Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DAY +8: Speedbump

Top Line: While she was at Dana Farber today for her infusion and injection, Susan developed severe stomach pains. As I write (10:00 PM), she's being prepped for a CAT scan with contrast. There is still no diagnosis, hence the scan. Once the doctors know what the problem is, they will be able to treat it appropriately.

Susan and Bob went to DFCI this morning for her usual vancomyicin infusion and neupogen injection, as well as for a consult with Nurse Amy (Dr. Soiffer's Nurse Practitioner). They met with Amy while Susan was being infused and reviewed the most recent bloodwork and Susan's progress vs. expectations. Everything was on track.

In particular, her white count was down to 1.4, which suggests that the bottom is near. We won't know until the count starts back up. The question of any need for platelets or whole blood is still open and will depend on her "numbers," but it is fairly common for this treatment to become necessary and is no cause for alarm.

Also, her bloodwork showed some CMV (Cytomegalovirus), which is a fairly common and treatable condition, and she is being treated.

The problem began around the time that Susan was finishing up with her infusion. She developed severe stomach pains very quickly and out of the blue. Normally, she would have had her neupogen injection at that point, but she waved it off due to the pain, for which she was put on morphine. Dr. Soiffer was called in to examine her but he was not able to tell what was causing the pain except to note that it was not a known complication related to her disease or treatment regimen.

I can't tell you why it took all afternoon and well into the evening to get to the point where they are doing the CT scan, but it did. The good news is that Susan's pain has subsided considerably over the past couple of hours, but they don't know why. She's now in the hour-long process of drinking a gallon of the foul barium-based liquid that supplies the contrast for the scan. Then she'll have the scan. Then a radiologist will interpret the scan, and at that point it will likely be after midnight. Based on what they find and how she feels, she'll either be admitted or return to the apartment.

As soon as I learn more, I'll post it. If there's anything really serious, Bob will call me regardless of the hour. Otherwise, I'll get an update in the morning and post it post haste.


  1. Thank you for this update. What a challenging time this is! I saw Robin Horton (with whom I connected around Susan as a result of this blog) and we held Susan in our hearts together last night.
    Sending love and gentle healing prayers--

  2. Hi Susan, We have just returned from Knoxville and weren't able to access the blog there. But you have been and are in our thoughts and prayers for a speedy and full recovery! I am also sending a card to your Boston apt - the blog didn't mention cards along with the items not to send - but if its a no-no, just have someone intercept it. All our love, Becky and Michael