Saturday, August 27, 2011

in the hospital

On Wednesday at about 4:00 Sarah went to the hospital to get checked cause she was in so much pain and couldn't keep anything down. Turns out she has a blocked colon. She was admitted to the hospital where they inserted a tube from her stomach up through her esophagus and out her nose. It is to relieve the pressure in her stomach. Her stomach right now is the size of a football and her colon is as hard as a rock. She is in so much pain. Her friend Emily is there with her and of course Shaun doing all they can but she is in poor spirits. They might have to do surgery if they can't solve this problem in other ways. She and Shaun really, really don't want her to have to go through surgery. So pray that it will be resolved without surgery. As far as I know she is still in hospital but I'm not sure what is going on. She was in the middle of her 2nd round of chemo and was supposed to have the 2nd part of it yesterday - but I'm thinking they probably are just focusing on this problem right now. I hate to think of my little sister in so much pain and this on top of everything else she is dealing with. Just thought I'd let everyone know so you can send her some cheer if you want. Oh, her address in New York is:

132 West 32nd Street
New York, NY 10001
(this isn't the hospital - it's the Hope Lodge where she is staying so it's good even after she gets released from the hospital)

Thank you all!!

PS - Hurricane Irene is supposed to hit New York today or this evening. They have shut down all the subways and canceled flights out of all 3 airports but Sarah and Shaun feel like they are in a pretty good place for a disaster - a place with food and medical supplies. So, hopefully they will be ok.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

1st day of chemo

This was our first week of real treatment and boy has it been intense. First, there was much anxiety surrounding Sarah's belly due to the fact that she had been presenting with so many symptoms last week the doctors were very concerned thinking about the possibility of a surgery. However, after several scans and some blood work we were excited to learn that all was a go for chemotherapy as long as Sarah didn't go and get herself with child.
Whenever I think of the disease, "Sarcomatoid Peratineal Mesothelioma," in my mind I see it as a nasty, "Cancer with an Attitude" full of fight and whenever it gets pushed, it pushes right back. This is why the chemotherapy approach is so sensitive. The most empowering thing for a patient to do with this disease is to get into a medical trial. That way, the "disease with an attitude," doesn't know what's hitting it and if it tries to react, we can hit it with a proven medication. So, that is what we are doing. We started Tuesday and we are going to punch this cancer in the face! This week, we will also be getting a port. Cancer can cause long term failure of the veins primarily at point of insertion. That is what makes a port the safest approach, a port is a small devise that is inserted just below the skin in the chest which connects to a catheter, which connects to a vein. This allows easy, hook-up without placing the veins at as much risk. It seems as if with the schedule in place, the port inserted and a good exercise, diet plan from our meetings in Pittsburgh we feel in a very good place to beat this bad-boy down.

So today I got my very first dose of chemotherapy. I was really nervous. Shaun had to leave before I woke up to go and get our friend Holly and help her take the Subway to the hospital (she's only 17, visiting from Pittsburgh). I woke up to Cindy Lauper's True Colors and immediately started to cry. It was a chaotic and exhausting day. We ended up waiting at the hospital for 5 hours before I actually got seen by my doctor. I was a stressed-out wreck by the time we finally met with Dr. Taub and Alethia (his PA). They did a great job of calming me down and explained how I'd likely react to the different medications. They told me that there hasn't been much growth since the last CT scan, which was great to hear. The actual chemotherapy session was pretty anticlimactic.. It was super short. Holly read to me while Shaun went to drop off my new prescriptions. The nurse given me the medication sympathized with me over my very long tedious wait Then it was just over. We were walking out before Shaun even came back to join us. I started to get pretty nauseated on the way back to the subway. I thought I was going to be okay, but just when we were all the way down to the very bottom level, it hit me. There was really nowhere to go, so I ended up puking onto the tracks under a stagnant train. It was pretty embarrassing, but I immediately felt better and have felt okay ever since. I am just so relieved to have already started my treatment. Last night I was practicing my kickboxing moves so I could get all geared up to fight my very unwelcome cancer invasion.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New York

Sarah is on her way to New York to start chemotherapy at Columbia Medical Center. The doctor treating her there specializes in Mesothelioma and Sarcoma and really knows how to treat this rare cancer. Her cancer has gotten worse and they will be doing systemic chemo for a few months and then move to peritoneal chemo until she is to the point that she can have a debulking surgery done. We are scared for her but know that she is super tough and can fight this. Please pray for her. She will really need help during this hard time.

Also, I am starting another fundraiser - so if you didn't get a chance to donate or if you want to donate again - please do. I will try to get her address soon so you can send her well wishes in New York.