Thursday, September 25, 2008

Everyone Is Home!

Alan is finally home!! We got home around 2:30 yesterday afternoon. The trip was hard on him, but we made it. Alan is going to be staying at his parents for a few days until he heals a little more and gets a little more strength. I picked Sydney and Carson up yesterday from school and day care and we went to see daddy. They were so excited to see him. Carson was a little unsure, but that was the first time he has seen Alan in 2 1/2 weeks, but he warmed up. It was a great reunion. Not much has changed...the kids are still wild and Carson still wants to be outside at all times! When it was time for the kids and I to head back home, Sydney whispered in my ear "Is daddy going home with us." It was so sweet and I had to tell her no, not tonight. She is so ready for him to come home so they can play. I guess I'm not as fun as daddy, LOL. Just wanted to give everyone a quick update. We go back to LR next Wednesday and Thursday for Dr. appts...3 of them!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

7 Years of Marriage!

Monday, September 22nd will by our 7th Wedding Anniversary. I'm posting this today because I will not be here tomorrow. I'm heading back to Little Rock to be with Alan. Alan and I actually started dating in 1996, so technically we have been together 12 years. I think those first years are just as important as the marriage years! Obviously the picture is from our wedding day. Alan was pretty much pulling me down the aisle and I remember my shoe falling off. This was a great day full of fun and memories. I promise you this, I never thought we would be facing the difficulty our family has been thru these last 3 weeks on this day. You defiantly take life for granted. Alan, I love you so much. You are the best husband and father and are so strong. We've had some great memories together and there are still more to have.

Also, just want to let everyone know Alan is having a good weekend. They are not going to do the Small Bowel Series until Monday and we probably will not have those results until Tuesday. If things go the way they should, then we will hopefully be home Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed and say a few more prayers for us! I know I keep saying this, but we have some amazing friends and people that care about us. You guys are great and thanks for checking on us.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Few Set Backs, Test and Oncologist

As I mentioned in the previous post, Alan had to have an NG tube put in Sunday evening. He had it in all day Monday and then they took it out Tuesday around 1 and he was doing ok, until that night and all of the gas and bile started to build up in his stomach thru the night and in to the morning. Needless to say neither of us had any sleep Tuesday night thru the morning. It was a BAD night. Alan was hurting so bad from the build up. He would get up and walk the halls thru the night trying to get any relief. The nurses would pump him with nausea meds and pain meds to try and help and again, nothing helped. He was stressing pretty bad that they were going to put the NG tube in again and the previous experience from that was not something to remember. That Wednesday morning he started throwing up again, so the Dr. did order another NG tube. This would be the 3rd one. If anyone has ever had this done and you were awake, then you know what Alan is going thru. We were pretty upset about this. At this point after Alan's surgery, he should be able to eat whatever he wants and should defiantly be home. Also at this point, he has not eaten anything since lunch Sunday, Sept. 7th. Anything that he did try and eat just came back up. The nurse putting in the third NG tube is Becca. She is a nurse from the intermediate ICU that we loved, so we were excited to see her again. Again, I left for the tube insertion. I left for about 30 minutes and when I came back, Alan wrote that she did a whole lot better than the nurse from Sunday. He actually had a smile on his face.

I skipped over the part about the abdominal xray. While preparing our nerves for the NG tube, they did an xray on Alan's abdomen to see if they could tell what is going on with his intestines. The Dr. came in this morning saying that it looked like there is an issue with Alan's small intestine. He ordered an Small Bowel Series which is where Alan will drink barium and they will take a set of xrays to see if they can tell where the blockage is. The test will be done Sunday and we should have the results for the SBS Monday. They are waiting until Sunday to preform the SBS so his intestines can have a few days of rest. Please pray that there is an easy fix for this b/c if not then Alan will have another surgery.

They also put in a PIC line today so Alan can receive nutrients that he is lacking. Again, since he has not eaten in so long. Hopefully this will give him some strength. He has lost almost 15 lbs since he has been at the hospital and he did not need to loose that at all!

