Friday, October 21, 2011

Moving Forward -- One Step at a Time, One Day at a Time

Steve ended up spending another night in the hospital for a total of 5 days. As much as we wanted Steve on the I.V. antibiotics for another day, his I.V. had a different plan. After surgery for his port on Monday afternoon, Steve's I.V. failed him and a new one needed to be put in. Sallieu (Sal' - loo) was Steve's daytime nurse. He was a handsome, muscular, newly engaged, and very congenial nurse from West Africa -- obviously very health conscious. We also found out that Sallieu was a graduate of WSU. With our son being a fellow Coug, that made our bond with Sallieu even stronger. Being of a like mind, Steve enjoyed talking to Sallieu about weight lifting and exercise routines. Sallieu carefully put in a new I.V. after surgery and by 8:00 pm it too failed and wouldn't even allow for a flush.

Another unfamiliar nurse came in and inserted a third I.V. into Steve's arm, using a different vein than the original one. We thought that one would take, but unfortunately, it too failed. Apparently at 1:30 am, Steve had to endure the torture of 4 more I.V.'s being put into the veins of both of his arms. One after another they all failed. When Dr. Kim came to see Steve in the morning, he made the decision to discharge Steve. Five days of I.V. antibiotics coupled with the installation of Steve's JP drain seemed to do him a world of good. Lack of sleep and failing I.V.'s were not serving Steve well. It would be best to send him home with oral antibiotics and let him rest in peace, without being interrupted every few hours for to take meds, vitals, and change his I.V. bags.

The new and improved Good Samaritan Hospital
Overall we had a great experience at Good Samaritan Hospital. It was kind of like being in a hotel with an unlimited food expense account. Steve was able to order anything on a very elaborate menu and the food tasted pretty good. He would often order extra food just so that I could eat with him, saving us the cost and hardship of feeding me. Steve gained over 5 pounds during his hospital stay!

Enjoying a movie together after surgery

Steve actually borrowed a wheelchair from a couple from church and returned to work the very next day. Although he was extremely exhausted at the end of the day on Wednesday, he was glad to be back in the saddle again. All of this time in the hospital and doctor's offices has taken a real toll on both of our work lives. We are so fortunate to have supportive and understanding supervisors, but since Steve has only been at his company for 6 months, he has no sick leave and will not be able to make up all of the hours he has missed. Every day and hour he is gone amounts to a loss of pay. Although he tries to remain positive, he is concerned about the cost of this cancer. Each day he can work is a day with pay. With months of chemotherapy looming in the near future, he needs to work every day is physically able.

On Thursday Steve had a consultation with an Endocrinologist. He showed us the ultrasound images where two masses were found in Steve's thyroid gland. Each mass measured about 1 centimeter and although the doctor could not be certain, he said the features looked benign, but he could not be certain. The decision was made to have a needle biopsy, which is scheduled for next Thursday, October 27th at 2:30 pm. At this point, we don't even want to entertain what would happen if the nodules were malignant, so we will wait to cross that bridge when we come to it. What we are learning to do is to take one day at at time. Each day truly has enough trouble of it's own!

Today Steve had a follow up with Dr. Kim, his surgeon. He took out Steve's staples, examined the JP Drain, and looked at the port-a-cath in his chest. He was pleased that Steve's lymph fluid drainage was slowly beginning to decrease. When he was in the hospital it was draining at the rate of about 150 milliliters every 2-3 hours. Presently it is draining at the rate of 15-20 milliters every 3-4 hours. Dr. Kim said that once the drainage gets down to 10 milliliters a day he will remove the drain. He doesn't believe that Steve has Lymphedema and is hopeful that the lymph fluid will ultimately find a new path in his body.

Based on the good report from Dr. Kim, the decision was made that Steve would be strong enough and healthy enough to begin chemotherapy next Friday, October 28th.

We have been overwhelmed with love, support and care that we have been shown over the past month. People have sent cards, flowers, prepared meals, and one person even gave us a gift card to Applebees! It is absolutely humbling to receive these gifts and sentiments -- we count our blessings each and every day. An army of prayer warriors have been assembled and are contending for Steve's ultimate healing. We appreciate every kind word, gesture, and act of love. Thank you all. You mean more to us than you can possibly imagine! We continue to press on, one step at a time, one day at a time.

Please continue to pray that:
  • The lymph fluid finds a new path in Steve's body and that the drainage would stop.
  • Dr. Kim and Dr. Liao would have wisdom and understanding in determining the best treatment for Steve.
  • The cancer would be cured and would not spread in Steve's body.
  • Steve would not have any harmful or difficult side effects from the chemotherapy.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a journey. God in the midst of the storm. We have been learning and experiencing how God carries us in His arms as we stumble through life's challenges, and then I read this, your story. Rest deeply in His arms and let Him carry you through this storm. He is big enough and loving enough. He has prepared a way for you all. Blessings, Darrel and Ren.