Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Successful Feeding Tube Replacement

The feeding tube was replaced with ease and no complications. Thank you for your prayers!

Andrea is starting a new routine of physical therapy and occupational therapy at home. Dialysis is at home, too, on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. She still goes to the Speech Therapist near Southwest Memorial Hospital, goes to MDA for blood draws on Sundays, and sees her MDA primary doctor there once a week. Antibiotics seem to be working and she sees that doctor next week for a change in medicines.

Andrea misses shopping this time of the year but at least we are out and about to enjoy the decorations everywhere. Betty and her friend, Missy, put up the tree and decorated J and Andrea's house. So sweet of them!
Have fun and be careful traveling and all during the holidays. We think of you all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Physical Therapist

Today a new Physical Therapist from Memorial Hermann came to the house since Andrea has been released from TIRR. Next appointment for her is Wednesday.
On Tuesday, plans are to change out the feeding tube in Andrea's tummy. Supposedly it is routine as the feeding tubes wear out often. She will need to go under anethesia, so please keep Andrea in your prayers at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday!
The antibiotics are making Andrea feel a bit better.
Thank you for your faithful prayers, and we remember your needs, too.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Meds Working

The internal medicine doctor prescribed one more antibiotic this past week, which means Andrea is taking 4 antibiotics to clear her lungs. We can see good improvement this past week and she is gaining some strength back. We worked out on the exercise mat for an hour and a half this afternoon and she stood in her wheelchair for 30 to 45 minutes. I really do not think I am biased when I say that I admire Andrea's spunk and tenacity.
Please keep the prayers coming as we pray for you all, too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Close Call but Okay!

The infection in Andrea's lungs is causing her oxygen levels to go down. Her doctor wanted to admit her into MDA from the emergency room, but Andrea convinced him to give her the medicine she needed and send her home because she likes the care she receives at home over the masses of nurses and doctors as in-patient who may have the flu. Her doctor reluctantly agreed, and the pulmonary doctor saw to it that she got an oxygen bottle to use at home should she need it again. So, with new medicine and as-needed oxygen, Andrea is up and trying to get better again. She is also receiving dialysis 3 times a week now which should help clear the lungs.
Your faithful prayers are soooo much appreciated.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Emergency Room

EMS took Andrea to the MDA Emergency Room last night because her oxygen levels kept dropping to an unsafe level. As soon as Andrea got oxygen from the EMS, she was okay, so hopefully she can get oxygen to bring home today and not have to be admitted.
Please pray.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Identified Secondary Infection

We got a call from MDA today that there is an infection in Andrea's lungs. Right now they are trying to see if they can send the medicine home or if she will have to go back into the hospital. For those of you who have been to Andrea and J's house, you know home is a better hospital than MDA, so it is just a question of getting the right medicine to treat the infection.
Please continue your steadfast and immediate prayers and remember that we pray for you all too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hanging in There

Andrea is enjoying the new wheelchair and the ability to stand up in it every day. I had to excuse myself as a "student driver" when trying to manuever tight spots at MD Anderson and that way I get to laugh at myself and everyone else can laugh too.
The doctors had Andrea take an MRI of the abodmen this past week hoping to find an infection that is causing her white blood cells to be elevated. They didn't find anything amiss. However, they do know there is an infection somewhere, but no fever, which is frustrating because it is hard to treat. Broad range antibiotics have such a hard affect on the liver and kidneys. Andrea was especially sad to miss one of her best friend's wedding because of this latest pesky problem.
Please pray for this nerve disruption to pass and the infection to be resolved.
We think of you all each day in our prayers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Very Encouraged

Have you seen the cartoon movie "The Incredibles"? I really liked it because the leading man was a guy named Bob! Also one of the movie's highlights is most people's tortured feelings when it comes to actually using their insurance plans.
Well, we've gone through insurance trials during these past 4 years, but right now all I can say is that Andrea is driving a motorized wheelchair that also goes into a standing position when she wants or needs it to. It gives her independence in her own home, endurance in the standing position, and she can do so many of her physical therapy motions while she is in the wheelchair. She has been very encouraged by this new form of assistance and we are very pleased.
Thank you for your prayers, and please know that we pray for you too.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Responses

