These last few days have brought something new. It's a very strange thing to go from smiling and laughing as much as we can...to trying not to at all. Kristine's mouth/throat is so full of sores from the chemo that she can't eat, can barely drink, and it hurts to open her mouth, talk, laugh, or smile. That paired with some nausea and vomit is just no fun at all. Sometimes it's really hard to know what to do. Kristine will sit at home and tough it out until she's practically dying in order to avoid the ER or any extra hospital stays. I've had to sneak outside more than once to call the doctors and fill them in on her symptoms.
That was the case on Wednesday night. Like I said, she had gotten to the point where she couldn't eat, and then had a fever too. When you're going through treatment and you reach certain temperatures, you're supposed to call the doctor and go into the ER right away. Well, Kristine met every requirement for that, but was not about to go to the ER or even let me call the doc (thus my sneaking outside). The big concern with fevers, is it can be an indication of an infection. That is super dangerous because counts are low a lot during treatment and your body has nothing to fight it. It can spread through the body very quickly, so letting it go even an hour can be really bad. Well, I reluctantly told Kristine about my secret tattle-tale doctor call and the strong recommendation to go the ER. I believe Kristine's exact words were, "If I was going to die, I'd already be dead!" She then promised me she wouldn't die overnight, and that was that. WHAATT???? Do I drag her to the car? Let her risk toughing it out? Do anything? I try to stay out of a place of fear and in a place of faith during this - but I also try not to be stupid. Sometimes it's hard to even tell the difference between the three. Thankfully one of our sweet doctors called back to talk with Kristine. She at least convinced her to go in and get checked out in the morning.
So, after just a few days being back home, we were headed to Sacramento again on Thursday morning. They got the IV fluids and antibiotics going, morphine for the pain in her mouth, and took blood tests. This little checkup obviously turned into admission. Her ANC (basically ability to fight infection) went from around 6000 down to 200 in four days (anything under 500 is really not good). Her blood counts and platelets also dropped, so she is getting some units of those soon. Her mouth is still killing her and the morphine isn't really working. We'll probably be at the hospital at least a few days. Still waiting on test results to see if there's an infection, but as long as she can't eat or drink much, they have to at least keep her here to give her IV fluids. The poor kid is just miserable right now.
As always, we've had great support down here though. I'm not sure what the rules are for patient/medical staff relationships, so I'm not naming names or things (who knows...maybe none of this even happened...) - but they make me cry with how beyond good they are and the many many things they do to take care of both Kristine and I. And some come to check in on us when they're not even assigned to Kristine. Other new friends brought us half of their kitchen, all kinds of drinks for Kristine to try to get down, a special beverage for me (maybe time to pick up drinking? lol), and some black eye peas for good luck (I'm not sure...but I love it!). One of our favorite little heroes sporting a Koala-fied shirt came to say hi too. So thankful for all these people. As much as we try not to, there are still a few laughs despite the pain. My favorite was when our sweetest nurse tried to smack down the law on Kristine for not following instructions again. But she's just too nice to be mean in the least bit. And it was too funny to watch her try. :D We love you!
People ask how I'm doing a lot too. Yes, it's hard. Yes, it sucks, Yes, I cry. Yes, I'm tired. Yes, sometimes I'm stressed. But no, I don't need a break. There's no where else in the world I'd rather be right now. What I feel is NOTHING compared to what Kristine - and so many others go through. I do know that she'll be okay. I do have peace (most of the time). I do know God's with us in this. And I am staying my strong self.
Sort of a downer blog I know. We post a lot of pictures of smiles, and stay positive most of the time, but we're also human. Our goal through this is to just be as open and honest as possible and share our journey through it. Who knows, maybe it will help someone else someday.
- The Sister
P.S. for those who have bought shirts recently, or those who will in the next few days - shipments will be late. Sorry! We left home/office/warehouse in sort of a rush and are ill prepared.
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