Monday, April 30, 2007

It's a bit of a lazy Monday afternoon in the Mount Sinai hospital. We're gearing up to head out. Ramona learned how to use crutches today. That is the final physio step to be able to go home. We purchased the new crutches, so that's done too. The nurse's chart says that we leave tomorrow, from talking to the doctor's we don't believe that it is guaranteed yet. This morning the nurse told us the hip wound had drained over 150 cc in the previous 24 hours (sorry I think my previous statistics were skewed). The 'normal' amount of drainage before the hemovac is removed is 30 cc in 24 hours. They may just remove the hemovac anyway, we don't know. Also, the lung surgeon just returned from somewhere today, Dr. Wang (Dr. Ferguson's little helper) had no idea how many messages this surgeon would have on his machine and when we would be able to talk to him. They don't want us to go home until we have talked to the lung surgeon. Dr. Ferguson has 3 surgeries booked today. Once those surgeries are done, He will come do his rounds up here. We sort of need to wait around the hospital for whenever he comes. Also, Ramona's parent's flew home today. Whoever meets them today, give them each a big hug.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mony is gaining back those nutrients. If you see the bruises on her arm, i promise it was not me. The needles that prevent blood clots are painful and cause bruising.

Lori is one of the answers to prayer, as far as nurses are concerned. She is a Mennonite from Winnipeg who has also ironically worked up in 5B in the St. Boniface Hospital. (This is them waiting for the taxi to pick us up)

The last few days has been a very refreshing mix of nurses. Anything from the loud, funny night nurse to Lori, who is more quiet and caring.

The taxi took us to the Blue Jays game.

Mony looks quite hot wearing all my clothes. We're really looking forward to being home and (like Tara said) sitting around campfires and being 'normal'. Thank you for praying about the drainage from the hip wound. It is improving. (If you look very carefully in the picture you can see her 'blood purse' hanging by her left leg)

After the game we bounced Ramona on a wheelchair from the Roger's Centre to the Hospital. It was good to get out.
Have a peaceful Sunday afternoon everyone,
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This last week here in Toronto was something John & I did not ever think we would experience. It has been very difficult to see Ramona in pain and discomfort and to see Earl and Ramona struggle with questions that we have no answers for. But God has always given us new strength for each day.
I want to thank all of you out there who have been praying for them and for us as a family. We appreciate that so much. Please keep on praying.
A big thank you to those of you who are commmenting on the blog. We definitely are encouraged by that. Just keep it up! We all read them here.
Here is a picture of Ramona reading the blog comments.
Carol (Ramona's Mom)
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Saturday, April 28, 2007

i just walked!!!!I was walking with my walker a bit with my mom and then decided that I wanted to see what I could do. It started with standing on one foot, standing without holding onto my walker and then taking a few baby steps without the walker. Soon after Earl came in the room and I proudly showed him my progress and soon I was walking all alone to the bathroom. Yes someone is always close by and I have quite a severe limp-but I'm walking!!!! I can't go for long distances but it's an exciting start.
We went for a ride today. It lasted about 1.5 hours (Who would have thought that the tunnel under the road had no access to Tim Horton's.....who would have thought that all but farthest door in the Hospital for Sick Children would be locked...etc.etc..). That's pretty amazing. The top two pictures show the Mt. Sinai Hospital in the background. The bottom picture is us at Tim Horton's in the Hospital for Sick Children. When we got to the Hospital (Ramona's mom was with her for the night) Ramona was saying that she is becoming bored......what an incredible problem...I've been waiting for that...anyway...she was exhausted after her ride...but i think she's awake again...for now...earl

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Friday, April 27, 2007

In case ya'll want to inspect the work of the surgeon, this is what part of Ramona's wound looks like. The two hoses coming out of the wound drain the fluid out. The draining pump was removed from the auxilla wound, but it is still in the hip wound. Our doctor said that the hip wound was still draining about 100 cc (per day i assume??) The time it takes for the wound to stop draining is a determining factor in when we get to go home. Also, I did a recount of the staples from the hip surgery- there are actually 61 staples. Sorry about the misinformation.

