Sunday, April 19, 2009

Home from Overlook

After a long day waiting for Doctors, Karen's home from Overlook and back with her family where she belongs.

Please spare a prayer or good wish tonight for Maggie Weaver and her husband Chris. Maggie was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer (same as Karen) a few months before Karen. Chris and I connected through the websites soon after K was diagnosed in April of 2007. We've followed each other's journeys since then and the Weaver's have been of great support to Karen and I along the way.

Please stop by Maggie's website, read their story and offer whatever support you can.

Maggie's website:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Couple More Nights

Karen's doing well. She's been at Overlook hospital in Summit since Monday. She met with the Pain Management doctor today. She was planning on getting discharged today but that plan changed around 4PM. Luckily I had not told the kids and so they were not crushed.

She's going onto some additional pain medication, fairly heavy duty stuff. The scale as I know it goes Asprin...Vicodin...Morphine...Dilaudid with Fentanyl being the top.

Karen's been tipping this pain medication scale the last couple of days but once the Dilaudid wears off she's in trouble. So there's some new cocktail that they're starting today. Because of the strength they'll ease her up onto it over the next few days and possibly send her home by Saturday.

She'll be on this combo for about 1 month and will also manage her as she comes off of it. This'll be a tricky month as she can't drive during this time. We'll have to figure something out as I need to get back into the office.

Karen's awesome though and you can't keep her spirit down. Her Facebook status last night read "Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum".

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

3rd Hospital Stay Update

Karen has been in hospital since Monday. This is her third hospital stay (surgery, abscess and now this). She's in Overlook in Summit and they do a great job there.

The reason for this admission is the pain in her abdomen, near where her liver touches her lung on the right side. It's intense pain which she describes as a 10. They've been trying since Monday to diagnose the cause of the pain.

She had a CT scan on Monday and a 2nd yesterday. She's also had a chest X-Ray, an EKG and an ultra-sound on her legs. These were looking for a Pulmonary Embolism which is another name for a blood clot. It's been quite tense whilst this was going on as a PE could be very dangerous. At this time they've ruled that out.

She had blood taken on Monday and today is Wednesday. In 48 hours nothing has grown in the cultures and her white blood cells are normal. So infection has been ruled out.

Which leaves...air or fluid. The current theory is her liver is still regenerating and pushing itself back into place. There is a good bit of fluid in between her diaphragm and lungs. The liver pushing up puts this all under pressure. This makes breathing very painful.

If this is the cause she's been told she just has to ride it out.

I took the kids in for a surprise yesterday evening which gave her a lift. We thought she'd be home today but based on the pain situation that will not happen.

It's all very frustrating and overwhelming as we thought we'd be much further along by now. "Hold Fast" is a good motto, but it's not easy.

At this point she's comfortable with the hospital pain management and in good spirits but we're not sure when she'll be home.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back to the Emergency Room

Karen's at the ER right now awaiting a CT scan. She had been extremely tired all week last week with difficulty eating, nausea and dry-heaving and throwing up.

We met with Moriarty last Friday (Good Friday) where they took some blood work. The CBC (complete blood count) showed Karen was badly anemic. Moriarty scheduled a transfusion for Saturday.

Saturday we went back to Overlook for the transfusion. She got two pints over about 6 hours, much longer than expected but they seemed to help. On Sunday she woke up with a bad pain in her right side, near where the previous drain had been placed. She said it felt like a muscle pain but a dose of fairly stout pain medication was only partially effective.

Early this morning (I think 4AM) (Sunday night) she woke up with severe pain in her side. From a scale of 1 through 10 it was a 10. Karen's got a pretty high tolerance for pain, a really really high tolerance truth be told. So a 10 for Karen is like a 20 for me. We decided to call her doctors and both calls encouraged her to go to the Emergency Room.

Which brings you all up to date. I'm working from home with the kids and will post more as I hear from her.

-======== UPDATE #1 =============-
Karen has been admitted into Overlook hospital and will remain there at least tonight. She has some fluid between her diaphragm and her lungs. If this requires a surgical procedure to be drained she'll be referred out to St. Barnabas tomorrow.
That's all I have at this point.