Monday, October 3, 2011

Here we go again

It seems like I am writing the same things over and over again but I guess that is because the same things keep happening. On Sunday Wendy had to go back into the hospital. She had a slight fever, chills, vomiting and abdominal pain and was too weak to walk or even stand. During the CT scan the doctors found the abdominal abscesses again and other testing revealed that her white blood count was extremely low. The decision that is being decided by the doctors now is what step to take next. Surgery may be inevitable or they could try IR again. I will post when a decision is made.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Here's the Scoop

The pathology reports showed that Mom has a bacterial infection called Klebsiella Pneumonia (or something like that.)  Apparently one of the pockets of fluid left over from the surgery-gone-wrong in Nevada became infected.  To combat this, they put in a PICC line so that she can get antibiotics intravenously for the next 4-8 weeks.  They also left a drain tube hanging out of her abdomen with a large bag on the end of it to collect all the drainage that is still coming out of the "mass".  The hospital released her last night (Monday) and then her and my dad went in to the hospital today to be trained on how to empty the drain and give the antibiotics themselves at home for the next couple of months.  Mom is not in pain even though the doctors say she should be.  She is completely awake and herself although she is exhausted halfway through the day and needs to take a nap.  Unfortunately it appears that there are still other pockets of fluid left in her abdomen that could also become infected so surgery may be unavoidable at some point in the future, but for now, she is home and hoping for a complete recovery.  That's the scoop for now.  Thanks for caring.  Have a great day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Waiting for pathology reports...

Interventional Radiology was used this afternoon to attempt to aspirate some of the "mass".  They were able to withdraw two big syringes of a fluid that looked like pus, which they sent to pathology to try to get a better idea of what exactly the mass is.  We are waiting for pathology reports, which could take 48 hours or so.  Mom is awake, talking fine and the procedure was not nearly as painful for her as it was last time.  I will update when the pathology report is in.  She will stay at the hospital again tonight and they may put another PICC line in her tomorrow.

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's not over...

Mom has never fully recovered and today our fears of further problems have been heightened.  A couple of weeks ago, not long after arriving back in Snohomish, Mom started to develop a lump on her side.  It has gradually gotten bigger and is shifting in her.  After a trip to the ER, an exam with her family doctor, an ultrasound, x-rays and a CT Scan they still don't know what is wrong with Mom and what the "mass" is.  She finished the CT Scan and X-rays just this afternoon and was told it probably wouldn't be looked at until Tuesday; however, after arriving home from the hospital, she received a call from her doctor saying she needed to return to the hospital tonight and be admitted.  We were surprised to find out that her stomach, spleen, arteries, etc. are, apparently, all in the wrong place in her abdomen.  She is being prepped tonight and then tomorrow morning they will attempt IR (Interventional Radiology) to try to drain the mass.  If that is not successful, or if further efforts are needed, surgery will be required, however, the surgeon admitted that because everything is in the wrong place in her, they will be cutting into her blindly.

My brothers Jake and Jarom, and my sister Jess and her family happen to be in Snohomish this weekend visiting my parents so they will be able to visit mom in the hospital and hopefully be there for whatever has to happen tomorrow.  My mom could use your prayers again.  I will post as soon as we know anything.  Thanks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The news we have all been waiting for!

Mom gets to go home tomorrow!  During her endoscopy today there were no major alarming things found that would require an immediate surgery or procedure, so she got the "all clear" to fly back home and live there!  It has been such a long 4 months that we didn't want her to have to wait one more day to go home so we changed her ticket to fly out tomorrow afternoon and arrive in Seattle tomorrow evening.  (So, all of you Snohomish friends and family, here she comes!)  Thank you to every one of you that has supported Wendy and our whole family with prayers, phone calls, cards, flowers, pictures, letters and friendship through this whole ordeal.  She is very excited to finally be able to go home!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More info coming

Our reunion ended yesterday and Mom traveled back to Arizona with Becky and Ryan.  She has an endoscopy scheduled for Wednesday the 20th and should get results that day.  If no surgeries or additional procedures are immediately needed, then mom will be able to fly back to Seattle and go live in her home in Snohomish the following Tuesday the 26th.  I'll update with the endoscopy results when we get them.  Thanks!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reunion Fun!!!

