Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

It has been a few weeks since I returned home from the hospital and it feels like I may be slowly improving. Unfortunately I had caught another viral infection (most likely in the hospital) that caused fevers and resulted in liver and chest pain for about a 8 day period. Once the fever subsided the pain became more manageable. The epidural isn't providing the relief that I had hoped for. Although the pain near my sternum is now controlled, I have pain along my spine that makes walking more than a few minutes incredible hard. My doctors are adjusting my epidural medication and dosage to give me more relief. Please pray that they will find a combination for me that is effective. Thankfully my headaches have subsided and I haven't noticed any pressure above my left eye (where my other brain tumor is located). The next MRI is scheduled after the July 4th holiday.

I've had a great Father's Day and hope all the other dads out there had the same. Deb and the kids surprised me with a 14 week old kitten who spent most of the day cuddling with me on the couch.

My mom gave me the same cane that Dr. House uses on the popular Fox show, to make walking (in style!) a bit easier.

It was also great to have my brothers here on Father's Day. Deb and I had a number of house projects that needed to be done and they graciously offered to do them for us.

Thankful for every day,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Up and Down Week

After returning home on Saturday I felt comfortable until the early morning on Monday. I then experienced a multiple day fever (with flu like symptoms) that was eerily similar to one I had after my first pain blocker surgery a few months previous. Fortunately most of the swelling from my brain surgery had subsided by Tuesday night so my headaches where mostly gone. The fever broke by Wednesday, but by late evening I started getting a sharp pain in my abdomen, just to left of the sternum. By Thursday noontime I could no longer control this pain with my medication so I had to be re-admitted to Karmanos for another pain block procedure called a tunnel epidural.

Aside from the nerve block surgeries I've had up to now, most of my home pain control has been through oral medication and pain "patches" that stick to my skin. These are effective for most forms of pain but deliver the medication to my entire body, instead of just the areas where I need it. At the hospital they usually administer my pain medication through an IV, which quickly delivers it through the whole body via my bloodstream. An issue arises when you need a lot of pain relief in one part of your body the oral and IV methods deliver too much pain medication to your brain, which can make you loopy/sleep or even nauseous.

The tunneled epidural procedure places a semi-permanent catheter tube directly in the spinal cord fluid near the center of pain. Pain medication is administered through the catheter and only affects the spinal nerves to about 4 inches from the entry point. The procedure went flawless on Friday morning and had given me immediate relief after waking from surgery. I stayed Friday night at Karmanos just to make sure that things were okay before I returned home. Everything seems to be fine with my abdomen pain control and headaches so it looks like I'll be heading back home as soon as I get my "at-home" epidural pump (connects to the catheter tube to administer the pain medication). I've been told that this should reduce or completely eliminate the oral/patch pain medication I've been taking up to now, which will be great.

I've become cautiously optimistic when returning home from the hospital; you can imagine my disappointment having to return this week after going through the whole neurosurgery experience just days previous. Please pray that the tunneled epidural stays effective as I return home and that there are no complications (i.e. headaches/swelling/tumor regrowth) during the recovery from brain surgery.