This past week the TIRR physcial therapist applied nerve stimulation to Andrea's right leg (which has been pretty much numb) and got some really good response. Since then Andrea has been able to slightly kick it, move and bend it more. yeah! The therapist says it is a good indication that Andrea will be able to walk again.......however, we know that could take a long time. TIRR occupational therapist mainly works on Andrea's right arm and hand which is showing some movement. The speech therapist continues to work on Andrea's muscles in her mouth and speech even though the feeling has not returned.
In the mean time Zeus loves being in his new home and welcomes Smokey (Betty's dog) or Tito (Bob's dog) very often and they all provide plenty of entertainment for the weekends.
Andrea still requires dialysis which makes her fatigued and is a real drag that limits shopping time or going places.
We are still asking prayers for the kidneys to restart and the hypeintensity to go away so the numbness will dissapate in her face and lips.
You all are so kind to read this blog and we think of you all daily because we know you have ups and downs in your lives, too.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Healing, but slow

It has been a while since the last posting, but more of the same has been transpiring with doctor visits, dialysis, and TIRR rehabilitation physical and occupational therapy. We are so busy that the weeks fly by quickly.
Andrea is regaining strength but is still frustrated with the numbness in her lips and mouth. Still, she pushes on for healing each day and I am encouraged by her willingness to push forward in the midst of headaches or fatigue.
Thank you for your continued prayers. We think of you daily, too.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Stronger but continued frustration

Andrea is doing well at TIRR and has become strong enough that they arranged for her to try out a motorized wheelchair that also moves into the standing position. She is just now trying it out, so it will be a while before she decides on which one will be the right fit for her.
As she becomes stronger it is just so strange that Andrea's mouth has become numb. The neuro doctor said that even though the MRI showed improvement of the brain scan, the hyperintensity is resting over the sensory part so that would explain the numbness in the mouth and face.
We just keep on praying that this nerve disruption dissapates quickly, and thank you for yours.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Step by step

Andrea continues to try to improve each day with each doctor's, physical therapy or dialysis treatment. She can even con me or Betty into shopping for her and J's new house on the way home from these visits. Any distraction from these very difficult times is a treat as they build a more comfortable home for themsleves. We all admire her and J as they strive each day for a physical health.
The last MRI showed great improvement overall, but the hyperintensity over the part of the brain that controls motor skills is there, so we need to pray that it dissappates quickly. The neuro doctor said it may take 18 months or longer for all of this to occur, and it has been 7 months so far. Please pray for total healing......The TIRR therapists are so encouraging and rejoice at every improvement Andrea makes.
Your prayers are so important, as we pray for you all each day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Busy Schedule

Andrea has her ups and downs but is continuing to get a little better overall. Her determination comes from faith, hope and prayer that she will be able to eat and walk again. She has appointments every day of the week. When the lungs get clear enough our first hope is that she can drop the Tuesday and Saturday dialysis. Even on Sundays we go to MDA for a blood test and lung x-rays, which are improving.
Thank you for your continued steadfast prayers.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

With Your Prayers

With Your Prayers, Andrea continues to get a little stronger each day. It is very hard for her to realize, but over a 2 week period, her TIRR physical therapist say that she is doing really well and they are very encouraging for her to go to the next level. As long as Andrea is on a firm surface, like her exercise mat, she can sit on her own for at least 15 to 30 minutes or more. Then she exercises her arms and legs. We are so very encouraged by her determination and abiltiy. We are scheduled to go to the MDA doctors his week, too, so hopefully they will have good news about her lung xrays.

Please continue to pray for her swallowing ability as she prays for each of you and your daily hurdles.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Standing Chair

Andrea is getting a little stronger everyday. At TIRR this week, they put her in a special chair, then pumped it up to a standing position. It was tough work for her but she was so mentally charged and happy when it was all over. She can hardly wait to go back. Andrea continues to go to her speech therapist and MDA doctors. We have great hope that the speech therapist can help the nerves in her throat swallow properly again.
Thank you for your prayers as we remember you, too.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Starting TIRR

Andrea is excited about being accepted as a TIRR out-patient. She will be going there 3 days a week for an hour each time. The young lady physical therapist was very optomistic, nice and has immediate goals for Andrea to accomplish.
She is also seeing the MDA doctors this week about her cricopharnyx, so please pray that they, too, can help Andrea to heal more quickly. We appreciate all of you and think of you and your needs daily, too.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Swallow Test

The speech therapist is really good and the doctor who did the swallow test gave her the information that she needed to help Andrea's cricopharynx respond properly when swallowing. Betty and I got to observe the x-ray/barium swallow test and it was amazing. I even found out that we have a floating tiny bone in our throats that is held in place with muscles. All of this is such a detailed process, so please continue to pray that what is done will help the neurological condition to heal.

