First of all Janet has had some bad times, but is doing much better now (10/14/2012) and we are very optimistic.
The short version:
I apologize for the long delay in updating. It is still a Roller Coaster Ride and I was having to hang on tight and updating the blog was not high on my list.
The expected bowel obstruction following her Aug 21 surgery has been a learning experience for us. There have been many bad times where the small intestine stops for a few days and Janet keeps her stomach empty with the gastric tube (that can be opened to continuously drain, almost pump, her stomach). Then she cautiously drinks clear liquids like water or juice for a few days, then thicker liquids like protein shakes or cream of rice or congee.
Then she would like to go to very low fiber foods, like cheese omelets, cheese sandwiches on sourdough bread. (She has gone back to ovo-lacto vegetarian, since most nutritious vegan foods are high in fiber.)
But, before she could eat the cheese omelets, or cheese sandwiches, the intestines would block again. So, then she keeps her stomach empty with the gastric tube. Then she cautiously drinks clear liquids like water or juice for a few days, but then before she can get to the thicker liquids like protein shakes or cream of rice or congee, it stops again. This means that she gets more and more malnourished. And it got so bad that she got very dehydrated and had to go to the hospital for IV hydration several times. And to have potassium and other important minerals, etc, sort of IV Gatoraid, added. And some sugar, but, no protein or oils at all.
So, when they let her out of the hospital at 9PM Monday night, October 8th, we drove 14 hrs non-stop to Reno, NV, to the Reno Integrative Medical Center. They are very versed in doing many alternative treatments in a clinical setting under Dr and Nurses and other technicians supervision. We gave up on the Do-It Yourself method. We were running out of time.
We are very pleased with the Dr. Bob Eslinger, and the Nurses, and other staff at Reno Integrative Medical Center. Janet is already showing much improvement from a week ago. We are still usually very busy, so there may be more delays in updating.
The Longer Version:
As an example of how we spend our time. Janet had become dehydrated on Monday, Oct 1, so we were told to bring her to the ER at the University of Washington Medical Center, (UWMC). They hydrated her and added potassium and other important minerals, and some sugar. She was in the Hospital until Friday Oct 5th.
She had more hydration on Saturday, October 6th, at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, SCCA. Later that day, we decided that we needed a faster, Dr controlled approach to the alternative treatment we are pursuing. The Reno Integrative Medical Center is one of the highly recommended places in Outsmart Your Cancer and on various websites. It is the only one in the Western US that we liked and people go there from all over the World. So, we resolved that when they opened on Monday at 9AM, that we would phone them and ask if we could fly down for treatment.
However, Sunday night, the 7th, we noticed a swollen area in Janet’s stomach that appeared in a few hours, so was not a tumor. We immediately called the On-Call Dr and he said to bring her into the ER ASAP.
They X rayed, etc and decided that the swollen area was gas trapped in the small intestine by the obstruction. There had been a lot of gurgling, but no farts or burps for a day or so.
By the way, we had not been sleeping very well, what with Janet’s frequent middle of the night medical needs and such. And, we got to the ER about dark on Sunday, but had no opportunity to sleep at all until she had gotten a room and more or less settled in about 3AM Monday. We were up at 06:00 with blood tests, Dr visits, etc.
We were kinda tired by then.
Janet needed more hydration and electrolytes. And, on Monday the 8th, they also put in a long term “port” in her shoulder. http://www.bardaccess.com/picc-hick-brov-leon.php shows a picture, but she has the two hose model, not the three as shown. Her’s is product code 0600630.
This makes it very easy to connect an IV or to take a blood sample, etc, without “poking her” yet again. And, since it goes into the main intake artery to the heart, it is best for many kinds of IV’s that cannot be put into your arm. It is the latest in her “medical hardware store look”. No fun, but if you need it, you need it.
We needed copies of her recent medical records for Reno, but by the time Janet got out of the surgery for the port, and could sign the request, their office had closed. Finding someone who could print out at least some of the records was a challenge, but we got some. And we got a disk of her recent X rays.
So, Monday the 8th at 9PM we drove out of the parking lot. Off on a new adventure!
Dave drove at first. All was good for a few hours, but Dave, who had thought that we would begin the trip about noon, was feeling sleepy. Well, he’d always wanted to try one of 5 Hour Energy gizmos. So, he went into a 24hr gas station and got the “Extra Strength” version.
Sadly, it did not seem to do much. So, a couple of hours later, he found a 24hr McDonalds and invested in their biggest black coffee (16oz). That worked very well.
Dave likes coffee, but found that he is sensitive to it and even though his normal consumption was only two, 9 ounce black coffees a day. Breakfast & Lunch. If he missed a dose, he would get a major headache.
Various people have strong views about coffee being good or bad, but Dave has recently been off coffee and only having one or two cups of green tea to keep away the headaches.
So, it is no surprise that 16oz of coffee would work. For a while.
Around 3AM, he needed more, and the brand X gas station had perhaps a 24oz coffee. That got us to Reno, but Janet drove several times when Dave was beginning to weave.
We borrowed Mike & Susan’s GPS as it is easier to use “solo” than ours. It routed us from Seattle to Eugene, OR on I5 and then SE on Highway 58. But as we turned off onto 58, we saw a sign saying that 58 was closed 11 miles from I5. Janet drove while Dave used the computer map to see if we could route around the closure, but it appeared to be in a remote area with no way around it, so we turned back to I5 and continued south to near Mt Shasta, where we cut across to Reno.
On Monday, at 445PM, we’d learned that Janet would be very late leaving the hospital, and Dave immediately phoned Reno Integrative Medical Center, but they’d closed early, so we could not warn them that we would be later for our 1030AM appointment. We knew that they were closed for lunch from 12 to 1.
At 905AM on Tuesday, we called and they said to just do the best that we safely could. The Dr took his lunch early and talked with us during his lunch hour.
There is much more to say. Dave does not know any short stories, but we will spare you for now.
Please keep those prayers, good vibes, healing thoughts, love, etc. coming. Janet’s small intestine is not fully functional yet, but the beginning and the end are now working and some of the major gas blockage from the middle is coming out. It also does not hurt nearly as much anymore. Snow, she just feels like she just ate 4 Thanksgiving dinners at one sitting. Not fun at all, but lots better than a week ago. So, we are very hopeful.
Our emails and even phone time may be very limited for a while more. Please understand. We’d love to call, or at least email, each one of you, but we just can’t yet.
Dave & Fuzzy