Monday, March 24, 2008

Update 3/24/08

Good Morning.
Yesterday Tom and I had a great Easter. Here he is wearing his new Easter buff (thanks Penny and John!). Last week went well. We got out of the house a few times and Tom got back on the computer to check email.

I'm heading back to work today so Tom is his own social secretary again! He is checking emails and taking walks which is as close to perfect as we can wish for right now. He still has some R&R in his future but everything seems great.

The next milestone is Friday when we get the stitches out and after that is an MRI early April.

As always we thank each and every one of you for your love and prayers.

Love Theresa

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Update 03/16/08

As things calm down the updates will become less frequent and it is my fervent hope it will never get active again. That said, we do have a few more exciting weeks. Today for example we had a one-off experience: a home hair cut.

Faye came by to help Tom transition back to a more even look. Thank you for brightening our day. In the next weeks Tom will start some new drugs, get his stiches out and will hopefully be back at work by the end of the the month.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Update 3/14/08

Well we are home and I am waiting for that flood of happiness that will engulf me. Six days ago I was unsure if Tom would walk back into our home but now as he sleeps I really feel just a bit tired.

We are working hard to get back to normal and that will happen in due time. In the meantime we are figuring out new drugs and getting back into managing the old ones. There is bill paying and grocery shopping on the horizon and all sorts of in-home infrastructure to be dealt with.

Both of our employers have been kind and understanding and we are very grateful. We have more family members and friends than we can count send wishes and prayers through calls, emails, and TM. The requests to visit have been large and I thank you for understanding the time is just not right...yet. Soon Tom will be dying to see a face which is not attached to my body :-)

Trey Bean, a long time friend of Tom's sent these pictures today taken from a tall building in Dallas during last Tuesday's fog. Without getting verbose I present them as an analogy to Tom's last week.

Love Theresa

Update 3/14/08

We are going home!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Update 3/12/2008 (done on 3/14)

Tom made it out of ICU! It took all day since the hospital is full but by 9 p.m. he was on his way. Special thanks to the ICU nurses Lissa and Ruth (and our old friend Mary from the first lap).

Tommy and I left the hospital at 10 p.m. last night and Tom was happy. The TV repair man was working in his room, he had a cup of Blue Bell Ice Cream and the pain med had kicked in. It was a long day for Tom but hopefully things can slow down now.

It is likely he will be home Friday or Saturday. How amazing right? Brain surgery and maybe home within 100 hours.

Love Theresa

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Update 3/12/08

Wow I think I just broke through the hospital's blog filter. For two days I could not post on site. Yipee!

Anyway Tom is doing super today. He has pain but also has drugs which I always think is a great combination (like bittersweet chocolate and a nice cab...). At this moment is is getting an ultrasound. I can't show an actual picture right now because they won't let me photograph it. It is Phillips Doplar IU22. I'm not sure why they think it is top secret as this picture is on the web. Anyway this is going on up and down his legs and should help someone evaluate his long standing blood clot.

They keep promising to move him to his own room soon but the hospital is still full. I'm sure he will be in a private room soon. Overall he is weak and a little goofy but healing very well.

We have met with Dr. Kew, Tom's oncologist and have determined the next course of treatment (more chemo, no radiation). Thanks for your continued interest.

Love Theresa

Update 3/11/08 (on 3/12)

3/11/08 was a great day. In a nutshell the surgery went great and Tom is recovering.

(Begin details)
The day started at early and we were admitted to the hospital at 6 a.m. (again "we" is really "Tom"). At 7 a.m. the nurse brought Tom his stylish gown and stockings and he signed a lot of papers. At 8 a.m. they rolled him out for an 8:15 start. Tom has a great doctor who shared Tom's taste in music so Tom brought him a Don Henley CD which they played during the operation.

At 11:30 the doctor found me in a PACKED waiting room and said everything went great. They were still in there sewing him up but Dr. Blacklock felt they had a total resection, no excessive bleeding and no complications. He was very pleased.

At 12:30 or so I was allowed a three minute visit and Tom looked great. He was drugged but very calm and peaceful.

As it turns out not only was the waiting room packed the entire hospital was. The patient rooms were all full so people from ICU could not be moved out. That means ICU is full and the recovery patients can't move out. Tom finally went into ICU at 7:30 p.m.

Once there and settled he got another great staff and when I left him at 9:30 he was sleepy and hoping for some Jello.

