Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fart, or No Food!

I know everyone is waiting for more updates, so I have come to deliver! Christine has been in the ICU for the past two days. We were hoping that she would get moved to a regular room today, but it didn't quite happen. She did get the tubes from her neck and nose taken out and from one of her wrists. She's looking decidedly better and she says that she's feeling much better. She should be moved to the regular room tomorrow morning, which will be great because that means thy she'll be able to see Autumn in person rather than through video chat on our phones. Christine did want me to tell you all that she would love for all of you to come visit, so if you can, party in her room!

Now if we could only get her to fart...


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Surgery is complete!

So we just spoke to Dr. Selby. The surgery went very well and he felt that the margins were good (which means that they think they got almost all of the tumor out). Christine did not have to have any blood transfused. They were able to keep a lot of her pancreas and the doctor said that as long as she maintains her weight she should not have to worry about diabetes. He also mentioned that her lymph nodes looked good and they weren't enlarged, but they will still take a look to see if there's anything microscopically. As for her liver, they shaved a portion of it to biopsy, but noticed that the small lesions they saw during her last CT scan was more like a bruise. I believe he called it a hemangioma, and at surface did not seem cancerous, but again, they will check the liver to see if there's anything microscopically. The tumor also did not invade the stomach, but what it was affecting was the vein that carried stuff out of the stomach (I know I'm being really technical here), which they were able to cut away from the tumor and rebuild. That means they did not have to take any portion of her stomach. Dr. Selby said that he was "very pleased" with the outcome of the procedure.

They've brought Christine into the ICU, but it will still be another 2 1/2 hours before we know if we can go visit her. I think everyone here is super relieved and feeling really optimistic. Thanks everyone for all of your support!

- Cathy

More News

Hey everyone,
So we just had a visit from Dr. Selby. So this is what we know: The big reason it has been taking so long is because they were not able to embolize to stop the supply of blood to the tumor, so they had to go through the artery that supplies the pancreas, spleen, and the tumor to try to stop the supply of blood that way. (Sorry, I don't remember the name of the artery and even if I did, I wouldn't know how to spell it.) When they were finally able to do it, the tumor decreased in size by 40%, which is good, because that mean the tumor was mostly blood. The doctor also said that it looks like they'll be able to save a good portion of the pancreas, which may mean that Christine will not be insulin dependent. They haven't been able to check out the liver too much, but so far, there wasn't anything superficial that they could see at this point. Everything sounds like good news, except they still have another 3 hours, which means, we wait for another 3 hours.

Will continue to keep you all posted when we get more news.


First update

So, after waiting about 4 1/2 hours we finally got an update. The doctors are still working on Christine, everything is going well and Christine is doing well.

It's a big relief for us who are waiting, but man, we were starting to get antsy. This waiting is killing us! They give the families that are waiting these pagers and they're supposed to buzz when there is news. They look a little like the pagers you get when you're waiting for a table at a restaurant. After a while, we started hearing the buzzing from the other families and ours was just sitting on the table. It sucked. When it finally did buzz, we all headed as a group to find out the news and were given three sentences: They're still working, it's going well, the patient is doing fine. I don't know about everyone else, but I felt it was a relief and little anti-climatic at the same time.

Well, that's about it for now. Will post again when we hear more news.


Surgery Day

Hi everyone! This is Cathy, Christine's sister. I will be giving updates on Christine's surgery as we get information.
Right now, we are at USC University Hospital, where the surgery is scheduled. Christine has been taken into the OR and they will be giving her an epidural. Matt said that there are 3 or 4 surgeons, which I'm assuming is including the main surgeon, Dr. Selby. They should be giving us regular updates, but that's all I know for now. Christine is, understandably, nervous but Matt felt that the surgeons were optimistic and they tried to keep her spirits up.

Surgery. The scariest 7 letter word I know.

Another short but sweet. I'm wicked tired and have to be up in a few hours.

In about 7 hours, I'll be in surgery. Yeesh... surgery. I've had a couple. Laser eye surgery. C-Section. A Lumpectomy. But this one... wowzers. I'm, as you all already know, scared shitless. But I've gotten so much votes of confidence, words of support, and notifications of prayers that I feel less worried than I've felt in a while. Don't get me wrong... I still feel like crying... and I have. Especially when I had to drop of my daughter at my parents house.

I spent a few hours there hanging out with my family. Watched my niece play with my daughter and then watched her sleep during her short 20 minute nap. That was my cue to pick her up and hand her off to my mom, who will not be at the hospital tomorrow but staying home to pray a Novena for me with her sisters. But before I could even hand her over to my mom I froze and just stood there holding my baby Autumn in my arms. That's when the tears started to flow. I could not let her go. There were nor are any words I can use to express what I was feeling at that time because I don't even know what I was feeling. Yes, scared is one word. Worried is another. But neither of those words really describe all that was going through me at that moment. So I just stood there and cried. And my mom and sisters and aunts all came over and hugged me and told me it would be fine and that Autumn would be fine. And I know she will be. I just love that kid so much, the thought of being away from her for so long just makes me want to scream. Yes, I know a week is a relatively short amount of time, but dude... for me to be away from my baby for that long seems like an eternity. Even now as I sit here in bed and type this, I should be hearing her little snores and occasional bedtime grunts as she squirms in her crib. But I don't hear that. Nor do I see her when I look into her crib. And my heart cries... and then my eyes follow suit. I REALLY hope they let her come to my hospital room after I'm out of the ICU.

Anyway, I hope to be updating you all myself real soon. Hopefully in a few days. Until then, my sister Cathy will be posting on my blog to update you all and tell you how I'm doing. My thanks to all of you who have been reading this and offering up words of support. I really do appreciate all the love you guys have expressed to me.

I'll "see" you all very soon. I have some cancer ass kicking to do right now.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nausea and The Big V

This will be short and sweet.

I know you ALL want to know I vomited. Yes, I did. And you would think, "Hey, she's got cancer... why wouldn't she vomit?", right? Actually, I have not vomited in a very long time. Not even when I was pregnant. I did not have morning sickness and therefore I never puked. I never even felt nauseous. Nausea came sometime before my birthday last year... probably around Thanksgiving. And I've been living with this nausea for a good 3 months now never having vomited. I can usually ride out the nausea wave and then move on with my day.

Well, I guess everything has just finally caught up with me. With all the things I've been worried about, taking care of Autumn, and trying to live a normal life with this surgery looming large over my head, I think I have bitten off more than I can chew. Because tonight after eating a very yummy dinner, I was suddenly and without warning, hit with an overwhelming urge to vomit. Not just a wave a nausea... but a knock upside the head with dizziness prancing hand in hand with nausea and with vomit trying to force its way through the door. I gave Autumn to Matt headed to the bathroom and then basically spilled my guts. Literally.

I think I'm getting sick. Just a cold really. Not a sinus infection like Matt has. But sick just the same. Which is not good since my surgery is Thursday and if I'm sick I can't have the surgery. As much as I don't want to have surgery, I don't want to prolong it either. The next available time for me to have the surgery would be at the end of April and non of my doctors feel this would be a good thing. They all agree that I need to get this tumor out as soon as possible. I was told to rest and take it easy. I think I will finally take their advice. I've been more tired than I've ever been in my life. I can barely think straight. I know I don't want to get sick... this surgery needs to be done and over with so I can move on to the next part of me kicking this cancer's ass. But man I'm tired. But I know there is still so much to do... I'm going to need some major help.

Ok, I can't look at the screen anymore, so I'm going to finish this tea Matt made for me and get some rest. And maybe sleep. But no more vomit please. I can't take anymore of this nausea either...