Sunday, May 31, 2009

The wine fund redeemed today

Kay and one of her walking/ running groups spend all year gleaning change from their running paths, and then add enough for an evening out, and get together for a glass (or two) of wine. Tonight they spent the evening on the patio of Toscano's, a nice place on a sunny evening, and drank up their years worth and a bit more I suspect.

Anyway we have had a great weekend, Kay sees Dr. McCroskey (her oncologist) at 11AM tomorrow, and we're off on another week's adventure.

Pray for a good doctor's visit tomorrow. We look forward to yet another week where my iPhone weather report is all sunshine.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Very big day

Kay and I drove down to Portland last night, and went to dinner with Jean and , Jean's boyfriend Marc's Mom. We had a nice time then camped out at our rental home there. Spent the day today, from 7 AM until 5 PM painting and getting the place ready for new tenants. Jean lived there for the last 3 years with roommates, and we had planned to sell the place when she graduated, but the real estate market being what it is, we are looking for new tenants.

Anyway, Kay is just getting stronger by the day. She helped with some painting, and supported me as I painted most of the day. Then we drove home this evening. Kay even drove the first stretch of highway. We'll see how sore she is tomorrow, but it was fun to work together today.

Tomorrow we sing in choir at church for Pentecost Sunday, and plan a relaxing day after that. Monday Kay sees Dr. McCroskey, and then our week three in the three week chemo cycle. We hope it will be even better than this last week has been, but this last week has been pretty nice.

We pray that each day brings more joy, and another day to fight this cancer.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kay worked this morning

Kay is pretty excited, she says she worked this morning, and actually could "think." After that she went to lunch with a work friend, then shopping with Jean. Then cooked dinner with me. By far her most active day, and she still feels pretty good. Not quite up to the walk with friends she had on her agenda, but good enough to finish the Netflicks movie Brett, Kay and I started a couple of days ago.

More good news yesterday. Kay's CA125, the tumor marker being followed to assess the response of her cancer to the chemotherapy continues to drop quickly. Dr. McCroskey was really surprised to see it down to about 270 a week prior, so repeated it to be sure it was a valid result. On repeat it was lower yet, at 162. Kay seems to be responding well to the chemo so far, no serious adverse effects, and good tumor kill. We are trying to stay on an even keel emotionally, but this is great news.

Jean is off to Portland for a doggie sitting job and to clean up the home there as we try to find a tenant. Kay and I may go down Sat to paint and visit.

Overall the sun is shining, God's grace is shining on us, and each day Kay seems stronger. Pray for more of all of these. (Oh, the Mariners beat Oakland today too 6-1.)


Monday, May 25, 2009

Dr. Freese

These photos are not Dr. Freese. They are Maeby, as discussed in yesterday's blog. The big event today was a going away party for Krister Freese, soon to be Dr. Krister Freese. Krister is the son of our Pastor Paul and Patty Freese, and on this beautiful Memorial Day we went to his going away party. He is going to Honolulu for his orthopedics residency, and we had a Hawaii theme party to wish Krister and Monika a bon voyage today. It was nice to get together with friends, and being outdoors mostly it was probably a good place for Kay to get together without much chance of catching anyone's cold germs. Kay was full of energy today, and we all had a nice time.

Otherwise mostly a putter around the house day, and nice family time. This week should be a good week for Kay, and I hope to get her walking more, continuing to eat well, and just have a good week.

Brett has just 3 more weeks of his quarter at Seattle Central, and Jean starts to study for her CPA exams this week. I just have a routine week, though being just 4 days it should seem short.

Pray for the chemo to work well, for Kay to continue to recover from the second course of chemo while avoiding any complications, and for a quiet and enjoyable week.


Sunday, May 24, 2009


That's the name of Brett's shared dog. She is a small white Dachshund shaped, shaggy haired dog. Incredibly cute and energetic. Brett got her while he was at Univ. Arizona and shares her with his two roommates from UA. She is in WA now for the summer while her other masters are on study abroad. Brett got home with her tonight, and so far Simon is mostly just excited and curious, and the introduction of a new dog to the household is cool so far.

