Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Continued Healing

Karen's doing better. Her body is slowly detoxing from Morphine which is translated into more sleep. Still not a full night but any improvement is still an improvement.

Her wound had opened about an inch which led to a visit to Overlook's Wound Center yesterday. They patched her up and we'll return on Friday to see how it's doing.

She is moving around, still quite weak. Picking up the kids is still out of the question. Coughing or laughing sends searing pain into her side. It's going to take some time to heal up completely. I think the addition of some sleep makes everything easier to deal with.

Thanks once again to all for the good-will, kind thoughts and sincere prayers that continue to flow our way this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Post Operative Recovery

Karen's having a very tough time. On Saturday night she cut back on the morphine as the pain from the surgery had become more manageable. Soon after going to bed she began having uncontrollable muscle spasms in her legs and body, apparently a withdrawal symptom from the narcotics. This didn't quit and the thrashing kept her up until 3AM.

The following day her incision began opening up and "weeping". This resulted in a trip to the emergency room at Overlook. What a difference from LIJ!! The incision is otherwise healing well and this opening is nothing to worry about. Unfortunately each night since then has resulted in more and more jitters and less and less sleep. Last night she was up until 6AM.

The kids are sick too at the moment which isn't helping either of us get any sleep.

With some care Karen's wound should close up soon. Her mobility is slowly returning, still not very steady but able to get around. Picking up Ethan is way way out of the question.

Today we met with Dr Moriarty at Overlook. He was a sight for sore eyes and despite the circumstances, it was re-assuring to be back meeting with him.

He and Dr Ravikumar have spoken and essentially he agrees with everything that was done during the surgery. Unfortunately the detection of additional tumors in Karen's left lobe alters her prognosis for the worse. This is something we already knew but Moriarty confirmed. These have been ablated now so essentially Karen is in a better position today than she was before surgery.

We will have another consultation with Moriarty in two weeks. After that Karen'll have a repeat CT Scan to see where things are (hopefully clean scans) and we'll decide on a plan to move forward. Some potential options are more/new chemo or SIR Spheres which I'll discuss in another post.

We wish everyone a joyous and peaceful Christmas season.

P.S. Happy birthday to our amazing son Ethan who turned 2yrs old last Friday, Dec 7th.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Home After Surgery

Karen's doing well. She came home late last night and is recuperating. The kids were visibly glad to see her and we spent a restful day at home today after what seems like the longest week of our lives.

Between one thing and another, running back and forth to the hospital and cajoling the kids back to sleep each night, I have had neither the time nor the inclination to update this blog but with Karen home it's time to give a little update.

Karen's stay in hospital was not without incident. The day after her surgery, her epidural stopped working. By the time I got to her room that morning she had already been an hour without pain medication and could barely speak. Another hour passed with me becoming more and more irate whilst the nurses frantically looked for an IV pump. I finally hit the right nerve (no pun intended) with the nurse manager and a pump was found. It took the rest of the day to get Karen's pain under control.

Mild fever, low blood counts, shallow breathing kept my nerves on edge.

There were a few other incidents which essentially all stemmed from in-experienced residents all waltzing into Karen's room, treating her like a science experiment without fully reading her chart.

I have to say we were very disappointed overall with the level of intelligence and care displayed by the nurses and residents at LIJ. Thank God for Dr Ravikumar who was diligent in his post-op follow up. He ended up over-riding or supplementing almost every instruction given for K's post-op care. I won't go into the details but it was Karen's determination that finally got her released last night.

An oral form of morphine is controlling her pain now and she's improving every day. We have scheduled a follow up with our oncologist, Dr. Moriarty, next week. The current plan which he'll likely confirm is to proceed with chemo for two months followed by hepatic artery infusion (chemo directly into K's liver) followed by more systemic chemo. A second surgery will be needed to remove the right lobe of the liver.

I will conclude with thanks to all for the loving support which somehow continues to flow into the Shanahan household.