Andrea is really fighting fatigue but we know it is really her body working overtime to heal. We continue to go to many appointments each week, but the one we are anticipating the most this week is the TIRR (The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research - the leading in-patient and out-patient hospital for neurological or neuromuscular injuries that Memorial Hermann runs for UT Medical and Baylor College of Medicine). Hopefully (and prayerfully) Andrea will be accepted there as an out-patient.

Thank you for your faithful prayers. We continue to the think of each of you in your daily activities, too.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Moving in the Right Direction

Even though Andrea has to have dialysis for a while, J got it set up at home so at least Andrea can be in the comfort of their own home for 4 hours every Tuesday and Saturday. Please continue to pray that the kidneys heal so that she does not need dialysis or a transplant in the future.
There are plenty of other appointments, but the most promising is the speech therapist who is working with Andrea on her swallowing mechanism. Andrea will have a swallow test this Friday, so please pray that she improves enough to eat something. We think of each of you often and hope you are staying cool enough throughout the summer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mega Appointments

Almost everyday this week Andrea sees several doctors or therapists each day. We count these appointments as blessings because it gets us going early and keeps us moving in the right direction of healing!
I think the most enticing appointment for Andrea is the speech therapist because she gives Andrea all kinds of tastes and stimulation in her mouth to help her learn to swallow without aspiration into the lungs. Again, it is such a fine balance on what and how to do it that it is really amazing to watch and try to help do the same thing at home when we leave.
Please continue to pray for the neurological condition to resolve and for her kidneys to improve so that she does not need dialysis. Twice a week Andrea's blood is drawn to determine if she needs dialysis. We went to MDA this Sunday afternoon and will find out tomorrow if she needs to go for dialysis Monday afternoon.
We do think of you all daily and pray for you too.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Seeking a fine balance

Andrea spent 4 crazy days and 3 crazier nights at the MDA emergency room last week. At least she got home for the July 4 weekend! Her kidneys seem to be rebounding, but not just enough yet to keep her off dialysis totally. So, the kidney doctor was trying some medications that threw her blood levels all off which made her end up in the emergency room. It is so hard to find the fine balance with all the medications. Andrea has been so active, just going to all the different doctors, dialysis and the most promising - her speech therapist who is trying to help her rebuild face, neck and throat muscles to swallow correctly again.
Thank you for your prayers for Andrea's swallowing mechanism and her kidneys. We think of each of you often.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Home and Healing

Sorry, blogspot temporarily blocked me out, don't know why, but at last I get to report that Andrea has been home since Friday June 19 and getting better every day. She has a long road to recovery but at least we can help her in the comfort of her and J's home. We have been back to the MDA kidney doctor for a check up and to the speech therapist to help her regain her swallowing ability. We go back to MDA tomorrow to see her primary doctor and to back to the speech/swallowing therapist on Friday. The physical therapist came by the house today to do the assessment and will most likely come to their house twice a week to help her figure out the best exercises to help her regain balance and mobility.
Please keep the prayers going for the neurological condition to improve. Things are looking up for Andrea! Thanks to all of you for your care and concern.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

HOME Wed, Maybe??

Andrea has been improving...and they are thinking of letting her go home on Wednesday June 17, but with so many variables....., we must ask of your prayers for:
her neurological condition to improve,
dialysis to be a non-issue
and overall strength to boost her up and home.
She is doing all that she can do to gather up strength and courage to get out of the bed each day with our help to try to get stronger. She had a visit from her 5 month old nephew, Levi, this weekend which gave her such joy! We pray next posting will be from Home!
Thank you for your continued prayers!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Seeing Progress

Andrea is in a regular 11th floor room (accessible through elevator F for those who can visit) at MDA and is working through "issues" so she can go home again. The first thing she wants to know when waking up is "what are the day's goals and schedule so she can get strong enough to go home again". Dialysis is usually 3 times a week. This past week she had a thoracentesis to pull fluid off around the lung to alleviate pain and let her lung expand again. The side pain did not go away as we had hoped and ultrasound she had yesterday showed an aggreviated gall bladder. The doctors are putting their heads together to proceed on that one, so we will let you know how that turns out.
I told J. today that I have never seen such pain, determination to get better or courage as I have from Andrea. I also have never seen such love, coaching or support as the Martin family are to Andrea.
We thank God for such supporters as yourself to read this blog, pray for Andrea and want you to know that we pray for your needs each day too.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Out of ICU!

