for Pat Adair, and the people who love her...

Our beloved Pat got some shocking news recently, and we're off and running on a mysterious medical adventure. Not an adventure we would have picked, but we're off just the same... (If you're new to the blog, start here.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Out of the hospital, and more drama on the horizon

I'm sorry I didn't post this earlier like I should have. Patio got out of the hospital last Thursday. It went pretty much like we thought it might - they couldn't determine the source of the infection, so they treated it with a broad antibiotic (several, actually) and sent her home once she was well enough. She's been lacking in energy, which could come from any or all of these factors: infection, antibiotics, cancer, or hospital food.

Once again, her hip has been her biggest issue, and that is totally unrelated to the cancer. Her hip went from fine to terrible last fall, and now it's just excruciating. When she was first diagnosed with cancer in January, her oncologist said that hip replacment surgery was a possibility if she handled the chemotherapy well and looked like it would be worth the pain and discomfort it would cause. At the time we couldn't have imagined it, but I believe we're at that point now. I hadn't written it before, but there's a good chance that Mom doesn't actually have pancreatic cancer, but rather a close cousin - cholangio carcinoma. The end result is the same, as is the treatment, but patients typically live longer, but not by much. Maybe a couple of months or so on average.

Anyway, Dr. Johl suggested that if Mom was with us for another five or six months (he was quick to say that he didn't know if that was accurate) then the six week recovery with hip replacement would be worth it. There is some risk, but as he put it, no more risk than if she'd had it before she had cancer. Joint replacement increases one's risk of infection, so an undetermined source like Mom has isn't a good thing. But the pain she's had has just made her miserable.

We're trying new forms of opiate-based pain relievers, and although they do help with the pain, she ends up confused. If that's all that happens, that's fine, but the risk is that she'll make a bad decision when she's in that state, like trying to walk without her walker or she'll lose her balance and fall. Tonight, for the first time, her caregiver Alice will be staying overnight with her. Last night she took Oxycontin for the first time and it made her pretty loopy. Tonight we're trying a lower dose of the same type of medicine - called Oxycodone. We'll see what happens.

Thanks for all your good wishes...



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