Kay and I have had a nice day today. We skipped church, as I think Kay should avoid indoors group activities this weekend when she likely has low white blood cell counts. We took a morning trip to Capital Forest, southwest of Olympia. It is a large multiple use forest, and the closest place to find nesting Hermit warblers. This will be a life bird for Kay, and a state bird for me. (first time seen for Kay, first time in WA seen for me) We located several singing birds, but could not get a look at one. They are a 5 1/2 inch bird that sticks to the top of large fir trees.

After that, Kay and Jean caught some sun on the back deck, and I puttered about the house. I got a short bike ride in, and then picked up Brett and Maeby at Seatac.

Today was my dad's 79th birthday. I think they had a family get together at Mom and Dad's place this evening.

We are looking forward to the third day of this holiday weekend tomorrow, more sun forecast, and a going away party for Krister Freese, the physician son of Patty and Paul Freese who is leaving for Honolulu, HI for his orthopedic residency. A Hawaiian theme is planned, and Jean and Kay painted some "theme" graphics for the party today.

An early bedtime is planned tonight, as we had a busier day than usual today. A good type of tired though, as we had a really nice day.

We pray that you all have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Date night

Brett is away for the weekend, and Jean is staying with a classmate in Seattle tonight, so Kay and I are home together tonight. I have to say though it has been wonderful having the kids home through this time, we have really enjoyed the afternoon and evening together.

I got home by 1 PP, did a bit of work from home, then Kay and I took a nap together. At least I slept soundly, and I think Kay relaxed. We then left for Tacoma and went to Harbor Lights to the early bird special. The portions fit Kay's appetite fine, and were good to keep me from overeating, but the garlic shrimp was great. Kay had great energy, and was her old self; interesting conversation, big smile, and we had a great date. From there we walked next door to the bar at the Ram, and I had a beer, Kay a root beer, and we talked some more while I showed her what a physical fr eek-of-nature Lebron is in the NBA playoffs.

The home by 7:15, a game of cribbage on the deck as the sun set, watched part of the Mariner's game as Randy Johnson came back to Seattle with the Giants, and more conversation. Overall a great day. Kay has felt much better today, and I hope the worst of chemo cycle 2 is behind us.

Now we are looking forward to a 3 day weekend ahead with an unusually great weather report as sunny and 70's each day. Small pleasures, but we are really learning to cherish every good day.

Pray that everyone following this blog has as good a weekend as Kay and I plan to have.


Thursday, May 21, 2009


The best thing about today was the weather. It has been beautiful, and when I look at my iPhone weather report all I see is yellow circles, i.e. sun through next Tuesday. Kay had a bit of a rough day today, minor nausea, significant fatigue, and what looks a lot like her week post chemo last cycle, less the biliary drainage problems. She has more swelling and pain than she had before the last couple of days, and is generally uncomfortable.

That said the day has not been too bad. Kay went to Jean's oral surgery appointment today, and drove her home afterwards. Jean did well, luckily she only had one wisdom tooth. (No comment on wisdom) I got home about 4 PM today, we had an early dinner, and are just settling in to the Mariner's game and hopefully an early to bed before a good nights sleep.

Kay got outside for just a few minutes tonight to look at the garden. It is looking good. She had it set up pretty well before she got sick, and with help from some friends, some work by Brett, Jean and me, and nice weather it is looking good.

Jean and I played a game of cribbage today while dinner cooked. She won by 1 peg, when she pegged 8 on a third consecutive 5 for 6 for 3 in a row, plus 15-2 to go out when she needed 7, leaving me one peg short of going out. Fun.

You know news is scarce when I post a play by play of cribbage.

Pray for continued recovery from chemo, continued regression of the cancer, and may you all have a great weekend.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If it's not one thing it's another

Today Kay awakened with a new pain in the very lower part of her abdomen, right at the bottom of her incision area. Since then she has been pretty uncomfortable, so it has not been a great day. It looks like this is more of the lymphedema, as over the course of the day this has remained swollen, though not red, warm, or any sign of infection, and is not a hernia. I think this may be related to having a busy day yesterday, and not using ace wrap compression overnight last night. We live and learn. I thing just taking it easier is in order.

Except for that, not such a bad day. The sun shone most of the day, and we're hoping a good night's sleep will find Kay feeling better. If all goes well she has no medical visits, procedures, or even a blood draw for nearly 2 weeks.