This is Mony walking today! The picture doesn't show it, but she has a walker in front of her. The open door in front of her is her room. She walked the entire distance from her room to this point and back. Mony is incredibly exhausted this afternoon, her body is finally relaxing. This night she had such a deep sleep that she didn't remember where she was when she woke up. This is a first.
Her legs are starting to work, which is tough but encouraging. The left arm feels like a big deal right now, Ramona wanted to make sure I mentioned it in the blog. The frustration of the partial paralysis of her left arm would definitely be something good to pray about. There is no end in sight there. It's hard for Mony to think about gardening or anything like that, when her arm isn't working.

Regarding the timing of getting out of this hospital: We expect to be out of here in the middle of next week. On Monday, we will hopefully talk to the Thoracic Surgeon to determine when he can do the surgery. Also on monday, they will probably check whether or not Mony can use crutches. If she can (which they expect), then they will teach her how to take stairs. The hip wound needs to quit draining before Mony is released, that is something that we really have no control of.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

At around lunch time Kitty dropped by. She is a young woman from Markham who has a similar story to Ramona. It was nice to talk face-to-face with another person who had a synovial sarcoma. In an eight hour surgery, Kitty had her tumor removed last December I believe (Kitty you can correct me if I get this wrong). It is encouraging to see her smiling and walking around. wife is walking!!!! Just an hour ago, with the help of her walker and the physio people she walked 9 feet to the washroom and back to her bed. Walking is painful, and one muscle in her left arm is still not responsive. But...she's walking! All this excitement on the blog can be a bit deceiving, we're all pretty tired I guess. I think we all wish the 'happily ever after' was in focus a little clearer..........I'll maybe expand on those kinds of thoughts some other time...anyway...speaking of tired, I was angry at the time, but it's kind of funny the hallway before I heard the security asking the nurses at the front desk to identify the lady sleeping in the lounge...I was mad that they were going to wake her up...but I found out later that after they had about 6 people within a few feet of her trying to figure out who she was, they finally found a staff member who knew who this lady was. I guess Ramona's mom was pretty tired, she didn't wake up. Also this morning, we wondered why the angels spent so much time in the parking lot instead of up on floor 11. For the second time in two days, right after we park, someone comes up to us with a paid parking pass (that they don't need) that is good for as long as we need to park....also, Ramona has an amazing nurse this morning, I asked that a certain nurses not be Ramona's nurse anymore. It's hard for me to accept that I didn't do something about that sooner......Ramona is getting her dressings done right now....I did a preliminary count of the staples....there are about 60 staples on her hip and 17 in her armpit....for now...earl
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Check out Mony's new view. A room change was just one of many things that happened today. There was a really sick older woman with a large family who needed a private room, so the nurses put Ramona in another room (this one she shares with one other patient. The picture below is the view from her bed. I guess she can keep an eye on the CN tower. Also, in the early afternoon while Mom, Becki, Randy and I were out in the mall (Eaton Centre) the physiotherapists came to see how much Mony could move. It's pretty amazing, she actually took two little sideways steps today (with her walker pictured below). I'm blown away, right after surgery I would lift her leg about an inch while she was laying down and it would hurt excruciatingly. And Ramona had her CT scan this morning. Dr. Ferguson gave us the results this afternoon (note to anyone who is told it takes a week or two). In the lungs there are 3 spots on the right side. Dr. Ferguson was relatively optimistic compared to what the lungs could look like. His gut instinct is that the surgeon could take care of these spots. Now we are waiting for him to talk to Dr. Waddell (Thoracic (lung) surgeon) to get his opinion and schedule. There is reason to believe they won't do chemo before lung surgery (we're not exactly jumping to high yet). The ride to the airport was like an episode of amazing race (talk to Kev, Randy or Becki to get the story)...anyway...the biggest problem of the day is that morphine has really shut down Ramona's digestive system an so she is often uncomfortable...the partially immobile left arm is also still a big frustration... i guess that's all i'll share for now...earl
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This is Randy's birthday cake, purchased from the local grocery store. Luckily for us we had a calling card handy to cut it and some cup lids to put it on to eat it without forks. It was definitely memorable. But seriously, it's Randy's 18th Birthday today, give him a hug next time you see him.

