Archive for March, 2009
Today was too interesting. There was a “small” earthquake 60 miles away that measured 4.3 on the Richter Scale. It did no damage here. The family’s beloved elderly dog had 5 seizures. The Wound Vac (WV) quit working this evening. At 10 p.m., Dan said, “We need to fix the leaks in the WV bandage.”
I worked on that for one hour…at 11 p.m., I said, “I have done everything I know to do, but I can’t get the hose attached to the sponge inside your leg. I give up! I’m going to put on a regular gauze bandage.” Just as I was ready, the electricity went off. Working by light from a battery powered lantern, and a flashlight, it took me an hour to get that bandage on.
We met with Dr. Jahan, the supervising Oncologist of Dan’s case. He was delighted with the healthy flap. He was very concerned about the terrible pain Dan has because of the lymph fluid collection in his leg. He changed to Neurontin to modulate the pain, Oxycodone which is in a slow acting base and will not make Dan as sleepy. He also told us that I am to continue massaging Dan’s legs with Traumeel cream 5 – 10 minutes at a time, but to do it as soon as the pain begins.
This evening, after a 5 hour trip which included seeing the Doctor, getting Dan’s prescriptions filled, and buying a lightweight portable wheelchair to be used for distances too far for Dan to walk, we both were very tired. Dan’s legs were hurting. I gently massaged Dan’s legs with Traumeel as soon as we got home. Ten minutes later, his pain level was down to a O!
The good news is that Dr. Jahan is pleased with the flap. He smiled a big smile when he said, “The flap is wonderful. It looks just like it is supposed to!” The disappointing news is that Dan must wait until May to have any more tests. Dan’s body must be stronger, with more weight on his bones, and the flap needs to be healed. After the tests, Dr. Jahan will decide what the next step in Dan’s treatment will be. We must stay focused on, “The Lord is my Shepherd. Nothing shall I lack.” Ps. 23:1. Trust, glorify Him in the midst of trial, trust, tell of His great love, trust, trust. — Anne and Dan
The day started off well. We made it to church before it started! But Dan did not take in the mattress for the recliner. His feet were lower than his knees the entire morning – getting ready to go, riding in the car round trip, sitting in church. By the time we got home, fluid retention created dreadful pain in his feet and legs. When the RN changed the bandage, she assured him that the wound is clean, healthy, just terrible fluid retention was going on. Dan was miserable. I had to pray and work hard to stay calm with him so upset and confused.
The RN successfully changed the sponge, and adjusted the location of the tape so his irritated skin can heal. The Wound Vac has been quiet all day. As soon as the RN was gone, Dan let me give him Lasik to drain off excess fluid, prop his ankles higher than his knees, and massage his feet and legs until the pain eased. We both were exhausted. He slept most of the afternoon.
Tomorrow, 12:30, we meet with Dan’s Oncologist, Dr. Jahan, who supervises Dan’s care. We wonder what he will say…any suggestions about what treatment is next – radiation, chemo, nothing until the flap is healed. (The opening in the incision is now 0.3, down from 0.6 according to the RN.)
For the third night in a row, God has given me Luke 9:46 – 62; Luke 10, Luke 11: 1 – 13. There are so many messages there – welcome and care for children in the name of Jesus; there is a great cost to following Jesus (being an intentional follower of Jesus is only for those who will truly learn and obey Him); the harvest for Jesus is ready but there aren’t many workers who are willing to work in Jesus’ fields; our neighbor is anyone we come upon who is in need; it is better to learn from Jesus than to keep so busy with work that you have no time for Jesus; Jesus taught how to pray; and “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you….How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Can you hear what Jesus is saying to you in this? We ask God every day to help us, guide us, protect us, use us as tools in His hands to glorify Him. That can only happen if we learn to listen and obey. — Anne and Dan
Our son, daughter in law, and 13 year old grandson made Dan 2 “mattresses” to fit each of his lightweight recliners. Working as a team, they used a 3″ memory foam mattress topper cutting it with a sharp tool. Resting on that now, his ankles easily stay elevated above the level of his knees. Dan’s pain level has improved, the swelling has gone down in both of his feet and ankles, and his right leg is not nearly as swollen as it was!
With many surgeries, the incision is healed in six weeks. Dan’s incision where the large sarcoma was removed is about half healed. Most people begin to feel quite well 6 weeks after surgery. Dan is beginning to feel better for half a day. The cellulitis in his leg put him behind schedule. Also, no one can say how much the 2 sarcomas in his lungs are sapping his strength.
However, he is gaining weight which is a very positive sign. He had the energy to go with me Thursday to buy our little car during the good half of his day. This morning he fixed breakfast, took a walk outside in the yard. After lunch, while I went for a massage, he did some bookkeeping…but sat too long. That caused his feet, and his his right leg to swell badly.