Pray for healing and for the chemo to continue its job.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Salt- A World History

That's the name of the book for the Rotary book club last month. The news is that Kay felt well enough to don her new wig and go to book club with me tonight. Neither of us had read the book, but Jane Hostvedt spread a great Mexican meal, and we enjoyed a short evening out of the house. By the way, most members gave good reviews of the book.

Overall an uneventful first day post chemo. I think Kay may have tried to do a bit too much, she is really exhausted tonight, but a good day.

Off subject, but several people have asked me if I am retiring when I leave the medical director job at Sound. Not at all, in fact I will probably spend more time seeing patients than before, but less overall time working. It is going to work out really well with my need to be home more, and spend more time with Kay.

Last night I shaved Kay's last stubble off. She is cute bald, but has a wig from the Breast Cancer Support store, and it looks incredibly like her hair style and color before chemo. The photo above is Kay's new wig. Amazing how much it looks like her natural hair.

Thanks for all your prayers, support and love.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Chemo #2 behind us

Kay had her second of 6 planned courses of chemotherapy today. It went very well, no allergic reactions and no nausea. Just smoothly. The really good news was that so far it seems like her cancer has been very responsive to the treatment. Her initial CA 125 before her surgery was very high at 7588. Her level prior to her first chemotherapy was about 2300. Today we heard the results of her test from a week ago and it was 233. That is dramatically lower. Normal is <35.> last week, this was good news.

Pray for good rest, good nutrition, minimal side effects, and continued responsiveness of the cancer to the treatment.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Make Hay

The sun shone today, so we did the suburban equivalent of making hay. We went to our usual early service at Celebration Lutheran, Kay went to adult forum (I skipped and puttered in the yard) then we went to Ruston Way and had a picnic in the sun.
Today was the last day for Kay's new short hairdo. It is getting very sparse, and the plan is for Brett to make a memory by giving Kay a buzz job if he can find the charger for his clipper, otherwise Kay will go to the hair cutters in the next day or two.
Chemo tomorrow. Soon a photo essay of all of the new looks for Kay, with wig, with ball cap, with several snazzy hats. Trust me she looks good in all of them.
Chemo tomorrow, the start of cycle 2.
Keep Kay in your prayers for a safe infusion tomorrow, and for good results without complications.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Good Weekend

We are new to this chemotherapy process,  but it appears that we will be on a three week cycle, where Kay gets chemo every 3rd Tuesday.  (Monday this week because of a scheduling issue at the Cancer Center, but usually Tuesdays)  The first week after chemo will be spent avoiding nausea, etc.  The first weekend and the next week focus on fighting fatigue and avoiding infection as a complication of low blood counts.  The next weekend will be the weekend to see how it goes, but probably not feel to bad.  The third week, and especially the third weekend is the good week/weekend. 

We are half way through the good weekend, and it has played out as hoped, good.  Last night Kay had a movie party with her church girlfriends, where they watched Man on a Wire, a movie about a famous high wire performer.  Brett and I went to the local sports bar and watched the Mariners come from behind against my childhood favorites, the Boston Red Sox, to win 5-4 after being down 4-0.  Kay enjoyed the movie, and we enjoyed dinner and the game.

Today Kay and I joined our good friend Ken Brown and his birding class on a local birding trip in Tacoma from about 8:30 – 12:30, then went to the Tacoma Art Museum where I served ice cream as a part of an ice cream social for Sound Family Medicine staff and patients.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and both the birding trip and the Museum event were fun, and made for a really good day. 

Kay held up really well, her biggest social outing day since her surgery, and she remains in good spirits and comfortable at bedtime.   To get ready for the weekend, Kay went to my barber Thursday, and got a really cute, very short haircut, as managing the very rapid hair loss with long hair was getting to be too cumbersome.  She looks really good with the short hair, but we think by tomorrow most of that is going to be gone too, so she will then be a really cute bald woman.   Photos to be posted soon.

Tomorrow we hope to get out for more sunshine, plans to be determined in the AM when we see how we feel.