For the past 6 days we have been having a blast in Island Park, Idaho for our family reunion, and yes, Mom is here with us!!!  We have been praying for this extra bonus blessing (of her being able to be at the Family Reunion) and are so grateful that Heavenly Father granted it to us!  (Thanks for the prayers of those of you who also prayed with us for this to occur.)  We have told stories around a campfire, eaten s'mores, swam and played in a lake, floated down a river (that one has a long story we'll tell another time!) and eaten...A LOT!  Most of all, we have built memories that will last us until our next reunion until we are all together again.  Mom has been able to be with us and watch us, which we are so grateful for, however, she has not had the strength to participate in most activities.  She is able to walk on her own, but tires easily and needs frequent rests and naps.  She has lost most of her muscle throughout her body which is most noticeable on her arms and legs, and we are assuming that is the cause of her exhaustion and weakness.  We are still hoping she makes a full recovery, although that may be 6-12 months from now.  She cannot eat most of the foods that we have prepared, but has been able to enjoy a few bites here and there.  I think she misses the "old" her--the way she was before the botched surgery.  She was so strong...roofing a house, hanging drywall, and sanding logs for the log cabin she was planning on building in Montana.  We miss the "old" her too.  The "old" her would have been the first one to jump into the freezing cold lake today, the first one to lead the little kids on the treasure hunt.  Now she falls asleep sitting in a chair, wrapped in blankets, as her grandchildren play at her feet.  However, there is no need to compare then and now.  This is the new normal and we love her so much and are so glad she is here with us! 
We (all 24.5 of us at this reunion) love you Mom and always will! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Looking good!

Today was mom's follow-up appointment with her doctor.  The good news is that there was no bad news! In fact, mom will get to go to our Family Reunion next week!  Thank you so much for all of your prayers and your concern.  We have felt the reassurance and strength of the Lord and we appreciate that so much.  Mom is on a liquid diet and is now starting to eat soft foods.  She does have some pain in the area where the gastric bypass was supposed to have been done, but the doctor said that was probably just scar tissue.  He said she would definitely know if another leak started because she would get really sick right away.  (I guess that is comforting?)   Mom is very weak and will need several months to slowly build her strength back up now that her insides seems to be healed.  They are planning on doing an endoscopy to see what her insides look like, but that will be after the family reunion, so depending on when that gets scheduled for, she will either be allowed to go home with my dad back to Snohomish after the reunion, or she will travel back to Arizona with Becky and Ryan.  Either way, it won't be too much longer before she can go back to her home in Snohomish.  Yippee Mom!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Wendy!

Today is Mom's 57th birthday!  She has been at my sister Becky's house for the past week and the good news is that she is still there!  She hasn't had to go back to the hospital now for 7 days, which mom is very grateful for.  Before she left the hospital, they took her off TPN (IV Nutrition), but left her PICC line is so she could continue her powerful IV antibiotics for a few more days at Becky's house.  A few days ago her home health nurse pulled out the PICC line since the antibiotics were finished and she is still doing signs of infection such as fever, vomiting, pain, etc.  We are very hopeful that her insides are finally actually healing!  Mom has an appointment with her doctor in his office this Thursday, and hopefully we'll be able to get a better idea of the condition of her insides and also what to expect during the next several months of healing and regaining strength.  If there is any negative news, it is that mom is very weak...she barely has the strength to stand on her own.  We are not sure why she is not gaining her strength back.  We know she has lost a lot of muscle in the past 3 months, but we don't know much else.  Mom could really use being cheered up so if you have a funny story or funny book or funny card to tell her about or send her, please do.  Her life is so different than what she had planned.  She had paid for a "Log Home Building" class that she was supposed to take last month.  And this month she had planned to be on the lake in Montana, building her own log cabin.  Instead she barely has enough strength to get herself to the bathroom.  Life is very different for her and she is realizing that she may never get back her old life or health.  However, she is grateful to be alive and have the support of family and friends.  At this time, she is finally off of ALL tubes, wires and drains!  It looks like all of your and our prayers are paying off...Mom may be able to attend our family reunion in Yellowstone after all!  If you want to call Wendy her cell phone is (425) 870-3641.  (I will warn you--she doesn't check her messages--my whole family stinks at that--and she sleeps often--but please keep trying.)  Also, I will post my sister's address where mom is staying on the top of the blog.  Thanks for your love and concern!

Friday, May 27, 2011

More good news! (We hope it lasts!)

A few days later and we have even more hope now!  A day or two after the doctor pulled mom's drain out by 3 inches (to get it out of her stomach), Mom got up to try to walk a short distance and stepped on something soft.  She looked down and saw she was standing on one of her abdominal drains!  It had simply fallen right out of her stomach and onto the floor!  At first, this looked to be a major setback, because they were needed to drain any infectious fluid, but another CT Scan appeared to show that mom's stomach had sealed itself in the two days since the tube had been pulled out of her stomach and that it wasn't leaking anymore!  (I hesitate to even tell people this, let alone to actually believe it myself because we have had so many "ups" which have usually ended up with "downs" a couple of days later...however, so far this "up" is still looking good!)  Anyway, because the CT Scan looked like the stomach was not leaking, the doctors had her try to swallow some protein drinks.  After two days of that, she was still feeling okay and her vital signs were all still normal (no signs of infection) so this morning they put her on a full liquid diet and took her off TPN (IV nutrition)!  And as of right now, the plan is that tomorrow (Saturday May 28) she will be released to go to my sister Becky's house instead of living at the hospital!  So, that is the current news.  She (and all of her family) are feeling very hopeful that this good news will stay good this time!  We have felt the comforting feelings of peace and blessings from the Lord because of the prayers of so many of you!  Thank you for every time you mention my mom in your prayers!!!  I am not ready to say goodbye to my mom and I am so hopeful that I won't have to any time soon!  Thanks again!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Another Chance?

