The Starfish Project

The combined effort of our whole family.

Posts Tagged ‘prayer

Update on Mom #2 (5/14/09)

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I just got home from Mom and Dad’s house.  My sister, Gretchen, called this morning and said that Dad called her and wanted to have a family meeting this morning.  She said Mom was lucid and sitting on the couch with Dad.  So, Gretchen picked me up and we went over there.

I have a terrible chest cold, so Dad gave me a mask to wear while I was over there.  I really don’t want to give Mom any kind of a respiratory infection.  But, we felt that the need to have a family meeting and discuss everything that was going on was paramount.   So, I wore the mask and tried not to touch anything while I was there.

Mom looked good.  I guess she “woke up” earlier this morning.  She doesn’t remember anything about yesterday.  She doesn’t remember signing a DNR with the hospice nurse.  We didn’t even know she had signed that until the hospice nurse came out of the bedroom holding a signed DNR with Mom’s signature on it.  Well, Mom does not want a DNR and didn’t even know she had signed it.  They had given her a massive dose of liquid morphine before she signed it.  I hardly think a person is capable of making such a decision when so heavily medicated.

Anyway, we explained to her that her body isn’t dying.  She’s just sore from the draining of the pleural effusion and her arm is a little sore where the blood clot is.  But, other than that, she’s not in any pain — certainly not end-of-life pain.

We talked to her about what she wanted to do.  She said she wants to keep fighting and she doesn’t want to be doped up anymore.  So, we were very glad to hear that.  She looked good and was communicating very well with us.  She was nibbling on some ice chips and drinking some water.  It was nice to see her hydrating herself again.  She didn’t have anything to eat or drink yesterday because of the narcotics.

So, we press forward together as a family.  Dad looked absolutely exhausted.  It was a very rough night for him.  He didn’t sleep a wink.  He spent most of the night praying for Mom (as we all did) and keeping a close watch on her like a mother hen.  He is the strongest person I know and I’m so grateful for him.  If it weren’t for him, I think our family would have fallen apart through all of this by now.  He’s definitely the rock for our family.

So, it was a good morning for us.  Gretchen is going to call hospice and talk to them about what we really need.  Mom needs some mild pain management – like prescription Motrin – to manage her arm pain and the pain she’s experiencing from her left lung re-inflating.  It’s sore from that, as well as from all the coughing.  So, we’d like to help her manage that without narcotics.  We’ll see if hospice will honor our boundaries and Mom’s decision to keep fighting.  She’s weak and her fight isn’t very strong – but, she’s fighting nonetheless.  And, for that we’re very, very grateful.

So, like the scripture says … Joy comes in the morning.  While yesterday and last night were very, very dark, this morning is much brighter.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and good thoughts.  We’ve had over 14,000 visitors to the blog and we know there are people all over the world praying for Mom, as well as searching for answers for themselves or their loved ones.  Keep fighting the good fight of faith.  Only the Lord knows the end of the story for each one of us.

I’ll keep you posted on Mom’s progress.



Written by Tracey

May 14, 2009 at 10:46 am

Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down — The Waiting Game

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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:


















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 …


Written by Tracey

January 28, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Update on Mom’s Thumb

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I just spoke with Dad and he said the vascular surgery was a success.  The color has returned to her thumb (except for the very tip), but the doctor thinks that will heal up too.  They found one large blood clot and several smaller ones and removed them.  Her hand is a little swollen, but she’s doing so much better.  Dad said she’s resting comfortably and they’ve been giving her a little bit of morphine for the pain.

Man, we just never saw this one coming.  We noticed that her thumb was a little discolored yesterday and mentioned it to the nurse.  But, her nurse said it was just from poking her fingers to check her blood sugar.  The Decadron makes your blood sugar go up and she’s had to receive insulin a few times.  Her blood sugar was 240 on Monday night and they gave her six units of insulin.  And, it was 146 yesterday afternoon and they gave her 2 units of insulin.

But, when we thought about it, they never poked her thumb to take her blood sugar.  I’m just glad they were able to do the surgery right away and save her thumb.

Okay, I’m getting in the shower and getting ready to go back to the hospital and relieve Dad.  Our plan is for her to have a wonderful and restful nights sleep so she’ll be ready for the Gamma Knife surgery in the morning.  She’s on the schedule for 7:00 AM.  It takes a while because there are many different steps they have to complete for the procedure.  They have to bolt the frame onto her skull.  She will have four screws that go into her skull.  They say this doesn’t hurt – it just feels like pressure when they’re doing it.  Then she has to have an MRI done of her brain while the frame is attached to her head.  Then the doctors will look at the MRI and make a plan for the actual Gamma Knife procedure.  They have to have a scientists on the team who will determine the angles of the gamma rays.  Then, she will be put into the Gamma Knife machine and the frame will be attached to the machine.  The actual procedure takes about an hour – about the same amount of time as an MRI.  Then, they remove the frame from her head and she’ll be under observation for a few hours.  Then, she’ll be sent over to their rehab part of the hospital to work on some physical therapy.

So, that’s our day for tomorrow.  I hope and pray everything goes according to schedule.

I’m bringing my laptop with me to the hospital this time, so I can update you all much more quickly.


Written by Tracey

January 28, 2009 at 10:05 am

Please Pray for Mom

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Dad just called me from the hospital a few minutes ago and told me that Mom’s right thumb has turned black and she’s in a lot of pain with it.  The doctor sent her down for an MRI and it was determined that she has several blood clots in her arm blocking the blood flow into her thumb due to the arterial line they placed in her arm.

As we speak, they are prepping her for surgery with a vascular surgeon to get rid of these blood clots and open up the blood flow into her thumb.  The doctor said he thought there was a 60% chance he could save her thumb.  We know that with prayer, those chances go up significantly!

As you can see, this is very serious.  So, our family is asking everyone who reads this to please pray for my Mom that the surgery is a success and the circulation is restored into her thumb.  We have not come this far with her cancer treatment to be derailed by something like this. 

As always, thank you so much for your prayers and positive thoughts.  You guys are the best!


Written by Tracey

January 28, 2009 at 12:45 am