Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sorry I skipped a day!

Today is Sunday. Yesterday I got back to the room so late that I had nothing left - pretty much needed to unwind. Butch had a bad day yesterday, and many tests were taken. When they loaded him on the stretcher to go down for a scan - to find out about the drainage, he had a bad spell of heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and general malaise, including quite serious chest pains. The nurse put the oxygen back on him - he still has it on today, and theydid an EKG. He did not have a stroke (my fear), and they diagnosed - get this - wenkebach (2nd degree AV block) - which is a temporary alteration in heart rhythm, probably caused by the surgery - supposedly harmless. Scared the dickens out of me, I can tell you - thought I was going to end up on a matching stretcher! When I left last night, they didn't have the results back from the blood testing, but they were telling me that they thought the infection I wrote about two days ago had spread to the blood stream which was definately not good. I found out this morning that it did not - thanks be to God, but it IS a nasty infection. He is on an antibiotic called Zosyn - a bag through the IV every 8 hours, and hopefully it will clear up in a couple of days. It is causing him to be confused - he is sort of "in and out" which I find very distressing, but - hopefully it will clear up soon.

I caught Dr. Gamlin both yesterday morning and this morning - he says we need to solve this infection problem, which he expects to do in a couple of days, and the kidney function (I think right kidney) also. That kidney was weak before the surgery, and it is problematic - they don't give him full dye for scans because of the weakened condition. So - I hope we are getting back on track - yesterday my blood pressure spun out of control (I wonder why!), and I doubled up on my medication. I feel Ok today - but I will keep a close eye on it. Dr. Gamlin said he has had three e-mails from people on the site asking him to review their cases - unresectable tumors from CC (I blog on there and told them all about this surgery), and last night he went on himself and read some - found it very interesting. Everyone with CC is trying to get a liver resection, as that is the only potential cure, but only 10 % of patients diagnosed are eligible for a resection. Since there are no symtoms in any of the early stages, most patients are beyond stage 1 or 2 when they are dignosed, and mets have presented, tumor is too big, etc., so surgery is not an option. This is particularly true of intrahepetic chlangiocarcinome, which Butch has - the extrahepetics show with jaundice and are diagnosed earlier. The site I am talking about is NOT light reading, and I would NOT suggest this site to the faint of heart. As for Dr. Gamblin - In return for sending him business, I want him to make Butch a walking success story for what UPMC can do for CC (not that he wouldn't anyway - he is a wonderful man). As CC is such a rare cancer (it accounts for less than 2 percent of malignancy's) and , not every hospital - even some big ones - deals in it, but the liver cancer center here is exceptional - they pioneered liver transplants in the US. As you read these figures, you can see why we consider it a miracle that Butch was accepted for surgery here.

Someone sent me an e-mail yesterday with this sentence in it -

"Life isn't about how to survive the storm but how to dance in the rain" - that is so true, isn't it? BUT - you have to survive the storm to dance afterwards!

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