Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fighting Through A Set Back

Last thurs phil finished his last chemo. It went pretty good. Leaving the hospital was very emotional for us but esp Phil. We gifted Stan's donuts to the oncology nurse staff and got out as fast as we could. A surreal feeling, as mom, Phil and I realized this would be the last chemo of all. We ordered a feast of Indian and Persian food to celebrate, and Phil's spirits were quite good regardless of post chemo side effects.

 Unfortunately, Monday Phil was experiencing unbearable pain and pressure in middle of chest. The kind he had once before when his heart was surrounded in fluid. After making dr appt that aft we were informed to go straight to er. His heart rate was 167- "the rate of a marathon runner". Obviously that's horrid to hear. Worse he could barely move without keeling over in excruciating pain.

Finally we got a room in er. Dr on call reminded me of House (except for the Hawaiian shirt) and he picked away at phil w questions over a few hrs, and finally figured out the problem. After xrays, EKG, cat scan we were informed that it was indeed pericardial effusion - fluid around the heart. Also another weird thing, the fast heartbeat was caused also by an abnormality in his heart called SVT. He has two "pace makers" in his heart, where everyone else has one. This means his rate can go through the roof because there's a confusion of rhythms. Obviously the two issues exasperated each others symptoms., I was just happy it wasn't a blood clot.

 Phil was given a med to bring heart rate down. Dr said usually the heart catches on and springs back into rhythm- amazing and it has def happened by today. He is down to 100ish, which is kind of high for average person but low for him.

 After being watched until late that night we were moved to telemetry on level 2. I requested a private room as we have been scarred by the crazy man we shared a room w last time this happened, and we got a room way off and behind high traffic areas, a great bonus.

Yesterday he had a heart echo and yes the fluid is still there. There was talk of draining the liquid or at least biopsy to determine if it is malignant. Phil's blood had dropped from 9 to 6 overnight. His white blood cell count is also not so pretty, so these two issues made the sticking of a needle into the tiny section surrounding his heart very dangerous and risky. He could bleed internally and easily get can infection with which he couldn't fight. So basically its a waiting game to see if fluid dissipates on its own as it did before.

We are frustrated because there are differing views on how to treat the PE from the Oncology drs standpoint and the cardiologists. Oncology is pushing for sample (sticking a needle into fluid surrounding heart), cardiology is saying no way too big of a risk. Phil and I have agreed that he is too broken to fix right now, he couldn't handle another life threatening procedure after months of getting weaker and weaker. Phil says that he wants to wait it out to see if it continues to dissipate as it did before, and I fully support that. He said his breathing is already a bit easier this morning, and his counts are back up too :)

A secondary heart echo will be performed tmrw and we will then determine if the meds Phil is taking are indeed bringing the inflammation down. I have a feeling things are headed in the right direction and the results will be positive.

When we left after chemo we really believed that was it. Phil is passed keeping upbeat, its impossible now for him. he has been beyond the definition of brave for so long, now he is just trying to stay alive. It hurts to talk or even reach for a glass of water so I'm trying my best to help any way I can. Prayer is keeping us sane.

Mom has been helping a ton, dads coming Saturday and they leave Sunday. I'm hoping were back home before then. They want to keep him here another few days, so we are just following orders. Phil's appetite is good, which is great. He's lost more weight so we need to stuff him with whatever he craves.

 Not much more to say, just thank u for keeping up to date. Much love, Hollie.

1 comment:

Sturge said...

Hollie and Phil - continue to rely on Jehovah and he will give you the strength to endure with dignity and a positive spirit. Hundreds of prayers are being said on your behalf, all over the world, by all those who know and love you :-)

We are so proud of your strength and patient endurance - you've been through a patch of life much tougher than most of us ever experience, meaning you have gained wisdom far beyond your years. I can only imagine the level of compassion and empathy you will have for others in the months and years ahead.

Can't wait to see you and Phil and mom Friday night. Hang in there sweetheart and give Phil a big (gentle) hug for me.

Dad xoxo