Monday, December 22, 2008

From Mike: Day +27 (Day 21 in ICU)

Update: 11:30am
Dawn is going to get the trach put in later today, sometime after 3pm. Her lungs are a bit better today, the dialysis seems to be working to take the fluid off. They were going for another 6 liters but her blood pressure was falling slightly so they backed off and are going for 5. She has another 15 minutes left and they've removed 4.9 liters so far. Her attitude is much different today, the new anxiety drugs seem to be helping. You can tell she's still frustrated and scared but it's not a constant fight to keep her calm and to keep her from pulling her tubes. The biggest worry today is the liver, it's really taken a turn for the worse. We've asked for a liver specialist to come in and one should be visiting today. Her total bilirubin is 15.7 (normal .2-1.3). Her direct bilirubin, which I haven't posted before, is 10.4 (normal .1-.3). Her kidneys aren't working but that's not uncommon when going through dialysis. Acute kidney failure is usually the result of a trauma or event and when that trauma or event is over, the kidneys usually resolve.

I don't want to scare everybody out there reading but this is a very critical week for Dawn. She has some major body functions that aren't working, some are getting slowly better, some getting quickly worse. Everything that is wrong right now is reversible but she has a long road ahead of her and we really need things to start turning around.

Update: 2:30pm
I just got back from taking Dawn down to the OR for the tracheostomy. You can see from the picture below that moving her around the hospital is no simple feat. She should be done in about one hour.

A team of 4 people to move her around the hospital. One is responsible for making her breathe.

Update: 5pm
She's back from the OR. The procedure went fine. They said it took a bit longer than usual because they were extra careful to not cut any blood vessels needlessly. She's still sedated. Hopefully she'll like this better and won't feel as anxious. Having a tube down the throat is like having your hand down your mouth all day. You can't swallow and you can't close your mouth. This should be much more comfortable, we'll see how she reacts when she wakes up.

Her fever has come down today, it's currently 97.0. The infectious disease team came by and is working with Dr. Costa's team to try and get her off any medications that aren't needed since she has neutrophils and the fever has come down and seems stable. The less drugs she's on, the more it will help the liver. I forgot to mention earlier that she had some arterial fibrilation again last night with the sedative medication she was on. They've changed it again, hopefully they can take her down and then completely off the sedatives now with the trach.

Just back from the OR.


Anonymous said...

Mike -
I check on your updates often and you and Dawn are in my thoughts. Stay strong and know that there are many people praying for Dawn! Please let me know if I can do anything to help...
Donna Gatch

Tara said...

Hey Mike, obviously Dawn has been through a lot in the last couple of months. From her diagnosis to this cord blood transplant and all she has done the whole time is to fight. It must be equally difficult for her to be so out of control of what her body is doing, let alone be in the hospital during a time of the year when the family normally gets together. This has to be terribly difficult for her physically and mentally. I pray for Dawn every day. I work for a Catholic organization and I have several other people praying for her. I can only hope that all this prayer helps her and her liver enzymes start dropping so she can get out of the ICU as soon as possible. I wish I could help you guys more. Please tell us if there is anything else we can do to help (donated blood and signed several people up to be bone marrow donors). Things may seem scary now, but Dawn doesn’t seem like she's the type to give up. May God bless you, Dawn, and your families. May he also bless her doctors to make the best decisions for her and to get her better.


Anonymous said...

Tif and Dawn,
We will miss you this week, but are following along with the updates. We are praying for you all to have easier days ahead.

Gina P. said...

Thanks for the updates...just like many people out there you two are always in our thoughts, prayers and best wishes. You two are truly amazing!

Love to both of you!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Give Dawn best & tell her I am thinking of her daily..great job on your end..hang in there..are you working this week?


hockeychic said...

Sending healing thoughts and strength to Dawn. Hope that things with the liver improve soon!

Anonymous said...

