Hard Effort, Hard Day, Hard Results

She really did try with all her might, but the pain was just too much to lay on her back. She was incredibly brave. Not fearless. Brave. Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is pushing forward despite every fibre in your body telling you don’t. Pushing through the tears, to the point where she started to throw up. They didn’t manage the pain meds quite as well as they did for the MRI, but I think her pain issues are worse than they were. At this point, even if she didn’t have cancer, sitting and sleeping in a chair for 2 weeks is going to cause problems on their own. The gallium is in her system until tomorrow so they are going to give it another try in the AM and hopefully better time the pain meds. Kathleen really wants to push forward with another round of chemo but they are waiting on the gallium scan 😦

The afternoon was particularly hard. They up’d her one drug to the point where she became unresponsive and was drifting dangerously close to being in a coma. They were readying the shot of adrenaline when we were finally able to get her to open her eyes. It was a tad stressful to understate things.

Second attempt tomorrow morning. She is already getting anxious.


Team Effort

Really, when I think I have seen it all in terms of level of care and support, the staff at Grand River Hospital one up themselves. It seemed like half of the hospital was involved to help get Kathleen through her MRI. Nurses, techs, Radiologists, pharmacists, doctors. They got as much pain relief and sedition as safely possible, timed it all as perfectly as possible… Sent additional staff down into the MRI lab to inject more pain meds half way through– all so they could get an image and hopefully get to the bottom of what is causing the pain. If a tumor, irradiate it. If infection (discitus), treat it with specific antibiotics. If physical, they said they would even get an orthopedic surgeon to look at finding temporary pain relief. Wow. Thats all I can say. And of course, delivered with the utmost compassion, care and kindness. I would love to mention everyone’s names, but for privacy reasons I wont here.

And wow! is all I can say to all the emails, pics, videos and cards people have sent. They really do help get us through this difficult road. Each email, note, pic, video, when added to all the other emails, pics, videos and cards combine to a very warming foundation of support. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for that. It really brings us a smile that we have such a wonderful community around us. I will include this one particular pic from her service club which I think is ok to post here. zonta

After all that, a very generous and sweet stylist came and cut Kathleen’s hair, Jess/Jenn. Interesting story around her name.

On the medical front, Kathleen is technically considered to have pneumonia as there is fluid in her lungs right now. Having so much pain medication pushed into her, and then the attending saline to flush the meds, has caused her to accumulate a great deal of fluid throughout her body. Third spacing its called. (I think she is on ‘forth’ if there is such a thing.) She describes her legs as elephant trunks. She refused to allow me to take a picture, so here is an artist’s conception approximating how they look.


As you can see, they are quite large! I still love em. But I think she needs some moisturizer. More meds to deal with it slowly and gently. No results from the MRI yet. We will hopefully get something tomorrow. In the mean time, the pain is definitely down from its high point which is great. But its still to the point where she can only walk a few steps. It was a physically and emotionally exhausting day for her, but its one in the win column… on many fronts.