Andrea left ICU about 7 p.m. last night. It was good to sleep in a quieter room on the 11th floor without hearing all the alarms beeping from other rooms. Many nurses came by as she was coming in to say "you go, Andrea, we are here to help you get back home". That was just so supportive of them to do that! She is also getting her trache adjusted tomorrow so that it should be easier for her talk, and for us to understand. Today Andrea was already sitting in the neuro chair and sitting up on the side of the bed with the help of the physical therapist. Every bone and muscle of her body aches, but she is limiting pain meds so she can move about and get going again.
Thank you for your prayers. As our regular doctor was leaving rounds this a.m., Charley, a pastor from Second Baptist came in and led a powerful, thankful prayer for Andrea leaving ICU and improving. It was perfect timing as all of your visits are just when Andrea needs a boost. You must know too, that we do feel YOUR prayers from wherever you are. We thank God for you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Talk of leaving ICU

Progress has been slow, but steady. Andrea has been in a chair, sitting up and trying to communicate as best as she can with a trache. I have to admit it is hard to try to read her lips because everyone knows how Andrea like to talk, and she goes too fast for us sometimes. They will change the trache to one that is easier for her to talk, and we are just waiting for them to do that, and then maybe they will release her to a regular room so we can get physical therapy and get back home. That week home was just soooo good, and Andrea wants to be there so much.
Thank you for your faithful prayers. They really, really do mean so much to Andrea and us, too.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let the Healing Begin - Again

Andrea had a trache put in her throat Monday night. She passed her breathing test this morning and they took her off the ventilator and is on a low level of oxygen. She is much more awake and we are all looking forward to get out of ICU now. Again, she has amazed some doctors who have not seen her before.
Thank you for your faithful prayers. I read the blog notes, cards and letters to her and she is so appreciative.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Path Forward

After several days on the breathing ventilator and medicines, Andrea's lungs have cleared except for the left bottom lung that was not crystal clear the last time doctors declared her "clear". She is also breathing more on her own, has been weaned off the pain meds and is awake more during the day.
The doctors plan to put in a trache early this week to prevent Andrea from aspirating and getting pneumonia all over again. The trache will need to stay in several months to allow time for the neurological condition to continue to improve. We were seeing signs of improvement when this second round of aspiration pneumonia set in.
It was wonderful that Andrea was honored as the Shining Star recipient at The American Cancer Society Gala last Saturday night. Lindsey did a great job speaking on her behalf. Thanks, Lindsey!
As always, thank you for your prayers.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Broncoscopy and Breathing Ventilator

Andrea said she was "exhausted" from her breathing rate and how hard it is to breathe from having pneumonia. This morning her heart showed slight stress, so the doctors decided to put her on a breathing ventilator and that also gave them the opportunity to do a broncoscopy and find out if they could give her more specific antiobiotics to kick the pneumonia.

Some of her other blood numbers improved since yesterday, so we are still hopeful that she will continue getting better day by day.

Andrea needs your continued support and faithful prayers.

Friday, May 08, 2009

No broncoscopy for now

Once Andrea got to ICU, they found a urinary infection and started her on a wide range of antibiotics which could clear the lungs, too. So, one step at a time ....... and as frustratingly slow that is for her, they are monitoring her closely and could decide to do something else at any time. Please pray for clear lungs, eradication of the infection they found, but most of all for the neurological condition to heal completely. Thanks so much.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Please Pray Tonight

Please pray tonight for Andrea's lungs. She was admitted to ICU earlier due to the pneumonia in her lungs. This afternoon she was short of breath and very uncomfortable. Her doctor decided it would be best to monitor her all night in ICU. They are planning to perform a broncoscopy tomorrow under close supervision. This will give the doctors the information needed to treat her lungs and the ability to remove some of the junk in her lungs. Thanks in advance for all the prayers.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Nice try, but after one week at home, Andrea was remitted at her one week check up Monday because of a low grade fever and really bad pain on her right side abodmen. She told them while in the hospital last week of the pain but after CT scans, they could "see" nothing, so they allowed her to go home on a reduced scale of antibioitcs and so now they figure something is brewing and they need to find out what that something is.......
Well, home was just toooo gooood, so we need to figure out what this something is so we can get back there by the weekend.
Please know that we continue to think of you and your family as we go through this latest trial.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Home! Monday April 27

Andrea came home from the hospital Monday late afternoon just before the big 10 inch rain came across Houston. It has been wonderful to be home, and very, very busy trying to find all the right spots to put things into the new house. She continues to get just a little bit stronger every day with exercises and visits from friends who help her. The home health care nurse has already come for her weekly visit and a physical therapist should be by soon.
Many nurses said "unbelievable" when we took Andrea home after almost 3 months in the hospital, but we say "All things are possible with God".
Thank you for your unending prayers, as we can see that God has answered our prayers the way we asked for again. She still has a lot of recuperation to accomplish. She wants so much to walk again, and it may take months for the neurological condition to improve. Love and prayers to all.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Home Monday??