Pray for uneventful chemotherapy Monday, a fun weekend, and a safe week ahead.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Off topic

Kay and I are pretty much tired of talking about her disease. It is hard not to think about it, but we have spent 55 years each focused on something other than our day to day health, and to have it be such an all consuming issue is wearing.

Tonight I thought I'd write about a couple of other things. Click off if you are not interested.

Today I met with Marc Aversa, the SFM physician who is going to assume the medical director role July 1 when I step aside. One interesting topic that we touched on was one many business owners should be considering. What to do to prepare for what I think is going to be a lifetime influenza season this fall. We have our own issues as a medical practice, but today we focused on issues I anticipate relevant to most business owners and managers. How to prepare to keep going when much of your workforce is out sick, or afraid to come to work. What financial steps to take to prepare for a possible major slowdown (yes, possible slowdown as many patients are afraid to, or wisely choose not to go to the doctors office for routine health care services) in business volume.

I have also spent some time thinking about health care reform. I have very mixed feelings about this issue. Probably the one unequivocal feeling I have is being grateful to be at this stage in my medical career, not just starting. I feel strongly that somehow a country as vast and blessed with wealth and resources as the US should somehow be able to have some level of reasonable health care for all citizens. I also feel strongly the need for some degree of personal responsibility for choices and financial consequences of those choices. I realize that as a country we need to somehow manage health care spending to remain competitive in the world economy. The one thing I think Obama has wrong it trying to blend a lowest cost government option and an open market competitive system. I think this just creates nearly a single payer system without calling it a single payer system and reaping the efficiencies of a single payer system? Either have a single payer system or don't have a government sponsored and subsidized option. I think sooner or later we will have some version of a single payer system, but it seems that right now it is not politically viable to propose one. As physician I dread the thought of just being a government worker. As a consumer I dread the thought of seeking care in a government bureaucracy. As an American I feel resigned to some such system to allow us to compete in the greater world economy. We live in interesting times.

Pray for wise decisions by our leaders, and a less severe than I anticipate flu season this fall.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One day among many

This may be the most difficult time yet for Kay and all of us in a different sort of way. The time of the diagnosis was intense, difficult to fathom, and exhausting. Then the surgery, early recovery, complication after complication with the biliary drainage issues, and then the start of chemotherapy. Now Kay is doing pretty well, tolerated the first course of chemotherapy very well, and can help herself somewhat around the house. This leaves much more time to think. Think about how everything is different now. How the plans, dreams, and expectations for the short term and long term are all different and really uncertain. For Kay how discouraging it is to hurt a part of every day, to be so limited by her lymphedema in ability to be out of bed and on her feet for more than brief forays, and to just feel bored much of the time. That combined with her scalp aching in the prodrome to her impending hair loss, clothes not fitting, and her whole body just feeling different all combine to being spirits down. Sometimes it feels like the days are just dragging by and the battle ahead is daunting.

Despite this Kay remains strong. The down moments are brief, and she and we are really trying to live every day to its fullest. Today Scott Bailey visited, Kay went out to lunch with Jean before Jean left to return to Portland. We are watching the Mariner's extra inning game vs. Texas. Friends have been wonderfully supportive, we feel blessed by the excellent medical care Kay is getting, and are praying faithfully for God's grace and healing.

Pray for endurance, patience, and healing.


Monday, May 11, 2009

A quiet day

Kay saw Dr. McEniry today, a positive visit. He is the infectious disease specialist who helped with Kay's biliary infection. He is also one of the best physicians I have known in my career, and the doctor who diagnosed Brett's strep infection in his R arm as an 12 year old. He gave Kay good news, just finish the antibiotic she is on, and the infection seems resolved. He also took out a bothersome suture in her port wound, making her very happy.

Tomorrow the two week post chemo blood tests and oncology visit with Dr. McCroskey, and Thursday the much delayed post-op visit with Dr. Safarri. This weekend I think we are going on a short local birding trip with Ken Brown, a very good friend and great birder. Ken and I talk and bird as often as we can, not very it seems, but Ken called Kay yesterday just to talk, and to invite us on his trip this weekend. This made Kay feel really good. "Ken called me!"

Mun Jong took Kay to the appointment today as Jean had an appointment to arrange to get her wisdom tooth, removed. That's right, she only has one, and she went to lunch with Kay afterwards, and left us with home-make Chinese food for dinner. She is a great cook, so we all enjoyed dinner today.

