Sorry for the long delay between posts. To tell the truth there has not been a lot to post regarding moms health. She remains admitted at VM, she has moved a couple of times but is still at a stable level of care. Her fevers have been persistent over the past 2 weeks and they have still not been diagnosed.
Mom did have a CT scan on the 25th (Merry Christmas) that revealed a couple of spots in her liver. The Radiologist suspects that they are cysts and so they will now need to be biopsied so that we can confirm this suspicion. If they are cysts, the good news is that they could be the culprit for the fevers. The bad news is that treatment is a 6 week course of antibiotics and we are unsure how (or if) treatment for the Myleoma could continue while she is on these medications.
So on the health front the only real message is that mom continues to get stronger and is nearly at her pre-hospital conditioning level. Go mom
Jan says she got duped. She thought it was a Diet Coke but it was barium. Boo. She is on a fluid restriction of 800 mL/day. I told her it’s what they had Curious George drink when he went to the hospital for eating the jigsaw puzzle piece. So this is Jan giving the barium the evil eye.
And here are some of her Christmas Eve visiters.
And here is the Diet Coke:
Also, Del gave Jan a pedicure recently:
She just got wheeled away for a CT scan. Before doing so, she requested her Diet Coke bar coded and secured. I love her priorities. “I don’t need a purse anymore. I don’t need hair,” she said. “Merry Christmas from (which hospital am I at?) Virginia Mason!”
I wanted to quickly let all of you know that mom has been receiving and reading your cards and letters. She has her iPad now in the hospital and is checking email when she can as well. The cards are a highlight for her, so even though she may not be writing back (she is making us save the envelopes) she is reading and enjoying your letters to her.
If any of you are in Seattle and would like to visit her, I know that she would love to see you. Her sister, Claudia, has been a regular presence at mom’s side and she has seen a decent amount of her children and grandchildren.
It is a crazy time of the year and most of you are not close to us here in Seattle but I just wanted to say here, because we have had some requests, that mom can take visitors. We also have a furnished 2 bedroom apartment here that is currently empty and can be used for short stays.
Please contact me directly if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
The long break between posts is for a couple of reasons. First, there has not been a tremendous amount to post. Mom has been making nice and steady progress physically and she feels much better than she did a week ago. In addition to that my family has been moving houses this week. We left the only house that we have ever owned and moved into a new house that we just finished remodeling (about 5 blocks away).
For those of you that read along regularly you will know that mom has been in the hospital recovering from two different infections. While she has made progress recovering there is still an underlying condition that is causing mom to spike fevers on a regular basis. We have been covering those fevers with regular doses of Tylenol, yesterday we took her off the regular Tylenol schedule to evaluate her and within a few hours the fevers were back.
What this means is that there is some type of underlying cause for the fevers that we has not been properly treated. She has completed the antibiotics course for CMV and for PCP and she has had other, more broad spectrum, antibiotics as well. Still the fevers persist. The good news is that her white count is nearly 7.0 (that is almost normal) and so her body is able to fight much more effectively than it was 2 weeks ago.
Mom is still much too weak to re-start treatment for the Myleoma and so we are just taking the fight and the progress day by day. Improvement makes us all feel a little bit better and at the same time we all have our eyes on the bigger prize, for mom to be able to live life on her own terms once more.
Mom is now at the point in her recovery that we can start talking about her physical strength being the most important thing to focus on. That is good news. When you cannot breath on your own, you don’t worry so much that you cannot sit up straight. So, the short story is that mom is making good progress on the antibiotics and that she is on target to complete the 21 day course this Wednesday. She will stay in the hospital for a day or two after that for observation and if things go well there (dare we dream) another upgrade.
Mom always has lots of help around but her progress now will be measured by what mom can do for herself, the more the better. Mom is keenly aware of this, try to help her hold her cup and she grabs it our of your hand and waves you away.
Nice to have you back mom!
The last time I was in Seattle my mom was still on the ventilator, so when I came back into town last Thursday I was very happy to see, hear and talk to her again. I cannot explain the feeling it brought to me! When I was there I decided to bring mom her IPAD and go through a few e-mails with her, that her friends and family had sent her. There was one e-mail from her long time friend, Ladonna, which included a link to a song. When we started to play the song my mom was almost instantly moved to tears and that is when she said “I am so blessed”. It was hard to imagine those words coming out of her mouth, especially after all she has been through, but in the end it is the truth. She is blessed, as are we, to receive the kind of love and support we have from everyone. After all is said and done, this experience will give us all a new perspective, as Matt said in an earlier post, a perspective that brings us back to the things in life that really matter.
I have also attached a couple of pictures that illustrate some of our blessing!!
Jan is spirited and opinionated today. She wants to let you all know that she sat up in bed with her back perfectly straight for 5 minutes and got there almost all by herself. There are also so many ways to eat cream of wheat and cream of rice. She is looking forward to having some lightly fried in olive oil and sliced, after she gets off this puréed diet. She’s glad she’s still able to fight this battle. Thanks for all your thoughts, cards and prayers.
Mom just a couple of minutes after being up on her walker and marching in place. March, two, three, four, march, two, three, four.. company halt!
OK. time for a break