Oncologist Info:
We did meet with the oncologist (Dr. Beck) this week...I think at 6:30 one morning. You know how those Drs. love to come in bright and early! Anyway, he was extremely nice and told Alan that he would not have to do chemo or radiation. He will take an oral drug. We do not know the name of it yet or for how long, but that was wonderful news. There are other meds Alan will be taking too since he no longer has a spleen, but hey...who cares. I'm sure he will take whatever they tell him to at this point. We have seen Dr. Beck a few other times, but have not talked about meds really, just the issues Alan is dealing with at the moment.

I'm home for a few days!
I got home today just in time to pick Sydney up from school. I also picked Samson up from the boarder before Sydney so he was along for the ride too. I'm not sure if Sydney was more excited to see me or Samson, lol. She has not seen him in almost 2 weeks. She actually told someone the other day that she used to have a dog, so I guess she thought we got ride of him! Carson gave me the best hug ever when I picked him up from Wee School today. It felt GREAT!! He has not let go of my finger since. It's been so nice to be with my kids tonight. Poor Sydney is already asking how many days I'm going to be home. I will be heading back to LR either Sunday or Monday. Alan's dad is staying with him while I'm at home. My poor mother has been taking care of the kids along with some great friends helping too. Alan's parents have been back and forth to LR alot, but they did keep Carson over the weekend. I'm sure that was a good break for Gigi, hehe.

Everyone has helped us soooo much. I can't even explain how much I appreciate your help, your calls...everything!! Sarah, I'm sorry you had a blowout on the way to my house tonight!! Thanks for helping out so much with Sydney. Paula, thank you so much for picking up Sydney and letting her come play. I think she was a little disappointed today that she did not get to go home with Julia, but she did make up for it by saying she was also glad to see me, but sure did want to come play, lol. Ricky Babb, thank you for feeding Bealle and mowing our HUGE yard and for being such a good friend to Alan. I know he has enjoyed your visits at the hospital.

Keep the prayers going. God has answered some amazing prayers for our family, but now we need to get Alan thru this. He is still not in the clear. It makes me so sad for him and to watch him just lay in that bed. That's not my Alan. God will give him his strength back and will guide him thru the good and bad. That's why we love him...thru the good and bad...God is always there. Faith will get you thru anything!!

I know this is long...sorry!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

We're Still Here!

Hey guys. Yep, we are still in the hospital. Alan's progress is just a little slow and he had a major set back yesterday. They took the NG tube out (tube that runs threw nose down to stomach to pump out stomach bile) two days ago and Alan did fine with that and was able to actually eat a little. Well, yesterday Alan started throwing up and it seemed like it didn't matter what they gave him, he just couldn't keep it down. Anyway, after a long and yucky day, they ended up putting the tube back in about 9 O'clock last night. I know it was an awful experience for Alan and I just had to leave the room when they put it back in. I'm not real happy with the way things were handled yesterday by some of the nurses in the intermediate ICU, but they did move us to a private room (#629) that I can stay in and these nurses have been on the ball and have really helped Alan. He still can't talk on the phone, but I promise I'm letting him know who has called or left comments or emails.
Just in case you are wondering, the biopsy for the tumor was malignant, which we all knew, but just hoped that maybe all of these Drs. were wrong! But of course the great news is they got it and the lymph node was negative. As for meeting with the oncologist, we are still not sure. It might be tomorrow or it might be in two weeks. We are waiting for a little bit more of information on that. I also want Alan to feel well enough to listen to everything he has to say, so it might be in two weeks.

My parents brought Sydney up here yesterday to see us which was GREAT, but not so great for Alan b/c he felt so bad!! We have been missing her and Carson sooooooo much. It's hard to be away from them this long. My dad stayed with Alan and my mom, Sydney and I did Chucky Cheese. It was great.

Thanks again to everyone for the prayers, calls...just everything. Keep those prayers coming for Alan's recovery. It will be hard, but he knows he has great family and friends to help and a wonderful God to give him strength!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Alan's Room Information

Hello to all! I've been at this hospital all week and I just found out that the library has internet, so I can do a quick update. Alan is in a room, but not completely private although he is by himself. It is an in between ICU and a private room area. He just still needs a little extra care from a private nurse than what I can give him. That is fine with me b/c lord knows I'm not a nurse! Alan is still just real groggy, but feeling no pain. There is not much for me to add at the moment. Paula did a great job with the update. Thank you Paula! I would like to add that I think some people are somewhat confused about the tumor, but yes, it was cancerous, but the lympth node came back negative. The Dr. did not have to take any of the pancreas like we thought in the beginning. The tumor had started to grow up the vena cave like we thought, but the Dr.'s were able to remove all of that also. God has really answered some amazing prayers for us lately. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment. Now I know I can check any time during the day...or at least until 5pm. Thank you again to everyone for the calls, prayers, friendships. This has been an eye opening experience that I wish on no one!