Plans are being made to go home Monday, April 27, but Andrea says that with reservation because she does not want to "jinx" anything thing in the works. However, with prayer, we are making plans that it will happen. The swallow test today was better than that one month ago, which means the neurological condition is improving even if it is slow. She is still having problems with high blood pressure which the kidney doctor attributes to blood vessel leakage rather than kidney function. The kidneys are trying to do their part....somewhat!
Your part in prayer is very critical, so thank you very much. We continue to remember you and your family in our prayers.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Yeah, feeding tube working again! No more disruptions! We are still making plans for Andrea to go home but do not have a date yet. Please keep those strong prayers coming!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Closer, but not there yet

Andrea is getting stronger and we all keep talking about going home, but in the wee hours of Friday morning her JG feeding tube clogged. They put meat tenderizer in it to clear it, but it did not clear. As of Friday afternoon, she is still on the waiting docket for Interventional Radiology to do something about it. Urrrrr. We are so encouraged by your prayers, and it has been very routine for us to pray for you all daily, too. Oh yes, those dogs do keep us laughing, don't they!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Biopsy results

Biopsy results showed healing taking place in the "tubes" of the kidney and just a little scar tissue. The filtering part of the kidney was not inflamed. The doctor did not think Andrea would be on long-term dialysis. Since there is swelling in her legs/ankles, he thinks it is blood vessels leaking fluid. This is just one of the many specific details of figuring out how to help Andrea get well. She is still exercising as much as she can, trying to gain strength to sit up and maintain balance.
The fun part is that she did get to see Zeus over the Easter weekend and Mary's new French bulldog puppy.
We appreciate your prayers as we pray for your families, too.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Kidney Biopsy

Andrea had a kidney biopsy today and she could not stay on her "getting well" routine of physical therapy and exercises for now. We will not know the results of the biopsy until Tuesday, but they are suspecting the kidney to be the one not functioning up to par and causing the high blood pressure. Based on the findings, they will adjust treatment one way or the other. Please continue to pray for the neurological condition to improve, as it slowly has. Prayers work! We also pray for you and your household.

Friday, April 03, 2009

MDA day 57

My, how time passes quickly even when it is not so fun. We are constantly busy trying to piece the puzzle together on how to help Andrea get better and go home. She started exercises to make the muscles in her throat stronger so she can swallow properly again. The headaches keep popping up which make it hard to work out in physical therapy as hard as she would like to. The kidney doctor today said he thought the high blood pressure may have to do with the kidneys, so we will be looking at an ultrasound and maybe a biopsy this coming week.
On a sadder note she will be missing Chris and Alicia's wedding which she wanted - oh so much - to go to. She sent hugs via J. since he is in the wedding.
Please continue to pray for the neurological condition to improve, as we feel like that is the biggest hurdle. We continue to pray for all of you dear friends and family too.

Friday, March 27, 2009

MDA day 50

Well, it is day 50 here and we are not "supposed to" be counting anymore. But, that is a way that Andrea knows just how long it is taking her to recover from this aspiration pneumonia gig. We do now know from tests this week that she can aspirate just from normal saliva each day, most likely when sleeping or even nappping when Andrea cannot grab the suction tube to get the stuff out of her mouth before it goes down into the lungs. She has started coughing, (that is good) otherwise it would go straight to the lungs. That is what aspiration is .....when any fluid goes to the lungs instead of the stomach. Anyway, Andrea is getting better, but the steps are smaller than she would like. So, we continue to pray for aspiration to stop and the neurological condition to improve.
Thank you for your prayers as we continue to pray for you and your family too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

MDA day 47

Good things are happening, like seeing Zeus on the outside benches of MDA this past weekend. Oh, relatives were visiting too, which was a great bonus as they could actually talk! But, the visits were good and uplifted our spirits. Andrea also had a "wheelchair fitting" yesterday so she can be more comfortable as she is trying to be more mobile. She is being unhooked from all the meds every day for a few hours so rehab can work with her in their facility at MDA. We are starting talk of "going home" even though no one knows when that will be. A swallow test will be performed tomorrow, so hopefully that will be another step forward in figuring out why this aspiration pneumonia occurred and what can be done about it.
Thank you for your prayers as we remember to pray for you and your families.

