Let me start by saying that Janet is doing VERY well and the doctors and very happy with her recovery.
From what, you may ask.
Janet is in the University of Washington Hospital in Seattle. She developed a severe abdominal pain Monday afternoon , which they decided was probably due to a perforated colon. (They found gas bubbles in an X-ray.)
So they opened her up at 3 Tuesday morning and took a look. They didn’t find any more evidence of a leak, so they put in an ileostomy bag near where the small intestine joins the colon. This removes nearly all of the pressure on the colon and makes it both less likely to leak and easier for it to heal.
When she is done with chemo, this can then be reversed. Made to go away and put everything back to normal.
Today is Saturday, Mar 3, Janet continues to improve, take much longer walks in the halls, etc. But, while she wants to see everyone later, she is not comfortable with visitors in the hospital. Also, they are very, very concerned about communicable diseases in this part of the hospital. There are people in adjoining rooms with bone marrow transplants and other very high risks of infection, so, the less traffic the better for the whole floor.
Janet has been betting her “meals” through IV since Tuesday. She can start sipping clear liquids Sunday, Mar 4, and progress to soft food and then real food over several days. That implies to us that she will be in the hospital until mid week or later, but we really have no idea at this moment.
Janet’s regular oncologist is off for the weekend and today (Sat, Mar 3) we met Janet’s regular oncologist’s colleague who made clear to Janet that she is incredibly lucky.
You may be as surprised as we were to hear that. But, in Janet’s case, the perforation was noticed and correctly diagnosed, within about 4 hrs of occurring.
More often, it gets not correctly understood.
The following approach is much too common. “Must be a pulled muscle or a ‘stitch in the side’. Let’s watch it for a few days. If it is still bothering you, call and make an appointment.”
But, this time, they did an X ray of Janet’s chest & top of the abdomen that showed air in the abdomen that was not in the bowel, and did surgery about 11 hours after the (very small) initial leak. They also knew to get her on the correct antibiotics right away. It is extremely valuable to ‘nip in the bud’ with abdominal infections. Once they get going, they are very, very hard to stop.
Janet has never shown any sign of infection other than a slight fever in the first 2 hrs, that went away very quickly with her treatment.
So, she really was/is very lucky.
Dave & Janet