Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010

It has been a few days but finally we have good news. Mom's white blood cell count has reduced considerably. She is much more responsive than she has been as of recent (keep in mind: her response is limited to blinking her eyes due to the level of sedation and the type of tracheotomy). She also responds to requests and was able to bend and apply pressure with both legs when asked. Her general color has improved overall though she still has a great deal of swelling in her neck and stomach. She has maintained her own blood pressure for over 24 hours and her skin is still clean and bacteria free.

The doctors have scheduled to take her into surgery at 7am tomorrow. They are planning to use her own skin to graft over a fairly small portion of her upper body. The use of her own skin is in hopes that her body will respond better and not act as though it is a threat.

News like what we have received today is a true blessing and proof that God is fighting alongside us. Thank you all for persistence in prayer as we help Mom to fight her way through this.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 27, 2010

Over the last two days Mom has managed to spiral downward again. They put her back on dialysis yesterday morning because of the pressure the kidneys were experiencing from the level of antibiotics. They removed the majority of the cadaver skin as it had begun to slough off, though some did take. She is also having a difficult time maintaining her blood pressure and has been given a few units of blood to counter-act the instability. The doctors are still planning to take her into surgery on Monday for evaluation.

I would like to ask everyone to continue to pray that she will overcome all of this quickly so that the antibiotics will not begin to impact her in other ways that are even more counter productive to her health. We need her to make a huge effort at this point and get over the hill so that we can all see her laugh and smile again.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23, 2010

It is almost as if she is following a schedule of some sort. Mom is continuing to follow her m.o. and had a bad day today. She was able to remain steady enough to be kept off of dialysis, however, she did carry a very high fever for most of the day. As of her last bandage change this evening, the nurses informed us that the cadaver skin still looked healthy. Please please please pray that she hangs on to it for at least as long as it takes to generate more tissue growth beneath while kicking the bacteria in her lungs.

We all love her very much and she has to know that but she must like keeping us all on our toes!

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010

Mom did increasingly well over the weekend. All of her tissue cultures are coming back negative for bacteria growth. The only remaining bacteria that they have found is in her lungs which they will be treating with a different antibiotic that will have less of an impact on her stomach.

She has been taken off of dialysis and all of her vitals have maintained even throughout surgery this afternoon. They were able to use live cadaver skin to cover her arms (which can become permanent if her body will assimilate) which will generate tissue growth beneath it even in the event that the cadaver skin does not become permanent.

The donor sites that had become infected over her inner thighs have begun to heal and in order to make the process more uniform, they have encircled both legs with negative pressure machines (which work very much like a vacuum seal to pull fatty tissue and blood vessels to the surface of her legs) which will help with the healing process and overall appearance.

Her hands will continue to be under revision for quite some time, however, they are in much better shape at this point than previously. Essentially her range of mobility is dependent upon how much her body is willing to re-develope tissue and muscle in her finger joints, plastic surgery to revise if necessary, and  a tremendous amount of physical therapy that we will all be able to support her through.

As long as she continues to maintain health and a decreasing level of bacteria, the doctors will be letting her rest as far a surgery is concerned until they believe that it is necessary in the healing process. She will still have dressing changes and constant evaluations, however, they want to allow her body to heal itself as much as possible at this point and regain strength.

We, as a family, have so very much to be thankful for this year. We will continue to pray relentlessly and give thanks for the gifts that we have and will receive. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18, 2010

Today was much needed. The doctors took Mom in again for a cleansing surgery and actually saw tissue growth for the first time!!!! They had begun to use a fluid Sulfa based product as opposed to a cream (which normally inspires Mom's infamous hive reaction) and it has proved be a major benefit. They are seeing wonderful results in response to the use of the Sulfamylon and bleach. The rate of infection has definitely decreased in the tissue and is clear in her blood at this point. She currently is still battling some pseudomonas in her lungs, however, they are still very functional. Today was "her best day yet" quoted from her primary doctor.

I have to thank each and every one of your for your support as we continue to keep the prayers flowing on the sidelines. We are obviously being given miracles from above as Mom continues to battle her way out of this seemingly overwhelming trial.