Alan's room # is 682, but this might change this afternoon, or he might be in this room thru the night. Who knows. The nurse tells you one thing and then the Dr. tells you another. At least he can have visitors during anytime of the day. While he was in ICU he could only have visitors during certain times of the day and that was no fun for anyone.

Thanks again to everyone. Hopefully Alan will be able to talk on the phone soon and hear some familiar voices.
We love you,

Alan Surgery and Hospital Stay Update

Hello, everyone! I am a close friend of Melissa's, and she has asked me to keep their blog updated while she's not able to do so. (My name is Paula.) I will do my best to add information as quickly as I talk with Melissa. If you are following their blog to keep up with their family and with Alan's illness, I know you are just as anxious as I am to know how Alan's doing. Please do not hesitate to add comments and/or questions...I will pass those on to Melissa while she's still unavailable, and she'll be able to read them for herself when she's back online.

Alan underwent his surgery on Monday morning at 10am at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock. The surgery took approximately 3 1/2 hours. The surgeons did remove the tumor, the kidney, the entire spleen, and a lymph node close to the kidney. Alan did receive blood during the surgery. Afterwards, the doctors told Melissa that the surgery went extremely well.

As of yesterday, Alan had been in ICU since his surgery. He had received a total of 4 units of blood (I believe 3 of those were during surgery). His breathing tubes had all been removed on Tuesday night and the nurses had already had him sitting up in a chair. He is still pretty groggy and a bit out-of-it, but doing well. Melissa was hoping that Alan would be moved out into a room later in the day on Wednesday. I will be talking with her in a little bit this for the latest updates and hopefully will have a private room number for you all. As far as Melissa knew, the oncologists had still not been by to see Alan. She's hoping that will happen once he's moved into a room, alert, and she's with him.

The best news of all so far:
The biopsy of Alan's lymph node came back NEGATIVE!!!!!!!!!!

All in all, Alan seems to be doing very well. Melissa sounded much better yesterday than she has in over a week. Please continue to remember them in your prayers. Until the next update,


Friday, September 5, 2008

Dr. Appointment and Surgery

(This picture is when we were still in our local hospital...obviously before we found out our bad news. Just wanted everyone to see Alan' great smile.)

We got back from Alan's Dr. appt. around 9:00 last night. Our new word is "optimistic." Dr. Mooney said he was very optimistic about Alan's condition. He did officially call his cancer "Kidney Cancer." He said that he will take the kidney, tumor, possibly the spleen (depending on if it has grown up in it), and maybe some of the pancreas. It has defiantly spread, but apparently it is a slow spreading cancer. He said that this type of cancer is one of the hardest to find b/c there are no symptoms until it is so advanced. Dr. Mooney will also have a general surgeon with him during the surgery if they do end up taking the spleen or other organs. I asked him what the likelihood is of it coming back to the other kidney and he said there is about a 3% chance, so that was reassuring. Alan will have scans about every 6 months for the next 5 years just for precaution. I think everyone should be allowed a scan once a year. Dr. Mooney said Alan could have possibly had this tumor for 5 years and it has just been slowly growing. After surgery and we see exactly what we are up against, then we will get with the oncologist and talk about therapy. They have so many different medicines these days, so we will see what is best for Alan's situation.

Since I have been working on this post, they called about Alan's surgery. It is going to be Monday the 8th at 10am at Baptist Health Center in Little Rock The surgery will be anywhere from 2-3 hours and then Alan will be in the hospital for probably 3 days. We are extremely excited that they are able to get us in so soon, but of course nervous. Now we have to prepare and get ready for upcoming results that will hopefully be in our favor. We will be staying in Little Rock Sunday night. We have to be at the hospital at 8 that morning. We were all doing pretty well until we found out the date and time of the surgery and now the nerves have set back in. I know everyone is, but keep on praying. Man, do we need those prayers!! We are not in the clear yet, but hopefully will be soon. I'm waiting for the moment the Dr. comes out and says everything looks great! Those are the words we need to hear. Poor Sydney and Carson, they are just being tossed around.

