Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Last week I saw Dr. Mildred Chernofsky, gynecologic oncologist and pelvic surgeon. John and Jo Vaughn, an old friend from Chapel Hill days, went with me. My next surgery is scheduled for Thursday, October 21 at Sibley Memorial Hospital. Dr. Chernofsky said that my healing from surgery in June is remarkable and I appear to be wonderfully healthy. After the examination, Dr. Chernofsky said that the tumor showed no evidence of change or growth or intrusion into other organs. The tumor is located below the tailbone near the artery leading to the legs, pressing on the colon.
Despite the report of the oncologists at Sibley and the Mayo Clinic, they won't know for certain the structure of the tumor until it is removed and examined. Dr. Chernofsky can assess collateral tissue damage when the tumor is removed.
There are variables, which have different outcomes. Best case – tumor is contained with no lymph node involvement and the colostomy can be removed. Dr. Palmer, who operated in June, will be with Dr. Chernofsky in surgery to do this, if necessary.
Dr. Chernofsky described the growth as a laconic adenosarcoma that usually stays put, but there is a 50% chance that the tumor might grow back. I will be intubated for surgery and will recover in the ICU. My favorable impression of Dr. Chernofsky as confident, determined, and competent, was confirmed and strengthened. I am fortunate to have Dr. Chernofsky in charge of my treatment.
Mary (sister)and Bob (Bro-in-law) will come here the day before surgery as well as Harry (Bro). Their comfort and support has been immeasurable to me and I believe partly responsible for my recovery thus far.
I realize the seriousness of my situation, and I am optimistic, hopeful, and eager to move ahead. John will restart the blog after Oct 21.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Reprinted from Susan Daniels' Facebook page:
As many of you already know, in mid June I was hit by a wicked abdominal mishap that landed me in the hospital for almost a month. I have been home for over three
weeks now and my recuperation is moving along better than expected. From time to time I'll give you further updates.
I am delighted to give a special note of gratitude to my family and friends who took care of me so well and who showed me so much love and support - -you know who you are and I will never forget you.
weeks now and my recuperation is moving along better than expected. From time to time I'll give you further updates.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
From: John Watson <firstname.lastname@example.org>Date: July 9, 2010 10:12:55 PM EDTTo: John Watson <email@example.com>Subject: Day 2 Phase 2 July 9, 2010A wonderful quiet day was spent at home --- really at home. Old Friends Jo and Michelle were here to do lots of practical assistance and even more spirit raising. These two women have known Susan for at least 120 years.Friend and colleague Lisa Eckman brought a huge dinner over, which was chicken parmesan and eggplant parmesan with at least 2 gallons of homemade chicken noodle soup for Susan. There won't be a need (or space) for any more dinners brought in for several days. Pam gets a day off tomorrow; second one in 25 days. Is she to be adored, or what. Adored, cherished, honored and loved deeply.Now it's time to lay me down to sleep perchance to NOT dream. We'll see. . . . John
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
in the radiology world getting the tube text. She came back few
minutes later saying there was still a trace of dye going into the
small intestine. No word from the doctor. So, we are here.
Monday, June 28, 2010
At 3:00 PM yesterday, I dialed into a conference line and joined friends of Susan from two continents, Hawaii and other parts of the US, who had dialed in earlier. Each of them was able to give a short "Poor Baby" message of love and support. Barbara, Susan's business partner, set up a piece of the 1812 Overture conclusion with real cannons to play as a thunderous TA DAH! ending. Susan told the friends that she feels carried by all of you. Her laughter was almost constant, and she was beaming from ear to ear. Thanks Barb and Derek for making that happen.
Today an image was made of the ostemy sight to see how adapting is coming along. Susan will have to stay a few more days (definition of few not offered) as the doctors watch something they are not happy with hoping it will clear up with a short course of IV antibiotics. She doesn't express any displeasure with this; she wants to return to the world with all things ship shape. She has a nice big room with north facing windows; the building has good climate control. She likes the people caring for her, and she is tolerating the food. In truth, the food wouldn't be much different if she were home. It will take about six weeks for her system to get back to normal function.
The care team of Mary, Bob, Pam and I are faring well. Susan has acclimated to sleeping here without one of us being with her; so, we can easily spread ourselves over the day and early evening. She has her two electronic book gizmos and the TV. If she wakes in the night, she starts reading or watching until she falls asleep again. And, nobody but nobody can care for her personal activities of daily living like Pam.
From the center of our universe to you all across the world, MUCH LOVE. John
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
She is spending more time in her wheel chair. It's more comfortable than the bed. She took a nap for a couple hours and got out of bed again in the late afternoon. The doctor is very pleased with her progress. Monday is a targeted discharge date. She so wants to be home. If things proceed as they are now, Monday looks pretty good.
Plan "Strengthen Susan" is in process. She is eating some. It'll take awhile to kick start her alimentary track into operation. She's still not up to phone calls. Coordinate visits with care team.