Friday, March 20, 2009

MDA Day 43, Spring

Today is the first day of spring and after 43 days, Andrea happily got to go outside in her wheelchair for "real air and sunshine". She is doing better each day with physical therapy. We are real glad that she is sitting up, but she is hard on herself because she is not sitting up "straight". We know that it will happen as she becomes stronger, but it's hard for her to not be able to do that now. (You all know her "can do" personality.....) I am now waking up with a "to do" list for the day, and that makes me happy : ) We think dialysis will either be 2 or 3 days a week, but I'm predicting it will be less sooner rather than later.
Thank you for your prayers as we remember you and yours, too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MDA Day 40

March 17 Happy St. Patrick's Day. It was one year ago Andrea received her 2nd stem cell transplant from her sister, Kristin. She's as anxious to get out this time as last year. Andrea had a really good morning. Her bed can be manuvered to a sitting position with her feet dropped down. She stayed that way 2 hours this morning and then the PT and OT came in and moved her to wheelchair. She used her left arm to help the therapist push the wheelchair around the 11th floor. She continued sitting in the wheelchair for a shampoo and stay there until well after lunch. I think she will be sore from so much activity, but knowing Andrea she will count it as gain because of using muscles she so desperately wants to use. The lungs are improving and please continue to pray for the neurological condition.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

MDA day 34

I'm sorry it's taken me a week to get back to this blog, but we have been working real hard with Andrea. I had a bad feeling when Andrea was bleeding from the dialysis catheter insertion. She also had too much fluid removed in dialysis that same day and it caused her blood to desaturate (not enough oxygen in the blood). She had taken 5 steps forward in recovery, then with this desaturation, she took 10 steps back. Her goal is get out of the hospital and it is not happening as quick as we would like for it to. Please continue to pray for the neurological issues to clear.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

MDA day 27

When I told Andrea it was March 4 today, she said "Wow, I've got to get out of here". Her attitude is refreshing. The lung x-rays are improving, but still showing some pneumonia. Respiratory therapy is helping a lot.
Andrea had a permanent dialysis catheter put just below her collar bone this morning. She was receiving dialysis right after the procedure for putting the catheter in and there was extra blood that a mom gets nervous about seeing, so it was a good time for me to leave so I can be refreshed for my night time shift. She may not need dialysis every day, but at least the catheter is there if she does need it. Andrea is weak but will push herself to the limits for physical therapy. She has some real good PTs.
We are seeing some neurological improvements and those can only come from your prayers. Thank you for your faithful prayers.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Still Struggling

Day 23 at MDA (Sat.), Andrea is still struggling to get her lungs clear. Respiratory therapists are in and out of her room a lot. She is weak, but she will still gather her strength for the physical therapists to help her move about and exercise. It takes about 2 to 3 hours for dialysis each day and it has been helping quite a bit.
Please remember to pray for the neurological condition to clear. We are so grateful for each of your prayers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Finally, about noon today, Andrea had a tube put in lower tummy so she can receive nutrition. She told us yesterday, "let me eat and I will get well". So, by late this afternoon, Tuesday, she can get some formula into her tummy so she can get stronger and help her beat this congestion in her lungs. It really is a difficult battle, because it is hard to have strength to cough up what is in her lungs. She is a resiliant young lady who has your prayers to call upon God for healing, and she definitely thanks God for you all daily.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last 4 days

These last few days Andrea's kidneys have been responding well to dialysis. However, her lungs are still on a roller coaster of looking better one day and relapsing the next. Tomorrow (Monday) the doctor plans to put a tube in her lower tummy to feed her until the swallowing reflex gets stronger again. Even though she is weak, she insists on physical therapy. That's our Andrea......go for it! We appreciate your prayers so much, especially for the lungs to clear and become strong again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Regular MDA room

Late yesterday Andrea was able to go to the Stem Cell Transplant floor at MDA. They will concentrate on clearing her lungs, helping the kidneys along with dialysis, figuring out how to feed her since she still chokes some when swallowing and physical therapy. She is encouraged so much by your thoughts and prayers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ICU Tues 2/17

Andrea received dialysis all morning today. She coughed a lot last night which is "good" because the lungs are responding to treatment but it did keep her wake most of the night. The doctors are saying she'll go to a regular room "soon". Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, February 16, 2009

