Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Janie Does Have a Brain After All

The following is a good news story. (However, she has not read it as of 'posting time,' so I may need to revise this to correct any inaccuracies...).

For the last several weeks, Janie has been feeling very exhausted and even kind of car-sick and feverish. We haven't known why, and it had gotten worse over this past weekend. It had gotten bad enough by Monday that her oncologist, Dr. Eisemann, decided to hold off on her regularly scheduled Monday chemo so he could prescribe some anti-nausea drugs and some steroids. He thought it would be best if she was stronger (by skipping chemo for a week) while she gave these drugs a chance to work.

He also sent her (still on Monday) to our friendly neighborhood ear/nose/throat specialist so he could have a look at her sinuses. Janie had been having a lot of, shall we say,
congestion. A nice blast (and I do mean wizbang-zowie-air-compressor-powered BLAST) of 'strawberry' numbing spray and a tears-and-gag inducing-look-around-up-in-there revealed that, shockingly, radiation on her whole head really did cause rawness of the sinus membranes! So for sinus-soothing relief, she was to add this stuff called Al-kal-ol (not to be confused with another similarly named sinus-soothing stuff) to her Neti-Pot mix. And do you know it worked? Less bloody nose, less irritation. Plus, a previous sinus infection that we thought might have returned was ruled out. Yay. All of this was on Monday.

Now up to today, Wednesday. Another side to the nausea thing has been a lack of appetite. You know how you don't want to eat when you feel she has had a hard time eating and even drinking. As a result, by today she had become a little dehydrated. We went in to the cancer center to get a bag of fluids via IV. I saw that big old bag of saline roughly the size of the Goodyear blimp and thought, "well now that ought to do it."

Dr. Eisemann decided, too, that an MRI would be a good idea (an MRI is always a good idea to a doctor). He wanted the MRI to see if there was any swelling of her brain due to the radiation a month ago. Swelling of the brain can cause nausea; actually, nausea that isn't reacting to anti-nausea drugs can be a tip-off that something is 'up' in the head. This was how they found the lesions in her brain last time. So the MRI seemed like a logical next step. Amazingly, they again squeezed Janie in for a same-day MRI! I feel like that's pretty amazing...Dr. Eisemann must really have some pull over in Diagnostic Imaging. I think he pulls the strings hoping that Janie will come through with more of her world-famous chocolate chip cookies. Yeah, you all know what I'm talkin' about.

So 2:00 today found Janie in the MRI tube. A happy side of this was that for the first time, they let me go right in the MRI room with her. She was so concerned she might cough and ruin the scan, but the Lord took care of that with some good old-fashioned Robitussin with codeine. The MRI was about twenty minutes long and she was absolutely still...really quite amazing considering how much she has been coughing lately.

Another bit of a wait at the cancer center while Dr. Eisemann looked at the 'films' (no actual film involved anymore - read: digital), and in his own quiet, unassuming way, he joked that he did see a brain which is good and that it was a normal brain. So many jokes, so little time....

This meant that there was no swelling so the nausea is not being caused by her brain. It also was nice to have a recent picture of her brain, 1) to prove it's existence and 2) to see that the cancer in there was removed by the radiation, praise God. This is good news!!

So why the nausea? Well, they also did another test earlier in the day, the results of which showed that she has a urinary tract infection (UTI) again. They think that this is causing the nausea as well as the fever symptoms, so it was off to the pharmacy again for antibiotic. These drugs can make her sleepy, so she'll be konked out for a while I expect. She's pretty woozy and nauseated; please pray that she will be on the mend and feeling better soon!

So to recap:
*nausea and fever
*no sinus infection
*dehydration handled by fluids
*MRI reveals: brain: yes, swelling: no, new lesions: no
*nausea may be caused by UTI
*still feeling nauseated right now
*God oversees all and loves Janie with an everlasting love

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17


  1. Janie, Chris, we are thrilled with you and the latest update. We will keep praying that God continue to give you the strength needed for each day. You are special. Debbie

  2. Your faith and smiles are such an inspiration to me. Janie, you are like a flower growing through a crack in the pavement...your life spirit shines through the dark and lifts its face to embrace the warmth and sunshine. May God continue to wrap you and your family in his awesomeness. Love you all. Kathie