Update Regarding My Dad [6/20/13]

[Click here to read the 6/1/13 update. Click here if you didn’t know you needed updates regarding my Dad or you can simply visit BillPederson.Org for a quick summary.]

Hi Family and Friends!

Yikes, it looks like my plan for a weekly update was quickly pushed to two weeks… and at this rate we’re pushing it to almost a monthly update, which is not okay — so don’t worry, this will not become a habit! Things have just been EXTRA hectic around here (to say the least), so bare with me as I [try to] summarize most of the highlights.

As you can imagine from the details I included in the first update, Dad has needed 24/7 hands-on care from Mom and I — it has been exhausting for each of us, but we keep on keepin’ on! Everyday, it’s about baby steps.

Speaking of baby steps, Dad is able to make a loop around our neighborhood! It is about a 5 minute walk at almost a snails pace but it allows him to get outside, breathe that fresh air, and feel human. It takes energy, so he has had to build up to this accomplishment and we are so proud of him! He absolutely loves to walk, so sometimes we try to go more than once in a day — especially when it’s a beautiful day!

Holding Hands

I heard Dad say in his soft and sweet voice, “Hold my hand” — and I turned around to catch this kodak moment! Married 35 Years this year & still in looooove!!

The night before Dad’s first follow-up Doctor’s Appointment (5/23/13) post hospital discharge, he developed what looked to be severe edema in his feet and ankles literally overnight. I was immediately alarmed and wanted to confirm with his Doctor that it wasn’t heart/kidney/liver related and that my Dad wasn’t at risk for a stroke etc. due to all the medication he was taking amongst other reasons. His Oncologist said not to worry as edema is common in Dad’s circumstance… so in addition to magnesium (500mg 2x day) and raising the legs as often as possible, walking is told to also improve circulation.

~*~

I previously shared that my Dad’s pain management was exclusively an extended and rapid release narcotic (MS-Contin; a.k.a. morphine). When he left the hospital on 5/15/13 his dosage was 30mg every 8 hours, which was entirely too much for him. We reduced his intake to 30mg every 12 hours, with one to two 15mg rapid release break throughs depending on the day he was having. So, he went from 90mg of morphine in a 24 hour period, to around 75mg depending on the day. 

I am THRILLED to share with you that nearly 3 weeks later my Dad was able to successfully decrease his intake to 15mg every 12 hours (30mg total within a 24 hour period), and we have officially begun his “Taper Schedule” — with a seal of approval from his Oncologist of course.

Today we have been experimenting. I removed his scheduled 9:30AM 15mg extended release (E.R.) entirely and I cut the 15mg rapid release (R.R.) into eighths, which translates to 1.875mg each. I gave him 1/8th at 9:30AM and wasn’t impressed with the results (demonstrated too much of a sedation effect) so I’ve completely modified my projected schedule and have been winging it all day since he’s been relatively “pain-free” with various spikes that we were able to be managed by a new and improved method.

You’re probably wondering, “How is this even possible?!” My Dad has literally been in severe chronic abdominal pain since March 2013 — and he still is, but his pain is being managed in an extremely better way now.

Remember in my first update I shared that my Dad was leaning toward medicinal cannabis? This is because he would prefer to NOT be on any opioids, if at all possible. His Oncologist was completely supportive of this decision and my Dad was able to obtain a Medical Marijuana Card because it is legal here in Washington State! Since he began the medicinal cannabis he has been able to eliminate more than half of his laundry list of medications he otherwise needed to consume prior to.

I’m going to have to dedicate an entire email/post to this topic so I won’t be going into detail about it now — but I sincerely look forward to sharing how it was introduced to my Dad, all the options he has, what he seems to favor, what works best for him — and more importantly — how mind-blowing effective it is! Also, as a side note, what is also mind-blowing [to me], is how many unexpecting white-collar individuals who either grow his or her own or know someone/people(!) who do. Who knew!? 😉

Also, when you have 15 minutes PLEASE watch this video about Green Leaf Therapy: click here.  

Remember the major insomnia my Dad was experiencing and how I had high hopes to report drastic sleep improvement in my next update? Well… I am happy to report that with the significant decrease of morphine in his system and subsidizing with cannabis indica (lower THC, higher CBD/CBN) my Dad has been able to improve his sleep! He still gets up throughout the night, sometimes more or less than other nights, but for the most part his quality of sleep has greatly improved since our last update! He used to come out to the living room through out the night and experienced what I call “the yips” when dozing/napping/sleeping — he would wake up abruptly and sometimes get up in a panic. Thank God that has decreased, my poor Dad!