ICU Mon 2/16

Andrea started talking yesterday afternoon and this morning she is telling us about all kinds of events. Some of them are very factual and others we have had to tell her that it was just dreams she's been having over the past week. Last night we had the dr. give her Ambien because she has been in such a half wake/half sleep state that she really was sleep deprived.
Today they are taking her off some antibiotics, increasing her tube feedings, and giving her dialysis to help her kidneys. She's been coughing a lot of stuff from her lungs, so they will be watching that too. They want to more comfortable with her lung and kidney capability before they let her go from ICU. I know Andrea is "back" with us because this morning when I was massaging/exercising her feet and ankles, I asked her where she wanted to walk to. She said "Home". I told her everyone is praying for that and it will happen as soon as the lung/kidney function gets in sync. Your prayers are being answered in the way you are asking and what you are asking for. Thanks.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

ICU Sun 2/15

Better today than yesterday, but not well enough to leave ICU. Each day's progress brings us hope that not only are Andrea's statistics better but that she actually feels better. She is moving her arms and feet around this morning because she remembers the repercussions of being in bed for too long of a period of time. She still seems very tired and it is hard to get rest in ICU with all the machinery and tests being run in the wee hours of the morning.
Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Prayers Heard

God heard your prayers to clear Andrea's lungs. They are not perfectly clear, but so much better than yesterday. She woke up this a.m. trying to tell me something but I didn't get it, so she leaned forward for me to discover one of the blood pressure cords was between her and the bed. They will try to start weaning her off the BiPap machine today and will start the tube feeding again. She was shaking her head and seemed really concerned about that, but the nurse explained to her that she would only get about a teaspoon an hour and they would be checking to make sure it would not aspirate into the lungs. Andrea is listening and comprehending everything we are saying. It is good to get a definite "yes or no" head shake today for what is going on.
Please continue to pray that the after effects of chemo continues to clear in the brain as we pray for all you in your daily lives, too.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

ICU Thurs 2/12

The potent antibiotics kept the pneumonia from getting worse. Andrea can respond by blinking for yes and shaking her head for no. She is on a BiPap breathing machine that supplies both pressure and oxygen, so hopefully the result will be somewhat related to what the doctors were looking for in the hyperbaric chamber by adding pressure and oxygen in the blood stream. We are being reminded of the blood gases and acid in the blood that we all deal with every day and are never aware of because we just feel okay.
Please keep up your kind prayers because we feel she is better today than yesterday. Prayer is THE very best thing you can do for her.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

ICU Tuesday

The tests revealed blood urea nitrogen levels and creatine (kidney) ratio way off plus this bad infection in Andrea's lungs are the main reason for her unresponsiveness. However, she has responded to some light and some voices today but is not able to speak yet. We believe she will respond to the "big guns" antibiotics and prayers will be answered again.

Monday, February 09, 2009


The doctors moved Andrea to ICU today so they could run more tests in a quicker fashion. Her lungs did not respond to the antibiotics like they had anticipated they should on Saturday and Sunday. They are looking at some sort of renal (kidney) failure or other infection that could be sending her blood numbers askew. Thank you for your faithful prayers.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Critical Monday

Monday will be very critical as the MDA team of doctors decide to (or not to) put a feeding tube in Andrea's tummy until this nerve disruption subsides which is causing her to choke on liquids and escape to her lungs. The brain doctor says he sees an indication that it will subside and she can recover from this fully. She is still in the hospital and resting not so comfortably, but as always, Andrea is a real trooper and tries her very best. She sends her prayers and love to each of you, because she is so grateful for you praying for her.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Hospital, again

The pain block in the face trigeminal nerve seems to have worked, but since Andrea is supposed to taper off the pain meds for it, we won't really know until Monday or Tuesday.
The last two days has been strange, though, because this chemo nerve disruption has caused Andrea to cough or almost choke when eating or more especially drinking fluids, which most of you know she tries to have a water bottle around all the time to help her kidneys.
Today we started out at physical therapy at MDA, had lunch, went shopping for some Puma tennis shoes, went to an MRI, then to the Brain & Spine doctor. He examined her and personally pushed her wheelchair to the MDA Emergency Room to get all the tests they needed on a Friday at 5 p.m. (He knew there was no other way to find out what he needed to know at this time of week day.) As he suspected, Andrea has infiltrates (- fluids-) pneumonia in the right side of her lungs. She can't eat or drink until Saturday when they find out if she can eat or drink without it going to her lungs.
Again, all this just seems unbelievable, but we keep praying. Thanks for yours.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pain dr. says

