Marcel Winatschek's Tokyopunk

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Just about out of here…

January 12, 2008

Last night was a bit better than the night before (the pain was much less) but as are all hospital stays, it wasn’t without incident. Misty’s roomate, a 71yr old bronx woman who just had some back surgery, had an allergic reaction to morphine in the middle of the night (2:30am) and she felt very comfortable being loud about it :) In all seriousness though, we felt bad as she was having a very rough night.

 Anyway, Misty is doing great. I reviewed the MRI with the Neuro-Surgeon and there is no bleeding to be seen and her temperature has been stable so the liklihood of any infection is very low. Also, her pain level has dropped significantly and she is moving slowly but very much with it. Since she is doing so well, we are able to go home in just a little while (today!) to hibernate at home. After a week of nothing, we will start her chemo.

We have been encouraged by the prayers and words of so many. Thanks. Misty is ecstatic to get out of here safely after a successful surgery. I must say, it will be nice for me as well to get back to sleeping in my own bed…these hospital chairs have given me a kink in my neck the size of cincinati :)


Calm after the storm

January 11, 2008

Last night was rough. Misty was in a ton of pain. She has a fairly high pain tolerance and she was still feeling it. The normal orally administered narcotic pain relievers (percocet/vicadin/etc) weren’t working so well, so they gave her a few shots of morphine. Unfortunately, this stll didn’t quite take the pain to a nominal level – so she sucked it up and managed to get a few (but only a few) hours of sleep.  At 6am, the nuero-surgery house staff did their daily rounds and checked on her. Promptly after that we got whisked away for another MRI. So not too much sleep last night. This MRI will show how successful the 2nd roud was in removing tumor region.

 In the last hour we moved over to a normal room (not Intensive Care) as Misty is doing quite better than the usual threshold for being in Intensive Care. Really, she is just in a ton of pain and her face is quite swollen on the sides. She’s a little weak and has a bit of trouble with speech, but overall this is much better than we expected. It was important that she stay in ICU each night following the surgeries to mitigate the risk of any complications – but luckily, we didn’t have to deal with much in that area. Now she is sleeping and her pain has subsided a little bit (its down to the “really bad level…*smirk*) so she can manage to get some rest (hence the title).

I’ve gotten a bunch of emails asking how everyone can support Misty in the coming weeks.  Unfortunately, Misty will be going on a special diet following the surgery, so we are not recommending anyone deliver any prepared meals. Really, what we need is prayer through the next step of the journey. Misty has high grade cancer in her brain that has already shown unresponsiveness to the initial chemotherapy. As such, the time of real faith and trial is when we get home from this hopsital and we have to live life trusting that God is going to do something extraordinary. I think we are ready for that, but your prayers are really an encouragement…


Brain Surgery #4

January 10, 2008

Misty is out of surgery and sleeping in the Intensive Care Unit. The neuro-surgeon (Dr. Guy McKhann II – who I highly recommend if you need to have your brain worked on) spoke with me for a while and he is very pleased with the success of the surgery. As planned, they entered the tumor area from the opposite side and a bit lower. This let them work around the natural anatomical borders and safely resect much more of the tumor. An MRI tomorrow will tell exactly how much, but his opinion was that the procedure was very sucessful.

Misty is exhausted and in a bit of pain, but overall is doing well. As expected, her speech and motor functions will be impaired for the next few weeks – but she should recover from that just fine.

I’d say it was a good day.


Misty needs another surgery…

January 9, 2008

Below is taken from an email I sent out tonight:

—— 

So Misty’s brain surgery yesterday went well in that they did no damage to her brain…so today we are better off than we were a week ago. For those of you who don’t know, her Cancer has progressed quite a bit and was affecting her speech significantly, so we felt a removal of some of the tumor was the best approach before starting a new chemo (the old one doesn’t work anymore). Anyway, the bad news is that there was a section (right in her speech area) that was not reachable in yesterdays surgery. They only got about 50-60% of the tumor. The neuro-surgeon suggests that we go in for round 2 tomorrow. This is kinda unprecedented, but he takes special care of misty and really wants to take another crack at it. The risks are basically the same as they were the first time (infection, seizures, small risk of permanent damage if there is a mistake or if they cut in too far). So tomorrow they will enter the brain through the same skull area and approach the tumor from a different side. This will allow them to get to a different area of the tumor and remove another large chunk.

Misty is ok with this. The beginnings of her recovery today has been very good…so I think this gives her confidence to go in for round 2 (really round 4).

So please pray with us tomorrow anytime from 1pm to 5pm (thats most likely when we will be under the knife) that this is a very complete resection and that they are able to reach most of the tumor (the more we get, the better chance we have that the new chemo will be effective)

Thanks…I know there are an army of people praying for her. I’m especially glad about that because then more people will be able to hold personal testimony when God heals her…

Darren


Surgery Update: No complications

January 8, 2008

Last time were here, Misty had what was supposed to be a simple biopsy procedure (as simple as drilling into your brain and removing a piece of tissue can be…). We ended up with a significant amout of problems immediately following – all stemming from seizures she was having and a medication that she has a hypersensitivity to. Well, Misty is resting in her room in ICU for tonight…and she is doing great. No problems at all. She commented that this was the most comfortable of her 3 surgeries and other than the fairly sever pain in her head (that is understandable), she is very comfortable.

