Friday, January 27, 2012

So Far, So Good.

Amy has been back from the hospital since Monday and so far things have been good.  She has felt relatively good considering what she went through and today we took a day trip to Julian - a mountain town east of San Diego.  It was fun and went went through the small town of Ramona which is an older, rural town with lots of horses, critters and beautiful spaces. 

I cherish every one of these days and just hope they continue.  We are staying a few blocks from the ocean with my friend in San Diego for now and are blessed to have the best organic vegetarian food cooperative right by us and it's been there since the 70's.  Besides the wonderful organic, mostly local produce, they also have a deli upstairs where they serve hot organic meals at incredibly low prices.  Amy is on an alternative cancer diet (she goes to the Hoxsey clinic in Mexico every few months and started it 2 months ago) and the diet is very healthy and a bit restrictive but it's a piece of cake to find what we want there.  So, on days when she can't cook and I am busy, I pick something up or we go there for a treat and eat at their tables. 

So, for now, I'm glad there is nothing negative to report!  We are house sitting for the weekend the home which has our two dogs (the Boxer Sherman and the Pug CJ) so we are all together for a couple days!  Sherman and CJ seemed thrilled to see us.  It is so hard being away from them but hopefully soon we'll be getting a place of our own.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

And, thanks for all the nice comments.  Love them all!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Ugh, I have been absent for a couple of days.  But, for a good reason.  Amy got transferred out of ICU and into the regular ward and it was a bit trying.  It's an old part of the hospital and the rooms are shared and very small.  They are the typical 50's institutional green and white - you get what I mean - and they just feel dirty even though they are clean.  You FEEL like you're in an institution.  About 30 minutes after they got her moved, they brought in a roomate and she was horrible.   NON STOP TALKING!  Didn't matter whether we pulled the curtain or tried to talk to each other, she just kept on and on incessantly.  Then, when it was time to go to sleep, she snored all night long.  Loud, old overweight man snoring!  Thank goodness, the next day she got discharged! 

It didn't appear Amy had any more fluid accumulating and her red blood cell count had dropped a little, but not enough where they were concerned there was internal bleeding.  They wanted to keep her and monitor her over the weekend to ensure she didn't have another effusion.  Her strength started coming back and she was feeling a lot better. 

In a nutshell, they believe a chemo pill she is on made room for a viral pneumonia which then led to inflamattion and bleeding/effusion in the pericardial wall of the heart.  The cytology results came back negative for melanoma!  They were certain it was melanoma that caused the effusion and thought a tumor had grown onto the pericardial wall, but cytology results disproved that.  So, we're happy that the cause was not melanoma related directly, but it was quite a week to say the least.  Thanks for all the support and comments.  Getting some sleep!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Roller coaster

What a night. Waited all night and no news about what is going on. Amy had a ct scan tonight and doctors came in the room with panic on their faces. They said scans showed she was actively bleeding in her lungs and heart cavity. They said surgery was neccessary tonight or she would have massive complications and die. Plus they said they probably couldn't stop the bleeding in the heart cavity. Basically they said her end was near. So we spend some time crying and panicking when 20 minutes later another doctor comes in and says there was a mistake and a junior radiologist read her scans and interpreted them incorrectly. They said there is no active bleeding, no surgery tonight and nobody is gonna die tonight. Dang, that was a rough way to get happy at the end of the day! Still a lot of unanswered questions but we are grateful for mistakes tonight. Gonna sleep well in my lounger chair in the ICU room!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Waiting, Waiting...

Slept in the ICU but slept fairly well as the rooms are private, spacious and more quiet.  So, that's good!  Good news is that there is no new fluid around the heart so it doesn't seem to be re-accumulating.  They want to monitor her more for any changes.  They are concerned about other things, but aren't really telling us a lot cause they are in their "investigation mode".  Frustrating to have team after team of doctors come around and all tell you the same thing like it's the first time you've heard it and not get any real news or answers.  Amy is getting tired and frustrated because she has a "swan" catheter that goes from her groin all the way up to her heart and they can measure and monitor everything the heart does.  But, she is not allowed to sit or stand so has had to be lying on her back for 2 days now.  Not a lot of news, but at least there's no new bad news. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Got the Diagnosis Today

Wow, last night was a rough night attempting to sleep in a chair in the hospital room.  Didn't sleep much and neither did Amy.  Went to work and was grateful that I got off at 3 and was able to go back to the hospital.  I also was able to go up for an hour during lunch and she had a visitor early afternoon and that cheered her up.

They determined today that she has a "pericardial effusion" and not a plural effusion.  It's an effusion and collection of fluid around the heart that has gotten into the lining surrounding the heart.  I guess with cancer, this can happen just as it happened with the pleural effusion.  So, the fluid on the heart is creating pressure and that is causing her high heart rate - about 120 to 125 beats a minute.  She also has a tiny bit a pneumonia and they believe that is what is causing her fever and infection.  So, they took her to ICU this evening just to monitor her because sometimes blood pressure can drop dangerously low since the heart is working so hard and sometimes can't pump enough blood.  Tomorrow, they are going to do one of two procedures - the one they want to do is go in and cut out a tiny window in the lining of the heart so the fluid that is in there can drain and any more leaking will always drain and this won't happen again.  If they don't think they can safely do that (they are concerned there may be a cancer close by and they have to determine this more accurately), they go in with a needle and aspirate the fluid but the same problem can occur again in the future.  They are treating the pneumonia and fever with antibiotics.  We will know in the morning what procedure they are doing and she will spend a day in ICU after the operation.  We are hopeful and both are spirits are higher.  Docs said she should feel better soon after the surgery.  Want to get her home! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

More? Really? Enough Already

I think I've figured out why I'm not posting often.  Because it feels like there is just way too much to tell and I don't have the energy to go through it.  So, I am going to attempt to do this journal style if anyone is wanting to read.  Short posts daily about what is going on.  If nothing else, it'll help me to get it out.

Last night Amy was having trouble taking deep breaths, had some chest pain and was running a fever.  She had a terrible Pleural effusion in October (the Arkansas fiasco) and was in intensive care from it.  So, we kinda knew these symptoms and I was concerned.  So, we went to the VA emergency room after some nudging on my part.  Long story short, they did a workup and she was very dehydrated, had a temp of almost 103 degrees, labs detected infection and her heart rate was 130.  That was the easy part - then they said she has a mild to moderate pleural effusion and see something on the xray that looks like a mass in the lung.  That was there previously in Arkansas, but the biopsy came back negative for cancer when they tested it then.  Our oncologist said sometimes the biopsies don't have enough cells taken to get an accurate reading.  They wanted to admit her, but she didn't want to go.  They gave her a strong antibiotic for the infection and we spoke to her oncologist who said to just really monitor and if she worsens, then bring her back to get admitted.  Besides the scary part of the pleural effusion, the scariest part is the oncologist said there is not a lot that they can do about it if it doesn't get better on its own (which by bringing down the infection, that is what they are hoping).  In Arkansas, they already did a pleurodesis where they chemically treat it and it adheres the lining of the lung against the chest cavity (i think i'm correct in this) and it usually prevents it from happening again.  So, if the effusion gets worse and she gets admitted, I don't know what that means or what they can do.  Really scary stuff.  Sad times for sure and this disease sucks.  More later on.  Just crossing my fingers and hoping she makes an upswing.