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Quick Update: Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Hi Everyone,

As many of you already know, Andrea was admitted to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) Monday morning w/ a 106 degree fever and extremely low blood pressure. The good news is that by the time I left at 6 pm,  her fever was down to 102.5 and her blood pressure was getting better. The bad news is that they still don't know what's causing her fevers and this is still considered a life threatening situation.

Andrea is going to have yet another CT scan on Tuesday to try to determine the cause of her fevers. They still suspect that Andrea has multiple blood clots in her pelvic area, but they haven't been able to see it in previous CT scans without contrast. Andrea is allergic to IV contrast, so they're going to try a slightly different procedure (similar to an angiogram) tomorrow, to get the contrast into her blood stream. Hopefully then they'll be able to figure out what's happening.

Alex's birthday is on Friday and while I know Andrea will be in the hospital for it, I'm hoping that she'll be out of ICU. Children are not allowed in the ICU, so they won't be able to see each other until Andrea is out of there.

I'll post more after the CT scan. Take care.

-- Todd

P.S. Nick continues to do well. He managed to roll himself over in his Isolette yesterday!


Quick Update: Sunday, January 5, 2003

Hi Everyone,

Andrea is still in a lot of pain from the surgery and is on a morphine drip & PCA. She's going to need some time to recover, so it would be best if nobody (other than family) call the hospital for a few days.  I'll let everyone know when she's up to receiving calls again.

Andrea continues to spike high fevers and we still don't know the cause.  On the other hand Alex and Nick are both doing well, which is making this time a little easier.

Thanks again for four years of love, prayers and support. Take care.

-- Todd



Quick Update:
Saturday
, January 4, 2003 @ 2:10 pm

Hi Everyone,

Well they got in there and found - nothing. No abscess, no problems with the uterus, nothing out of the ordinary. She's in post-op now and will remain there for a few hours. They're going to take her off all of the antibiotics, as it's possible that they are causing the fevers. We'll just have to wait and see. I'll post more when she gets out of post-op.

-- Todd



Quick Update: Saturday, January 4, 2003 @ 12:30 pm

Hi Everyone,

Andrea's fever didn't break, so surgery is now the only option. They took her down to the operating room a few minutes ago. Alex and I will wait in her hospital room. All we can do now is pray that a hysterectomy isn't necessary. I'll post more after the surgery.

-- Todd



Quick Update:
Saturday
, January 4, 2003

Hi Everyone,

I guess we haven't hit rock bottom yet. It turns out that Andrea's abscess is still there, the radiologist just missed it. (Can you say lawsuit!) Luckily the ID (Infectious Disease) doctor took a look at the results of the CT scan and spotted it, otherwise who knows what might have happened.

Now that they know what's causing the fevers, they're trying to find a way to avoid surgery. They gave Andrea a dose of heparin on Friday night in the hopes that it will help clear the abscess. If her fevers persist, they are going to have to operate either today or Sunday. Worst case scenario is if the abscess is in the uterine muscle, as they then will have to perform a hysterectomy.

As you can imagine we're pretty devastated by all of this, on top of everything else we're going through. Thankfully Alex and Nick are both doing pretty well for the moment. I don't know what I would do if Alex had to go in-patient right now.

I'll post again as soon as I know what's next for Andrea. Take care.

-- Todd



Quick Update:
Friday
, January 3, 2003

Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year! Unfortunately the New Year has started out a lot like the old year. Andrea went back into the hospital on New Year's Day with high fevers and a rollercoaster blood pressure. They did a CT scan yesterday and the abscess has disappeared, so they're not sure of the cause. The primary suspect is a line infection, so they removed her PICC line yesterday and are having it cultured. We should know more in a few days, but she'll definitely remain in Tacoma General over the weekend.

On a positive note Alex's counts are holding nicely. Her ANC is down to almost nothing (60), but her platelets are holding at 85 and her hematocrit is 29.8. With any luck we'll be able to avoid any transfusions during the next few months. The biggest challenge right now is keeping her occupied, as she has severe cabin fever. Luckily our neighbors (Dan & Nancy) have babysat her the last two nights while I've been at the hospital. Getting to see someone other than me is a good thing.

