Sunday, September 16, 2012

Overwhelmed - by Joe

The gamma knife procedure worked on Heidi's 6 brain tumors - but now, they have discovered many more, including in the cerebellum. 

Even though Heidi has been off Taxotere, her ascites (liver causing abdomen to swell with fluid) has gotten worse.  And we still don't know if the new chemo is working after 3 doses.
Overnight at the Seattle Cancer Alliance Guest House

She barely finished her last hike on August 1 up the Little Quilcene Trail.  But she enjoyed it and the scenery as you can see was spectacular.

But the last 3 weeks have been filled with ambulance rides and hospitalizations.  As I write this, I am sitting next to Heidi's hospital bed as she sleeps. 

Heidi's last hike before hospitalization; Little Quilcene Trail
Praying for Heidi on my solo hike up Mount Townsend
Two days ago was a nightmare.  She awoke unable to walk, unable to speak.  She had an appointment with the gamma knife team in Seattle.  Our wonderful friend Rina came to my rescue helping me get Heidi safely to the car and then in Seattle, into the hospital for her appointment.  Seeing her condition, the gamma knife team there at Harborview Medical Center sent her by ambulance to here at the University of Washington Medical Center, so her oncology team could figure out what was wrong.

Confusing symptoms have kept the oncology team looking for answers as to why Heidi's speech and coordination have gotten bad so quickly, why her liver is not recovering after being off the Taxotere.

At UWMC, Heidi so weak but still joking with me and a friend.
As of tonight, they believe her many medications were not getting metabolized, producing the symptoms.  So the strategy now is to stop most medications and detox the abdomen which was positive for ammonia.  This has partially restored her clarity of thought & speech and she is again fairly steady on her feet.  But her bilirubin is climbing, a very bad sign.

My own reports are all good.  No colon cancer.  No bladder cancer recurrence.  PSA normal, further confirmation that my radical prostatectomy got all the cancer there.

We are both wiped out, worn out.  But hopeful that her doctors will get her past this danger point and back on the hiking trails she loves.

As always, thank you for your support, your prayers & positive thoughts.



  1. I can't imagine how you feel or the pain. God's graces are with you and Heidi now, and He is holding your hands and hearts. Let Him carry this pain. Allow God to take this for you now so you and Heidi can enjoy peace together during this most precious time. Dear Sweet Heidi, be well.

    Love from a friend,

  2. No words, i just couldn't pass by without letting you know you're in my thoughts...

  3. Joe
    I left a message on your home phone this morning. I've been thinking about you and Heidi. Heidi and I had such fun when we were in college at the Phi Mu house. After college we did so many things together, I remember visiting So. Cal and her parents. I live close in Seattle, so if you need a shower or place to relax in a garden, we would be happy to have you. Numbers on your home phone. Love to you and Heidi. Karen McE.

  4. Oh,Joe, I hurt so for both of you. I loved Heidi when we were college roommates and still do even though we haven't seen each other in years. I think of you both often and am so sad to hear that the going is getting so difficult. I don't suppose there's much I can do from Utah other than continue to hold you both in my heart and continue to pray for you, and I will certainly do that. Love to you both. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Marilyn S.

  5. I continue to follow your blog and today I am so sorry for Heidi's complications . . . How wonderful to have hiked together and shared the glory of God's creation.

    I will continue to pray for Heidi. Delighted, Joe, that your reports are all good.

    Cyndi Heath
    Lakeside, MT

  6. Continue to pray for you Joe and for Heidi. May God be good, as He holds both of you in His hands. Love and caring to you and to all who are caring and supporting you at home. Karen McE