Shortly after my last post we found out some very surprising of Mom's abdominal drains was actually in her stomach!  (They injected sterile dye backwards through her drains and then did a sonogram to see where the dye went into her body.  It ended up going directly into her stomach.)  The doctor said that Mom would have never healed with that tube in that her doctor pulled the tube out by about 3 inches.  They are waiting about a week and then they'll repeat the blue dye test to see if, now that a tube is not in it, her stomach can actually heal on it's own without surgery.  We are all very hopeful that this will be the lucky break, or the miracle, or the chance that we have all been praying and waiting for!  Keep hoping and praying with us!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

More "wait and see"

In the past several days the doctors have been giving mom round-the-clock powerful antibiotics to help fight off all those infections.  They also gave her another blue dye test and it at first looked like her stomach wasn't leaking anymore.  However, the next day, her drains were filling up again.  This is a pretty big setback.  We are not sure why it looks like she is healing one day and then the next day, something goes wrong.  We really have no idea how bad she is cut up or injured on the inside from the original doctor.  Her new surgeon has been hoping that she will heal on her own, without surgical intervention, but with this latest setback, he said it is looking increasingly more likely that surgery will have to be done.  (If you remember, this would be a very risky surgery...the outcomes will be unknown.  It is a last-chance type of scenario if we have to resort to this.)  Even if surgery becomes absolutely necessary, at this current time, Mom is not in good enough condition nutritionally to have the would be too risky.  So, please pray that her albumin (apparently that is referring to blood protein) levels get into normal ranges so that mom could have the surgery if it becomes absolutely necessary. 

On another note, unfortunately, with this latest setback it also means that mom may not be able to leave Arizona to come to our Family Reunion in Yellowstone Park in July.  Because us siblings are all living in different states, we only get to have all of us (Mom, Dad, and their kids (including spouses) and grandkids) together once every three years...and this summer was our much anticipated reunion.  We have had 3 new babies born into the family since our last reunion in 2008 and have all been looking forward to getting together so much.  I have been hoping for a miracle...hoping that mom will be there with us, not just in spirit, but physically being there with us. 

So, if you have some time, will you please plead with Heavenly Father to heal my mom enough so that she is stable and can safely come to the family reunion?  If that is not Heavenly Father's plan, will you please ask for her body to show solid signs of healing in the next month so we know she will heal on her own without surgery?  And if she can't be healed without surgery, then will you please pray that her albumin and other "nutrition" levels stabilize in the correct ranges so that she has the best chance of having a successful surgery?

Maybe if we all pray very specifically, we will all be able to help in some way.  Thank you for caring about my Mom.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Infection? Positive.

Mom was told today that the test results showed that she did have an infection starting in the PICC line, plus an infection at the site of one of her drains, and the infection was also found in her blood.  So, thank goodness she was close enough to the hospital to get there quick and get immediate help before it was too late.  The doctors put her on 4 of the most powerful antibiotics possible in order to get these infections under control.   Because the PICC line was pulled due to infection, they are using regular IV lines in both of her arms to deliver nutrition and antibiotics.  Once her blood is "clean" and the infections are all gone, then she may be released back to Becky's house (Take II).  Because she is just not healing from whatever was done to her in Nevada, an open surgery may be necessary in the future, just to figure out what is really going on with Wendy's insides.  The CT Scans and x-rays can only show so much and we still don't know the full story of what happened in Nevada under the care of the first doctor, or the full extent of Mom's injuries from it.  Dad and Becky and Ryan got mom a bed and chair and set up a room in Becky's house for her once she gets out of the hospital.  Everyone is trying to stay hopeful.  That's the news for the day.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back Upstairs

Mom is being admitted again as an in-patient upstairs in the same hospital she was just released from.  They don't know yet the results from any of the tests, but the doctors decided to pull out the PICC line just in case it was getting infected on the inside.  (We've been told, "If a PICC line gets infected, you're gone.")  They are sending a part of the PICC line that they pulled out to the lab to test it for infection.  If it shows an infection, then that could be the cause of her fever, nauseousness, etc.  (I don't know what they will do if it doesn't show an infection.)  So at this moment, she doesn't have a way to get nutrition...she can't swallow anything because of the hole(s) in her stomach and she has gone through 2 PICC lines which have both been pulled because of possible infection.  She says she is feeling better already though just because of getting some saline through IV.  Tomorrow we'll hopefully find out more. 

I take that back

"Goodbye hospital" didn't last for long.  At this moment we are waiting for test results to tell us anything.

All I know at this point:  Mom has been feeling nauseous and this morning when I spoke with her I could tell something was wrong-more than it has been lately.  She was having abdominal pain, with increased nauseousness and fatigue.  My sister tested her temp and it was above 103 F.  She began vomiting along with the fever and chills and pain.  They called the home health nurse who instructed them to take her in to the emergency room.  They arrived around 5 pm or so and so far, Mom's blood has been drawn 3 times, she has been put on IV fluids and she is currently having a CT Scan.  Waiting for results...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Goodbye Hospital!