This is the picture of Mony I was trying to post earlier. Right after the surgery she still has oxygen in.

This is Mony today. The icecream cone later appeared everywhere as vomit. It's felt like a long day, she has often felt a bit nauseaus, and still hasn't slept since 6 this morning. At one point the pain was so intense Mony was shaking uncontrollably for about 5 minutes. Becki and I are spending the night in the hospital. Becki, Kev, and Randy fly home tomorrow. It feels like Mony's nursing care out here is a big prayer request.
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Here is a picture of Mony taken yesterday after the surgery. By now, she has a different bed without the air mattress, the oxygen is no longer in, and she is wearing a beautiful green hospital dress. Ramona is attempting to rest this i write beside her. For some reason sleep does not come easy. She slept well from midnight until 2 a.m. but after that she spent more time awake than sleeping...Ramona had quite a bit of pain during the night...and the morphine wasn't quite cutting it...this pain was sort of in spurts though...Ramona's parents were really nice to me and told me to sleep (which means i slept through everything) thing I was right about though...Ramona said she would eat grapes the next day but I told her dad she would probably eat them at 3 or 4 in the morning...sure enough when i woke up she told me she ate 2 grapes during the night...i was quite proud....anyway...i don't think Ramona has slept since 6 this expected, the morning after a huge surgery is extremely rough. The pain from the nurses turning her over and stuff like that is unreal. Those of you who have had huge surgeries will understand. Part of the morning procedures, were taking a hip X-ray (to confirm everything is okay for physio)..............(some time passes as i leave my computer)....anyway...i deleted the picture i think....but the important thing is that Mony would like everyone to pray for the tinglyness in her leg, but especially her arm...we talked to Dr. Ferguson a few minutes ago and he thinks he stretched a nerve, he says he can guarantee he didn't sever a nerve...right now ramona has absolutely no power in her left arm to reach up...her hand movements are fine...just a certain nerve is stretched and her arm is floppy. Dr. Ferguson estimates it may be from a few days ..up to a few months for that nerve to will be very frustrating until it's healed...thanx for praying specifically about that.
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Monday, April 23, 2007

I just kissed my wife, and it was lots of fun. She is back up on floor 11 in her room. We still haven't heard from Dr. Ferguson, so we have no real idea what happened with the auxilla surgery. She was out of surgery at 3 p.m. and in the recovery room until took a little longer Ramona said because she was in so much pain. They only let us see her once her pain is under control. Which means she is under the influence of alot of morphine right now. I was incredibly impressed with how alert she was for a little while (she is sleeping now). She is also as funny as I've ever heard her. She was nothing but jokes for the 45minutes she was awake. She...........(an hour passes/we talk to Dr. Ferguson).......okay, I'm back to my computer...Dr. Ferguson said he got all the tumor he could find. The auxilla surgery was a tougher one for him because there was scar tissue there. As per normal, we need to wait for the pathology reports (1-2 weeks) to confirm that he got all of the tumors. Dr. Ferguson expects us to be here for a week (all lung tumors aside). Speaking of the lung tumors, he will have a CT scan scheduled shortly. The possibilities are still fairly endless there. Maybe go home and have surgery in a few weeks...maybe have chemo first....maybe stay here and do lung surgery before we go home...
Ramona will begin her rehab tomorrow...
I'm kinda getting tired of writing...thank you so much for praying...Ramona's parents and I are spending the night here in Mt. Sinai with Mony


