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Initial surgery update

7 Dec

Now that Emily has assigned me to blog duty, I want to update everyone that Emily’s surgery went well.  The doctors were able to reroute her “pipes” in order to prevent any future blockages.  She is now back in her room and resting comfortably.  Her recovery needs to be swift…..Nick has plans for rock climbing this weekend!

Please keep the prayers coming; we appreciate every one.

Toni

It takes a village

26 Dec

I think we’ve all heard the old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”…and any mom certainly knows that’s true.  But to put a new twist on the saying, I believe it takes a village to beat cancer.  I left snowy Minneapolis a week ago to spend Christmas here in Las Vegas with my kids.  Within a day or two I was truly overwhelmed at the many, many ways others have reached out to Emily.  I know I’ve done what I can to help, but, that’s just what a mom does.  However, when I see all the ways so many others have helped, it’s easy to see the true kindness of others.  Many have sent Christmas cards merely saying “You’re in my thoughts and prayers”.  Others have sent little Christmas presents which indicate “I’m thinking of you”.  A diagnosis of cancer is devastating, but when it happens to someone you love, it hits you to the very core and we all want to reach out and help…believe me, you have.

Merry Christmas to the village.

Two steps back and hopefully one cartwheel forward

9 Nov

Greetings from Las Vegas!  I flew in from Minneapolis Sunday night and came straight to the hospital.  Jane promptly informed me that I was now on blog duty, so an exhausting two days later, I’m here with the next update for you.

Emily was making great progress the first couple of days following surgery last Wednesday, but by Saturday a few complications were setting in.  She hadn’t eaten or drank anything since the day before because she was experiencing cramping and bloating in her abdomen as well as acid reflux.  The doctors decided she should stay another night with plans to go home on Sunday.  But by Sunday she wasn’t improving.  She was even more bloated and extremely dehydrated, claiming that any time she even tried to take a sip of water she felt the onset of heartburn.

Dr. Browder ordered an X-Ray first thing yesterday morning, but because the X-ray was only a one-dimensional view, the doctor then ordered a CAT scan to get a three-dimensional view to determine what was going on.  This immediately brought tears to Emily’s eyes knowing she’d have to drink an entire bottle of barium, a liquid used to coat the stomach so the doctors can easily read the CAT scan images.  In an attempt to alleviate the mere thought of having to drink 3 cups of fluid, Emily and Jane resorted to playing drinking games.  Was this a flashback from the college days, or what?!  With a deck of cards, a bottle of berry-flavored barium, and water, the mission was accomplished half an hour later.  Jane took a few sips of barium herself to help Emily along…..but we somehow failed to mention that part to the nurses.

Em and Jane playing drinking games

The hard part next was waiting more than two hours for the barium to do its job….on Emily as well as Jane!  Then, another two hour wait to get the results from the doctor, which revealed severe blockage.  A tube was then inserted into the opening of the stoma (the part of the intestine her bag is hooked up to) and another tube, called an NG tube, up her nose and down her throat into her stomach to pump out more bile.

Emily was extremely uncomfortable and had the IV for morphine hooked back up along with another catheter inserted.  By this point it had been three days since she had eaten and the mere smell of food made her nauseous.  After being at the hospital for 9 hours, we thought we’d let her rest.

It is now Tuesday morning and Emily is feeling better.  The drainage tubes seemed to be serving their purpose and she has released about a quart of the fluids that were backing her up.  She was taken away for another X-Ray of her bladder because the doctor noticed there was air in front of the bladder, and just wanted to make sure everything was working properly.

Emily has a whiteboard in her room indicating the date, her nurses names, and personal goals they write for her.  For the past few days Emily’s personal goal, as written by the nurses, was “to get better pain controlled.”  This morning Jane and DJ brought in some dry erase markers to write some new goals for Emily:

Personal Goals

I know Emily will reach her goals…she is truly an inspiration.  Please remember that every prayer does count.

Only a mother…

29 Jul

Prior to this week, I had been in touch with Emily on a near-daily basis – and yes, sometimes hourly!  While phone calls, emails, and voice mails are great, there is nothing like actually being here.  I flew in from Minneapolis Sunday morning, and within two hours I was cooking for a crew of nine!  Never have I made three dozen scrambled eggs, three pounds of bacon, and four pounds of hash browns!

Aside from being the “chief cook and bottle washer” for a week, I have also gone with Emily to her numerous doctor appointments.  What amazed me the most was her chemo appointment on Monday.  With the continuous drip-drip of the IV it all seemed so uneventful, but in reality it was three hours of the poisonous chemo flowing through her veins.  The treat of the day was learning that she could skip her radiation treatments for a few days.    I can think of many treats, but I guess a person’s life and priorities change when you learn you have cancer.

The circle of treatments and side effects was an eye-opener for me as well.  While chemo can cause certain side effects, the treatment for those side effects can cause other side effects….and of course, there is a treatment for that side effect!

Emily has been such a trooper through all of this; I admire her courage, her attitude, and her stamina.  Only a mother can feel so helpless; I only wish I could take it all from her.  She knows though, never to underestimate the power of a mother’s prayer.

I love you so very much, Emily.   Love, Mom.