Last night Mom was given the green light to leave the care of the hospital for the first time in over two months, as she was allowed to go to Becky's house.  The cultures from the IR procedure, even though they looked and smelled infected, did not grow anything, so the Doctors decided to allow mom to try living at Becky's house instead of the hospital.  Before they left the hospital, Mom and Becky were given all the information on "How to take care of Mom" to flush her PICC line, administer medicines, give blue dye tests, etc. on their own at Becky's house (YIKES!)  In addition, a home health nurse will come to Becky's house to help take of mom.  Becky is very medically-minded and has often considered becoming a Doctor, so we'll see if she still feels that way in a few weeks/months!  (We really have no idea when mom is going to get better.  Our big hope right now is that she will be given permission to leave Arizona to travel to our family reunion in Yellowstone this July.  Of course we know she'll be in a wheelchair and we'll have to bring all her medical equipment, but as long as we can have her there with us, we'll be happy.)  Mom is still NPO-nothing by mouth- because she still has one or more holes in her stomach, as is evidenced by repeated blue dye tests.  We are hoping that eventually those will heal, but have been warned that that may not happen.  She still has her PICC line and through that she is getting TPN (nutrition) intravenously and several antibiotics as well as other medicine.  She still has drainage tubes in her abdomen which hopefully will continue to drain any blood, infectious fluid, etc. from her abdomen.  Aside from the medical stuff, mom is very excited to be out of the hospital and living at a real home, even though it's not her home.  She is excited to use her spa certificate to get a manicure and pedicure and she can't wait to get a box of hair dye to color her hair!  Dad arrives on Saturday and he'll also be more than pleased that he can visit with her at Becky's house instead of sitting in a tiny hospital room day after day.  So, we'll celebrate this new news and hope it lasts!  Congratulations Mom!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day in the Hospital

Today mom has spent her 60th day in a hospital.  She told me today that she has had to let go of hopes of recovering quickly and getting back to her life...she has to take it one day at a time...just get through each day and keep fighting to get healthy.  The blue dye test two weeks ago, and one just a few days ago, showed that she still has a leak in her stomach, so she is still on TPN through her PICC line...nothing by mouth.   Her PICC line started to show signs of infection outside, so they took it out and put a new one in her other arm.  Then Friday her CT scan showed that the pockets of fluid in her abdomen were still there and were not getting any smaller.  Because of that, yesterday mom had a procedure done in Interventional Radiology to try to drain the fluid.  They sedated mom and used long needles (like the kind for amniocentesis) and went into her abdomen.  They used a syringe to try to pull the "fluid" out. Instead of a liquid, the junk that came out was quite disgusting...a greenish/blue thick smelly is currently being cultured to see what kind of infection, if any, mom has.  Mom has been on all sorts of powerful antibiotics this whole time, but today she has started to develop a fever...she was at 100.4 at last check.  I am sure they will be watching her vital signs closely throughout the next several days.  I wish there was a happy conclusion to report...I keep waiting for it...but so far, all I can report is "she's still with us and we're taking it one day at a time."

For Mother's Day we all went in and got Mom a gift certificate to a spa to get a manicure and pedicure for when she gets out of the hospital.  She is looking forward to that.  Dad will be flying in to Phoenix this coming Saturday and will be able to stay at Becky's house and be with mom each day for 10 days.  We wish every woman reading this a Happy Mother's Day today!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A setback

Today brought unfortunate news...Mom's drains filled up again with fluid from her abdomen.  The drains had been pretty much clear and empty for the past few days, but today that streak of good news ended.  The rehabilitation center is not equipped to take care of mom's new needs, so tonight she is being transferred back to St. Luke's Hospital.  When she arrives back at the hospital, they will repeat the blue dye test...where they have her drink a sterile liquid to see if it comes out in her drains.  I will update as soon as we know any more.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Change of location for Mom

This evening, Mom was transferred to a rehabilitation center in Peoria, Arizona!  She is excited to be seeing such progress.  Her new location is much closer to my sister's house than St. Luke's hospital was, so that will be a big plus for my sister!  In other big news of the day, when the hospital transferred her tonight, they took her off of TPN (the IV nutrition that she has been staying alive on for the past month.)  Because the leak in her stomach has finally started healing, they are going to start her on a liquid diet tomorrow!  The hospital left the PICC line in so that she can continue to receive all the medications and antibiotics that she needs.  In 10 days, she will be transferred back to the hospital to have another CT Scan so they can check the levels of the fluid around her spleen, etc.  At that point, she may need Interventional Radiology to drain the fluid.  Things change daily, but it is estimated that mom will need to stay at the rehabilitation center for about 2 weeks.   If everything goes really well and she continues healing at the rehabilitation center then she will probably be able to go live at my sister's house and have my sister be her caregiver after that point.  Mom feels her body healing on the inside.  She no longer needs oxygen, and as of tomorrow she will no longer need IV nutrition.  She still has the PICC line to deliver all the meds and she still has two abdominal drains to drain any infectious fluid from her abdomen.  She realizes this is the next step in her recovery, and she is so grateful to be alive and healing!  Thank you for all your support!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Good News Today!

