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Posts tagged ‘Small intestine’

Some good news!

I know that last week Lisa posted about our delay in treatment.  I got an update on that as well as some very welcome news along with it!

The reason that we had the delay in the first part was because of the clinical trial that I agreed to participate in.  In this trial they are developing a vaccine for Pancreatic Cancer.  I won’t go into the specifics now, but the whole thing is fascinating. Apparently though this vaccine needs to be administered one week before Chemo starts.  So that pushed us back a little.  In addition to that this is phase 3 (of 3) of the study.  This is the one that is presented to the FDA for approval before commercialization of the drug. Because the FDA strictly scrutinizes this particular aspect of the study, they are very particular about whom the allow as a subject.

Yesterday I received a call from my Oncologist (He’s also the one leading this study).  He old me that they had done a thorough review of my medical records and have determined that I’m not a candidate for this study.  You see, they are developing a vaccine for pancreatic cancer.  I don’t have pancreatic cancer.  I have Ampullary Cancer.  Although they are similar, they are different.

The Ampulla is somewhat similar to your body’s bile duct.  Bile ducts come from the Gall Bladder and the Liver, the Ampulla comes from the Pancreas.  Because this particular type of cancer is so rare, it doesn’t get its own classification.  It simply just gets lumped in with the pancreatic type.  Biologically though the two type of tumors are very different.  The Ampullary tumor is far less aggressive than the Pancreatic tumor.

According to Devalingam Mahalingam, M.D., Ph.D, my new oncologist, the rate of recurrence for Amullary Cancer, without Chemo and Radiation is only about 30%.  In fact, there are no clinical studies on Ampullary Cancer to even suggest that Chemo and Radiation reduce the chance of reoccurrence.  In my mind, that all very good news.  I have to be honest, the odds the doctors were giving us prior to yesterday were not anywhere as good as this.

Dr. Mahalingam did say that the treatment for both Pancreatic and Apullary tumors are identical.  He went on to say that in his clinical opinion I should go ahead and submit to Chemo and Radiation.  I am in total agreement.  So I will begin on Monday afternoon.

From my perspective this is simply affirming what I’ve believed all along.  Once this treatment is over, I get to return to my regular life again!  There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.

I have said many times, “God isn’t done with me yet.  I’ve got way too much to do!”


Post Surgery Day 2

 Day 2 was GREAT! I came in and Paul was pretty bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He was VERY happy I brought his laptop so he could do a little Facebooking and surfing. They had already moved him to a chair by the time I got there.

Dr. Halff came in with his trail of ducklings (residents!) and announced that Paul has the best lungs the ICU had ever seen! He checked him out and said his recovery is remarkable and to keep up the good work!

So we sat around and dozed and surfed and listened to some tunes today. Not much more than that though. Paul is still pretty tired and couldn’t concentrate very well. Paul insisted we did do a little work though with me returning some phone calls and taking dictation for some e-mails for Little Dog Entertainment…..can you believe?? It may have only been for 30 minutes but he WORKED the day after this surgery! lol! That’s my man!

He finally got moved into a private room out of ICU around 5pm. We shared our Skyline Chili recipe with our favorite ICU Nurse Juliana and we loaded Paul up for a chair ride to the other side of the 12th floor! See Ya! It’s much quieter so I am certain he will get a restful sleep tonight. I was there when they got him into bed and he is doing unbelievably well. The hardest thing about moving is all those tubes! But we got him in without incident and it felt great for him to stretch out again after a big day sitting up! So I tucked him all in, gave him lots of smooches and headed back to my temp homestead for some leftover Chinese food.

I know there have been some questions about all his tubes and wires and why can’t he have ice chips and things like that. Here is what he has:

tube down into his nose into his stomach– a surgery like this is pretty traumatic on the system and it essentially shuts down for a few days. unfortunately the body continues to produce acid so they use the tube to drain it out. This prevents ulcers, irritation of incision sites, etc.  Once there is evidence his system is up and running again (he passes gas) they will remove the tube and he may start with ice chips. Until then NO FLUIDS at all. He is burping and that is a sign things are starting to work again but we still need a good fart! Paul is pretty much a pro at farting so this shouldn’t take long! ha ha ha!

epidural-still has the epidural for pain control and will have that in until his system is up and running and he can take pain medication orally.

catheter-this will stay in as long as the epidural is in. We don’t need Paul peeing all over himself since he is pretty much numb from chest to knees.

Central Line-Paul has a central line in his neck with 3 ports on it. It’s temporarily stitched in and dressed with a bandage. The 3 ports hang out and they hook up his fluids, antibiotics or any other fun things they need to pour into him. Today he got a cocktail for protecting the lining of his stomach and small intestine!

Drain Lines- Paul has three drain tubes. One on either side of the incision and one towards the middle. This drains any blood and excess fluid from the incision area. They drain into bulbs (like a turkey baster! lol!). 

He also has one more small IV in his hand and is taking oxygen. That’s a lot of tubes! They are constantly monitoring these fluids and have reported everything looks exactly like it’s supposed to!

The plan for tomorrow is to get him up and walking some. Paul did mention when he got out of bed and into the chair this morning he could feel things moving around in there. Getting him up and moving around will help get his system started again.  Once we do that they will take out the tube in his nose and he can start on some clear liquids. And that’s all this poor man wants is some water! Those that know Paul well rarely see him without a big tumbler of water with lots of ice and lemon! That’s been the hardest part according to him! So hopefully he will get that reward after a good show tomorrow!

thank you again for all the prayers and well wishes!

