Health Update 9 August 2018

This is Bill Chu, my sister Kim and I are visiting to Uncle Franklin. I been invited to share this update with the blog community. Please pray for healing.

Franklin is currently in Virginia Mason Hospital room 1822. He is having severe respiratory distress and a lack of appetite. Franklin is hoping to get on a clinical trial a new oral cancer treatment. The clinical trial board is holding a spot for him; however, given his compromised state he does not presently qualify.

Franklin has been in hospital for several weeks with a variety of compilations including infection, bowel obstruction and respiratory distress.

He has friends and family surrounding him. Jenny, Catherine, David, Matthew and Marco are showering him with love and care.


July proved to be a challenging period. Franklin spent the first week in hospital for an infection. He was released once infection was under control, however he had to return to hospital after only one day at home. This time Franklin was unable to keep anything down, having difficulty breathing and was retaining water.

Radiologic evidence indicated a obstruction in the distal end of the small intestine. Franklin was treated with a nasogastric tube to release pressure from his belly, and medication to promote clearing of the obstruction.

For two weeks Franklin took nothing by mouth. The internal medicine team was at a standstill and the surgical team elected not to take Franklin’s case given the his current cancer status. Dr.  Catherine Chu was on hand to intercede both as a patient advocate and as a medical consultant. She and Franklin suggested that the Gastrointestinal Team might employ a stent to relieve the obstruction.

Under the pressure of persistent requests for consult from the Doctors Chu , the GI team sent Omar the GI Physicians Assistant to make an initial assessment. The PA thought the stent idea might be fruitful and ordered a Cat scan to determine a more precise assessment of the blockage. Was the there a single blockage or multiple sites? Was the blockage due to impaction within the bowel or were metastatic tumors strangulating the gut? These were the salient questions that the cat scan would answer.

It was determined that the blockage was internal to the bowel and located a single site in the ilium or last part of the small intestine. While this is just outside the typical colonoscopic range, Dr Steven  Ross the GI surgeon felt confident that he could reach the site and repurpose a stent for this “Hail Mary” procedure. Dr. Catherine Chu was pleased that Dr. Ross was Mass General Hospital trained. Furthermore Dr. Ross was able to demonstrate that his hands were steady.  Linnea was satisfied that the surgeon was confident and simultaneously realistic.

On Wednesday Aug 1, the stent was successfully placed in Franklin’s ilium. Within two days x-rays showed contrast dye in the sigmoid colon. These findings were consistent with a successful clearing of the obstruction. However, Franklin was still unable to have a bowel movement, had very little appetite and continued to have a distended belly.

Three days later Franklin had a bowel movement. His first in several weeks.  He still needs to get his appetite up before he can go home or begin the trial.