When you are able to talk to Dawn, which should be after they put the trach in later today, tell her that Nancy and I have and will continue to pray for her. I woke up early this morning, around 5 AM, and my thoughts were about Dawn and you and what both of you are going through right now. I know that Dawn has suffered through all of this with all the lines and tubes, Doctors and Nurses and machines around her, and we pray it gets better soon. We also think about all that you have gone through, with the helpless feeling you get when there is nothing you can do to make things better. If prayers help, and I believe they do, then I'll, as I know others have and continue to give it our all to make Dawn well once again. Hoping for a Christmas miracle. God Bless you both.
Grandpa Tony & Nancy

Anonymous said...


Am keeping Dawn in my thoughts and prayers. And am thinking of you and her family.

Brian Fahey

Anderson Family Member said...

keep fighting Dawn- remember you are beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God- love cousin Nancy

Tess Dement said...

I first read about Dawn when she wrote on leuk blog about how gleevec had failed her. I have been following her battle every since and everyday I check on her hoping and praying for good news. I was dx with cml 10/06 and have been on gleevec ever since. Thankyou Mike for keeping us updated on Dawns progress and Iam sending out big prayers for things to start turning around for the better. Hang in there Dawn - I send you prayers from Calif.
Tess Dement

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you and I continue to pray for you and all the family. I know how incredibly difficult it is to watch someone you love go through this. One good thing is she will probably not remember any of it in ICU. Please tell her how much she is loved and how beautiful she is. God loves her so much. Even if she is sedated, her spirit hears and she needs to hear "I love you and you are an incredible lady" Speak life to her always and I know you do. There is incredible life in the tongue as we just speak life and well-being and health as well as just the name of Jesus. To an unbeliever this sounds strange but just as the doctors try all different medicine, the name of Jesus has power to heal. love you, Aunt Gloria and family.

Anonymous said...

Praying for Dawn.

Mamawarrior (LALS Board)
Mother to son, 2 yrs. post double u-cord transplant for relapsed aml.

Toni Baker said...

My Dearest Son,
My thoughts are with you and Dawn constantly even though I cannot be. The time I spent with you and Dawn in ICU a couple of weeks ago gave me the opportunity to share what is the hardest thing in life that you have gone through thus far. Words cannot express how proud I am of the man you are and how touched I am of your tenderness and love for your beautiful Dawn. I love her as my daughter. She is absolutely the best. She is so strong and even though this fight is tough for her right now, she can overcome this and she will continue to fight using all the strength she has and all the strength you have.

To Christy,
I am sorry we did not get to see each other while I was there. But I was glad to be able to step in if only for a very small way for you while you were recovering. I think of you often as well and can only imagine the fear and frustration you must have as a mother. I know you are also strong; strong in your faith and strong in your mothers love for your baby girl. Dawn is very lucky to have such a devoted mother by her side through this hard time and through her upcoming recovery. It’s just a bump in the road and we are thinking only positive thoughts for her.

To the Doctors and Nurses; you are amazing! You have all been given such wonderful gifts that you share through your skills and your healing hands on our loved ones. Thank you for never tiring in healing our Dawn, and spending extra long hours and taking every opportunity available in the search for the right combo to get Dawn on her way to recovery.

To our sweet Dawn,
We are here for you and if we could reach in and take all this pain and struggle away from you we gladly would. There is plenty of us to share this on our shoulders. We will continue to pray, to think happy thoughts to encourage blood donation, bone marrow donation and talk to all we come in contact with on how important it is to give the gift of life. Your wishes are being carried out through us while we wait for you to get better and join us. Restful sleep tonight and looking forward to hearing your voice again tomorrow.

Mike's Mom

Kristynn said...

Thinking of you Dawn and keeping you in my prayers. Hang in there!

Maria G said...

thinking about you constantly, dawn, & sending sooo much love! i know that everyone who knows you & many people who don't would love to be able to take away your struggles for you. i personally can't wait til you get better so you can come visit your lil brother in hawaii & i can finally meet you! hope the next few days bring more comfort & lots more improvement.
sending my love,