All is quiet and good on our end. We are really trying to make each day good as we wait to see how this chemotherapy works. Kay looks better every day, so we think it is having a positive impact so far.

Keep the prayers coming and have a great week.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

We have had a very good weekend. Yesterday Kay and I took the Point Defiance Ferry to Vashon Island, visited a nursery that Kay has been wanting to see for years, called "Dig" and had lunch at Perry's Island Burgers. Dig is for sale, and inventory was scant, but it still was a nice visit. Fresh air, sunshine, warmth, and getting away from home. Took some photos waiting for the ferry on the way home. Immature Bald Eagle soaring, and Harlequin Ducks near the ferry terminal. All good.

Today we plan to lay low. I figure if I'm going to be responsible for more of the gardening, I want to have a few vegetables as well as flowers, so am planting a few tomato, cucumber, squash and pumpkin plants. We also got a "columnar apple" tree at Dig, it grows apples right off the trunk, no branches, so takes very little room. We'll see how that works.

Jean gets home this afternoon and we're going for Rock Pizza. This should be a good week, well past the last chemo, next is a week from tomorrow, just a couple of doctors visits.
Enjoy Mother's day.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Spooning is good

Tiny bits of normal routine can be deliciously delightful. When we woke up this morning, as we have done nearly every morning for years prior to Kay's surgery, Kay snuggled over and we spooned and talked a bit. Seems like nothing, but today was the first day there was not either a painful incision, or that blessed bile bag in the way. A nice start to the day.

Yesterday Dr. Levine tested the internal bile drainage stent, found it to be draining freely, and pulled out the external drain. For a few hours it seemed like the only difference was that the draining bile now did not go into a bag, rather soaked gauze dressings. Within a few hours the drainage slowed down, and overnight just a couple of drops on the gauze.

Kay has had a very good appetite for the last 2 days, is eating well, and gaining some weight back. The lymphedema is really limiting her activity, just a few minutes of standing or walking and she gets very uncomfortable, but otherwise she is doing great.

We pray for a peaceful weekend with good food, good sleep, good family time. Some sunshine and a Mariner's win or two would help too.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Everything but a nice glass of red

Kay has had a very good day. I thing a big part of this started with her best night's sleep in recent memory. Then a good breakfast, huge lunch, more snacking the rest of the day. (Kay has completely lost her taste for any alcohol, so the nice glass of red wine she would maybe have coveted at the end of the day is out of favor right now)

Kay also had good blood tests today, (for those with a medical background her liver enzymes and serum bilirubin were not elevated after clamping her external biliary drainage tube overnight) giving us a likely removal of the external bile tube tomorrow, and the possibility of no bodily fluids that are meant to stay internally draining externally by the end of the week. It is nearly 8 PM and Kay is still on the phone with a friend, no late day emotional and physical overload that has been the routine recently.

Maybe the highlight of the day was a really good laugh. Kay's Aunt Sis, a.k.a. Barbara Hoffman sent Kay a video declaring her the Mom of the year. It was a hoot, and for some reason I cannot seem to add that link in a way to make it work here, so you'll have to take it from me we enjoyed the laugh.

Pray for more good results of labs in the AM, a widely patent internal biliary stent, and removal of the external tube tomorrow without complications. Also give thanks to God for such improvement over the last few days.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Graduation photos

Click on the link to view an album of Jean's graduation photos.


Cinco de Mayo

Today was a day of contrasts. Last night Kay was extremely exhausted, pretty uncomfortable at bedtime, but slept really well. She woke up hungry, a good sign. A good breakfast, and a pretty good morning, and an appointment at oncology at 11:45. Jean brought her to the appointment, and she was having more pain in the area of the external bile drainage tube. They were concerned about infection again, and at first thought she might need another hospitalization. Kay was distraught at the thought, but it turns out the external drain seemed just blocked, was irrigated clear, and we have a routine change for care that we expect to work. The hope is to have the external drain removed Thursday if all goes well. Since the appointment Kay has been exhausted again, and has mostly been trying to rest.

It seems like just another emotional day, and we need to just find strength to roll through them.

