Posted May 25, 2015 10:00pm
On Saturday morning, we met earl with the team of doctors taking over Lori’s care for the weekend. We expected them to want to drain the fluid from her right lung just as they had for the left the day prior. Surprisingly, they presented her with various choices all of which sounded pretty good. They talked with us both to find out our goals and motivations, and after our chat, they recommended that we either remove the fluid and stay an extra day in the hospital or leave the fluid and discharge within hours. Their opinion was that the fluid around the right lung wasn’t hurting her ability to breathe. The left lung was fully expanding by then, and her ability to breathe seemed normal. The amount of fluid around the right lung was much less than the left according to the scans and the risks of the procedure (potential lung collapse, bleeding, infection, etc) didn’t seem to outweigh the small advantage to-be gained.
Last night Lori had very shallow breathing. It was thought fluid was accumulating in her lungs. The Drs planned to give her a diuretic to drain it but it would come with significant risk to her already low blood pressure. Untreated, they said she could die possibly within days. Treating it would have produced significant risks as well. We were stuck making a tough decision between two bad options.
When the ICU team got together to look at her lungs, they found that the fluid was actually between her lungs and the chest cavity…not inside the lungs. Good news! In a very simple procedure, they drained the fluid from her left lung just now. They removed 700 ml of fluid. Normally, people only have 10 ml or so in that cavity. She is sleeping now but I expect she’ll have a lot of relief and be able to breathe better tonight. If she reacts well overnight to the effects of what they did, then tomorrow morning they will do the same thing to the other lung.
Well, I spoke a little too soon last night. No more than 15 minutes after I posted the last update, Lori started having pains. By midnight, she was having very bad pains rated 8 in her arms. We discussed medication options and eventually just loaded her up with a couple good ones and she finally experienced some relief at around 0230.
This morning, as he promised, Dr S showed up around 0730 to see Lori. He got all caught up on her recent history, and he examined her body. He asked if she was willing to continue treatment, and she replied that she definitely wanted to. He then left the room to confer with the other oncologists who had also been keeping tabs on Lori, the pain doctor, the neurosurgeons, and the main doctor on her new floor who is also like a hospitalist but specializes in cancer care, and her emphasis is on breast cancer.
No real big updates today, but we did get moved to the hematology/oncology wing late tonight. It’s very nice, and I’m glad the oncology team rescued us from the sixth floor of doom.
The liver guy never showed up. I’m not sure he even exists at all. Tomorrow, I expect to have a plan from the oncology team. We meet with Schneider at 0730 tomorrow morning.
I rode in the front of the ambulance while Lori was in the back with the EMT. We drove the 1 hour transit to Indy, and they wheeled her up to the sixth floor to her room in the MPCU. The University Hospital has excellent resources, but aesthetically and common sensically (I know it’s not a word…right?), it is unsettling. The warmth and welcome of the smaller and newer Arnett hospital was replaced with cold, sterile halls and rooms which bare more resemblance to airplane galleys than to inviting habitations for potential healing. I’m being dramatic, but I really did feel a sort of homesickness as soon as we made our way to the new room here at this hospital.
Went thru the night with minimal pain. Hasn’t needed to supplement w morphine at all. However, today she began to have a new chest pain near the bottom of her esophagus area. Also, her primary Tumor seems to now extend from her breast to this area. Also, stomach bloated very large. We thought the pain was maybe from extra fluid being retained. Tried to buy a diuretic but it requires a rx. So went to ER ar Arnett. They did a CT scan and saw the mass on left chest cavity. They called IU on-call oncologist for Schneifer and they said she should be in Indy with oncology nearby. So, we’re taking an ambulance ride an hour south. I don’t know what they’ll do there. I’m thinking maybe surgery but we won’t know until we get there
Today basically went exactly as planned. She was discharged early and we left just after 1000. Lori’s brother and I drove her in our makeshift “vanbulance” to Indianapolis for the appointment. Dr Miller seemed like a good guy, and he was on board for doing the gamma knife procedure. We showed up an hour early for the appointment, and we got in and out quickly. In fact, we were on our way back to Lafayette by the time our original appointment time arrived. Continue reading
On Wednesday, we came up with a plan to get us through the week. The goal was to wean Lori off of the Dilauded pain meds which are fed via IV, and move to oral pain pills. This was necessary if we ever intended to be discharged from the hospital. The goal was to finish the transition to the oral pills (a mix of Oxycontin and Morphine to supplement) by Friday morning so we could be discharged in time to drive her to Indy for her neurosurgeon appointment at 1230. Continue reading
I’ll post a full update tonight. Bottom line, she’s doing about the same but she’s still in the hospital. Hoping for a discharge Friday morning so we can see the neurology guys tomorrow in indianapolis.