone somewhere to do something smart regarding their own health. It doesn’t take much to grab it away from you. My wife and I lost a sister-in-law (her brother’s wife) this morning after a long battle with cancer. It’s a sad day…I feel very blessed.

  10. So sorry Mark, but glad you got immediate care and a good prognosis. Best wishes for the future.

    John

  11. Mark, Be well !!!

  12. Mark, I’m so glad that you are doing well and had the access to expert care. Thanks so much for all you do and keeping all of us fans in the loop.

    All the best wishes for the best!
    Bruce B

  13. Routine blood test revealed high potassium level & only 5% kidney function. BIG SURPRISE. Best wishes for a full recovery from Christus Saint Vincent Hospital, room 2110.

    • Thanks Stephen…glad you’re getting things back on track.

  14. Glad they did not wait for a consensus!

  15. Hey Mark,
    So glad to hear all went well. We need you to hang around a while longer!!!! (o:

    Having undergone numerous skin cancer surgeries, I no longer have any “vanity” about scars. Now I prefer to think of them as roadmarks to my survival. I also have the ultimate admiration to the incredible surgeons that have taken care of me.

    I consider every day that I can enjoy a glass of wine, wonderful music, my wife’s smile, etc to be a blessed gift.

    Best always,
    Dave

    • Thanks Dave!

  16. Wow, sounds like you got excellent care, get well fast and stay well! You live in one of the top places on the planet for such care too. God bless America and our excellent medical schools and our openness to everyone who wants to train here (and work here too, if they choose to).

  17. I immensely enjoy reading your blogs. You are one of the few people in the audio industry who are candid and explain things to us in “lay man” terms. I wish you a speedy recovery and great health going forward.

  18. Get well! And get the rest you need.

  19. Hi Mark,

    Sorry to hear about the loss in your family. Must have been a very traumatic period from the time you went to hospital until now.

    Hope you feel better over the coming days and all the best for the rest of the recovery.

    Gordon

    • Thanks Gordon…it’s been a very sad time for my wife and her family. I may not be able to set up my tables in DC next weekend.

  20. Glad you have had these issues sorted! All the best from South Africa!

  21. Dear Mark, I wish you a good recovery!

    Mladen Krizanic
    Croatia

  22. Mark, wishing you a speedy recovery. Best wishes from Belgium.

  23. Sorry to hear that you have been unwell. I hope that your recovery is speedy and that you suffer no after effects.
    Happy Independance Day!

    Alex.

    UK

  24. Get well soon, we need your voice of reason out here!

  25. Hi Mark, surely reading this post was scary. I wish you all the best.
    Regards

  26. I’m glad to hear your procedure went well, and send condolences for your family’s loss. Hope you’re back to 100% soon. – Andrew

  27. Hope and prayers for a speedy recovery Mark!

  28. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Consider yourself lucky. My friend who never went to doctors had a nervous breakdown at work due to stress. His lawyer sent him to a doctor for a full exam where it was discovered he had prostate cancer. He was treated and is now cured. He was lucky too.

    Experience with serious illness, injury, and death puts life in perspective at least for awhile. Suddenly things that seemed so important don’t really matter much anymore….until they do again.

  29. Wish you all the best and fast recovery!

  30. Dear Mark:

    Effectively, life is more than music and audio… it’s about love and cycles… beginnings and endings.
    After learning about this health condition of yours, I felt a lot of gratitude coming out of my heart and going to yours… just the returning part of a cycle of love that you have started, placing emphasis on a truthful and respectful account of our hobby.

    Best regards… from Chile.

  31. Take care Mark, I will be thinking positive for ya, with loads of good aura’s.

  32. Mark
    You are the one person responsible for turning me on the HD digital music and for that I am eternally grateful. You super charger will be running at full boost in no time!! We all need you and love.

  33. Very glad to know you will be running your tenth Will Rogers next year. Buena suerte!

  34. Your in our thoughts and prayer Marks. Wish you a speedy recovery. Hope you get to listen to some great music now that you have time. You may also have scared the rest of us into seeing a doctor soon for anything we’ve been putting off. That can’t be a bad thing.

  35. That was a shock Mark, I was expecting to hear more gripping news from the world of HR audio. But I’m really glad you did share this with us, we all need to spread the load sometimes; it makes things easier for us all – that’s why we live in communities.

    Your community is right behind you and sending good thoughts and energy too. Do keep talking to us about it.

  36. Mark, my friend Dave had his thyroid removed, by now it is two years. It will take some time, regular monitoring and more frequent checkups. But, I’m sure you know all that, as your sons have gone through similar medical issues.
    One thing that helped Dave, and will help you, is that he lives a healthy lifestyle.

    I wish you a speedy recovery, and a healthy future. I don’t drink, but I will do a toast today in your honor, with a soft drink “that you live forever and I never die”.

    • Thanks Jeff!

  37. Hi Mark,
    It’s been a pretty rough year or so for you health wise. Thanks for sharing this with us, and I hope that you’re soon feeling up to resuming your fight for truth, justice, and good audio. It’s hard being the sole voice of reason sometimes, and it’s a sure-fire way of making enemies of people you thought were your friends. Just want you to know how much I appreciate what you’re doing for my life-long hobby (I’m 75), and believe me, I’m going to support the companies who are supporting you. For example, I recently bought a Benchmark ADC1 for converting my LP and reel-to-reel tape collections to digital at 96/24. I double-dog dare you to tell the difference between the recordings and originalsl!

  38. Wishing you well.

  39. Get well soon and happy 4th

  40. Feel better Mark. Sounds like you are on a swift road to recovery.

  41. Life without a thyroid is better than a thyroid without life. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  42. Wishing you all the best!

  43. Very best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.As my old first employer used to say,:when you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything.” Try intent music listening as part of your recovery therapy. Take it easy for a while, don’t push yourself. All the best, Craig

  44. I’m glad that you are fine now, Mark.

    Only when we are sick or down can we discover those who are the most important to us.

  45. Glad to hear that it was caught in time!

  46. All’s well when it end well. Wishing you speedy recovery

  47. Best of luck for a speedy recovery Mark and looking forward to more of your common-sense articles when you’re better, but rest up well for now

  48. Trust all is well and will be fit soon for more great sharings.
    was thinking the other day that there are not many like you around and these events in life give time for reflection.

    how is your mentorship program going? passing on some of that wisdom to someone(s) to carry on the great work to keep our love sane?

    you and your family in our thoughts

  49. Mark,

    best wishes for a fast recovery from a loyal German reader of your blog!

    Regards

  50. Hi!

    I wish you a fast recovery.

    Regards Jyrki

    • Thanks

  51. well mark,

    i have a great dea lf empathy for you as i’m nuclear med tech. men don’t routinely have thyroid cancer as do women.. women also suffer hyperthyroidism more frequently than men.

    i am happy that they found the thyroid cancer early on. you may find yourself getting a high dose of I131 that brings with it some family isolation. you might stay in the hospital for 2-3 days and be isolated from family contact for a week.

    a minor inconvenience considering the therapy is highly successful. good luck in the future.

    ..tom

    • Thanks Tommy. I’m headed in to see the endo doctor tomorrow.

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