Tag: hospital

Better late than never

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I’ve written here.

2010 has been a very difficult year, and I’m fairly glad to see it on its way out. It’s mostly been health issues – one on top of the next – that have made it so tough.

The good news is that Dad is still with us. He beat Pancreatic Cancer.

Wait. Let me say that bigger and louder. MY DAD SURVIVED PANCREATIC CANCER. He has NO evidence of the disease, and is in the “1% Club.” Someday it will come back, but at this time, he is cancer free. That’s the best you can ever hope for with PanCan.

The treatment was horrendous, and he ended up in the hospital a couple of times, but he fought and he won. He officially got a clean bill of health in about September after a 6-week intensive course of 24/7 chemo via a pump, plus daily radiation, plus weekly “big” chemo. This was after an entire year of weekly chemo. He was beaten down, they took him to within inches of death, and brought him back.

What was equally amazing were the number of people who helped. I put out a message on a local news site and asked for volunteer drivers to help him to get to/from treatment daily (30 minutes from home for a 5 minute radiation appt!) and we had dozens of volunteers. Had to weed out a few weirdos, but not too many.

And now, he’s just gotten his first haircut. He’s almost good as new – still has to limit certain types of foods, as his stomach can no longer digest them. He’s got a bit of digestive damage from all the treatment, but it’s better than the alternative. So we’re very thankful.

I’m just now getting over the worst stomach bug of my life. 7 days of nonstop vomiting and diarrhea that only stopped for a few hours at a time when I went in to the ER or to see my doctor and got injections and IV fluids. It began much like a foodborne illness: Severe GI pain up high in my stomach (under the ribs) and then nonstop vomiting with diarrhea. The number of times I couldn’t deal with both ends at the same time were absolutely humiliating. By the end I simply wanted to die. I finally started to pray as I was throwing up one of the last times “Please make this go away – I can’t live through another day or more of it.” Something worked, because it finally stopped on Thursday afternoon. I had to wait 48 hours to eat, meaning it had been well over 2 weeks of nothing but pedialyte and jello when I began to try solids again. Holy COW I was hungry. I lost 20+ pounds in that week, and I’m just lucky I had it to lose.

Anyway, that’s all the health stuff. Tomorrow is my first day back to work after being so sick, and I’m hoping I have the strength to make it through the day. I’m still physically very weak and can’t walk super far. But I’ll manage. 🙂

More updates on everything else later.If I still have any readers left. Sorry I abandoned you all. I didn’t mean to — life just went sideways for a bit. I’m back now, though, and will get to writing again shortly.





Overheard at the hospital

While visiting my dad on Christmas, we overheard a conversation that had us all giggling.

There was a 92-year-old man in the next bed. Poor guy wanted sourdough toast, and nobody would bring him any because it wasn’t on his approved list. After the guy asked for toast for about the 12th time, Dad said, “Jesus! The guy is 92 years old and has about 2 weeks to live – bring him some fucking toast!” This is one of the reasons I love my dad.

A little later, the older man’s family was visiting him.

The sons (I assume they were his sons) were bantering a bit, and one said he was working on getting “back in shape.”

The older man said “when have you ever been in shape?”

The son replied, “Round is a shape!”

We all covered our mouths and tried to hold back the guffaws.


Merry Christmas, etc.

My father got out of the hospital on the 26th of December.

I spent Christmas Day at his bedside. The first couple of hours were just him and me, which was really nice. We sat in silence some, and then when he had the energy to talk, we talked for a few sentences, and then silence again. He said he really enjoyed that a lot.

My mom, my brother and his girlfriend came by a little later, and we traipsed down to the hospital cafeteria for some Christmas Lunch. They had ham, cheese ravioli and sloppy joes. We each got our choice, and we brought back two extras – one for Dad and one for my husband who was home with a cold. We had lunch in Dad’s room, and then some old family friends showed up with a really special gift.

The family friend is a collector of antiques. Dad was at her house once about 20 years ago and was surprised to see an exact duplicate of his grandmother’s unusual depression glass vase on the mantle. The friend gave it to him now, 20 years later, and it was such a perfect gift. He absolutely loved it.

We ended up celebrating Christmas for real on the 27th. We had soup and salad, and gifts. It was nice to not do the big turkey meal, as it allowed us to spend the day visiting rather than cooking. Lots of great gifts were exchanged, and a good time was had by all. I even managed to pull off some really neat surprises.

Dad’s home, and exhausted. He can’t make it up the stairs to the bedroom yet, so he’s sleeping in a recliner. He’s got 4-6 weeks of IV antibiotics to complete, and then they’ll talk about whether to do more chemo, radiation, or what. I’m just glad he fought his way through this setback. It was really scary for a few days there.

Hope you all had a good holiday.


Grim Reaper defeated – for now.

Dad’s doing MUCH better as of last evening. He might get out of the hospital today. If not, it will be tomorrow. They found the source of the infection – a stent they’d put into his bile duct back when he was diagnosed with cancer in July. They were able to remove it, along with a huge pocket of infection. He’ll likely be on 4-6 weeks of antibiotic infusions, and then he may or may not have to do another round of chemo when he’s strong enough. We shall see.

Still taking it all day by day, but death is no longer imminent, so that’s huge.

Thank you all for your thoughts, wishes, prayers. I really think they’ve helped.


When an abscess is a good thing…

It’s a liver abscess causing the trouble. They’ll keep him in the hospital til probably Wednesday. But he’s doing MUCH better, and this is something they can treat. He’s at Virginia Mason now, so getting good care from a team who knows what they’re doing — including his oncologist, who visited him today.

I spoke to him on the phone this afternoon, and he sounds fairly chipper. They moved him out of ICU and into the Oncology ward, which is great news. He asked me to smuggle in a cookie for him as soon as I’m well enough to visit. 🙂

So, the abscess. They’ve got him under anesthesia right now in order to put yet another port in his body – this one with a vacuum seal on it so that it is constantly draining the abscess in an attempt to collapse it. IV antibiotics are hitting it hard from another angle. He may beat the cancer yet. We’re taking it day by day at this point, and today’s a good day.

Thank you all for the prayers. Please keep them coming, as an abscess is nothing to sneeze at, and he’s still a very sick man. But he’s not in imminent danger of death.

Love and Merry Christmas to you all


Eff Cancer

My dad is in the hospital. He’s been battling Pancreatic Cancer since July. Until last week it was looking like he’d beaten all the odds, and that he might just beat it entirely.

Then he was diagnosed with pneumonia last week.

Now there are spots on his lungs and liver in the latest CT scan from Thursday. They didn’t know whether it was metastases or just pockets of infection from the pneumonia and were going to do a biopsy on Monday. Well, last night his vitals dropped severely at home, and Mom had to call 911. He was too unstable to go to his usual hospital in Seattle, so they kept him near home 30 min outside of Seattle. He’s in the Critical Care Unit, and will be transferred to his regular hospital today sometime.

At this point it’s all very up in the air. They diagnosed him with sepsis, and have been giving him hardcore IV antibiotics. He’s feeling well enough to tease the nurses, which is good. The day he stops joking around is the day we REALLY need to worry.

In the meantime, he’s still in very serious condition. I have had a cold all week and can’t even go see him, or be there to support Mom (as she could transfer my germs) which makes it all the harder.

Will you all kick the prayers/candles/good energy into highest gear? We could use a Christmas Miracle.