When I got home, I spent 1/2 hour massaging his legs very gently to help get the excess fluid moving in the right direction. Then, I spent 1 1/2 hour searching for and taping the leaks in the tape holding the Wound Vac drain on his body. The popping is only 1 soft pop every 5 seconds and then about 8 pops one right after the other. I may put the comforter around it tonight. One very bright spot in our day was when we drove down to cliffs above the beach to watch the waves together, and when Dan went inside the Post Office to get our mail for the first time.
May God bless and guide you…and may we all listen and obey His guidance. — Anne and Dan
Last summer while we were in Romania, we started looking for an inexpensive used car. But it didn’t work out. We were disappointed, but there was a reason that we didn’t know about…Dan had cancer again and we were going to have to return to the U.S. We would not need a car in Romania. We were going to need a car in the U.S.
While we were in North Richland Hills, and when we came out here, Christians loaned us their extra car. But we believed we needed a car of our own. About 2 weeks ago, Dick Blythe, nephew of our friend Martha Hodges (mother of our friend Laurie Bishop and Grandmother of Brenna), phoned us. Dick said, “Martha told me you were out here. Is there anything I can do to help?” I said, “Well, in fact, there is. We need to find an inexpensive, good used car to take Dan back and forth to his many doctors’ appointments. Dick replied, “One of our church members, Marie Brooks, owns Ellis Brooks Cars. I’ll talk to her.”
Today, Marie and her son, Arthur Brooks sold us a beautiful, “very clean,” 2000 Saab 93…are your ready for this — a black Saab convertible with only 58,000 miles, and an excellent 2 year warranty! Arthur personally delivered the car to our home in Montara! Marie knew up front what we could manage. She brought the price down without us even asking. Yes, in our mid 70’s, we are going to be zooming along the Pacific Coast highway “living it up!” (Well, at least we’ll have a good, safe, fun car to take us to Dan’s doctors, and when he’s well, maybe we will take a trip up the coast!) : > )
The Wound Vac is working well tonight. We have friends and family around the world praying for us. We have all that we need and more. Tomorrow, there’ll be a photo of our “new” Saab for you to see. God never ceases to surprise us with good things! — Anne and Dan
Today has been a repeat of trouble with the wound vac (WV), and many phones calls to doctors, waiting for their Resident Assistants to call us back, and doing our best to make the WV work. I found a 2″ long place where the tape had come loose, I retaped it and put special “glue” to seal the tiny leaks. That worked for almost 2 hours. The RN WV specialist came and made a quick repair on the tape this afternoon. But it didn’t last. Lymph fluid is gathering under the tape rather than going out the drain tube. The tape comes loose and the machine loses pressure, and the beep,beep, beep begins…every few minutes. Then, we have to reset the machine.
It is past bedtime now. Rather than stay up until 2 a.m. like I did last night trying to keep the WV working, we are going to remove the tape and the sponge. I will put on a regular bandage to absorb the drainage for the night. In the morning, I’ll put on a fresh bandage. The WV specialist comes tomorrow afternoon to put in a new sponge, and tape it with special tape. We thank you in advance for your prayers. Please, pray that there will be no further difficulties with the WV.
We still believe that Jesus was telling the truth when He said, “…Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9 – 10 — Anne and Dan
I don’t understand mechanical things…and I really don’t understand the Wound Vac (WV). The popping sound went on all last night and today until after Ruben, the RN, changed the sponge. He could not get it to be quiet, but it was better. About 30 minutes after Ruben left, Dan asked, “Do you hear the Wound Vac?” I listened…and heard a few very soft pops every minute! It has been quiet since then. We are truly thankful for that!
Oops, spoke too soon – for the last 1 1/2 hours we’ve been “fighting” with the W V. It sounded the alarm many times that there was blockage, and stopped working. We could not find any blockage. Then the alarm sounded several times to tell us the liter canister was full of fluid. (It had about 1 tablespoon of fluid.) We rebooted the machine. It seemed to work, but it just now sounded the alarm that there is blockage. I stopped and fixed it. It is quietly working. Maybe I can go to sleep?
Dan’s right foot, ankle, and the flap area have been swollen today. The Dr. said for Dan to walk some, and that he doesn’t need to prop his foot much. Dan is worn out from lying with his ankle higher than his knee and heart. (We have been told to pay attention that the ankle is higher than the knee. The fluid has trouble getting over the knee if the ankle is lower than the knee.) Tomorrow is another day. We pray the swelling will go down, and that the plastic surgery flap will heal, and that Dan’s body become free of cancer.
We are grateful for this sunny day, for the Feldenkreis therapy that Dan had today which helps his body become pain free and function better, for the phone conversation I had with Dottie, for the yummy stir-fry dinner tonight, for the love and prayers of our precious family and friends.
Psalm 107 concludes with this, “He lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks. The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths. Whoever is wise let him heed these things and consider the great love of the Lord.” — Anne and Dan