~*~

Dad had another Doctor’s Appointment last Thursday (6/13/13) and his blood tests were relatively good. His bilirubin continued to drop since our last update and is now at 0.6 mg/dL (range is 0.2 – 1.2) so he is mechanically running at optimal performance with those stents. Further confirmation that the ERCP procedure was in fact a success at this point is that his Amylase Level is 59 U/L (range is 25-125) and his Lipase Level is 27 U/L (range is 8-78). Currently his White & Red Blood Cell Counts are within range, however; I would like to see those numbers increase, particularly with his chemo treatment on the horizon. The only test we are currently waiting on is the Tumor Marker, and in Dad’s case it is called Chromogranin A (opposed to CA19.9). That test is a “send out” so it takes about 1-3 weeks to get the results. The purpose of this test is to monitor the tumor activity. When I get the results, I’ll go into more detail. Overall, Dad’s Oncologist was once again pleased with his blood results. 

However, much to our surprise, during Dad’s routine vital check pre-consult his Blood Pressure was 70/47! To our knowledge it has NEVER been that low and was legitimately alarming. It may or may not have had to do with Dad’s hypoglycemia and the fact that his blood sugar levels crashed around that time, but nonetheless after our consult they kept him for almost two hours for a 1-liter bag of IV-fluids. He was dehydrated and the liter bag would only help so it was worth it.

Dad’s Oncologist decided to push back the outpatient chemotherapy treatment schedule to monitor his blood pressure. Since 6/13/13, Mom and I have been noting Dad’s BP sporadically throughout the day, everyday, and will report back to the Doctor in a week or two. The Doctor will then determine whether Dad needs to be put on a prescription to increase his BP or not. Personally, I think it is directly correlated to the morphine and that we’ll see improvement as it continues to leave his system.

This unexpected delay in beginning the chemo treatment also allows more time for Dad to gain weight. On 5/23/13 the Doctor’s scale recorded Dad at 146lbs, and on 6/13/13, he weighed the same. This was “good” news because he didn’t lose any weight; however, Dad desperately needs to gain weight. His Doctor heavily emphasized the need to eat or drink every 30-60 minutes, which has really been a challenge, but Dad has definitely improved on his overall food/drink intake since the last update. I hope to report even more positive progress in our next update as well as discuss his restricted “stent diet” in more detail.

Dad+Zoe Collage

Dad is able to sit up now! Usually for a short period of time, but see how he’s sitting up and turned just slightly? HUGE PROGRESS! And again, I was able to capture this precious kodak moment. Also, Zoe *never* leaves Dad’s side!  

Dad is slowly [re]gaining strength in his voice, usually for a limited time, but we are hoping his fatigue, which could be related to his low BP, will continue to diminish as we move forward with the Morphine Taper Schedule. He has been able to stay awake during the day longer than before — he still naps a lot and wakes himself up talking in his sleep (his mind is ALWAYS going!), but again, this will no doubt subside as the morphine officially leaves his system. He has been through so much, and there are so many praises to be thankful for! 

He’s still not ready for visitors, but he wants each of you to know he absolutely appreciates the outpour of love, prayers, support, and positivity. He is determined to fight this and has not given up AT ALL. He is eager to “get his life back” and often pushes himself too much. The will in this man is commendable. He is such an inspiration!

~*~

I think that’s it for now! As thorough as I’d like to be, it’s inevitable I have forgot to mention this, that, or the other! In another post/email I plan on sharing my second experience at the PANCAN Educational Seminar (which was held here in Seattle on June 7th, 2013), and will include actual recordings of at least two of the phenomenal and very informative speakers — one of whom is actually my Dad’s Oncologist!! This piece is intended to not only bring more awareness to Pancreatic Cancer, but also shed light on the breaking discoveries as well.

And last but certainly not least –> THANK YOU for your patience as I realize I STILL haven’t responded to initial emails from the first update on June 1st. I know you all understand — or at least I hope you do! Please know that I WILL respond! 🙂

Also, THANK YOU, to each of you who have sent in donations for my Dad and his fight for his life against Pancreatic Cancer — there truly are no words to express how thankful we are! We are so humbled and filled with gratitude. Every little bit helps, especially with Mom’s Cobra Insurance expiring and she was denied an extension. 😦

Donations

So thankful!

Feel free to forward this information to let friends and family know, and moreover, please keep my Dad in your prayers…they are working!! If you prefer to pray specific prayers we’re praying his low blood pressure improves naturally, that his overall nutrition and weight improves greatly, and that this Morphine Taper is concluded a complete success!

And if you can…

Please Mail Donations To

Thank you & God Bless,

Jenn & Family
xoox’s

You can also connect with me on:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

~*~

PS: Who’s this stud?!

Happy Father's Day Daddy

Click the image to read my Father’s Day post!

