Monday, April 5, 2010

Janie Update April 5, 2010: "Shock and Awe"

Ok, are you sitting down? Are you ready for some news, some really nice news?

Janie's lungs are not collapsed. Period. That's all! End of story! Good day sir!

We are just thrilled and ecstatic about this news. I'm in shock, really. Janie's cough has been so persistent and she has been so out of breath that we (and I think especially I) have been pretty convinced that her lungs must be at least 70% collapsed. Or 80%. Or 90%. It's been a pretty rough month.

So when Janie went in this morning for her weekly dose of chemo, the nurse who took her vitals and whatnot expressed more than the usual concern over Janie's cough and the fluid buildup in her (Janie's, not the nurse's, heh) legs. So before they did any chemo, it was
off to Diagnostic Imaging for an x-ray of the lungs. Then the anxious wait for the results, though we must quickly add that RRMC has been very fast with x-ray results, which we are pleased about. I don't know about you (though I suspect you're probably like me), but the wait for the results is just torture. You dream up the worst things. Why do we do that? Why can't we just wait?

Anyway, the results came back: Janie, your lungs are fully inflated. Left lung: 100%. Right lung, about 97%. Amazing! Oh, what grace! Thank you Lord! I am just in Awe of you God.

She is a bit anemic (low red blood cell count) and they are going to double her Lasix (a diuretic) dose to try to reduce the fluid buildup in her legs. (By the way, the fluid is caused by her taking Avastin, which is a drug that helps the chemo to work better. It's kind of a "necessary evil;" take the Avastin and get Avastin's ability to block tumors from forming blood vessels...and live with the side effects of fluid in legs, vocal chord damage, increased heart rate, etc. *or* discontinue Avastin and be free of the side effects but lose the ability to stop tumor blood vessel growth. We opt to keep on with the Avastin.)

So where was I? Right. Lasix.  So Dr. Eisemann is doubling the Lasix to better reduce the fluid. Now, the observant reader will have read something above that would make them scratch their head: if Janie's legs are swollen, why did they order a chest x-ray? Well, here's the thing: the anemia and the fluid (caused by the Avastin) both contribute to a rapid heart beat, so her heart has to work harder, which results in her getting winded in the lungs. The x-ray proved the lungs are fine (except for a little fluid in there which is also an irritant too which they already knew about) and that the the shortness of breath is not caused by collapsed lungs, but by an increased heart rate, which was caused by Avastin. It's of course tempting to consider going off Avastin, but the benefit of it's blocking tumor growth still outweighs the breathing issues...

Lesson learned: don't self-diagnose. Just because your wife is getting winded when she climbs the stairs doesn't necessarily mean that her lungs are collapsing.

We are so very, very grateful to God for this rather happy news. It could have been other news.

And here's a neat thing: Janie has been fervently praying that the Holy Spirit would 'hold my lungs up' and that He would hold her together through all of this coughing. We are just elated at this happy answer to our (and your) prayers.

The cough still persists though so we would still ask you all to keep praying that it will subside.

Janie asked me to include this verse today:

Psalm 91:9
If you make the Most High your dwelling—
       even the LORD, who is my refuge-

 then no harm will befall you,
       no disaster will come near your tent.

News Flash: I'm adding this on Tuesday morning, the 6th. Janie came downstairs this morning with a nice smile on her face. "I slept all night!" she said. 

Wow, what a gift.  

Thank you, Lord.


  1. Big smile... you're joy is contagious.

  2. Thanks Tim. Yes, we are quite pleased but I will probably amend the post to emphasize that she is still coughing so we're not out of the woods yet....thanks for your concern and prayers

  3. HUZZAH!!!!!! And many happy yippies as well. We love you guys. Love Kim and Nate (Nate was the one who sent the yippies) : ))

  4. Praise the Lord! The two of you are an encouragement! God is good and gracious :)