Debbie again. This will be short. Thanks to all of you that sent me e-mails and for all the great words of encouragement. I brought them with me the hospital today and read them all to Jill. She said to thank all of you very much. To those of you that asked to visit, she said not yet. She’s still not very lucid – sort of in and out of consciousness. I think she’d rather wait until she feels more presentable and can actually carry on a conversation before a lot of folks go parading through.
I arrived at the hospital today about 2pm. The first thing I noticed was that Jill looked a whole lot better than she did yesterday. She had a lot more color in her face – I could even see all her freckles. She was also breathing a lot more easily. That was very encouraging. I read all of your posts and e-mails right away.
About an hour before I arrived, Jill received the first chemo infusion. Prior to chemo they usually load the patient up with anti-nausea drugs and benadryl (presumably in case there is an allergic reaction). So between all those drugs, the Xanax and the chemo, she was pretty zonked. She was also very agitated. She kept pulling off her oxygen and wanting to be moved around in the bed. She wanted me to call Dr. Ingber and tell him she was pulling off her oxygen – and she rattled off his phone number. I was pretty sure Dr. Ingber wouldn’t want to be bothered with that, so I told her I’d call Hank and have him call the doc. That satisfied her and then she told me to leave. That was the end of the visit.
There you have it. I did call Hank. He was also encouraged by Jill’s appearance and breathing. He mentioned that Jill has hated that oxygen since they first gave it to her – but it is helping her breath. I guess several weeks worth of feeling like crap, being pumped full of powerful drugs, and having several minor surgeries is enough to make anyone a little cranky.
So much for short. Anyway, some encouraging things today. There’s still a long road ahead. The drugs are helping – I believe the prayers are helping more. I am continually grateful for all of you! I’m going to bed.
This is Debbie again. Jill had me put her computer in a drawer yesterday – it requires too much energy to type. Today is chemo day – she will be the first in this area to receive this new chemo. I have a vision of the chemo destroying cancer cells – like that Mucinex commercial where Mucinex wipes out the mucus family that’s taken up residence in the victims’ lungs.
Yesterday Jill received a sponge bath which she described as necessary torture. She sent me a text about 2am this morning saying they gave her a catheter – too much effort to get up to pee. Hank, Kim & Bill (sister & her husband) and I were all there for awhile yesterday afternoon. During that time the physical therapist stopped by to see if Jill was ready for therapy. I wish I could describe the look on Jill’s face (and repeat her actual comment). Lets just say the therapist quickly got the idea that her services were not required at that time. That brave therapist will be back today – because Jill really does need to have her muscles exercised in some way.
Dr. Zhang (Dr. Ingber’s associate) stopped by to see how Jill was doing. She mostly went over what we already know. She did prescribe Ativan to help with the anxiety. Other than the cancer, anxiety seems to be Jill’s worst problem. Xanax if good short term relief, but the Ativan should give her long-term anxiety reduction. Keeping the anxiety level controlled should also reduce her heart rate and help her get some actual rest.
Prayers for now would be for Jill’s body to be able to handle the chemo – a necessary evil at this point. Especially pray for the anxiety to go away. I understand that she’s frightened – who wouldn’t be, but mental health is also very important to recovery. Jill needs that “peace that passes all understanding”. Medication helps – God’s peace is better.
If you want to send Jill a personal message, please do so here and I’ll print them and bring them to her today. If you want to leave a message that you don’t want everyone else to see, send it to my personal e-mail which is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debbie here again. Jill’s difficulties earlier today mostly revolved around the pleural effusions continually filling up. I’m sure I don’t need to remind all of you that she now has bilateral PluerX catheters to help manage this problem. It wasn’t being managed until Hank showed up and insisted that the hospital staff get off their butts and do their jobs.
Apparently the PleurX is a technology that many of the nurses don’t know how to use. I got that information from Fred the nurse yesterday. I told Fred that I googled PleurX and immediately found a link with 5 pages of instructions on how to take care of it. He said that’s the same set of instructions the hospital staff is using. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad – maybe just scary. I believe Hank was trained by the PA from the Pulmonologist’s office - I’m not sure why she didn’t make sure a nurse or two was trained as well.
I received the following text from Jill shortly after 7pm today (she may have sent this earlier, my Blackberry sometimes has a delay in receiving text messages):
Doing well. Slept 6 hours. Vicodin & heating pad for pain. Will be zonked all day. Rt. lung filling. Long line of nurses want to learn procedure. Tired and will rest. Later today, or better tomorrow good for those who want to visit.
So, it sounds like there will soon be more than just Hank trained to use the PleurX and the hospital staff will do a better job helping to manage Jill’s breathing. I’ll be away from the computer most of the day tomorrow. I’ll try to do an update on Monday morning. Who knows, Jill may feel well enough tomorrow to do one herself. The family is very grateful for your prayers. I would love to meet all of Jill’s great friends some day! Thanks!
This is Debbie relaying a message from Jill. I received a text from her saying that she was having a bad day – please no visitors – put it on the blog. I know Hank is with her. Beyond that, I don’t know any more details. I’ll update this post if I hear more. So please cotinue the prayers.
THANKS for updates Deb. Will be here two day getting heart rate down, starrting chemo on moday. aMeanwhile need help seeting up room so usable. visistors welcome.an’y move piece of paper by self.
Hi everyone. This is Debbie again. You probably won’t be hearing from Jill for at least a few more days (and she proved my wrong by adding her own short post about an hour after mine!) She had the 2nd PleurX catheter inserted on the right side early today. Between the Xanax to manage her anxiety and the Vicodin to manage her pain, she’s pretty groggy and pretty loopy.
When my mom and I arrived at the hospital around 3:30 Jill was sleeping AND laying on her back AND breathing pretty well! That was encouraging. While the drugs make her pretty incoherent, they are helping her get some much needed rest and keeping her comfy – all good things.
The hospital staff at Valley are wonderful and they are right there if Jill needs any help. She did get moved to a new room today (3519 for those of you close enough to visit). Fred, the nurse, told us that Jill’s chemo did not start today. Apparently this particular chemo was just recently approved in the U.S., so they’ve had a little trouble getting it. It won’t be available until Monday. That’s probably a good thing. I don’t know that I would want to get chemo after having minor surgery 2 days in a row. Her body will now get a couple of days to recover before starting on that nasty stuff. Here’s some info about the chemo that Jill will be getting.
Continue your prayers for Jill and her family. When they do send her home, it’s going to be challenging to manage her care. Hank and Daniel and her family are up to it. Thanks again for your support!