Cancer,Crisis,&Courage

It started on Thursday,October 22nd. Mike woke up with flu-like symptoms.We had been out late the night before at his company family night.He tried to go to work,but ended up back in bed. Friday morning he got up,took a shower to go to work and got nauseous. He ended up having uncontrollable nausea,and vomiting so I took him to the ER around 7am.
Of course the first thing we thought is that the tumor was obstructing his stomach again.In the meanwhile,Mike was writhing in the bed,complaining of a “pit” in his stomach,and pain. They did a CT scan,which didn’t show any signs of gastric outlet obstruction.However, they were never able to get his stomach nausea and pain under control. They admitted him for the weekend,and put him on a schedule of anti nausea meds,and treated his symptoms.
Unfortunately,with the experimental trial he is on we have no way of knowing what is going on definitely.It could be flu,could be side effects from Keytruda the immunotherapy drug,could be tumor progression,or gastric outlet obstruction again.With our Dr here at the U of M not knowing the trial,and feeling uncomfortable giving medical advice,and the Dr at Ohio State being 3 hrs away,we feel pretty abandoned.I feel like it is left to us to figure out what is going on.

He got out of the hospital on sunday,still feeling terrible.The last week has been a series of trying to get the nausea under control. We have figured out on our own that within 2-3 hours of eating that he gets this feeling again,and is sick.None of the medicine seems to work. I took him back to the ER on Wednesday,and they said again that nothing had showed up on the CT Scan,but that they were going to refer us to a gastro dr.In the meanwhile, he is reduced to eating almost nothing,and having hideous stomach pain for hours on end.
In the middle of all this going on, we were debating on whether to go on our vacation or not.When we got the good news that the tumor was shrinking,and the feeding tube was coming out we booked a honeymoon to Las Vegas.We never got one when we got married,always waiting for that elusive time when he felt better, to take a vacation alone together.We were due to leave on Friday,October 30th.

We kept going back and forth on whether to go or not…Some may say we were crazy for even thinking about going.Believe me,i would agree with them! However,when we started this war on cancer we agreed that we would live with cancer.We would steal every moment we could from cancer,and we would not let cancer dictate our lives!
Mike really wanted to try to go to Las Vegas,and if he felt brave enough to try it, i was going to stuff my fear down,and go.We flew out Friday,October 30th. He felt ok that morning.We got into Vegas,and he was weak.He had been fighting this stomach thing all week,and was hungry and feeling down. I got him a light snack at the airport,and we went to the Venetian.
By the time we got to the Venetian, he was in severe pain.We got into our beautiful luxury suite, and never left for the next 15 hours until we got on a plane to come home. He started throwing up around 11pm,and was sick until there was nothing left to throw up.At around 3am, I got on the phone to change our flights,and prayed.I prayed I could get him on the plane home.I prayed we would make it.I prayed that I could keep calm,on no sleep,and make Mike feel safe. I thought about what a fool I was for going so far from home when he is so sick.I didn’t call anyone,i was texting my friend in SC who is really good at just being supportive. I was afraid if I called someone,or even expressed how scared I am I would lose it.
We got to the airport,and despite not keeping food down for days, feeling miserable,and being unable to work at the job he loves for 2 weeks, Mike walked into the airport on his own,got on the plane,and we made it home.

At first I was embarrassed that we tried to go to Las Vegas,with Mike being so sick.I questioned my own judgement.However, when we started this whole cancer battle,we made the decision to keep living.We had to try it. Courage is not knowing the outcome,but trying anyhow.If Mike can be brave enough to continue this fight for his life,i will fight with him like a warrior.

Where are we now?It is obvious that something is causing him to digest food extra slowly.He had 9 days off the feeding tube,eating whatever he wanted.Why the sudden nausea?
I feel like the doctors have let us down.. Not one dr has called me in the 10 days this has been going on.I deal with the nurse,or the nurse practioner, or the office.They seem to expect the ER to act as a doctors office. We have a call into the doctor this morning to force them to schedule an endoscopy,and possible gastric emptying study.
When I think about this last 10 days, I think about one of the nights we spent in the hospital 2 weekends ago. I was sleeping in the chair, in the middle of the night. The nurse came in to try to give Mike some medicine.Although I was awake, I laid there quietly. In the hospital I get to be his wife.I don’t have to be the nurse,or dr.
The nurse said to him “Mike,is there anything else I can do for you?” I heard him whisper to her “It is kind of cold in here.Do you mind putting another warm blanket on my wife?”

Anne

7 Comments

  1. Did you want me to cry? I did! You all aren’t fighting this alone. Think about you all at the oddest times. Praying for you to hear something from the doctors soon.
    Love ya, Lynn

  2. We are so sorry to hear he had a setback and your Vegas trip was not what you hoped for. Good for you for giving it a try though. As optimists, we would have probably done the same. We are sending more healing prayers your way! Hang in there.

  3. ann i cried so hard for you i went through so much of the same hospital diagnosis finding the man i loved so much had stage 4 cancer but wanted to fight the battle because ther wer so many thing he still wanted to do prayers for you and your family

  4. Heart wrenching and so very sweet all atvthevsame time my friend. I pray that you & Mike get a big ol’ “do-over” some day soon and you take the most wonderful honeymoon ever together! ❤️ Deb Brodie

  5. I just want to hug you both. Troopers.
    I know, you just keep moving. But it’s hard, and normal would be awesome.
    You touch my heart every time you write.

  6. What is his current status.I have ulcerative colitis and its getting the best of me. But his sounds worse. What is it? Do U even know yet? My thoughts and prays go out to you both.

    • Hi Sandy, I’m sorry to read about your colitis.Mikes tumor has been ulcerated and bleeding. The carofate is helping to coat his stomach,and the liquid and soft food diet has helped as well.They upped his reglan dose,he takes it just before eating.Thank you for your prayers.We can use all we get,and hope you are feeling better!Anne

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