Saturday, February 26, 2011

Coming Home Today?

I left the hospital around 8:30 p.m. last night and all was well. Jean is looking very good, her color is good, she has been getting out of bed, walking down the hall, and sitting in a chair for hours at a time. The plan is...she will be released today, sometime after noon. YEAH!!! I told her before I left last night, not to even think about pulling any tricks!!!! I told her when all seems well, she has, in the past, decided to pull little silly tricks!!!! You know...things like a heart attack and such!!! She promised to be good and so far, so good!!! Today marks day #25 for her hospital stay, we're ready to have her back on this mountain again. I think my car can automatically find it's way to UT without me, it's become such a routine. She still has the feeding tube but they are not accessing it right now, she is able to eat a pureed diet, orally. She still has the pick line but it is not being used at this point so I don't know if they will remove it before sending her home. They removed the drainage tube from her back several days ago. You would think she would be extremely week after so much time in bed, but she "cleaned" her room several times yesterday!!!! Thanks for all the prayers on her behalf. She has gone down a long road and seems to be coming out pretty good!!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Pace Maker Is In.

The Doctor just came in and told us everything went well!!! The pace maker is in place!!! She will be going back up to the room she was in, as of right now she does not have to go to ICU!!! Thanks for the prayers and please continue to pray she will do well. He said she will be sleepy for awhile, so it may be a while before we can talk to her.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Fever

We got the call this morning that they were going to place Jeans' pace maker today after 3:00 p.m. We got up there by 2:30 and they took her down a little after 4:00 p.m. We went down with her and waited in the same surgical waiting room where we waited when my Mom had her heart surgery a few years ago :( The doctor came in after about 30 minutes and told us she had a fever which made it impossible for them to do the surgery. They had checked her temperature all day and even up to 45 minutes before they had taken her down and it had been good all day!!! The fever may be the result of infection and if it is and they did the procedure the infection would go directly to the place where they put the foreign body, (the pace maker) which could be deadly. So...he said we would try again tomorrow between 9:00 & 10:00 a.m. Jean was really discouraged. She has not been out of bed since last Thursday, her heart is just too irregular. On the bright side...they have been letting her eat, up until the cut off time for the surgery. And on another bright note... Wendell is still up there with her tonight and they had plans to watch the Lady Vols which she rarely gets to do, but loves the opportunity!!!! Please pray the Lord's will be done, it seems like nothing has gone as planned for her!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Today's Update

Jean had a really rough day yesterday. Wow, we were wondering if we were going to get through the day!!! She began having internal bleeding, she was bleeding out her bowels, and they were left to guess where it was coming from. They were unable to put the pace maker in because of the bleeding, they were unable to do tests to determine the source of her bleeding because they have not placed the pace maker, she was too unstable for any tests. So we were left just waiting to see if she stabilized and if the bleeding stopped. They moved her back into Cardiovascular Intensive Care. By night time she was looking pretty bad. She had began to swell, her face was so swollen, it appeared as if her eyes were barely open. They were, for some unknown reason, allowing her to have ice chips, they had previously said nothing orally for 2 1/2 months or more. They had even at one point discussed letting her eat, we were pretty sure this was not a good sign. It was hard getting any answers yesterday, I think in part because they didn't have the answers. They are saying she stabilized over night. They have given her blood and her vital signs are good. I have not went back up there yet today, Wendell has. I am just having issues of my own that makes it hard to function, especially in the mornings. Also, Wendell and I spent 5 hours in the emergency room yesterday, his blood pressure was out of control....196/110. They finally said it was anxiety and let us go. Please remember him in your prayers. Jean is a very integral part of this big family. The thought of her being unable to return to this mountain is more than any of us can bear at this point!!! She has been very discouraged and doesn't seem to have a whole lot of "fight" in her. Thanks for your continual prayers, I will try to continue to update here. I know so many of you know and care for her.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Back In A Regular Room.