Savannah, Dad, and I would also like to wish everyone a fantastic Thanksgiving. This is the beginning of several family events in which we are all brought together into each other's company. There are always times in life when we regret not having been closer with one another and it is the holidays that allow us to reunite. Be thankful for all of your loved ones and be sure to make them know that, despite distance and lack of time, they are in your thoughts. We survive life alongside those that care most for us. The more people that we have on our sidelines, the greater the battle will be.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

This was a frustrating day overall. The infection flared up again and forced the doctors to remove all of the cadaver skin. On the upside of the entire situation, Mom no longer has bacteria infecting her blood. The current issue is the bacteria that is running rampant in her tissue and remaining skin. We have to conquer ALL of it before she can begin to heal. As we saw with the jump in white blood cell count today, the antibiotic being used to fight the surface bacteria was no longer working. She is now being giving penicillin to fight the bacteria that is resistant to everything else at this point. Please pray that this works and that she can finally kick all of the bacteria.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 14, 2010

The surgery went well, though very long, on Friday. They did a bit more cleaning and work on her hands. They were able to apply cadaver skin everywhere but her legs where they applied a different synthetic. Over the last two days she has done well and continued to improve in way way or another slowly. She is still retaining a lot of fluid around her neck and mid-region mostly because of the heavy flow that she has had to process (i.e. medications, IV fluids, nutrition).  They will be administering a separate medication to break up the masses of fluid so that they can find their way back into her blood stream. While changing her bandages and washing her hair this morning, the nurses found another source of infection. She has several ulcers on the back of her head beneath her hair. They will have to shave her head in order to clean the area and ensure that the infections that have developed from the unmanaged ulcers are gone.

All considered, life is much better today than it was last week. Progress is actually measurable at this point. I say this in nearly every post as it is a major part of our determination: it is important that everyone following this blog knows how much we appreciate all of your support. I feel that I can say with great confidence that Mom makes it through everyday with her unbelievable will and the support of all of our friends and family behind her.

As a secondary note, I would like to wish both Mom and Dad a Happy Anniversary. They have been married for twenty-three years today. It may not be the best of circumstances, but it most definitely isn't the worst.

Friday, November 12, 2010

November 12, 2010

The doctors decided that Mom was looking well enough this morning to take into surgery. They will be cleaning her tissue, pinning her hands, and adding some cadaver skin to cover her arms and legs. We can only pray that she will cooperate and her body will accept them and help her to heal faster. Some of her cultures have come back showing no bacteria growth which is incredibly inspirational. Please continue all of your thoughts and prayers. It is with your support that we will continue to fight.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11, 2010

As I am sure everyone has already heard, Mom has been moved to the Arizona Burn Center in Phoenix (Maricopa). The level of care here is greatly elevated and will be our best bet to over come the hurdles that have been placed before us.

The day after her arrival the doctors took her into a six hour surgery where they had to remove all of the grafts that had been applied (apart from her neck) due to the level of bacteria that had built up beneath them.

They also did a vascular study immediately (after putting her on dialysis to help her kidneys) and realized that she had blood clots in her left leg blocking in-coming and out-going blood flow. This was the cause of the loss of color in her toes and later her entire foot. The doctors performed a mid-calf amputation to sever all of the infection and dead material that had developed from the lack of blood flow.

They inspected her hands and determined that the pinning and grafting that had been done was more of a detriment to her health. Her hands were addressed and re-set by the Arizona Burn Center hand specialist.

She is still intubated because of the trauma that she has had to go through in the surgeries. The level of antibiotics that she is receiving also adds to the stress on her body. To reduce her exposure to infection and add to her level of comfort, they also performed a tracheotomy during the initial surgery.

She is currently battling nine different bacterias, three of which are the most resistant to antibiotics that are dealt with. She is on five different antibiotics to fight all of them. Her lungs, heart, and kidneys are in very good shape and she is still fighting very very hard on her end.

With all of the above considered, Mom has a massive amount to battle against. We cannot deny that she is incredibly strong and stubborn. She is fighting a battle that would over come most people but with the support and prayers that we can provide compounded with her faith and strength, we will all beat this and walk out of the hospital stronger people.

The last few days have been very trying which has been the majority of reason behind my lack of posting. In addition to that...the hospital has a terrible wireless network which begs my apologies in keeping you all on the edge of your seats.

Please continue to pray and hold her in your thoughts as we arm up for the biggest battle of our lives.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 3, 2010

Mom was just taken out of surgery and into recovery. She did well in surgery. They covered the last bit of her arm with Integra and also the upper half of both legs. The lower half of the legs are covered with Acticoat because the left side is still not cooperating as far as maintaining healthy and clean tissue. This lack of health is due to the general lack of blood flow in the area. Because she had bad circulation in this area to begin with, the burning causing the veins to shrink only amplified the issue. The doctors spent a great deal of time cleaning the left side as well as possible in hopes that it will remain this way so that they can go into surgery again on Friday.

If there is a way that we can will her left leg to cooperate, we all need to do so now! Thank you all so very much for your support.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 2, 2010

We've had a bit of a rough patch again lately. Mom's white blood cell count has been a roller coaster but, thankfully, she got ahold of it today. They have altered her meds again to try and help while avoiding any more stress on her kidney. She is scheduled for surgery tomorrow and hopefully that will mean that in 24hours, her upper body will be covered and she will rest easier.

Please send your prayers when you can and know that we love and appreciate every single one.