hey everyone, we're just waiting around for some news about how the second part of the surgery went. Ramona is in recovery now, so we haven't been able to see her yet. She should be coming up to her room shortly.
I thought I'd post a picture of the waiting room while we're hanging out here. To shake our legs loose kev, randy, becki and i ran to the CN tower. I'm still so excited from the news before i can't wait for Dr. Ferguson to call back. Should be about half an hour.
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Woo Hoo! I talked to Dr. Ferguson about 10 minutes ago. They were sewing her up from the hip surgery. He said they got everything. The hard part is done. Dr. Ferguson estimated that the auxilla surgery would be done by 2:30. I asked him if there was anything else I should ask him. He said everything was good. They also took a preliminary chest X-ray, in case the lung tumors would affect the surgery. The one-sentence-over-the-phone-analysis by Dr. Ferguson is that the lungs look 'good'. Oh, Dr. Ferguson also said that Ramona lost very little blood. This is about all we know while we're waiting here in the waiting room. I can't believe how gittery I am. Randy and I were playing some monster truck jumping game online, to try to stay calm. It's awesome to have family here and be able to hang around and be together and pray together.
I left Ramona about 20 minutes ago in the O.R. . I don't know, she may be praying with the doctor right now.......i was going to write all kinds of stuff's not coming....i love mony alot...i wish the surgery was over so i could go be with her...thanx for praying...Dr. Ferguson said he would call me after the hip part of the surgery....around lunch...

This is the view out of Ramona's room at 6:45 this morning.
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Sunday, April 22, 2007

So.....what exactly do I write 10 hours before my wife's biggest surgery ever...we're lying 'together' in her you can see in the picture, she gets a nice adjustable bed with an air mattress, while I get a beautiful sponge in the corner...she is reading her Karen Kingsbury book...and I was going to listen to a Ravi Zacharias Podcast, but then I found out we had wireless internet, so I thought I'd blog here instead. Ramona is amazingly peaceful. She used to fear the surgery as almost a deathlike thing, but now, waiting here she is just relaxing.

This is the stain on the ceiling about Ramona's bed

This is the clock in front of her bed

Here is a picture of us....anyway, the nurse told us the Mony needs to be up to take a shower at 6 a.m....then i guess she waits until 7:30 when they take her to the O.R. after that....we wait...the little, helping, assistant surgeon doctor talked to us before and said the surgery may take up to 10 I guess everything is approximate until the surgeons get in. Thank you to everyone who is commited to praying tomorrow.

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Hey I finally figured this computer out. We got into the Mt. Sinai Hospital just before 1 this afternoon. Ramona has her own private room. This is a pretty good deal. Somebody (without us asking) decided to give her a $320 private room (per night) at no cost. The surgery itself will be at 8 a.m. tomorrow. Dr. Ferguson just got out of the O.R. and should be up here any time to come chat with us. We will know alot more after we talk to him. For now, they need to do a chest X-ray today, other than that, they have done the blood work and the IV will only be put in just before surgery tomorrow morning. Since it is a private room, I can spend the nights here with Ramona, and the family can spend as much time in the hospital as they want. The lounge on our floor here is very nice, it has about 4 leather couches and this computer that I'm sitting at. We feel pretty blessed. Ramona's first nurse here is also incredibly nice. It feels like the calm before the storm. The nurse just came to ask Ramona's weight so she could order a nicer bed for her. This is because they don't expect Ramona to be able to move well right after surgery. Once again, once we talk to the doctor we'll have a better idea. I don't think we really have an idea what the next few days will be like. Ramona's family is all in the hospital, we'll probably hang out here for a bit and then head out for supper later. I hope Ramona can write sometime shortly but for now I just wanted to update all you prayer warriors out there. For now, Earl

Monday, April 09, 2007

This is just a quick note to all of you who are wondering what is going on in our lives....
I'm doing quite well-I still need my sleep but otherwise I'm feeling good. Earl & I are spending quite a lot of our time hanging out with our friends and families.
My entire family is flying with Earl & I on Saturday, the 21st. We leave Winnipeg at 9:00 am. On Sunday I am admitted to the hospital at 1:00 pm and on Monday is my surgery. They've scheduled me in for 7 1/2 hours.
Yes I'm looking forward to getting my tumors removed, no I'm not looking forward to surgery. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about surgery. I find people ask me about it more than I think about it. I guess it's easier for me to not dwell on the future too much, especially if it holds things that are scary.
Enjoy your evenings