Update from Keith: August 23rd, 2008

Taylor is still in the hospital. She's been here for 9 days now. She will almost surely be here through her next chemo which is a week from now (8/29 is the scheduled date) so this will be her longest hospital stay since March.

The good news: Taylor's fever has finally gone. It broke on Tuesday, was spotty for the next day after that but she hasn't had one since Wednesday. She is no longer on anti-fungals and the doctors have taken her off the most powerful of the antibiotics. Thus, they were able to take out the extra IV they put in Taylor's arm on Saturday night to handle all of the meds, food, and blood products she needed. She's back to just geting everything through her port.

The not-so-good news: They imaged Taylor's tumor for the first time in months this week. She had a CT scan of her head neck and chest, with and without contrast. A resident delivered the news: the radiologist's report shows Taylor's tumor is shrinking except on the left where it is getting larger. This was devastating news. After all we've put Taylor through, for her tumor to continue to grow is unthinkable. Later in the day, her oncologist came to see us and told us that he looked at the scans himself and feels that the radiologist was either wrong or dictated the report wrong and that in his opinion the tumor is clearly shrinking and the scans are extremely positive. Needless to say, this version sounded much better and we're going with it for now although we will seek a second opinion once Taylor is discharged, just to be safe.

We spent much of the latter part of the week in consultation with various doctors and nurses about what to do concerning Taylor's feeding tube. Since she threw it up last week, she has been geting feeds intravenously which is a temporary solution. We need something more permanent before taking her home so we can deliver her meds. The obvious answer is just to give her another NG tube, but we prefer just a G tube which goes from her abdomen into her stomach.

We've thought for a long time that we would go with a G tube once she finished her treatments. For one, she'll no longer have a tube taped to her face which was a source of self-consiousness for her. It was also a source of constant worry for us as it sometimes caught on things and bulged out whenever she threw up (which continues to be often). Taylor is wholeheartedly behind the idea of not having an NG tube anymore.

Taylor's oncologist agreed that a G tube is the way to go. Other doctors aren't so sure. She'll need surgery and there was some question if she would have to undergo a number of studies before the surgeons would agree to do it. They've evaluated her a couple of times now, and we are told that surgery will do it without subjecting her to whatever studies they would otherwise want. If that changes or any problems come up, Taylor will get another NG tube instead. Right now, the G tube surgery is scheduled for Wednesday so hopefully she'll hold up until then.

The last week has felt like it did in the dark days of January, February and March. Taylor's been mostly sick and entirely in the hospital. She's now better but we'll still be here until the next chemo (she has to stay here until she gets a feeding tube and since that's not until Wednesday, she'll have to recover here until that Friday's chemo). It's been a hard week and next week will probably be little better. At least she'll hopefully feel better.