Yesterday, they removed the catheter and the drainage tube from Jean's body. They discharged her from the CVICU and put her back in a regular room. They are continually feeding her via a pump through her feeding tube. They have scheduled her to have a pace maker inserted, Thursday morning. After she gets the pace maker, if everything goes well, she may be discharged as early as two days later!!! Yesterday marked her two weeks of hospital stays. We miss knowing she is safe and well here on the mountain where she belongs. The girls and I miss hearing her peck on the door for a short visit, usually bringing something yummy with her!!!! If she had not been in the hospital when she had her heart attack, there is no doubt that she would no longer be with us. Once again the Lord has been faithful and good to our family!!! A lot of people complain and joke about their Mother-In-Law, I have truly been blessed with mine. She is such a good woman, always thinking of others. It is wonderful how the family have all came together to do what ever is necessary to help with her care. We do not want to leave her alone there without a family member with her. It would be unimaginable to think she would have been alone while having her heart attack, Sunday morning, Ashley was there with her and Wendell was on his way to relieve Ashley. If anything happens, it is at least a 50 minute drive for most of us, so we want her to have someone from the family there with her 24 hours a day. Wendell made a schedule and everyone has been more than willing, even happy, to be able to feel as if we are doing something to help with her care. To me, that is just a testament to what kind of Mother, Mother-In-Law, Grandmother, Aunt, Relative and Friend she has been to all of us!!!! She has lived far from the easiest of lives. She has been through so many things both emotional and physical and I marvel all the time over how she has came through it all with such a sweet pleasant attitude towards God, family, people, and life in general. I have wondered on many occasions what kind of person, with what kind of attitude, I would be, having gone through all she has experienced. The conclusion I am left with is not something I would ever be proud of. I have often wondered if bitterness would not have been the main emotion in my life.


I spent the night with Jean, Monday night, and became very ill after laying down to sleep at about 1:00 a.m. My bones had ached all day and the pain intensified after laying down and getting still. I became extremely sick to my stomach and felt like I was going to vomit, which I never actually did. I was running a fever around 103*, I have had so many fevers that I have became pretty good at estimating what my temperature is going to be prior to taking it!!! I was covered with three blankets, each doubled, and I was still freezing and was practically paralyzed from the weight of them all!!! I was so sick I just knew I was going to have to call Wendell and Kiah to come get and relieve me. I did not want to do that, I did not want Jean to know I was sick. Jean keeps saying how she hates being such a burden on all us kids. We try to assure her that "burdened" is the not an emotion we feel when thinking about her, but she still feels bad. Anyway, I was able to make it through the night. I was able to take my medicine at about 7:00 a.m. and felt a little better when Wendell and Becky arrived to relieve and drive me home. Wendell rode up with Becky so he could drive me home, once again he was having to care for me :( After arriving back home, I managed to straighten up the house, do a little laundry and book work, and then lie down for a nap. I was feeling ill again. I woke up very sick, running a fever of 100.4* and aching all over. I was also very sick to my stomach again. I have reached a point where I am unable to have a bowel movement without taking Phillips Milk Of Magnesia. I took three doses and read three magazines before gaining relief!!!Heehee!!! It sounds distasteful and even though I try to make lite of it, it is a horrific problem to have. I did a lot of crying and praying. I was able to sleep last night and even woke up fairly late this morning, but I was sick again. I now had diareah, unbearable cramping and was sweating profusely even though I was running a low grade fever of 99.6*. I can bearly get out of bed and walk in the mornings because my bones and joints are so stiff and achy. I have shed so many tears because I was so active and independent before the cancer changed my world. Now I am sick so often, fatigued all the time and very dependent on medication to even get out of bed in the mornings. I want so desperately to get to the bottom of the pain and fatigue. The medicine does a wonderful job in caring for the pain but the medicine wears off way before my next dose is due and so I am left feeling miserable for much of each day or if I take one pill more than prescribed, which I have done on many occasions, I am going to run out before time for my next refill. I feel as if by taking the medicine I am just masking the pain and not getting to the bottom of my problems. My doctor is trying to help me and has run tests trying to make sure he is not overlooking anything and has been left telling me my pain is neuropathic and the fever is from a sinus infection, the night sweats, I don't know? Anyway, I am now praying that the Lord will give the doctor wisdom and direction in finding the root of my problems and the direction of the treatment needed. I have even prayed if my symptoms need to be more frequent and prominent in order for my doctor to be able to see what is actually going on, that God will give me the grace I need to deal with it. It is so hard living in a body that fails to function properly. I really desire your prayers. And I thank you in advance!!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jean Had A Heart Attack Today

