Thursday, April 8, 2010

Silver Linings

It was a very long few days for Patrick. Tuesday was a pretty good day for us. Patrick had some air trapped between his skin and skull that was causing some problems, so one of the neurosurgeons came in and wrapped his head tightly with gauze. I am officially married to the sheik of Houston. Patrick's dad spent the whole day with us at the hospital. We watched a few movies, and Patrick rested well during the day. Mr. Bill stayed until about 9:30. He was going to have to leave his hotel at 7:30 Wednesday morning to make his plane, so this was the last time we saw him before he left. He prayed with us before he left, and I got a little teary eyed. I haven't cried the whole time I have been here. There have been a few wells of tears, but none of them have escaped. Patrick had just been doing so well. Tuesday night broke that pattern. By about 11:30pm is pain got ahead of his medications, and he was in pretty bad shape. It wasn't until about 3:30am until they were able to get it under control so he got virtually no sleep. He slept as much as he could on Wednesday, but he was still hurting in spite of the meds. His appetite had been up and down, but he did eat some lunch and dinner Wednesday. Thursday morning (like every morning) was filled with the doctors making their rounds first thing. Between 7:00 and 8:30 every morning we get a flurry of doctors, residents, and fellows coming in to check on Patrick. They have all said that he looks great. I agree, but he isn't' convinced. Thursday morning they removed his bandages to reveal his healing incision. Patrick's doctor said that there were between 75 - 100 staples in his scalp, so he looks like he is sporting a zipper. All the doctors said that it looks great, and knowing that it is healing well, I wanted to count the staples. Patrick was having none of that. Because of how bad he feels, he doesn't have very much patience and his since of humor is not quite what it normally is. Around mid-day Thursday his pain was doing better, but his pain medications were making him sick, so he felt bad in a different way. He was able to stand up and walk a little bit which is a big step (no pun intended). The good thing is that every step is a step closer to going home. If things go as planned, he should be discharged over the weekend, appointments next week, and then we can fly home. Patrick will have to come back after a few weeks for post-op evaluations. Depending on what the pathology results are from the abnormal tissue on the dura, chemotherapy may still be on the table. I am just praying that what looked abnormal is just scar tissue from last year's treatment.

If you ask Cameron "What's gonna work?" she will chime in with "TEAMWORK!!" No truer words have been spoken. While in the waiting room during Patrick's surgery, I met a young woman named Michelle. Her husband was having surgery to remove a brain tumor and we were sitting in the same section of the huge waiting area. She and I are about the same age, she has a little boy a few months younger than Cameron, and she had been totally blindsided by her husbands diagnosis (boy do I know that feeling). He was diagnosed in January of this year, and she and her family were just starting their journey with cancer. For those of you that have been following this blog, you know that I started it to put my story out there so that maybe I would be able to help someone that was in a similar situation. When Patrick was diagnosed last year, I couldn't find any resources for women "like me". I work in non-profit and know where to look for support programs, social networks, and the like. The few websites and message boards that I found for wives like me were either ill kept or outdated; so I stopped looking and started writing. We chatted off and on all day. Her husband's surgery was about 4 hours, and as they were leaving she told me where they were going to be - three doors down from Patrick in the ICU. The first few days after surgery were insane, but we managed to exchange a few text messages, and I found her on FaceBook. Her husband was discharged yesterday, and I invited her for coffee before they left. We went to the coffee shop in the lobby, got lattes, and sat and talked. It was so nice to be in the company of someone who I can identify with in such a unique way. I am truly looking forward to getting to know her. She and her husband live very near to Krista's, so before we leave town the four of us are going to get together for dinner. I cant wait, for two reasons. First they are both very interesting people and secondly that will mean Patrick is out of the hospital! That is a win win!

"Every dark cloud has a sliver lining." When taking care of your family when one member has cancer, there are many dark clouds. Having to be 1,000 miles away from home for treatment - dark cloud. Seeing Patrick in pain - dark cloud. Missing Cameron so much my heart physically aches - dark cloud. Trying to get work done by Patrick's bedside while being distracted by nurses coming in and out; monitors beeping; and people in the halls, some laughing, some crying - dark cloud. Felling helpless - dark cloud. In some of these clouds I can quickly identify the silver lining. We are so blessed that we have been able to come all the way Houston for treatment - silver lining. The best hands and minds in cancer treatment are here at MD Anderson - silver lining. I have a job that supports me to allow me to work from the hospital if I can, and if not they understand - sterling silver. Some of the other clouds I'll have to search for their lining. How can someone in so much pain hold a silver lining? Feeling helpless…what could be sliver about that? Your guess is as good as mine. I miss Cameron so much; I can't imagine that there is a silver lining there.

I am sure that will change when I see her when I get home. She is my smiling shining beautiful sliver lining.

Feeling a little less helpless already...


  1. Thinking of you and so grateful with you for the miracle that is MD Anderson. My surgeon was an intern there. May you rest well tonight knowing that you are not alone. You friend in the mid Atlantic PA was having a helpless restless sleepless night and your sharing was my silver lining. Paige

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  3. Hello Darling!! So I've got a couple more silver linings I hope you may find useful.
    Though I am so sorry that Patrick was in pain, that he had "some air trapped between his skin and skull" (dark cloud), think of all the airhead jokes!!
    Cameron misses you both and you miss her (dark cloud)but she is surrounded by good people who love her and her parents so much we'd do anything for you, including seeding your clouds with silver when we can.