Time To Get Organized

Well, it’s finally here….time to get serious about this surgery…..everyone has been listening to us bitch about how bored we are and how tired we are of waiting but now that it’s time to start mobilizing the troops…….I don’t want too……but I will of course….once we get rolling I will be ok…..it’s the getting started part that is tough….

What do I have to do? Well, things I couldn’t do until now….I want the house clean and nice for my mother in-laws stay so that means cleaning of bathroom and bedroom, fresh sheets, pick up and dust, etc……it’s my mother in law so I am not going to go hog-wild but its current state is simply not acceptable……I have been a little lax these last few weeks in the area of housekeeping….

We also need to grocery shop. It’s a pretty big deal with 2 teens in the house and knowing you won’t be back for 7-10 days. Rachel wants to do some cooking so we will make sure she has ingredients for some of her “special dishes”.  I am quite sure friends will want to bring stuff and my family is the EASIEST to cook for! They love just about EVERYTHING! Chicken dishes, tacos, salads, pork, beef and seafood…they love it all. Not huge fans of spaghetti but love lasagna. Seriously, if anyone is wanting to bring something by, the kids and Grandma love it all 😀

Some have asked me what Paul will be able to eat when he comes home. From what we have read, they will have him on soft foods by the time he leaves so I am assuming he will be able to eat chicken, pastas, mashed potatoes and things like that. I am certain we will want to steer clear of anything too spicy or too heavy. Since this surgery involves removing his gall bladder Paul will need to steer clear of high fat foods as well so nothing fried and we will need to lay off the heavy butter and oils. So things like a nice stew or casserole will be great! And by the way, Paul LOVES puddings and pies and pretty much any flavor! lol!

If any readers have experience in the area of eating after a Whipple procedure, we would LOVE to hear from you!

The biggest difference he will experience is he won’t be able to eat a lot. This surgery will involve a resectioning of his stomach and small intestine so he will have to change his eating patterns to small portions 6 times a day vs. two large meals….as he is accustomed to eating……this will be a challenge for the free-lance musician/booking agent owner who spends a lot of evenings working gigs…..that lifestyle doesn’t exactly support healthy eating habits…..but his clever wife already has that under control with a little cooler and an ice pack! Have snacks will travel!

Other than that we still need to get a hotel room in S. A.  Paul has been playing phone tag with the Cancer Society to see what they have available. I want to make sure it isn’t a country mile away from the hospital. Otherwise we may just Priceline it and Paul has always done GREAT on Priceline…..you should try it sometime!

I am a little concerned about how much rehearsal time I am going to miss. I think I can keep it at a minimum provided he recovers well, which we anticipate. This one is still fluid at the moment…..we just can’t tell until we see how he does after surgery……and truth me told, I have my song down so it just needs some fine tuning and I don’t have too many lines so I am confident I can keep up 😀

What we are hoping for is a day or two in ICU then 5 – 7 more days in a private room then he gets sent home. Paul is bringing this huge binder with the scores for The Producers and Full Monty so he can help transpose the music into a smaller instrumentation. I would like to publicly thank JESUS for getting us these scores and providing my husband something to KEEP HIM BUSY during this hospital stay! THANK YOU LORD! So now he won’t be looking at ME saying how BORED he is! ……. I can see it now….”Honey, I am working here. Don’t you have a rehearsal you can go to?” HA HA HA HA! We can only hope and pray!

The children will be under the watchful eye of Grandma, church family and our theatre/teacher friends! I’ll be putting a schedule together for their weeks worth of activities and setting up some logistics with friends for rides and things. Thankfully we live in such a small town and everything is so close by I have dozens of people I can call on to shuttle a kid home from a school or church activity. Another blessing I can count!

So it’s time to start putting that plan in motion! Let’s get on with it!

A Prayer for Paul

We received this from a friend of a friend! I thought it was simply beautiful and a good prayer for people who might not know what to say to God. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the words but this one is perfect……Thank you Hilda!!

Compassionate Father, our brother Paul Klemm needs Your tender loving care as he has been diagnosed with cancer in the small intestine.  He will have further tests to determine treatment, however, he is sure he will have surgery to remove the cancer.  He has much in his favor, Father, as You well know, and he is young.  Father, I ask that You guide his surgical/medical team and give them the wisdom to find the proper treatment.  Father, I ask that You give him, Lisa, and the rest of his family comfort, strength and the courage they will need as Paul begins his treatments. May they find that the treatments be easy and not make him ill. Please fill them with Your grace and  give them Your wonderful peace that surpasses all understanding. In Jesus’ precious name I pray.  Amen.


Health Update 3/4/11

Just so everyone knows….Paul FEELS GREAT! ha ha ha! Ok…maybe GREAT is a stretch but he feels better than he has since before Christmas…..

Bile backing up in your system produces results like jaundice, unbearable itching, diarrhea, sporadic fevers and exhaustion. Since the doctor last week had no gall stone to remove, he inserted a plastic tube to essentially bypass the problem area. Now Paul’s bile is working the way it’s supposed to and he can actually digest food correctly….his weight loss has leveled out (he fits into the suit he wore on our wedding day! BRAT!) and the itching is almost gone and he is FINALLY sleeping through the night……

He is also starting to get his MoJo back……which is good ’cause he is going to need it……’cause really, this entire thing is just such a damn inconvenience for him! lol! He has PLANS! He has WORK! He has MUSIC and DEALS to MAKE! He doesn’t have time for this shit! ha ha ha! That is so Paul……my unstopable force……my force to be reckoned with…..my stubborn husband who wears it so well that I just roll my eyes and go along with him….’cause there is no telling him any different….

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