Sunday, March 3, 2013

Medical Update

Its 2:32 pm

    I'm on the road for this entry....I had to create some time to get away and write,write,write!
The past 10 days have been really putting us to the test...Lori was unable to complete her last chemo,ended in the ER at U of Michigan,had another blood transfusion (her 3rd) and all in all just has had a crappy 10 days.

The adventure started 2 weeks from yesterday when we were scheduled to complete the last chemo treatment. When we were told that we couldn't do it because Lori's blood level was too low,it wasn't a big deal,this happened the first time and many cancer patients have thier chemo bumped for the same reason. You generally wait a week for your body to produce more blood and then you are able to safely get treated.
 But what made this a different was a increase in blood in her urine and having a lot of pain as well. We had a hydration which both helped and hurt....helped because Lori needed the liquids but of course that led to more runs to the bathroom. A catch-22 if you will...
  We went through the week back and forth,not feeling well one day,really not feeling well on the next.
 Come the next Monday,the blood in the urine is now getting alarming,whole clots are now in the toliet. We don't know if its coming through the urethea or the fistula,either way,its not good.
Lori heads overs to the infusion clinic while I get ready for work...I get a call,Lori wants me over...she is bleeding and not able to do chemo. I rush over and Mel (our nurse) says she has a call in to Dr. J. While this is happening,I take Lori to the restroom,she leaves the bowl bright red,now I'm conerned,very concerned.
  Still no answer,I tell Mel I think we should be heading to the ER and 20 minutes later,Dr. J calls and agrees with us. I load Lori into my car and start the 18 mile run to Ann Arbor.
Its 10:30 am when we get there,the ER staff are waiting for us and wheel into the back. We sit while the doctor comes in and talks to us,the nurses take several vials of blood for the lab and we wait.
 The ER was pretty slow when we got there and our nurse,Jose,was pretty outstanding. His own wife is battling stage IV breast cancer and his momma has pancreatic cancer as well so he completely well versed with what we were going through.
   We went through a ultrasound which showed that Lori's tumor is now pressing down towards her bladder,we don't know how much space is between her tumor and bladder wall but that could explain why there is now heavy blood.
   After even more waiting,they took a CT scan as was a very long process and Lori was unable to eat or drink. I was getting antsy because of not only that but she also had to endure a catheter as well. Finally they were able to finish up and said she could eat so I went and got her a salad. We got our results which included getting a appointment with a urologist in two days...a normal appointment requires a 30 days waiting period.
  Not even the ride home was easy,we had to pull over as Lori's stomach wasn't able to hold her dinner.
   Food has become a real battle as of late,trying to find anything at all that she can eat is pretty tough but we have discovered Carnation Instant Breakfast and has that been a game changer.
She has been able to drink this and hold it...which then allows her to eat other things as well.
 The next day saw us back in Ann Arbor,this time for a blood transfusion,this was our third time and in a strange quirk,one of the ER nurses happened to be working in the room and ended up doing Lori's blood. The clinic was abuzz with the crazy ex-cop who went nuts and was caught in Big Bear.
The transfusion went smoothly and we headed home.
The next day Lori headed back yet again to Ann Arbor to see the urologist. Which turns out was basically a wasted trip...if this tumor lands on the bladder,there are some new treatments in the way of chemotherapy but the surgical aspect isn't really a viable option. This is what we were told,the urologist said that Lori's cancer is "advanced" which really upset us because Dr. Johnston hasn't said that to us as of yet. While we both know that the chemo hasn't really worked as well as we had hoped,we are not giving up,we know radiation is next up after our PT scan in early March. We are gearing up mentally for this and know its going to rough as well...
   My job has been amazing through this,very compassionate. It helps when your manager is also a survivor and understands what is happening. The day that we went to the ER was the first day I missed since starting there last March. I overheard two people talk about people calling off and they mentioned me and that how throughout this ordeal,I hadn't called off once.
 I just know that we can't afford it,both in terms of paying our bills and in keeping up with a normal as possible life.
  Its now 3:44 on 28 Feb,I have had hardly any time to write. Coming home from writing the above entry,I find out that Lori's car was hit by a careless 18 year old girl who pulled out in traffic despite being blinded by truck. She hit Lori's car on the passenger's side which caused Lori to to swerve and hit the curb and missing a fire hydrant by a mere few feet.
  She had just picked up a new prescription from CVS and was less then a mile away from home when this happened. I called her cell and raced to the site where we switched cars so she could go home. Later she told me that as soon as she had stopped,the other driver took full responsibility for the accident. Lori started calling 9-1-1 but a police cruiser had already seen the accident and flipped a U and responded. Lori said she got out of the car and between the ground being so bumpy and weak from the chemo,she fell down. The police officer rushed over and helped her up and asking if she okay. He showed great concern over her well being.
  The young lady called her mother who came over and they stayed with Lori until I got there,she again said she was so very sorry. I gave Lori the keys to the Rodger Young and sent her home while I waited for AAA. Add to fun that it was sooooo cold this day!
  After 25 minutes the van got there and that is when we discovered the real damage to her car,she had 2 badly bent rims...we had planned on changing the tires and dropping the car off at the repair shop. Instead we had to call for a tow truck and wait about another 40 minutes.
  The young lady called later that night and wanted to settle privately but we declined,its a lot safer to go through insurance companies to have these things settled. But I can understand her distress,only 18 and had a nasty accident already. Her rates will skyrocket plus she got a ticket which will add 3 points to her driver record,a very costly mistake.
  Lori's car ended up having 2,000 worth of damage to it plus a 500.00 deductible (which our insurance will have the other insurance pay).

2 March 13.

     Its now 11:50 pm

Its a bitterly cold day here in SE Michigan. I'm alone in the house....Lori is in the hospital at the U of Michigan. She is battling a severe case of c-dif which was brought about by her illness. For the past 4 days we have been fighting this but to no avail. I finally had to take her to the E.R. yesterday morning. She keeps throwing anything and everything up,including the medicines that can help her which only makes her condition worsen.
  We were put in isolation while the doctors are trying to figure out how to stop this massive infection. After 7 hours in the E.R.,we were admitted to where this first started 18 months ago,the 8th floor of the University Hospital. No sooner then she got settled then she started throwing up the hydration she had received along with her 6th and 7th pints of blood in the E.R.
  I held the pan while she continued to vomit. She hadn't been even to keep any kind of food down,between the pain in her stomach along with the c-dif's overpowering has been just awful. I tapped into a old trick my mother Anna taught us...I got some vapor rub and had Lori put that under her nose. It knocked down the horrible smell of the c-dif. But because the vomiting was so bad,she was throwing up her meds so they weren't working.
 She had a very rough night after I had left and the nurses worked very hard at comforting her during this.
I called her brother last night and told him what was going on...he lives 275 miles away but he said he would be down today with his wife.
  So at app. 11 am today,we were told Lori's cancer is a terminal case,she is going to die from this. What goes through a person's mind when their soul mate is going to die,its a awful,hollow,helpless feeling. But we're not rolling over just yet....we still have plenty of fight,we have agreed that we will explore any and all clinical drugs that we qualify for as long as they don't diminish or cause any pain. We know we have a long road ahead of us in terms of getting her affairs in order and making plans to see loved ones in the time we have left of which we don't how long she has.
  So this is where we are at.....I'll try and get another update tomorrow....

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  1. You have both fought long and hard - clearly you have great love for one another and will continue to stand strong - praying for you both and hoping for healing - however that may come.

  2. Crap! I just finished this. I had no idea it was this bad. I'm so sorry :(