We have just learned great news!  Last night the doctors repeated the blue dye test where they have mom drink a dark blue sterile liquid to see if it comes out in her drains, and today for the first time, it didn't!!! This means that mom's stomach leak is probably healing!!!   Mom is still in her new hospital and has been there for 12 days now.  (It has been almost 6 weeks since she has seen the outside of a hospital.)  She has improved so much since coming to her new hospital.  She just had her third blood transfusion a couple of days ago and the doctors have been trying to regulate her metabolism with different stuff they are giving her through her PICC line (IV).  Also they changed some of her medicines.  Mom has gained so much strength in the past week of being at her new hospital with her new surgeon.  She has been on strict orders to not swallow anything...even tiny sips of water in order to give her stomach and insides time to heal.  Five days ago a second CT Scan was done which showed that mom still had a leak but that it looked to be leaking less than the CT Scan the week before.  Now today, it looks like the healing time has paid off because so far today, the drains have been clear after the blue sterile dye tests.  Because of this, they had mom sip some chicken broth!  If she is able to tolerate liquids and everything goes well, they will probably wean her off TPN!  We are so grateful for these developments.  Mom told me just now on the phone that in the past few days she has felt something physical happening inside of her starting at her sternum and working down.  She has been hoping that it is a sign of healing and today it looks like it is!  Mom is feeling very hopeful now.  The doctor says they are still taking it one day at a time, so we don't know how much longer she will stay in the hospital.  We also don't know if she will go to a rehabilitation center after she is released from the hospital or is she will be allowed to go to my sister Beckys' house and have a home health nurse come there each day.  I'll update as we find out more.  Today is a good day!!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Long, slow road (But at least she's on a road!)

The doctor has said that the goal at this point is to create the right conditions for mom to be able to heal.  Right now he says she is a "metabolic mess", so they are working on trying to get her blood and nutrition at all the right levels.  He said that in the fight for mom's life, we are doing well, although we're not out of the woods yet.  Because mom's stomach still has a hole in it, they started her back on TPN (IV nutrition through a PICC line).  In spite of the above problems, mom is completely conscious, alert and coherent.  She can get up out of her bed and walk short distances pushing her IV pole.  She is grateful to be alive and in a safe place.  Because of the shock of all of this, at times she feels depressed and sometimes lonely.  Now that we know that mom's recovery is going to take a long time, we are trying to help her come up with some things that she can do while she is at the hospital letting her body heal.  Becky will be bringing notebooks for her to do some journaling and writing.  At this point, mom is still very weak, so she has enough energy and strength for short phone calls (5 minutes or so), and if you are in the Tempe area, short visits from family or friends.  I will post her address at the top of the blog in case you'd like to write her a letter.   I am sure she would appreciate it.  Her hospital room is quite a bit smaller than her last one, and there is no room for flowers or anything like that, but letters would be great if you'd like to send one.  Thanks for your support and prayers!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Crazy

Today was a big day full of big findings.  First, the Good...Mom's new Doctor is great.  Mom immediately felt comfortable with him and feels completely confident that he can help her.  Now for the bad...this news just came in at 8:30 pm....part of the testing done today was to have mom try to drink a dark blue liquid to see if it came out in her abdominal drains, or if it would go through her system naturally and enter her intestines.  Just now we received news that it came out in both of her abdominal drains which means that mom's hole in her stomach is still there, and leaking and that she is not able to eat or drink by mouth.  To keep her alive for the time being, they will start up IV nutrition again.  In addition, she still has a fluid collection near her spleen, among other issues.  And finally for the's tests today included both upper and lower GI series, other x-rays and a CT Scan with contrast, and when mom's doctor came in to report the results of the test, he was shocked himself to tell us that mom's insides are not indicative of a gastric bypass surgery.  At this point we are not really sure of what happened during the first and second surgeries in Nevada. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thank the Heavens!

Well, I can't say things have been smooth for the past couple of days since I last wrote.  In fact, shortly after I last updated this blog we found out that the new Arizona surgeon had been under the impression that mom was no longer in the hospital in Nevada.  He thought she was living at home on her own.  The reason he thought this is because the paperwork (mom's medical file) that the Nevada hospital had faxed over to him said that mom was discharged about a week ago.  So, because he thought she was living fine at home, he had no problems accepting her on as a patient.  When I spoke with his office yesterday morning and told them that mom was still in the hospital, he said that he did not feel it was safe for her to be released from the hospital and said that he would only take her on as a patient if it was a hospital-to-hospital transfer by ambulance.   We have spent the last 2 days in shock from yet again another huge roadblock.  How would we pay for an ambulance transfer from Nevada to Arizona?  (5 hour drive)  We have all been on the phone and on our knees, while my mom has spent the last few days in tears, waiting for some miracle.  And I don't know how it happened, but a hospital transfer was arranged!!!!!!!!!  My mom is, at this very moment, in an ambulance somewhere in between Nevada and Arizona.  They have been driving for about 2 hours, so she should be arriving in about 3 hours from now (about 9:30 pm Arizona time).  Becky, (the oldest of us kids) lives about 45 minutes from mom's new hospital and she will be waiting there to see my mom tonight.  I don't know what the new surgeon will say; I don't know what tomorrow will bring...but at least tonight, all of us have something big to be grateful for!  Thank you Heavenly Father for helping us!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Change of Plans-- AGAIN! No more Utah

