Mom and Bill arrived home safely last night. Here is Bill’s most recent update.
E-mail update dated Sept. 22:
Dear Family and Friends,
A great deal has happened since the last update, so I’ll try to recall the most significant happenings since then. After having stopped all treatments two weeks ago, Judy has continued to lose weight, energy, and fluids. Since she already had an implantable port placed for chemo treatments, we are now accessing that same port for TPN (total parenteral nutrition). TPN is a means of feeding via the vascular system. It gives a break to the already distressed GI system. Our goal wasn’t to have Judy stop eating, but rather to insure that she had adequate nutrition and weight control as she ate. Three days after starting the TPN therapy, however, she started experiencing chills, fever, and vomiting. She was admitted to the hospital and given a broad-spectrum antibiotic after blood cultures, etc. were drawn. She responded well (overnight) to the antibiotic and has had no fever or emesis since then. At first, the oncologists thought she was experiencing radiation toxicity or a port infection or even a reaction to the TPN. But, final lab results showed evidence of a urinary tract infection.
Judy was released from the hospital last Friday, and has been taking Levaquin (an oral antibiotic) for 5 days. She has remained on TPN and is now holding her weight…maybe even gaining a little. 🙂 She both looks and feels much better. An increase in the dosage of her anti-diarrheal medicine has now resolved, or nearly resolved, the GI issues …which allows her more freedom. And, that’s great, since “getting out” helps immensely with her overall outlook. Her hyper-alimentation (TPN) runs through the night. I usually mix the additives and begin infusing Judy around bedtime and she is finished by early morning. Coram, a company out of Little Rock, will be supplying us with TPN when we get back to AR. They will do a blood draw each Monday, fax the results to our nutrition group at CTCA, and they will tweak the formula as needed.
While in the hospital both a specific prognostic tumor marker and CT scan were done. The CT showed no appreciable tumor growth in the pancreas; however, the scan did reveal metastatic disease…multiple nodules were found in both the right and left lobes of the liver. Because of the metastasis and increasingly higher tumor marker values, even in the midst of aggressive treatment, we have prayerfully decided to come home at this point-in-time to be with our kids, grandchildren, and dear friends. Judy had an endoscopy yesterday to remove her temporary biliary stent and replace it with a permanent one. Depending on how she feels in the morning, we will be heading for Fayetteville in the early a.m.. I’m not sure yet, but it looks like we’ll need a trash compacter to get everything in the car. For those who can remember back that far, this may end up looking like a “Ma and Pa Kettle” adventure. 🙂
Whether serious, funny, good, bad, or indifferent, we choose to thank God each day for His abundant grace. We rejoice in knowing there is nothing that can separate us from His love! (Romans 8:38-39) Once again we thank each of you so much for your continued prayers and support. We bless you and look forward to seeing you soon.