The pain doctor says he can do a temporary pain block on Andrea's facial trigeminal nerves on Thursday, Feb. 5. It's categorized as another "minor surgery", which we know are never minor and is supposed to last about a month, so that is long enough for her to get through the hyperbaric treatments which have caused the nerves in the face to be so painful. Her blood pressure has been really high the last few days, so we are to see her regular MDA doctor tomorrow. This is in addition to daily hyperbaric treatments, and M-W-F physical therapy so if feels like we are just running from hospital to hospital all day. We have faith in God for her healing.
Please keep praying all this works for Andrea. She's in quite a bit of pain.

Monday, January 26, 2009


After 16 hyperbaric treatments down at Memorial Hermann, we can see movement in the Andrea's right hand again. We are still going every day Monday through Friday. MDA physical and occupational therapists will be working with her motor skills on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It is unbelievable how quickly the nerves deteriorated and how hard she has to work to bring them back. The nerves in her face are still painful especially on her right chin and jaw, so it hurts even more when she eats. We will see the MDA pain dr. on Wednesday, so we will finally get his view on everything that has been going on.
We really appreciate your prayers as we remember all of you too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Physical Therapy

MD Anderson Physical Therapy will try to help Andrea next week with the facial trigeminal pain which she experiences several times a day, and some days almost all day. They have a lot of good exercises and equipment to help her. Our schedule there is Monday, Wednesday, Fridays.
Andrea will continue going to Hyperbaric at Memorial Hermann Monday through Friday from 12:30- 3:30. She's doing all that she can to plow through this downturn.
Thank you for praying for Andrea as we also remember you and yours.

Monday, January 19, 2009

2 weeks down, 4 weeks to go

Please pray that Andrea can finish the hyperbaric treatments. Her headaches have turned into migraines and there is limited pain medicine because her kidney function is not good. The pain medicine she can take increases her dizziness. We realize each of us have daily struggles and we pray for you all, too.
2 weeks down and 4 weeks to go

Monday, January 05, 2009

Hyperbaric Chamber

Andrea will go into the hyperbaric chamber every day Monday thru Friday, about 2 hours a day for 30 sessions, then they will assess her situation.
The Hyperbaric and Wound Care Center's doctors, nurses and technicians are super nice and understanding. It took all morning to check in and to be seen by the doctor, but at 1 p.m. Andrea took her first dive in the chamber. To me it looks like a small submarine with seats lining each wall. It lasted about 1 hour and 40 minutes. She said the stabbing pain in her cheek hurt a lot and more often in the chamber, so tomorrow they will try a mask instead of the helmet. The doctor at Memorial Hermann believes the cheek pain is trigeminal neuralgia, so we will return to MDA at the end of the month to see if the pain doctor agrees with her. The Hyperbaric Doctor said that in the past 19 years she has seen only about 12 patients with close to the same case study as Andrea's. Some cases improved and some didn't get worse. We appreciate your prayers for the best outcome possible, as we pray for the total healing from God.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Need Powerful Prayers

Since the last posting Andrea and J have become Aunt Andrea and Uncle J.! It was wonderful to welcome Levi into this world Dec. 22. Andrea's sister, Kristin, (who has been Andrea's stem cell donor twice), is doing well and I got to spend the first week with Kristin, James and Levi when they came home from the hospital. Levi is such a sweet baby boy.
Over the past two weeks Andrea has experienced progressive nerve damage on her right side. The doctors have run blood tests, spinal taps, and MRIs. Thank goodness some doctors work during the holidays.
Thank you God that all tests are CLEAR.
The diagnosis is nerve damage from the combination of radiation/chemo.
Even though Andrea hasn't had chemo since October, it is the long term affects of the treatment that is causing headaches, shooting pains on her right cheek, occasional nausea, and even additional balance problems that started this past week. Her kidneys are still having a hard time, too.
Tomorrow, Monday, we go to Memorial Hermann to see the Wound Care Unit where, hopefully, Andrea will be put in a hyperbaric chamber that will increase the oxygen flow in her blood stream that promotes healing. The MDA doctor said there were two cases in Israel that matched Andrea's case study that had marked improvement from the hyperbaric chamber. He thinks it is possible to stop this progressive nerve damage.
We know that with God it is possible (Matt. 19:26, Mark 9:23, 10:27), and we are so, so thankful for each and every prayer you lift up for Andrea.
Again she needs powerful prayers.