(end details)

I'm heading back now to catch the doctor before rounds. Your calls, text messages, and emails mean so much. I am sharing each with Tom!

Love Theresa

Monday, March 10, 2008

Update 3/10/08

Here is a graphic of the Stealth machine that is going to help Tom's surgeon.

Update 3/10/2008 2 p.m.

Today Tom went in for his pre-op.

This involves more fun stuff than I can write in a single blog posting. I will try and summarize.

We (I use this figuratively) start with giving blood. I think Tom has lost 10 pounds in blood over the past weeks. He looks like a pin cushion :-) . Then he answers about 100 questions and we meet with the insurance coordinator. I would like to be an insurance coordinator. Basically they say they will call you later and if they don't bring your credit card to the operation (really).

Next we head to the MRI. Tom gets contrast in through an IV (another stick) so that the MRI can give a better image to the doctor.

Then they shave part of his head and apply fiducials. There are 8 fiducials applied in a circle around his head and 2 more placed on the tumor area. These are sticky circles that serve as markers for the doctor to use the next day. Read below for more information on fiducials according to Wikipedia.

-- Start complicated stuff:
In radiotherapy "fiducial" points are landmarks in the tumour so that treatment targets the correct area of the body.
A fiduciary marker or fiducial is an object used in the field of view of an imaging system which appears in the image produced.
Markers may be used to make otherwise invisible or difficult to distinguish features of an image more visible. Markers can simplify computerized image processing applications such as motion capture, by providing an easy-to-track feature in images which follows the movements of the marked subject.
The appearance of markers in images may act as a reference for image scaling, or may allow the image and physical object, or multiple independent images, to be correlated. By placing fiduciary markers at known locations in a subject, the relative scale in the produced image may be determined by comparison of the locations of the markers in the image and subject.
Images of the same subject produced with two different imaging systems might be correlated by placing a fiduciary marker in the area imaged by both systems. In this case, a marker which is visible in the images produced by both imaging modalities must be used. By this method, functional information from SPECT or positron emission tomography might be related to anatomical information provided by magnetic resonance imaging.
-- End complicated stuff

All joking aside we are so very happy with the medical care Tom is getting at Methodist. We recommend them very very much.

The next step is to go home and relax. Tom should eat healthy and not have alcohol AND cannot have any food or drink after midnight. Me on the the other hand can drink heavily and eat myself into a coma. I will try and refrain.

We start tomorrow very early. He should be out of surgery by noon. I will try and get on the blog as soon as possible after and update. Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Update 3/9/2008

Well as the big day gets closer we are calmly preparing. Here is Tom getting his pre-pre-op haircut. During the surgery they only shave what is necessary so this time we decided to get more of a buzz cut in advance to avoid the "Riff Raff" look.

Here Tom is with his long-time hair cutter Faye. I must admit I do like the short George Clooney look!

Tomorrow we start early with blood work, MRI, and the positioning of little dots on his head to help the surgeon and the associated laser machine. I will write more Monday.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Update 3/3/08 3 p.m.

Today Tom went in and had a filter placed in his vena cava. This filter will catch any clots that break free and capture them before going to the lungs which would result in a pulmonary embolism (very bad event). Since Tom has blood clots in his leg and cannot be on Coumadin for a while this was a necessary precaution. Here is a picture of the filter. I thought it would be like a screen but actually it is like a relaxed daddy longlegs. All this is done through a small incision in his groin area.

It was out patient and we are now home and he is (supposedly) resting. He will be at work tomorrow.

Love Theresa

Update 3/3/08 5 a.m.

Thank you for checking in.

Last June when Tom was first diagnosed with a brain tumor the love and prayers he received from all over the country were amazing. I fully credit them with the very successful eight months we have had. Aside from an annoying blood clot in his leg, Tom has been doing terrific.

Last Friday during his MRI a tumor recurrence was spotted. Unlike his first event which was the size of a golf ball this growth is described as a 1 cm “button.” It should be easily removed and we will be back on track.

The first step in the procedure happens today when Tom has a filter placed in an artery so that should his blood clot break free during or after the next surgery it will not make its way to the heart or lungs.

On March 11, we will return to Methodist for the actual tumor removal.
There is not a thing we need but your love and prayers. And frankly we would really appreciate all you can spare. Thank you again.

Love Theresa