Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hospital Update

I cannot express how touched I have felt by the outpouring of messages, phone calls, emails, facebooks, and support from so many who have reach out to me during this time.  My family and I thank you for the immense role that you are playing in my healing and in the strength that I draw from your support during this time. Your thoughts and prayers have definitely been working! 
The best news that we've received so far is that the tumor has not extended down my neck.  The tumor appears to have swelled, which is an expected side-effect of the radiation.  The doctors say that the swelling should subside in about a year.

The next best news is that I should be able to resume my radiation very soon - either by Thursday of this week or Monday of next week at the latest.  It is imperative that I complete my radiation treatment since surgery is not thought to be a viable option at this time.  My team of physicians is also exploring other outside the box options in conjunction with the radiation treatment in the hopes that we may be able to achieve some shrinkage of the tumor in the future.  This is excellent news!  This is the silver lining of having gotten this rare clot in my jugular vein.  It has put me back in the forefront of my doctor’s minds and they are once again intrigued by what a rare case mine appears to be.  In addition to this outside of the box exploration they are also looking into a plan B just in case the radiation is not effective.  One of my physicians is speaking to a world expert this week about my case and seeing if I am a candidate for a new experimental treatment.  Of course, the hope is that the radiation will be effective and stop the growth of my tumor.  But like all who know me know, I'm a plan A, B, C, and D type of a girl.  So having my doctors speaking to world experts about my case and exploring all possible options gives me great peace of mind and once again makes me realize how blessed I am.

For the past couple of days the doctors have had me on IV blood thinners in order to manage the blood clot.  It is tricky to get the blood thinners at the appropriate levels in my blood so they had to draw blood every 6 hours in order to manage the amount of thinners they were giving me.  This has been the worst part of my hospital stay by far.  Like I had said earlier, I'm a huge pain chicken.  Needles had started to not bother me as much but the blood thinners cause me to bruise very easily.  On top of that, we can't draw blood from the arm that my IV was receiving the blood thinners and that arm happens to be the one with good veins.  So I was running out of veins because every time they stuck me, I would bruise and it would hurt.  But I can stop being a cry baby already because that's all over now!  I only have to check my blood levels daily now and they have disconnected the IV so I can use the veins on the good arm.  Just this development alone today has me feeling a million times better!  The only downside to disconnecting the IV is that I'm on a new self administered medication shot to replace the IV blood thinner.  They've done this so that I can leave the hospital and return to my radiation treatments as soon as possible.  I'll have to administer these shots once daily to my stomach area until my new blood thinning oral medication reaches the appropriate levels in my blood.  Then I can stop the shots and just take my oral blood thinner and I'll only require a weekly blood test to monitor the levels of blood thinner.  I will be on blood thinners for approximately six months.  They require monitoring of your diet and of course being extremely careful to not cut yourself or hurt yourself because I'll be at increased risk for excessive bleeding.  The blood thinners can also cause blood clots so it's something I just have to keep a close eye on.

The current plan is to have me discharged by tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.  The doctors have all been commenting about how a-typical my case is.  The chances of getting blood clots are rare.  The chance of getting a large blood clot in your jugular vein is extremely rare.  But while it appears that I have a little rain cloud above my head, what seems even more clear is that I always have angels with umbrellas at the ready. I have such a high sense of gratitude for how these days events have transpired.  It was a long weekend and all of my doctors were out of town.  However, they made it known through contact with their teams and personal phone calls that they made to me and my family that they were on top of everything.  They have been in communication with each other about my case all this time.  They have been beyond proactive and on top of this.  I really could not hope for a better group of doctors to get me through this ordeal. 

I am in very high spirits.  I know that this is just a bump in the road that will soon become a memory that will serve to remind me of what I am capable of overcoming.  Thank you again to all of you who are following my story, who are sharing your inspiration with me, and who are keeping me in your thoughts and your prayers.  I am so present to your love and support and the blessing that you are in my life!


  1. So glad you are in better spirits!
    I have shared your blog with those who are going through trying times as well, I hope you don't mind.

  2. Thanks so much Natasha! Please share this blog with anyone you think it would help. It gives me much joy to know that I can be a little help for others in their life challenges. :-)