Yesterday morning I called the new surgeon's office in Salt Lake City to ask about how we should take care of the TPN (mom's IV nutrition) once she arrived in Utah.  The nurse seemed surprised and then said that the doctor in Utah had only agreed to have a consultation with her to meet her and look over all her paperwork, not necessarily to take her on as a patient.  This news was shocking to us as we have known all along that we can't move mom from this hospital until she has a bariatric surgeon ready to begin caring for her in the new location.  The Utah nurse said that once she arrived in Utah, the doctor probably would accept her as a patient, but that he might not, and that there was absolutely no way he would consider committing to care for her unless she was sitting right there in his office with all her paperwork.  Of course, this was a huge risk for my mom, because she has to have IV nutrition to survive, and only a doctor can set that up.  So, after another long day of phone calls, we found a doctor in Arizona who knows about her case, who has already looked over her medical files, and who has agreed to take mom on as a patient.  I booked the next available appointment, which is at 2:45 pm on Thursday (tomorrow.)  Anyway, unless something else goes wrong, today will be mom's last full day in St. Rose Hospital in Nevada and today they will start shutting down the TPN and insulin so that she can travel safely tomorrow morning.  The new surgeon's office and hospital in Arizona is about 1 hour away from my older sister Becky's house, so mom will be living with Becky and Becky will be her caregiver when mom is not in the hospital.  Becky will drive up to the hospital in Nevada today and early tomorrow morning they will load mom up in my sister's car and drive the 5 hour drive straight through to the new surgeon's office in Arizona.   We are going on a wing and a prayer here that this will all work out.  Tomorrow (Thursday) is going to be a very big day, so if you can keep praying especially hard that the travel will be safe and the new doctor will be inspired with wisdom to know exactly what mom needs in order to fully recover, we would appreciate that.  Thanks again for following this journey with us.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Change of Plans

It turns out that mom will not be returning to Washington in the near future.  Instead, she will be temporarily living in Utah until she is able to eat and drink and have her abdominal tubes removed.  The reason for this is that every surgeon in Washington who is accepted by her insurance has rejected taking mom on as a patient because of her serious complications.  So after that disappointment, we spent days calling and, eventually, pleading with surgeons in the states of Idaho, Texas, and Arizona (states where Wendy's children live) but day after day, all we got were "No's."  Finally, my dad called surgeons in Utah (where his sister lives) and found a surgeon in Salt Lake City who agreed to take her on as a patient and take over her care.  At this point, we  are planning on mom being released from the hospital in Vegas early Thursday morning and  flying on a Southwest airlines flight to Salt Lake City where my dad will be waiting to pick her up and take her directly to her new surgeon at 2:30 in the afternoon.  We still have to work out how she is going to get nutrition, and travel with the PICC line and TPN, etc.  Those are the phone calls that I will be making tomorrow.  Aside from all the stress of the above, mom is doing very well.  Her vital signs and labs are within acceptable ranges.  She had another blood transfusion a few days ago and she is getting herself up and walking by herself in the hospital hallways, holding onto her rolling IV holder.  She has been all alone at the Vegas hospital for the past 6 days and we wish we could still be there with her.  Most of all, we just want to get her to a bariatric surgeon who can look at her CT Scans, and tell us if she is healing properly on her own, or if she will need another surgery or other intervention to repair whatever damage has been done.  Thank you all for your prayers and cards and notes for my mom.  We truly felt miracles occurring all around us while we were there with her and I want to personally thank everyone for the prayers you prayed in my mom's behalf.  We felt the power of them and we appreciate them so much!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A few Days later...

So much has changed...yet nothing has changed.  Mom is still doing well.  Her vitals have all stabilized and the infections are under control with the many different antibiotics she is on.  She is determined to get up and work past the pain and weakness every day, and she is doing remarkably well with that.  She is still at the same hospital in Nevada and will be there until we can find a bariatric surgeon in the Seattle area who is willing to accept her as a new patient in the serious condition she is in.  The feeding tube placement scheduled for a few days ago never happened because, according to the radiologist, mom's insides are so messed up that there is not a feeding tube long enough to get past the hole in her stomach and into her duodenum.  So, she is still on TPN (IV nutrition) and will stay on that until they can get a feeding tube in her, or until the hole in her stomach heals completely and she is able to go on a liquid diet by mouth.  We have been warned that at best, this will take at least 2 months, and maybe much longer.  We are hopeful that we may have found a surgeon willing to take her on in Seattle, so we are hoping that we'll be able to transfer mom to Seattle this week.  We'll find out for sure in the next couple of days.  If the new doctor feels she is on the right track to recovery, she will probably be able to go live at her home and have a home health nurse come each day to take care of medications and feedings, etc.  The really unfortunate thing about having so many of us family members all show up to be with mom at the same time is that now, 3 weeks later, we all have to leave.  I flew home today and am now back in Texas and Jarom, the last family member with her, will leave tomorrow morning for Idaho.  Mom, we all wish we could still be there with you.  We love and miss you.  Keep fighting!  We'll all be together in 3 months at our Yellowstone Family Reunion!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Long Day of Rest