Bye for now. Love to all. John
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Medical Oncologist visited this AM. She reported that the specimen was so complex that it is going to the Mayo Clinic for a higher level opinion in order to identify it specifically. The identity is needed to choose the course(s) of treatment. This task will take 10 - 14 days. Susan has time to heal some more, which she is doing at a rate surprising to the staff. Still getting antibiotics via IV several times a day. She has no tubes in her, finally. She must be strong enough to deal with whatever treatment is coming.
Her care team may grow in size with the change in room. Marie Strahan and Jeanne Argoff are in charge. We will run the details by Susan for her agreement. Love to you all.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sparing you the medical details that make even my head swim, Susan has a new fight a head. The tumor attached to her colon/pelvis is cancer. After the ordeal we've all been through this past week, this is just icing on the cake.
We have several physicians/specialist lined up to see Susan and prepare our plan of action.
Now, Susan says, "We don't have any course but to charge ahead!" She said those words; we all must take that attitude to heart and adopt it as our own.
It’s a lot to process for everyone involved.
Continue to send prayers and well wishes.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
We'll have a family conference with Dr. Palmer, the surgeon, tomorrow at 1:30 PM. He wants to be sure Susan is processing info clearly. He should be worried about Pam and me. We might not "grock" what he tells us. We'll be charting the possible courses for the future.
Thanks for your words of support and encouragement. Keep up the messages. We have just concluded step 1.
Love to all of you, John
Monday, June 21, 2010
When the doctor decides that the tube can be removed, feeding will stop, the stomach will empty and the tube will be removed the next morning.
The colostomy specialist came today and changed the bag on one side; Pam changed the other side while I watched. She was a good teacher and provided lots of information for our use.
The three of us, and by extension all of you, are a little disappointed that the tube needs to stay in. Dr. Hamm said it was a precaution. He does not want a situation where he is forced to put it back in if Susan shows that she cannot independently breath. Susan appears to be more comfortable with the tube, and the nurses are suctioning it frequently. The saliva in the mouth continues to come, which means there will fluid to remove.
As of this time, 1100, Dr. Palmer, the surgeon, has not reported the results of the biopsy.
Thank you to all of you for your caring and love. We deeply appreciate it.
Much love from Pam and John and Susan too.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
All vitals are normal and steady. The plan is to evaluate Mon. AM's Xray and if all looks good to remove the tube. We will let you know what happens.
Bye for a good night's sleep.
Right now, Pam is rubbing her feet and legs with a cool damp cloth to help her be more comfortable. The saga continues.
Everything is beating as it should (BP, respiration, percent of Oxygen in blood, etc.) Becca tells me I'm too fact oriented.) C'est la vie. The best news of all is we think Susan will come off the vent today. The doc actually said those words.
We all know that after 3.5 days of no talking my Darling Susan has many things to say!!! :)
Susan's personal assistant, Pam, has arrived and we are all so grateful she is here to care for Susan. Pam and Susan have such a special connection we know Susan will be much more comfortable with her Pam here to help.
There is still a long road to travel.
This is only the first few very hard steps.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Susan is still in the ICU and ventilator dependent, but she is slowly being weaned off. I spoke to her respiratory therapist today and she said that Susan is now initiating most of her breathing which is a great improvement to just a few days ago. She is on 40 percent oxygen, much improved from the 80 percent.
This is the best we could ask for.
She's doing really well. We all just need to be patient and let her body heal.
Dad's with her now and may have more news later tonight. Frank and I will be heading back to NJ tomorrow so Dad will be on his own for a few days. Any extra help from the locals would be welcome.
I spoke with the infectious disease doc this morning and confirmed she does not have sepsis. A HUGE relief. She had a localized infection in her abdomen from the rupture. She is receiving some nutrition via a g-tube and we're hoping her gut "wakes up" as they call it. Things need to start moving again, and they are, slowly.
Dad is holding up as well as to be expected and is starting to think and plan about Susan's care post ICU. Susan has spent many, many months in hospitals and is most comfortable when she has someone with her. Right now, she is sedated and has almost one on one nursing care. Once she moves to a step-down unit, she will need us more.
We are assembling a "care team" of close friends and family to sign up for shifts to allow my Dad to escape home, or catch a few hours of sleep. We don't anticipate implementing this care team for at least a week to 10 days.
I am impressed with the care Susan's receiving in the ICU. The staff is competent AND compassionate. The nurses and docs are knowledgeable and follow up on the myriad questions I ask. I've grilled them all about procedures, medications and expectations of recovery. They all smile and warmly say that every patient is different and we need to take this one day at a time. Not the easiest answer to process for me. But we will be patient. Hurry up and wait for our Susan to get better.
We all know Susan is a fighter. She will get through this.
Thank you all for your warm wishes.