PPS: Don’t forget to stay informed. The easiest way to stay updated is to subscribe to this blog. You can do so by entering your email address via the “subscribe” button found at the top right of the sidebar, above the “Please Give” image. Spread the word. 🙂

Prayer Changes Things

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Update Regarding My Dad [6/20/13]

  1. Okay, I have just shed so many tears at the tenacity of this man and the love you have for one another. I sent a reply, Jenn to this email. Please call. I don’t know how to connect other than your phone number.

    • God Mommy!!

      It was SOOOO awesome to finally meet up with you and Howard. I felt like I was rambling on and on AND ON, so you can see how [more] effective these written updates are!

      Also, we are completely flabbergasted and BEYOND grateful for your guys very generous donation — THANK YOU!!! I will be mailing out a proper thank you soon. You all mean so much to us and we are so lucky to have you in our lives.

      Let’s meet up again soon, even if just for a hug. Love you!!

      <3,
      jenn & fam
      xoox's

  2. Thank you for the update. Again, you are a great daughter to be so committed to your Dad’s care. I have tons of respect for you for being there for him! It takes a lot to provide 24/7 care for a loved one plus deal with all of the stress that goes along with this type of health issue. I am glad that he is comfortable and that new things are being introduced to him to help him out. I will continue to pray for him, for you and your family. God never gives us more than we can handle so remember that!

    • Sandy your comment means so much to me because I suppose I don’t even realize all that I’m doing(?) simply because I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is literally no where else I’d rather be than right here doing what I’m doing. I definitely acknowledge the fact that I’m helping a great deal, and part of that innate “reaction” is because I just know without it, my parents would be a wreck. We have been able to keep it together so-to-speak through God’s love and strength, as well as my Mom and I leaning on one another to give each other “breaks” even if it’s just to run to the grocery store, mail box, or bank.

      Looking back to where we’ve been and where we are, it is definitely mind blowing what has been accomplished. You are so right that God never gives us more than we can handle, which is also astonishing because I’m thinking we should be able to lift a buick at this point. HAHA!! 😉

      Thank you again so much for your generous donation and praying without ceasing — it truly means the world to us and it absolutely helps!


      jenn & family
      xoox's

  3. What good news on almost all fronts! That’s great Jenn. Thanks for keeping us updated. I’ll pray that he will gain weight, continue to improve, and get a good report at his next visit. Love and miss you!

    • Thank you so much Suz! I am definitely looking forward to sharing our next update because there have already been a lot of changes and [more] improvements. Definitely keep praying for weight gain and nutrition — it’s still a struggle, but we have faith this will improve by continuing to lift Dad up in prayer! 🙂

      ❤ & miss you!

      jenn & family
      xoox's

  4. My dear dear friend. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    I’m at a loss for words and since I can’t seem to find them in English, all I can give right now is my most heartfelt “Aloha No”.

    I will continue to pray for you and the fam. Please send Uncle Bill a big hug and lots of love from us. Love you!

  5. I didn’t know your dad was so sick!! I’m so sorry you have to go through this!! You are so awesome to help take care of your dad!! What a great daughter!! Me and the family will be praying really hard for his recovery!! Praying for him to get through everything!! I know he can!! Especially with his families support an love!! God bless you guys!! Keep up the good work jenn!!

    • Hi Leigh!

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment — your love, prayers, and encouragement mean so much to my family and I! We love and miss you all so very much and appreciate the overwhelming support!! 🙂

      xoox’s
      jenn + fam

  6. Jenn your last post was so touching….I had no idea any of this was going on with your family, especially with Bills terrible medical condition!! I’m so sorry to finally hear about it…. That picture of your parents holding hands, and mom with the big Pederson smile (as always) is AWESOME!!
    Back at the hideaway you Pedersons were my favorite members since day one!! (Out on the temporary club house patio for sunday brunch!!) Always the kindest, happiest, friendliest, smiling family!!
    I would love to help in anyway possible!!…. I have faith Bill will soon make a full recovery, especially with his TRULY AMAZING FAMILY right by his side!!
    You are all in my thoughts!!!

    • Chris!!! I just read your comment aloud to Mom & Dad — and we each have tears in our eyes. We love & miss you so much and absolutely cherish the memories we have that we were able to make at the Hideaway — with you and the original crew — epic, priceless good times!!

      We have been quiet about this situation for so long and it just came to that breaking point where we all agreed that it was time we shared what’s going on with everyone we love and care about in our life — because the truth is, no one has known!

      If you find yourself in the PNW, please let me know — I/We would love to see your face and soak in your energy. You are family to us and want you to know how much we value your positive thoughts, faith, and prayers.

      PS: Your # is still saved in my phone as “Chef” 😉 So proud of you and all your success you’ve earned through hard work. xoox

      Love,

      Jenn & Family 🙂

Let's chat! Comment here..

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s