Thank you again to everyone! The support is awesome and we love you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Alan Update 2

I just wanted to let everyone know that Alan's bone scan came back normal which of course is GREAT!! God is already answering prayers for us. We are still heading to LR tomorrow come hell or high water...and I'm not even joking about the high water b/c Arkansas is flooded thanks to Gustav, and we were without power from 10 last night until 5:30 this afternoon. Again, thank you Gustav. And let me tell you, it's no fun sitting in a dark house with rainy and windy weather when you are already depressed enough. Me, Alan and Sydney went to Wal-Mart for entertainment (I'm sure my family in Arizona and California are laughing about our Wal-Mart trip). haha Anyway, back to the main subject. We are still not 100% certain that we will be staying in Little Rock tomorrow, but we are taking extra clothes just in case. Just keep us in your prayers b/c I know they are working.

Carson is back to himself today and is back at home with us tonight. I'm sooooo glad he is better. I hated to leave town with him feeling so bad.

So many of you have called and left messages and I apologize that we have not returned calls, but it's really been crazy around here and then the power was off and we did not have a land line phone, but we do now thanks to our walmart trip and we bought a real cheap one and I don't think it works that well. Anyway, we are not avoiding calls, it's just been crazy.
Love to all!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Alan Update

We will be headed to Little Rock Thursday for Alan's appt. with Dr. Mooney. Our appt. is at 3:00 and it sounds like we will be staying. We are still not sure when they will schedule surgery. I pray that it is soon. I know Alan just wants it out and if I could reach in there and pull it out I would...ok, I know that sounds a little grouse, but I promise you would feel the same way. Alan had to have a bone scan today and I think that will be all of the testing until we go to LR. I want to let everyone know that the tumor is just on the left kidney. The right kidney is healthy and fine and shows nothing abnormal (I've had some people tell me they heard it was both kidney's, but it's not). There is growth up the kidney vein which runs into the vena cava and up towards the heart. We will probably not know for sure just how much it has spread until they do the surgery. Apparently Alan has basically been living off of his one good kidney for a while, so we know he can do it! While we are in LR, I will probably have a friend..:-) post for me so everyone can check back on our blog for updates. I will probably be off work for a while. If you need me or have any questions, please feel free to email me at home Please just pray for Alan. He is really down and the depression is setting in. I'm trying to keep him going and he is doing ok, but of course it's just hard. I know how I feel so I really cannot imagine how he is feeling.

Also, say a special pray for our Carson too. Apparently he has a stomach bug and has been throwing up most of the day. I took him to Wee School this morning and he was fine. I went to work after Alan's bone scan and they called me and he was SICK! I had to take him to my moms and now Alan's parents have him and are keeping him tonight...UGH!! I'm taking him to Monroe tomorrow morning to the Dr. What next!! Bring it on...ok, not really!
Of course, pray for our Sydney too. She still does not know that Alan will be having surgery and I guess we have just put it off telling her. We will probably talk with her more tomorrow about it and I hope she understands.

I also want to throw this in. Ok, I know we live in this little town in south Arkansas, but I really want to commend everyone at our Crossett hospital for taking care of Alan while he was in the hospital. Everyone was great and I felt like they went out of their way to check on him and make sure he was doing ok. Thank you to Dr. Malloy for running all of the test so we would have an answer before we left the hospital. It wasn't exactly the answer we wanted, but at least we know.
Again, thank you to everyone for your calls, emails and post. I mean it when I say we love you and appreciate everything. We have great friends, family and people already all over this country praying for us...and we need it.
I want to leave you with this:

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you,
for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with
My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10
We believe that God has our hand and he is leading us through this journey of the unknowing. We are not sure where or why, but he is leading us and he will give us the strength to get through it.
I also want to say that I'm tired of Gustav! This tropical depression is adding to my depression! Thank you Lord for the rain, but please move it on.