On a positive note, Jean got all the applications, paperwork, forms, etc done to study for and take the CPA exam this summer done today. She is feeling pretty good about that. Brett slogged through the rain all day, both on foot and in the car commute. I worked all morning and part of the afternoon without drama or interruption, and we are settled in to relax this evening.

We all enjoyed a great salmon meal provided by Norm and Barb Aune. We are definitely being spoiled by the great meals we have been receiving.

When Kay finds her download cord for her camera, I'll post a link to lots of graduation photos. I just have the few with my birding telephoto lens posted yesterday.

Pray for good tests the next couple of days, and no setbacks from the recurring bile duct problems. Blood counts were all good today, no chemotherapy complications so far.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Home from Graduation

Tired but happy, Jean, Kay and I got home from Portland about 5:15 PM today after a 3+ hour drive in the pouring rain and met Brett for dinner at home. We are so grateful for the chance to see our daughter graduate. Not just graduate, but graduate with 150 credits, planning to sit for the CPA exam this summer, and with a job in hand. Jean you are fabulous.

We had a wonderful visit with family, thanks in large part to terrific planning and execution by Jean and Marc, with big time assistance from Marc's whole family, from many of Kay's girlfriends, and with support from many others, too many to try to name here.

We pray for a quiet and restful week while we give the first course of chemotherapy time to work. We hope that this week will see Kay's blood counts remain strong, that she will be able to have her external bile drainage tube removed soon, and that she will continue to recover from the biliary tract infection completely.

I hope to slow down on the posts this week, and get back to a bit more work at Sound Family Medicine. Also just a time to be thankful for and enjoy our time together as a family at home.


Sunday, May 3, 2009


Jean got her BAA (Bachelors in Business Administration with a double major in Accounting and Finance) today from the University of Portland. What a sense of price, joy and love to see her walk down the isle to graduate. Kay was able to attend. Although the primary goal has been to fight this cancer, the secondary goal has been to celebrate Jean's graduation by putting on a nice graduation party, and attending the graduation ceremony. Well today Kay went to the graduation ceremony.

I have heard the story more than once of Kay and her 14 year old friends using a wheel chair to be able to go to the front of lines at Disneyland. Well today we got a wheelchair from the hotel, Jean called UP to arrange for us to get priority parking, Kay sat on the main floor and I sat right behind her in the first row of seating, and this allowed Kay to have enough energy to sit through the ceremony.

After the ceremony we came back to the hotel to rest, then off to a sports bar 2 blocks from the hotel where we watched the Mariners come back from a 4-3 deficit in the bottom of the 9th inning, another 7-4 deficit in about the 13th inning, and finally win in the 15th inning. Oh, we also had a nice dinner, great conversation, and more good family fun with Horace, Bill, Fay, Keith, Jean, Kay, Marc and me.

Last I took Dad and Bill back to the airport, and now we are dissecting the entire weekend in the time tested Colmar style.

This accomplishment has been possible through contributions from countless friends. I won't try to list them all, but we have had tremendous friends helping every step of the way.

Once I find a cable to download photos to the PC, I'll post a pictorial of the whole weekend.

Pray for good rest, and a week of getting back to a routine without setbacks or complications.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hillmans put on a great party

Tanya, Mel, Jane, Dave, Matt, and Ray put on an feast for royalty and a wonderful celebration at Tanya's home in Beaverton today. We stuffed ourselves on barbecue chicken, bratwurst, slow-cooked homemade maple syrup baked beans (Dad and Bill felt like right at home - baked beans on Saturday night) along with potato salad, fabulous hors-d'overs, designer cupcakes and cheesecake.

Kay has had an incredibly long day. She slept poorly last night, was up early, and this morning awakened to find that the external bile drainage tube had bile leaking profusely around the tube, making a mess and making her at risk to get really bad skin irritation. Dr. Levine called her and agreed to come in this morning to replace the external tube with a larger size tube to try to keep all of the bile draining into her bag. He was able to do that, and after the usual details of hospital discharge Kay was sprung free by shortly after noon. Mary Rose Sprague stayed with Kay all morning, and took her home. She and Cheryl Wiederspan helped Kay to get ready to drive to Portland. Kay was so exhausted she needed a power nap, and then a bath, to finish packing, and finally got off by about 3 PM. Peter and Cheryl loaded her in the Land Rover, headed south, and made it to Tanya's in time for the after-party. We all had seconds on the great food, had a photo op, and sat and chatted.