Today is Saturday and there were no tests or procedures scheduled for today.  Mom is using the time to rest and prepare for the attempted feeding tube placement tomorrow.  Her vital signs are all normal and her labs are coming back closer to normal.  I'll post tomorrow as soon as we know if the feeding tube placement was a success or not.  Jarom (my brother) arrives tomorrow afternoon to finish out what we are hoping will be the last few days at this hospital before we can transfer her back to Washington.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday's Update

Another great day!  Thank you so very much for all your prayers and caring thoughts and cards and flowers!  All the doctors and nurses come in and remark how loved mom must be by so many people.  Thank you for doing all of this for my mom.  The doctor decided not to attempt the feeding tube placement today because he wanted to give her insides more time to heal before they attempt it again.  So the plan is that they will attempt the feeding tube placement again on Sunday.  They will also repeat the CT Scan on Monday to see if the hole in her stomach is healing on it's own, and if the pockets of fluid in her abdomen are still sterile and non-infectious.  If everything is good and we can get mom stable, we are hoping that we may be able to have her transferred to the care of a doctor and facility near her home.  (So all of you Snohomish people, I'll keep you posted!)  The good news of the day is that her white blood count is down to normal levels, and her vital signs are good, and she is continuing to gain strength.  We have been told that this will be a long road to recovery.  Mom will probably be attached to tubes for weeks to months even after she gets out of the hospital. However, mom is going to make it and we are so grateful for the miracles that have happened thus far!  Thanks again for being a part of this with us!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday's Update

Another great day!!!  Mom is improving so much.  Her white blood count was down today to almost normal and she is gaining strength.  She is still on oxygen, IV nutrition (TPN) and a whole bunch of IV antibiotics.  Tomorrow they may attempt the feeding tube again.  Mom is feeling so much stronger and is able to get up out of her hospital bed and get to the bathroom all by herself.  She can also push her own IV stand and walk down the hall without assistance.  More flowers and cards arrived today and Mom has been so lifted to read them.  She wants you to know how much she appreciates knowing that so many people are praying and supporting her.  Thank you so much for your love and concern!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday's Update

The feeding tube was pulled today because it could not get past the hole in her stomach and the inflamation.  The radiology team will attempt it again in a few more days once more healing has occured.  Mom is so grateful to have the tube out.  She actually made a huge leap forward today.  She was so lethargic and weak since the attempted tube placement yesterday and she stayed that way until around 1:00 pm today.  Suddenly mom's eyes fluttered open and she looked wide-eyed around the room and said, "I need to be doing something.  My life is being stolen by this hospital bed."  So she pulled off her covers and told the nurse she wanted to get up.  She  pulled her own IV stand as she walked down the hall.  Then she sat up and painted for about 2 hours.  She is doing great!  She had a blood transfusion last night which really helped.  She is so thankful for the beautiful flowers and cards and letters and all of the messages on the blog.  Thank you all!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grace under Fire

Mom is showing her true grace as she continues to keep fighting even under pressure.  We actually had a really positive day with mom feeling stronger and all of us feeling very hopeful that we would not have any more setbacks.  However, when they tried to put in the feeding tube today there was too much inflamation and blockages to allow it to pass through her stomach where the abscess and hole is.  So the tube is currently half way in and half way out...they are hoping that her body will naturally pull it down past the blocked areas.  Thanks and keep praying. 

Thanks for your prayers

It looks like our prayers are being answered.  Mom will still be here for a long time, but she is starting to make slight improvements now. Today she is getting a naso-gastric feeding tube. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers and well-wishes.  Mom knows she is loved and it really means a lot to her and our family. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Waiting Pattern

Well, we just got the results from the CT Scan this morning and they are really inconclusive.  Today's CT Scan shows "no change" from the earlier CT Scan.  So, they are still showing multiple pockets of fluid, which could be infectious or could be sterile.  She also has a leak from her stomach/bowels into her abdominal cavity so she has drainage tubes sticking out of her to drain the infectious fluid.  Again, this leak may heal on its own over several weeks or it may need surgery.  So, we are just in a holding pattern to see if her vital signs start to improve or to see if they start to get worse.  If they improve, she has a chance of healing without surgery.  If they start to get worse, we'll have to take action despite the risks.  The Dr said it's 50/50 which way it will go.  Sounds like we are in for a long wait holding our breaths.  Mom is still on oxygen, IV nutrition, many different antibiotics., and all the tubes and wires.  She may need a blood transfusion in the near future.  Since we are in for a long wait we are sending my dad and sister Becky home since they have been here the longest...(my dad has been here for 2 weeks now.)  My aunt Wyonne, my Grandma and I will stay here for the next several days.  We'd love your cards and letters to brighten up mom's hospital room.   Keep sending your blog comments and emails...we are reading them to my mom and she is touched and smiles (or cries) every time we read her one.  Thanks for all your support!

