The Starfish Project

The combined effort of our whole family.

Posts Tagged ‘circulation

Update on Mom (5/19/09)

leave a comment »

Last Friday, Mom’s hand started hurting quite a bit and three of her fingers started getting purple.  After the incident with her thumb, we knew what that meant.  So, Dad and Gretchen loaded Mom up and took her back to the ER.  They saw the same ER doctor we saw last time (which was helpful, as he was already familiar with Mom).  He couldn’t find a clot with the doplar, but felt they were probably small clots that were down in the capillaries of her fingers.  He wrote them a prescription for some nitro glycerine ointment which had to be applied to her hand every few hours and wrapped up.  This ointment is such a strong vasodialater that the person applying it had to wear gloves and be careful not to let their skin come into contact with it.  He said to use this through the weekend and if it didn’t help by Monday, to get Mom in to see a hand doctor.

Dad faithfully applied the ointment all weekend and Mom’s hand was still hurting quite a bit – so much that she needed to take pain pills to take the edge off the pain.  From what I’ve read, the pain from circulation problems caused by blood clots is quite terrible.  Mom and Dad had a pretty rough weekend with it with very little sleep.

On Monday morning, Gretchen started bombarding the primary care doctor’s office with requests for a referral to a hand specialist ASAP.  They were right on the ball and Mom had an appointment for 11:00 AM this morning.

I am still recovering from the flu (the normal one), so I still haven’t seen Mom since the morning of the 15th.  So, Dad and Gretchen took Mom over to the hand doctor this morning.  He did an x-ray and found that the clot was further up her arm, near her armpit.  The doctor was respectful, but still didn’t have any good news either.  He looked at Mom’s three fingers (which were now purple) and said that she would lose them, as well as the index finger and the rest of her hand.  He said all we could do was make her comfortable until all this happened and he could amputate her right hand.  He gave her a prescription for Darvocette and sent her on her way.

Well, this was definitely not the kind of news we wanted to hear.  But, we’ve learned that allopathic doctors generally don’t have good news for us (except for a few who we’ve appreciated so much).

Gretchen called me when they got home from the doctor and she was pretty shook up.  I imagine all three of them were – especially Mom.  I was also pretty shook up too.  I asked Gretchen how long she was going to be at Mom and Dad’s house and she said she was going to be there for a few more hours.

I got on the internet and started looking for anything that looked like it might work.  After only about 30 minutes of searching, I was amazed to find information about a supplement called Nattokinase.  It is an enzyme that aids in breaking up fibrin (a strand-like portion of the blood) that forms blockages in veins.  The Nattokinase is derived from fermented soybeans and has long been used in Japan to deal with and/or prevent blood clots.  It comes in a standardized formula which Gretchen was able to purchase at the health food store for around $30 (but available MUCH cheaper online through VitaCost for less than $7).  But, we needed it today, so Gretchen paid the $30 for it today.

She also picked up some stuff to make a blood thinning soup — it consisted of an organic beef broth base, onions, garlic, and green cabbage.  All of these veggies are good for naturally thinning the blood in both the arteries and the veins.

So, at 4:00 PM tonight, Mom was hurting, a bit scared, but encouraged that we had possibly found a solution that would save her hand.  She took her first 2,000 FU Nattokinase pill.  Gretchen also made the soup and Mom scarfed down a good portion of that too.  And, then we waited…

Gretchen came home (where I was babysitting her kids) at around 9:30 PM, and she said that you could already see a difference in Mom’s fingers.  She said that all day today the three fingers had a very delineated purple line straight across where the circulation was being compromised.  But, only 5 1/2 hours after taking the Nattokinase, the lines were no longer straight and it was now blotchy (with areas of pink) where they had once been only purple.

Gretchen called back at Midnight to remind Dad to give Mom her next dose of the Nattokinase and he said he had just given it to her.  But, then came THE BEST NEWS —- Mom’s hand no longer hurt.  She was sleeping and in absolutely no pain!!!  She hadn’t taken a pain pill since the morning and her hand was no longer hurting.  It had been hurting terribly since last week – but, the pain is now gone.  Gretchen asked if it was still purple, but he said they were in bed and the light was off and he didn’t know.  But, since the pain was gone, that can only mean that the circulation has been restored to her fingers and hand.  Isn’t that just awesome?

The thing that we have come to realize in this journey with cancer is that we, as a family, are alone.  We can’t count on my Mom’s doctors to know what to do anymore because they just simply don’t know what to do anymore.  Perhaps the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for any more treatment for her because they’ve now classified her as “terminal.”  Who knows.  But, perhaps it’s the best thing that could have happened to us.  Because, we’re finding that there are answers out there for many of the things that conventional medicine says are hopeless.

Mom has been taking her Poly-MVA now consistently for a few days and her appetite is returning.  Tonight is the first time in several weeks that she hasn’t had some kind of pain or another.  We’re praising God about that.  He’s been with our family through all of this and showing us that His ways are higher than our ways — His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

Well, it’s very late and I need to get to bed.  Thank you to everyone (both those we know and those we don’t) who’ve whispered a prayer to heaven on Mom’s behalf.  We know we’re not really alone.  But, sometimes it feels like it.

Until next time (I’ll try to update tomorrow on the status of Mom’s fingers and hand) …

Tracey

Advertisements

Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down — The Waiting Game

with 2 comments

Well, Mom is still having some fits with her thumb.  They came in and did a Doppler ultrasound of her right neck and all the way down her arm to her thumb.  The blood flow was really good up top and even below the elbow.  but as soon as they got to the wrist and thumb, the blood flow was pretty poor.

So, again, the mad scramble was on and doctors were called, nurses were rushing around, and I was getting pretty concerned.

First, she saw her internal medicine doctor.  He was very nice, but didn’t really know much about the thumb issue.  Then, the vascular surgeon came in to see her and he was very nice.  He basically told us that it’s a wait and see situation.  He didn’t feel that doing an additional surgery would benefit her at this point and that we needed to wait and see.  The tip of her thumb is still warm (meaning it’s getting some blood flow) and it’s not a solid black color.  It’s kind of a mix of purple shades.

Here are some pics of her thumb and hand so you can see what she’s dealing with right now:

pict0089

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

pict0092

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, we’re going to be doing a lot of praying and a lot of visualization exercises about the blood flowing into Mom’s thumb all the way to the tip.  If you’re one of our prayer warrior friends, we ask that you please pray for this too.  Now, we just get to stand back and watch God work.

Until next time …

Tracey

Written by Tracey

January 28, 2009 at 6:05 pm