May 30, 2020 Latest post:
Jun 15, 2020
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
In December of 2019, Steve was diagnosed with Small Cell Carcinoma in his lungs. Because he was already on oxygen for Pulmonary Fibrosis, his only option was chemotherapy. He did some rounds of chemo between January and May, and it seemed to be working well on the cancerous spot in his lungs. We were looking forward to stopping the chemotherapy soon, until he had what we THINK was a bad reaction to the chemo in early May. He was hospitalized for a week in The Villages, where he was treated and released. Just a week later, after complaining of dizziness and headaches, he was admitted to the hospital again. After a scan of his head, doctors quickly realized he had a tumor in his brain stem. They transported him to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, where he is now.
The night he arrived at Shands (Sunday, May 24), the doctor told him they would be doing surgery the next day to remove the tumor. Thankfully they have lightened COVID restrictions enough that one person is allowed to be in the hospital with each patient, so Nancy is allowed to be in with him. The following morning (Memorial Day) he had two seizures, so they intubated him and rushed him into surgery to take care of the tumor, which was the cause of the seizures. The surgeon said they were very successful in removing the tumor, but for some reason they could not stop the bleeding that the surgery had caused. He was in surgery for hours as they tried to stop the bleeding and gave him transfusions. Finally they were able to slow the bleeding enough to put him in ICU with a drain in hopes the bleeding would stop. Thankfully, it did stop after the next two days in recovery, where he was still heavily sedated. The doctors warned that although the bleeding had stopped, it was possible that he may have brain damage from the tumor, surgery, and excessive bleeding. Time will tell before we know the answer to that.
On Wednesday, the doctors took out his breathing tube and lessened his sedation to see if he could breathe on his own. He was able to breathe with oxygen and even respond to simple questions by squeezing Nancy's hand. He seemed to understand that he was in the hospital, knew what year it was, and could move his hands and feet. This is promising as it lessens the potential severity of brain damage, if there is any. However, after a few hours, he stopped breathing and had to be intubated again. On Friday (May 29), the doctors decided to do another surgery to put in a feeding tube and tracheotomy to help give Steve nutrients and lessen the potential for pneumonia. If they lessen his sedation, it is possible that he will be able to talk and eat with the tracheotomy until he is well enough to take it out. He is still able to respond to simple questions and move hands and feet, so we are hopeful that as they lessen the sedation, we will see even more improvement. We will try to put in daily updates and will read any messages we get here to Steve. We know he would appreciate your support.