CT Scan at 10:00 this morning.

Mom is being prepped for it now.  We'll update as soon as we know anything.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We need a miracle tonight!

Things have not improved.  We are waiting for tomorrow morning when Mom will have a second CT Scan.  The original doctor said this morning that he did not recommend any treatments or procedures at all, but just to wait and see if the infections heal on their own or if they get worse.  When the second doctor came in she informed us that the original CT Scan still showed multiple abdominal abscesses, and she recommended Interventional Radiology immediately to try to drain the abscesses.  However, we wanted to give mom another day to gain her strength for whatever is needed after the CT Scan.  So, the plan is that tomorrow morning she will have a second CT Scan and once reviewed we will be making decisions on treatment...either Interventional Radiology, major surgery or if we get a miracle and the abscesses are gone, then continued medical treatment until she gets better.  So pray for that MIRACLE tonight!  Mom is currently on oxygen, IV drips, a PICC line to her heart, antibiotics, and a whole bunch of other tubes and wires that I don't know what they are.  She has a bedsore, swollen body and is very weak,but she is conscious and coherent.
We are starting a "Card Campaign" so we can brighten up mom's hospital room with letters, pictures and cards from friends and family (and strangers too!)  If you would like to send a card or letter, the address here is
Wendy Christensen, Room 225
Rose de Lima Campus
102 E. Lake Mead Pkwy.
Henderson, NV 89015

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Holding Steady

After further consultation with 3 more radiologists and the surgeon and hospitalist, it was decided to go with another day of medical treatment before pursuing the 3rd surgery.  Mom is extremely weak and is back to not being able to eat.  I just flew in tonight so now we have mom plus dad, Becky (been here a week), Aunt Wyonne and Grandma Fern all here at the hospital with mom.  Jess and Jarom will be flying in in the next couple of days.

CT Results

The CT Scan results show that Mom has multiple pockets of infection throughout her abdomen. The radiologist recommended immediate open surgery to repair the area. However, the surgery is very serious and Mom is extremely weak. No one knows how much more her body can handle. We are waiting to talk with more experts to see which course of action has the greatest chance for Mom. If we ever needed prayers and fasting, it is now. If you would like to send a message to Wendy, please post it here and we will read it to her.
Thank you for your support!

CT Scan at 9:00 am

Mom is scheduled to have the CT Scan at 9:00 this morning, Nevada time. Also, Doctor #1 decided to start nutrition through her nose. I will post as soon as the CT results are available.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday March 18

This blog is for family and friends to recieve updates on Wendy's progress as she tries to recover from complications after surgery. I will try to update this blog each day. Today is the 10th day that mom has been in the hospital. She is at Rose De Lima Hospital in Henderson, Nevada. She has suffered through the original surgery, a second emergency surgery to clean up an abscess that burst, sepsis, a bedsore, possible pneumonia, extreme weakness and extreme pain since she entered for what was supposed to be a simple, safe, effective and easy mini-gastric bypass surgery. She was supposed to have the surgery one day and leave the hospital the next day able to take care of herself. It has been an emotional roller coaster for everyone as we have anxiously waited for news, feeling hopeful when we hear something good and then feeling hopeless and shocked as we hear something not good. Today was no exception. It started out okay. Our low last night was finding out that Mom's white blood cell count had risen from 13,000 to 21,000 yesterday. The Dr. said he'd order a CT Scan if it was still raised today. This morning, her wbc count had dropped slightly to 18,000 and the Dr. felt that because her other vital signs were okay, no tests or action was needed. A few of us expressed concern to the Dr. that because Mom was not getting any better, we felt it was time to bring in a second Doctor who specializes in what to do when things go wrong. We also expressed that we wanted to be proactive in doing tests so we could rule things out, rather than waiting for some urgent need because something turned bad. He said he did not think those things were necessary but that he would comply with our wishes. Several hours later, a second Dr came in to Mom's hospital room and examined her. Her temperature was raising...38.6 C at that moment which translates to 101.5 F. Between that and her white blood cell count being so high, the second Dr. feels Mom is possibly getting another infection. He ordered a CT scan, which will be done as soon as mom has fasted for enough time so her body can take the dye/contrast. He also said he was going to look over lab reports to find out what cultures and tests had been done. If appropriate tests had not been done, he was going to order them. A short time later, the blood guy came in to draw blood for tests. Now we are all anxiously waiting for the CT scan results and cultures to come back. If a leak or infection is present, a third surgery may be necessary. This is critical timing as we wait to find out the news.