Pink is not my color!With Andrea out of commission it fell to me to begin Kangaroo care with Nicholas yesterday. Kangaroo care is when they put the baby on your bare chest and then cover them up in blankets. I held him that way for almost two hours last night and he did really well. The scariest part was me having to wear a pink hospital gown during the whole process. I guess it usually falls to the Mom to do Kangaroo care, so they didn't have any manly hospital gowns (if they even exist)! This photo may disappear from the website if I hear any cracks about the gown!

Doing his Harvey Keitel Impression!Nick was also weighed yesterday and he's now a whopping 2 pounds, 3 ounces, which means he gained 3 ounces! Everything else is going relatively well, so at least one of us isn't playing any tricks right now! I took the photo to the right while they were changing his face tape yesterday and I think it proves three things. One that at the moment Nick looks scarily like Harvey Keitel! Two that he has Andrea's nose. And three that he has my chin. I should also let you know that he hates having his face tape changed. The last time they changed it, he threw a temper tantrum for almost two hours. Yesterday he was relatively calm throughout the whole thing.

Well it's 6 am and hopefully my insomnia is cured, so I'm heading back to bed. Thanks again for four years of love, prayers and support. Take care.

-- Todd



Monday
, December 30, 2002

Hi Everyone,

On the ScaleAll of the photos of Nicholas in this update were taken today. In the first photo he's being weighed on a scale. To weigh him they have to take him off the respirator, move him from the Isolette to the scale and then bag him so he can continue to breath. Needless to say Nicholas gets a little ticked off while all of this activity is going on. We've decided that he not only has his Mommy's nose, he also has her temper! Anyway Nick is now exactly 2 pounds which means he has gained 7 ounces (almost 1/2 pound) since his birth 17 days ago. It may not sound like a big deal, but it is to us.

Touchdown Giants!In this photo Nicholas is obviously signaling a touchdown for my Giants! Actually this appears to be Nick's favorite way to sleep which is pretty funny since Alex and I also sleep this way. Of course Andrea isn't too happy about this, as she's already knocked into our bony elbows a bunch of times over the past few years. Now she's got a third set of elbows to worry about! This photo was also taken while he was being weighed on the scale. Right after this they moved him from the scale to Andrea's arms. That's right, Andrea got to hold Nicholas for a second time! This time she held him for over an hour in a rocking chair, while I sat next to them. I got to hold his hand and even kissed him on the forehead for the first time.

Who are you?This photo was taken while Nick was in Andrea's arms. He stares very intently at us and even though his eyesight is still rather blurry, he seems to know that Andrea and I are his parents. He instinctively reaches out for us when we're nearby and doesn't let go once he's got one of our fingers. It could just be reflex, but I really don't think that's the case. I just wish we could spend even more time with him out of the Isolette, but for the moment that's not a possibility.

Playing the staring game with MommyThis final photo shows Andrea and Nick staring at each other. Andrea finally had her drain removed today and she's feeling a lot better. She'll still have to remain on IV antibiotics for another week, but hey that's no big deal for us medical professionals. A few more weeks and she should be back to her old self, which will be a tremendous relief to me. I'm not exactly bursting with energy these days, if you know what I mean. When this is all over I'm going to sleep for 36 hours straight, wake up, eat some food and go back to sleep for another 36 hours! Maybe then I'll feel back to normal.

Alex's counts have already started to bottom out from the Mylotarg. Her platelets were down to 99 today and her ANC was under 200. Of course this means that once again she can't be around a lot of people. It's kind of disappointing since I was really hoping to take her to a few movies (Treasure Planet, The Wild Thornberry's) before her ANC bottomed out. It would really be a great idea if one of the Childhood Cancer organizations could arrange with movie theaters to offer exclusive showings for neutropenic kids. People don't realize how isolated you become when you can't go to a movie or school or the mall, or any of the places most kids take for granted. You can only spend so many days at home with your boring parents.

Well I better wrap this up, as I'm fading fast tonight. Happy New Year everyone! May next year be a much better year for all of us.

Love,

Todd, Andrea, Alex & Nick

P.S. Thanks to Eric Mathy for the cool Gingerbread House. It looks and tastes great!

Donations for Alex


Mail to: Frontier Bank
c/o Alexandra Elaine Martini
P.O. Box 527
Lake Stevens, WA 98258

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