Mary, Bob, Becca and Frank have been an immense support to me. Susan will be even more comfortable when her personal assistant arrives this evening.
We may be in need of an extra room, or place for our out of town care givers to stay. Preferably somewhere near the hospital or our apartment in Van Ness North. Please give me a call if you can help.
Susan is still seriously ill. It is not time yet for flowers or visitors; send your love and caring by commenting on this space. We'll let people know when visits are possible.
Much love, John
Friday, June 18, 2010
She is conscious-in and out. We are making sure she is comfortable and not in any pain. Resting is the most important thing for her now. Today she has two nurses and is monitored very closely. Rebecca, Frank, Mary and Bob are her with me now.
ICU MD visited and showed us her films from this AM. Susan's lung function is unchanged. She is receiving 80% oxygen. The MD says it should be 20%.
This will be a long, long process.
Careful monitoring of diagnostic data changes. Prevention of further infection. Work to restore the proper balance of her vascular system, which will reduce the fluid in the lungs. The lungs have had an acute injury (MD called it that name) to tiny vessels; it will only recover with time.
She recognizes us and blinks and grimaces to communicate. She is not feeling much pain.
This is a lot to process for everyone involved. If you feel like you need to "do" something... please just keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.
We are unsure how long my daughter and Susan's sister are able to stay. I may need some support from my local friends, walking Lucy, watering plants or feeding John. It is hard for anyone to ask for help in this situation, so please offer if you are able.
We will keep you updated if anything changes.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Frank and I joined my dad early this morning in DC. We immediately went to the hospital to check on Susan. Mary (Susan's sister) and her husband Robert joined us.
Today's update: Susan is still in the ICU and fully dependent on a ventilator due to fluid in her lungs. She has several drains and tubes to help reduce her fluid levels. The medical staff has her sedated and she is not in any pain. We are trying to find the right balance of sedation to keep her blood pressure stable and we are anxiously hoping the fluid recedes from her lung.
Susan has had a few moments of consciousness and knows who is with her. She gave me a wink when I said I love you.
Susan is fighting infection and our worst fear is sepsis.
We are literally taking it one hour at a time and praying for an improvement.
Please continue to pray for our Susan. We are not out of the woods yet.
Dad will post more once we have any updates.
We have created this blog to update everyone who loves our Susan. As you can imagine, it is very tough to keep everyone up to date. Please check the blog often for updates and leave comments below. I will share all of your comments of well wishes with Susan as soon as I am able. My apologies for not returning the many voice mails still waiting to be answered, but time is precious and I need to be with Susan.
Here is what happened in a nutshell - pasted from an email sent on June 16.
After about ten days of "waiting for it to pass" and waiting for the antibiotic to work, we got Susan to Sibley hospital here in D.C. She was admitted Tuesday. Today she had emergency abdominal surgery. I'm writing this because my state of shock won't let me talk about it.
CT scan showed nothing. (The artificial hip stuff got in the way.) IV antibiotics didn't zap the bugs immediately. Thank God for good pain medications. She slept the whole night last night. Her breathing became labored. Her abdomen became distended; everyone thought this was the diverticulitis and drugs fighting. Not so. A chest Xray was done this AM. The doc saw something he didn't like. A "leak" showed up and triggered the set up of emergency surgery. About 2:10 the procedure was started. Some time around 5, the doc explained the situation.
This is what I understand. There was indeed a perforation of the colon up near the small intestine in what they call the secum. The colon was distended there, which put too much stress on the wall. So nasty stuff was sloshing around her other organs..... They looked further and found a tumor blocking the colon near the rectum. It was biopsied immediately Results probably Monday. The growth had adhered itself to her left pelvic bone, which meant the doc couldn't snip out the affected section of the colon and excise the whole tumor. He clamped off the colon above the tumor. On either side of the clamp he installed a colostomy tube. The lower one will act as a drain for the plugged part of the colon. The upper one will evacuate the feces she processes. He considers these temporary for now.
The hospital is fighting the infection, which is life threatening. When the biopsy report comes on Monday, the next steps will be planned.
Susan's sister Mary and bro in law Bob are enroute now. They will arrive tomorrow AM. My daughter Rebecca and spouse Frank are coming down leaving about 12:00 midnight. Becca has more than 10 years of dealing with hospitals. She will be a great advocate and support to me.
For those who know, my grand children, Alice and Ben, were on their flight to D.C. when this episode started today. David and Jeanne Argoff and the kid's dad Cory worked with the airline to redirect them at Atlanta back to Dallas. They get the gold star of the day. Share this with people you think need to know.
Enuf already. I need some food and to get back to the hospital to ensure that the ICU nurse clearly understands her overnight duties.
Calling or texting my cell is OK, but I would prefer you leave comments here. If you can't reach me, you can always try my daughter, Rebecca (908) 447-8126. Don 't bother with Susan's; it's turned off. I'll try to keep people updated.
All my love,