Prior to my scheduled discharge from Virginia Mason after an eleven-day stay, my pulmonologist, Dr Gerbino suggested that I have another thoracentesis done under ultrasound by the interventional radiologist. By his clinical evaluation he estimated that I still had up to one quart of pleural effusion in the right lung cavity. He felt that since the liver hematoma has reduced significantly that this procedure would make me breathe much easier. However, with assistance of ultrasound, the radiologist, after consultation with his colleague, advised me that he could not promise me that in doing the thoracentesis he may not puncture my right liver, which was still pushed upwards under the right rib cage. There was definitely fluid present, and the right lung is 50% collapsed, but with time, this could correct itself with deep inspirations/breathing exercise and avoidance of developing an infectious pneumonia. I chose doing less harm by denying the procedure. Here, I truly want to convey to all my friends, though I struggled with many possible life changing/altering decisions, each possibility was offered to Linnea and me and I had the right and authority (with Linnea’s input and concurrence) to say ‘go’ or ‘no go.’ The staff treated us with kindness, understanding and total respect. Team VM truly worked well for us. We left the hospital on Saturday April 1, 2017.
I felt well enough the next day to attend our Bethany Lutheran Church service, having awakened around 7, but took almost 2 hours to get washed, dressed and ready. To my total and absolute surprise, we were greeted by the entire congregation wearing ‘purple’ in support of me and my fight against this deadly disease. It was a very heart-felt and beautiful feeling witnessing all the love and sustaining care that surrounded me and Linnea.
Thank You Pastor Paul for your love and your thoughtfulness in spreading the Gospel of Love and Forgiveness. God indeed lives as ‘Word in Flesh’ dwelling among us.
We returned to VM for follow-up on Wednesday, 4/5. It was a very efficient day. Starting with the lab drawing blood works, (all heading back to normal, including the CA 19-9 from 187 to 44, norm is <37.). Then we were sent to get a CT scan which showed markedly decreased size of the R liver and the hematoma cavity with residual fluid which seemed to be draining well. The interventional Radiologist, Dr. Fotoohi easily manipulated the tube to where he wanted it to be without any pain or discomfort. Next stop was checking in with the surgery team and then we had an in-depth consultation with the Infectious Disease (ID) Dr. Woolston. A very busy but exceedingly productive day! Not surprisingly at all, Linnea has picked up ‘nursing’ duties as a pro! She flushes my drain and records my output diligently every eight hours. When she showed the doctors her record, they said, oh, all we wanted is the daily amount and that the pattern of output is decreasing, that’s good. The exudates started as very thick caramel colored fluid, now it is much less viscous and light lemon in color. On Saturday 4/8, I began developing a rash and raging itch, most likely a reaction to one of the antibiotics. The ID on-call doctor advised using Benadryl as well as a cortisone cream. While the Benadryl made me sleepy during the day, the itch continued to keep me awake at night. This worked only minimally, if at all. We had an appointment with Dr. Picozzi to ascertain my status re: the pancreatic cancer yesterday, Monday 4/10. He cannot do any treatment until my liver drain is removed, which hopefully will be 4/17. Then we start anew with Chemo treatment. Good news is that there is no discernible widening of the original disease or any ill effects or progression of the disease during this delay. We take this one day at a time. A follow-up call to Dr. Woolston, the ID resulted in switching me out of one of the antibiotics. The effect of the first is still lingering, but definitely the rash and itch are subsiding. I have enough breath and energy to work on this report today. Thanks be to God. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Heartily and Truthfully, I do feel your LOVE in ways beyond words can express.