Valley fever sidelines Bolla for rest of season
Hawaii women's basketball coach Jim Bolla met with the media yesterday to explain the medical procedure he had on Feb. 5.
"I want to clarify things, because there has been a lot of speculation about what's going on," said Bolla, who is on medical leave.
Bolla had surgery to remove the middle lobe of his right lung after X-rays found a spot on the lung and it was confirmed by a CT scan.
"We got the final test results this past week and it is something called valley fever," Bolla said. "It is a fungus common to dry areas like Phoenix or the San Joaquin Valley. It comes from spores in the soil that you breath in when the wind blows the soil around.
"It is not a cancer. The active fungus was in the growth and had not spread."
Bolla was in Phoenix on a recruiting trip in December and is sure he contacted the disease there.
Wahine team doctor Robert Kagawa had recommended the chest X-ray after the 54-year-old Bolla returned from consecutive road trips with flu-like symptoms first and then a sore throat.
Twenty-four hours after the CT scan, Bolla met with thoracic surgeon Dr. Dean Nakamura to discuss the options and the procedure.
Dr. Joseph Koo, who specializes in infectious diseases, told Bolla on Tuesday that test results showed there were no traces of valley fever in his system.
Nakamura advised Bolla not to fly for a month. That means acting head coach Pat Charity will likely run the team for the rest of the season.
Bolla had to stop during the question-and-answer period while in obvious pain.
"I think I'm a pretty tough guy, but this thing really kicked my butt," he said.
Bolla said the expected complete recovery period is a minimum of six to eight months, and that when he is healthy he will return to do what needs to be done.
"Now it is a matter of me getting stronger each day," Bolla said. "The right lung is almost back to normal. The doctors and the people at Queen's have done a great job.
"I can't see myself being on the sidelines in the near future. I can only be up for 20 to 30 minutes. I've lost 30 pounds. I can eat anything I want, but I have no appetite. That's the end of my story.
"I just want the focus to be on the young ladies on our team and all the hard work they have put in."