Ashley had spent the night with Jean last night. They had took a stroll down the hall, this morning, and upon returning to her room she was pale, sweating and short of breath....she was having a heart attack. The main artery to her heart was blocked. She was very fortunate to already be in the hospital, where they were able to begin working on her immediately, so hopefully there will be as little permanet damage to her heart as possible. The main artery to her heart had become 100% blocked. They inserted a stint in the artery and she is now in CCICU. They keep giving her medication to make her sleep in the hopes of giving her heart time to rest. They have also left some kind of thing going from her groin area into her heart that pretty much beats for her heart so that her heart is doing very little work, giving it even more of a chance to rest. I don't know what they call this thing or the proceedure, I was trying to be quiet when back there with her so I never asked what it is called. That is pretty much the extent of the information I have on her right now. We do want to thank all of those who prayed for her and us during this time and to also thank all of those who came to the hospital today. When the girls and I left at about 7:00 p.m. there had been a total of 51 people there today!!!! Wendell and Billy will be staying until pretty late and Tim is spending the night. We have made a schedule for one of us to be there with her around the clock for the next week. They will let two at a time go back to see her and one person can spend the night back there with her. So we were all able to go back and spend some time with her today. Please continue to pray for her and I will try to give updates on her progress here on this blog.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Couple Updates.

I had begun to write a blog post the other day before finding out we needed to get to Harriman Hospital because they were going to transfer my Mother-in-law to UT. I am now posting that blog, but first an update on Jean's condition....She is doing remarkably better!!!Yeah!!! They took her off the pain pump and are giving her pain medicine through her IV every six hours, which is a big improvement. I stayed with her the first two nights and then Billy stayed last night and Donna is there tonight. Billy said the doctor said this morning that they may send her home this weekend, they need the bed. I guess Donna will find out when the doctor comes in, in the morning, if she was serious. It's a little hard to believe, considering all Jean has been through, in such a short time frame. She is now tolerating the feeding and drain tubes well. They actually started feeding her through the feeding tube today. She hasn't experienced any set-backs so far and hopefully she won't. Please continue to pray for her. I know this is a very trying time for her, but I also know, firsthand, the marvelous grace of God, that is sufficient for our needs!!!!

Well, I didn't want to set some kind of record and go a month or so without sitting in a doctors office, so I decided to make the trip!!!! For the last two months or so I have been experiencing pretty bad night sweats. There are nights when I wake up drenched!!! I have had to get up, sometimes twice in one night, and shower. These night sweats have recently evolved into "day" sweats as well. Also, I have, for the last two months or so, been running a low grade fever, off and on. My body temperature is normally 97.8*. Lately I have experienced times when I begin to chill for no reason. I finally realized that I had a fever and started checking my temperature. It has been running about 99* most times when I check, then on a Saturday night it had risen to 101*. Knowing that night sweats and low grade fevers are a sign of cancer, I began to grow more and more concerned, thus the doctor visit. The bone pain I have been having has also gotten increasingly worse over time. The doctor ran several tests ... a TB test, chest x-ray, head x-ray, EKG, urinalysis, and blood work. The doctor reached a conclusion that I have a sinus infection that is probably causing the low grade fevers. I do not feel as if I have a sinus infection, but he said that was all that showed up, he could see a pocket of infection on the x-rays. So he wrote me several prescriptions and I was on my way. Having had cancer, the night sweats and low grade fevers still somewhat worry me. I know there are people who have had cancer that read this blog, if you have experienced the fevers and sweats and the bone pain I would love to hear from you, to help me understand if this is somewhat normal. I don't mean to sound as if I am always complaining about my aches and pains!!!LOL!!! I am extremely grateful to be alive and here to experience this life with my family. I do have a wonderful life for which I am extremely grateful and very undeserving of. My doctor has prescribed medicines to help with the pain and once I take it I can function normally for the most part, without it I am useless. I just hate being dependent on pills to get through the day. I also feel as if I am just masking the problem with the medication and not curing the problem. I keep hoping my doctor will find the root of my pain problem, give me some kind of wonder drug, and I will magically be cured of the pain and I will no longer be so dependent on the daily medicines. I would really like to hear from someone who has dealt with the cancer/chemo/radiation experience to hear if my bone pain and night sweats and low grade fevers are just something to be expected, even this far out from treatment. I am only seeing my GP on a regular basis now and he is the one who is trying to treat my pain and symptoms. He is not a cancer doctor and does not deal with cancer and the treatments and the after effects, as an oncologist would, who when I tried to get an appointment with, told me I needed to go to my GP. I guess I would rest a little easier hearing that the symptoms I am experiencing now, are common after the things I have gone through. So if anyone out there has any knowledge on these subjects I would love to hear from you either by commenting here or my e-mail address is debbieruppe@yahoo.com .

