This is for Jeanne. She is currently not well enough to write to or talk with you herself. Today is Day 1 of Week 5 in the hospital. She was admitted July 21 because of problems with digestion that were complications from her ovarian cancer. That cancer was first diagnosed in March 2015.
Over this past spring and summer she had slowly increasing symptoms of low energy, loss of appetite, nausea, reflux, occasional vomiting and abdominal pain. She also had ascites - an accumulation of fluid in the low abdomen. All this had begun to really limit her ability to join friends for a meal or, well, almost anything. By the time she was admitted she was no longer able to hold down any food or water.
When she was admitted there was great hope that they would treat her nausea and give her intravenous fluids and nutrition, then start a new course of chemo that would get her cancer under control and begin to reverse all the symptoms. The hope was this would take a few days to a week, then she would go home and start the new chemo as an out-patient. It hasn’t proven to be so easy.
She had an IV port already so that was convenient to supply nausea and pain medication, TPN and Lipid nutrition, and whatever else was needed. After a few days a PEG tube was placed to drain digestive fluids and anything else from her stomach. Nothing was passing through her digestive tract.
There were ups and downs in adjusting all the medications. We both had to get past the use of morphine … it does control pain well. The nausea started to come under control. Then they decided to administer the first round of the new cycle of chemo July 29 while she was in the hospital. That was tough but Jeanne is pretty brave and got through it. Then there was more nausea and more pain and now high blood pressure. Then the meds for the high blood pressure created more nausea. A new drug for nausea contributed to more reflux. You get the picture.
She stayed in hospital to control all of that and to have the second round of the chemo August 5. More of all the above and now more reflux. Then as all the meds were stabilizing her symptoms her docs began to move to medications that Jeanne could take at home that were delivered non-IV: pills and patches. It was like starting over.
It was sad to think that Jeanne would spend her birthday August 9 here in the hospital. I sent reminders to a few of you friends and family suggesting you send her a card; I emailed less than 20 of you. Thank you all for your beautiful cards, notes, paintings, photos, music, new PJs … and for passing on the word to so many others who Jeanne knows and loves. More than 100 B-day cards etc. have arrived for her as of August 19. There is a lot of love, concern, good wishes and prayers for Jeanne out there in the big wide world.
There have been more ups and a lot of downs. More difficulty getting dosages right. More of all her original symptoms but to new extremes. The good news is that Jeanne is receiving excellent care. But overall … she is not well.
Her second cycle of chemo was to start today. It was postponed while the docs wait for her blood markers to indicate that she has recovered enough to tolerate the next round. Maybe Monday. We remain hopeful that she can resume her chemotherapy and begin to see some signs of recovery from the symptoms caused by the cancer. I’ll keep you posted.