Thank you God.


Surgery Update: It went great!

We just met with the surgeon…Its about 6pm and Misty is still getting stapled up and moved into Intensive Care. Basically, he was able to remove a significant amount of the tumor, including all the scar tissue from her first surgery back in 2000.  He thinks this will eliminate the problems she has been having lately with speech, which is really what we were going for. There is no expectation of a surgery removing ALL of a cancer. For the type of brain tumor Misty has, this doesn’t happen – we do however, expect God to heal her! Overall, the surgery was 4 hours and was very successful. She shows no signs of damage from the surgery right now, so that means she will probably fully recover in the next month or so.

For those of you who are interested, the surgery process is fairly amazing. The surgeon maps out her brain and hooks her up to a real time MRI. He then goes in to the offending area and resects the bad tissue. Meanwhile, Misty has to be awake talking to a speech specialist. If at any time her speech breaks away from the norm, the doctor knows he has to back off and can’t touch that are. So they do this probing around the edges to make sure they get everything possible and nothing that they really dont want to mess with. Unfortunately, this process causes a bit of trauma to the brain and in the days following a surgery like this, it is normal for a patient to have very limited communication capabilities. We are hoping this degraded time stays to a minimum, but expecting a few weeks of it at least.

Bottom Line: It went very well. We and the doctors are happy.


Surgery details

Update:

It looks like the surgery is scheduled for 2pm today. Please keep us in prayer then. Also, immediately after the surgery Misty will be placed in Intensive Care where no one will be allowed to see her. I will be updating this blog at least once a day (more if possible), so please look here first for updates. Misty wont be able to talk or understand very well following the surgery (even when she is out of ICU)  It will take weeks for this to heal. As such, we ask that you take time to pray at home rather than visiting the hospital. You are welcome to email me and I will read your emails to misty each night. If you do show up at the hospital, you will not be able to see her…so please just pray with us from home.

Darren


Brain Surgery #3

January 7, 2008

It’s been a while since I have updated this. Part of me always wants to wait till I get good news…so I kept pushing it off. The truth is, the last few months have been full of disappointments. Shortly after my last post Misty’s tumor starting growing again. We tried to increase the dose of the chemo she is on, but it still only got worse. In fact, the cancer grew so much (from a peanut to a golf ball) over the last month or so that her speech has become significantly impaired.  We met up with her neurosurgeon and he thinks that he can remove a significant portion of the tumor so her speech will come back.

 

And that brings us to today. We spent the day at New York Presbyterian doing all her pre-operation stuff: EKG, chest x-ray, MRI, etc. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. After the surgery, we will proceed to a new chemo and wait for God to deliver.

 

That is basically all the events…but that doesn’t tell the full story. In the midst of this struggle, there has been a small triumph. Quite frankly, every day is an emotional struggle. It’s hard to maintain status quo knowing that you have been given a pretty grave prognosis. The truth is – there is no cure for brain cancer. Some cancers have recently seen significant growth in survivor rates…but not this one. The truth is – Misty has to face that fact every day…and there isn’t a day she overlooks it. But, in the midst of that, there has been a shinning star…

 

And that is: the perfecting of our faith.

 

See, I’ve always felt like it was easy for me to trust God, but I’ve never been put in a position that I could not handle. I could always rise to the challenge and solve the problem. Well, that’s over. I’ve have no big idea. I have no strength. I have no power over this disease…I’m at the end of the rope. But being in that place has taught me (and both of us) about what faith really is. I’m going to write about faith a little later when I have more time (perhaps this week in the hospital). But for now, let’s pray that Misty’s surgery tomorrow is successful in removing a large portion of the tumor and that her recovery is quick. And if you are like me…you can also pray that he heals her completely (and quickly!).

 

Darren

 

 


Some more good news

August 6, 2007

Well, we heard back today from New York Presbyterian Hospital. Misty has had both her brain surgeries there and we stay in contact with teams there. We have been sending her scans (MRIs) up there for second opinions. The review them in a weekly Tumour Board with Neuro-Oncologists and Neuro-Surgeons. They agree with our local doctor that there is no sign of growth from last month to this month.  This could potentially mean that the chemo is starting to be effective. We are excited about that and hoping to have many more months like this. We are far from out of the woods…but this is certainly good news.

Another great bit of news is that her hives are completely gone. Last time she had these it was every day for 14 months. It looks like this round was much shorter (i don’t want to speak too soon, but its been a week since she has had any hives).


So far so good.

July 16, 2007

We met with the neuro-oncologist today and reviewed Misty’s MRI. From what we could see there is no growth in the tumor since last month. This is encouraging, and could be an indication that the chemo is working for her (at least to stop it from further growth). Misty starts another cycle tomorrow.

As a precaution, we also have her scans sent to New York Presbyterian to be reviewed by the Brain Tumor Board there. We should hear back from them shortly.