Now back at The Nines Hotel, resting before bedtime, and planning to rest Kay up, and have lots of family visiting for Keith and Fay, as well as for Dad, Bill and me.

We all really enjoyed the multiple copies of the Tacoma News Tribune Patty and Paul brought down. The photo of Kay finishing the race last year on the inside page left several of us with moist eyes.

Pray for rest, a better appetite for Kay tomorrow, and satisfying visiting tomorrow.

If I can get the photos on my laptop, a photo gallery of the party and graduation tomorrow.


The News Tribune today

Check out this article in the local newspaper about Kay and her running team.


Tired but in good spirits

I've talked with Kay a couple of times so far this morning. She sounds exhausted before the day even starts, but is excited about getting to Portland. The big disappointment this morning was the after all the manipulation of the external bile drainage tube yesterday, bile is leaking around the tube today, and making a big mess of everything. As you may know, bile is a darkly pigmented yellow/brown liquid that is quite caustic to skin, and having it leak all over her abdomen would be not just messy but could lead to very sore and macerated skin. Bottom line is that Dr. Levine is coming back in soon to try to replace the tube with a bigger one that will occlude the drainage tract, and prevent leakage. He can do this without sedation or general anesthesia (Kay is tough, but I don't envy her this procedure) and still feels she can leave the hospital this morning. Mary Rose Sprague is sitting with Kay this morning, and is going home to pack up for Kay and have her ready to leave for Portland right from the hospital.

I've had a nice morning, breakfast early with Brett, Dad and Bill. A walk in the rain, and now a little rest. We saw Fay, Keith, Jean and Marc too. Jean thought to pick up her gown today, and all is set for a weekend of celebration of Jean's accomplishments. We are so proud of and happy for her.

More after the party today if I get a chance. Maybe even some pictures then.


Friday, May 1, 2009

The Nines

What a day. We started with discussing the situation with Dr. McCroskey Kay's situation, and he told us that the bacteria in her blood was one that should be able to treat with an oral antibiotic. This was exciting, as this meant Kay might be able to come down to Portland for Jean's graduation party, and the festivities in Portland this weekend. This was dependent on her getting a better stent placed.

NPO all day, and at 5PM off to have GI try to place the stent using an endoscope through the stomach. After an hour of waiting, Dr. Moussan and Levine had me in to let me know that the stent had migrated proximally up into the common bile duct, was no longer working, and could not be seen from the duodenum. No luck replacing the stent from below. This was really disconcerting, as it meant Dr. Levine, the interventional radiologist was going to have to try to remove the smaller stent either by pushing it into the duodenum, or pull it out through the abdominal drain site. Then try to replace it with a larger stent from above. After 2 hours of work, he was able to successfully do this. During that time I sent Brett to Taco Bell for dinner (Kay had us salivating for Mexican food) and we watched the M's on ESPN online. The wait seemed to go on forever, but we were just ecstatic to hear the procedure was successful. Kay will need to still wear the external drain bag for a few days, but the good news is if the night goes OK I think she will get released, and ride down to Portland with Peter and Cheryl.

Brett and I checked into "The Nines" hotel downtown, and are about to crash.

Thanks for all your prayers. Cheer for Jean this weekend.



I'm sitting in the Good Sam radiology hallway for news on how the stent placement is going. Prior to the procedure Kay was totally focused on making sure she has Mexican food ordered for her first meal since midday yesterday before room service orders close at 7 PM. She has tacos de asada, broccoli, guacamole, root beer, milk and cheesecake ordered. She went under sedation smiling.

It is hard to just wait here, knowing that I could simply pull my Dr. Pullen rank and cruise back and see what's going on. I am convinced that the static of having me looking over their shoulders would simply add more pressure to a difficult procedure, and that Kay's doctors already are trying extra hard, so I am waiting in like a good husband in the hallway chairs.

I'll try to make a quick post late tonight after I find out how this procedure goes. For now it's sit, pace, sit some more.