Friday, April 24, 2009

Even a little bit, rocks!

Thanks to Susie for a thoughtful guest blog on Mums; Susie and Jerry have been amazing caregivers this week, waiting on mom hand-and-foot, keeping her fed and her dressing changed... we are so grateful for their hospitality as this week comes to a close.

Between Mom's resolve to eat and get better and Jerry and Susie's hard work, this week has paid off. I talked with Mom's primary doctor at Mayo this morning and he informed me that her bilirubin count has come down, significantly. Woo! It has dropped from a scary 14.5 to a FIVE. She is nearly normal when it comes to being full of yellow!

What this means is that both her internal stent and her external drain are working. Although it seems like a small little thing, this is so important to next steps for treatment. It's also a relief because it took a maddening amount of surgeries, procedures and poking around to get where we are today. Our fear was that she'd have to undergo another round of surgeries to get her bile moving. Someone has decided mom had enough of that -- someone perhaps thought she'd had enough yellow for now.

Not to say that this won't remain an issue, because it may. However, what great Friday news to wake up to.

Mom's doctor is amazing. His main reason for phoning was to check on her condition -- both physical and mental -- and he was very pleased to know that she's getting rest and gaining weight. On that note, here is the next plan of action (POA):

Saturday: Dad will travel to Denver and see Mom for the first time in nearly TWO weeks. Have you guys ever been separated that long?

Sunday: Mom and Dad fly out really, really early to Minneapolis. They'll catch the shuttle to Rochester.

Monday: Mom will have new blood work and MRI and CT scans during the morning. She and my dad will meet with her doctor and then the surgeon. The tumor is called a hilar or klatskin type (at least, that's what docs believe). Hilar or Klatskin tumors are the most common bile duct cancers. These tumors are located where the right and left hepatic bile ducts meet. The hope is that by EOD, a decision will be made about whether or not she is a candidate for resection surgery. Resection surgery is very different than a liver transplant and has a much different outcome. Click here for more information about resection surgery. If the surgeon determines that she is not a candidate, there will be a few "next phases" of discussion for treatment options. Next, a liver transplant would be up for discussion. If that is disregarded, Mayo is expert at chemotherapy and photodynamic therapy (PDT) for this type of cancer. Click here to read more about all treatments available at Mayo.

PDT is a treatment that uses a photosensitizing drug and red laser light to kill cells, usually cancer cells. It's a two-part treatment. First, the drug is administered intravenously. The drug is absorbed especially by fast-growing cells. Two days later, an endoscope is inserted into the body and through it, the doctor shines a specific kind of laser light (different from radiation therapy or heat-producing lasers) onto the diseased tissue. The combination of the laser and the drug causes a chemical reaction that destroys the targeted cells. PDT can be repeated without harming normal body tissues and can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Mom would have to avoid sun if this is the treatment choice.

Anyway, a bit of happy news for my less-yellow mums.

5 comments:

  1. What great news!!!Keep those hearty meals coming and I know you are getting the special VIP treatment. Be safe in your journeys on Monday and as always we'll keep watching as the postings become available. Paulette, we need to get you healed and ready for some tailgating for sure. But most of all just to get you back to good health. God bless all your caregivers and most of all you as you make your recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Paulette,
    I am so glad your stronger and your color is sooo much better. Please have a safe trip and glad that you and Greg will be together again.Sounds like your caregivers and doctors are amazing I hope it is nothing but great news at Mayo.I've ask God to surround you with the angels of great health and bring you to good health so you can return home.Your in my heart and thoughts daily. Love Peg

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good Morning, Paulette. Hey, that Susie is a keeper ... how about having her come to southwest Kansas to open up a Bed and Breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Snacks! Sign me up, Dude! We could call it Susie's Simply Scrumptious Soup and Sandwich Shoppe. What a blessing this week has been for all of you. It wasn't just the tasty food, it wasn't just the love and laughter, it wasn't just the beautiful Colorado scenery and bright sunny skies ... but it was a combination of all of it all. Physical well-being has lots of avenues, and hope is generated by loving people with willing hands and generous hearts. Hugs have powerful medicinal effects, as well

    I pray that the travel plans go smoothly as you and Greg take off for Minnesota. Next week will be a good week as your medical experts pool their knowledge, wisdom, and experience to come up with the very best plan for your recovery, Paulette.

    Today's Joke:

    A customer was bothering the waiter in a restaurant. First, he asked that the air conditioning be turned up because he was too hot. Then, he asked that it be turned down because we was too cold. And so on for about a half hour. Surprisingly the waiter was very patient. He walked back and forth and never once got angry. So finally a second customer asked why he didn't throw out the pest. "Oh, I really don't care or mind," said the waiter with a smile. "We don't even have an air conditioner."

    Encouraging Words: God has your name etched on the palm of His hand. He will not abandon you, Paulette. Sometimes He calms the storm; sometimes He calms you in the midst of the storm ... but He will never make you face the storm alone.

    Have a great weekend together, Greg and Paulette.

    Blessings,
    Joyce

    ReplyDelete
  4. Praise God for positive news on a beautiful day. I am so glad you are being spoiled, you always spoiled all of the kids at the high school! It is your turn now! I am so glad you and Greg will be together this weekend. Our prayers will be with you for your travels and testing. Take care and God Bless.
    Linda Trimble

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yea, good news indeed!!. We'll be praying for you next week at Mayos. We know how hard it can be to get tests and to be poked and proded in places that you didn't even know you had. I know it's scary to go into the unknown. We did a lot of that with Bill. Just take one day at a time and before you know it it'll be 10 years later. Yep, thats right, it's been that long since Bill's surgery. Tell Greg and your kids hello for us.

    Sending you love and prayers
    Bill and Kathy

    ReplyDelete