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Mother In Law

It’s different staying in the hospital with a patient as opposed to being the patient. Somehow, I think it is almost easier being the patient, than watching someone you care about go through a trial that you are helpless to control or help them with. My Mother-in-law had been in Harriman Hospital since last Tuesday. She was transferred to UT Hospital this Tuesday. I have stayed the night with her the last two nights. She was taken down to have a drainage tube and a feeding tube inserted yesterday morning. Her symptoms began over two weeks ago; it was just hard convincing her she needed to go to the hospital!!!! Dr. Denton admitted her into the hospital as soon as she went to his office. She has been having trouble swallowing. Everything she ate or drank felt as if it was getting stuck in her esophageous. They wanted to do a scope test on her, but they had to take her off of her blood thinner medicine and wait for her numbers to come up, her blood to thicken, before doing the scope test. They were finally able to do the test last Friday. They found a Diverticuli (spelling is probably wrong, but it sounds right!!!); a pouch had formed on the back side of her esophageous close to her heart. They also discovered some irritation in her intestine and the top of her stomach, even though it did not look as if it were narrow, they stretched her esophgeous while they were doing the procedure, hoping it would help. There was also food lodged in the pouch, so the surgeon cleaned it out during the scope test. Afterwards, she was not getting any better, so Monday they did a CAT scan. They discovered what they thought was a perforation under the diverticuli on her esophageous. There is some fluid sitting on the lobe of her lung, which they assume has leaked out of the perforation. They transferred her here to UT for further tests and opinions. The Doctors are amazed that she is not deathly sick from this leakage. Upon first seeing her they thought the doctors at Harriman were mistaken, if she had a leakage she would be much sicker. After leaving the room and reviewing her scans they came back amazed!!! They couldn't get over the fact that she is not deathly sick!!! She was not sick and was not even requiring pain medicine!!! They took her down yesterday morning and inserted a drainage tube to drain what has leaked out of her esopheagus and a PEG feeding tube. This is the part were I have problems keeping my emotions in check. I was threatened with a PEG tube, they had even scheduled me for one, but I refused to have it placed, and by the Grace of God, and with Wendell and Jeans great care, I was able to survive without one. When I was in Vanderbilt ICU, I was unable to eat or drink a drop of anything for seven whole days. Food became easier to live without; not being able to drink was a whole different story!!! I have since joked that at one point I would have sold my liver for a teaspoon of Sonic unsweet tea!!!! Jean has not eaten anything substantial for probably three weeks now. While at Harriman, when they allowed her to have anything, she was given chicken broth and on one occasion tomato soup, which felt like Thanksgiving dinner to her!!!! Their plans are to insert the feeding and drainage tubes, give her strong antibiotics and wait for the perforation to hopefully heal. The only other option would be MAJOR surgery where they would open up her chest and go in and repair the tear, then insert the feeding tube and wait for it all to heal. She will not be able to take anything orally while on the feeding tube and waiting for the perforation to heal, which could take two or three months or possibly even longer!!! PLEASE pray for her, she has been really discouraged thinking on all this, the thought of not being able to even have a sip of water for possibly two to three months or longer, is almost more than she can deal with. I know how it feels to go seven days without a drop of liquids, I can not begin to imagine months!!!! My heart is broke for her. She has been such a help and blessing to me during my cancer journey. I have said more than once, without the grace of God and Jean and Wendell I would probably not still be here. She worried over me constantly. The thought of me being hungry was hard for her to deal with and she made sure she did everything she could to see that I had something I could eat. She has been so good to me; it is killing me to see her suffer!!!!
I started this blog post yesterday but was unable to get it to post until today, so I am finishing it today, if my time line seems a little off that is why.
When she came back from having the procedures done yesterday she was is excruciating pain. They ended up having to take her back down to x-ray to x-ray and adjust on the feeding tube. They said they did not find anything unusual, to be causing so much pain, they said it was probably from the nerves that are involved in that area of her stomach. Anyway, her pain was almost unbearable. She had been given several different, strong, pain killers including morphine and fentynol. These drugs did not even phase her pain. She has not had much luck with morphine before and they were fixing to try hydrocodone, which I new would be useless if the morphine hadn't helped, so I finally suggested they try delauted. They gave her the delauted and slowly but surely she started getting some relief. The night shift nurse pressed for Jean to get a pain pump where she could administer the medicine herself, which has been wonderful. We are finally "ahead" of the pain and she is doing a hundred percent better today. I don't think she or I could endure another day like yesterday!!!! At first she was reluctant to press the button, but after much persuasion she has improved!!! We were finally able to get a little sleep last night which seems to have really helped her. They also put in a Pick line yesterday. She had three major procedures yesterday and they really took a toll on her both physically and emotionally. Today is a much better day!!!!Yeah!!!! She looks and feels soooo much better!!!! Please remember her in prayer, her journey has just begun and it appears as if it is going to be a long, difficult one.