It's nice to be on the 5th floor. The cell signal is stronger, and Billy can receive texts and messages in the room. We're also able to be in the room and get messages and texts. It feels a lot less like a cave, less detached from the outside world. There's sunlight too. Billy hasn't said anything about liking his large window--but it's nice for the rest of us. :-)
If you'd like to send mail, we have an address for you!
8900 N. Kendall Dr.
5 Tower Room 5220
Miami, FL 33176
There were lots of visitors today!
- Trevor (a buddy from the Old Guard in D.C. who now lives in FL)
- Kelsey (a friend from D.C.)
- Nate (all the way from Germany, and he really surprised Billy! I got to meet Nate and Melissa in April 2009, when we were in AL for Billy's promotion to Warrant Officer; it's really nice to see him again!)
- Uncle Paul
- Judy and Doug (Melissa's Parents)
- Pastor Matthias (Tyler and Melissa's pastor)
- Jill (Billy's and my mom)
- me :-)
And thanks to some amazing "support staff" who have helped us with anything we've needed. We haven't had to worry about leaving the hospital at all. They've brought us books, chapstick, food...anything we've needed...
- Adrienne (from AL)
- Laurie (Melissa's sister)
So how is Billy?
He's hanging in there...trying to "get through," as he says. The move from the ICU was difficult and tiring. Also, it's been an ongoing effort to get the pain medication dose right. He's taking a painkiller that's 8x stronger than morphine. His pain is never really fully gone, but it disappears enough for him to sleep. About 45 - 60 minutes later, he wakes up and asks for another dose. He's alert for a bit as the pain increases. Then a nurse comes to give him another dose. He drinks some water, and he's out again.
In the past few days, he had been throwing up a lot. Every time anything went down, it would come up within 10 minutes. This morning when we came in, Billy had a drainage tube in his nose. It goes down his throat, and pumps out liquid from his stomach. Whenever Billy drinks water, the liquid in the tube changes from dark green to clear. In other words, whatever Billy ingests comes right back out. He's still not getting any nutrition, because the cancer is so strong, and his stomach is under huge duress.
So with that in mind, Billy has decided to start chemo. He knows it's a poison in his body, but he doesn't see any other choice. We're hoping that the chemo will halt the cancer enough so that Billy can start holding onto nutrition. Pray that it works! We're also giving Billy some supplements that we're hoping will help him to heal. Pray that his body absorbs things, even if the nutrition is in his stomach for only a few seconds or minutes.
I have so many thoughts and questions these days. There's so much to read and research, to try to figure out what's best. It's hard to process it all. During some moments, it's really fun to have everyone together. The picture below was taken soon after Nate and Kelsey arrived.
From the left: Melissa, Kelsey, Nate, Jill (Mom), Doug Lyew-Ayee, and Billy
(Note: People always ask about the "leg things"...they're compression cuffs that help keep his blood circulating and prevent blood clots in his legs.)
At that point, the room was full of energy, and Billy seemed pretty excited to see everyone. Even though the pain medication makes him tired, he fought to stay awake to be with people. After he slept, we would all tallk and hang out. It's good time to be together.
But then moments come that are harder. I remember that we're in a hospital, and Billy is lying there in a bed with tubes and wires all over him. I remember that there's a horrible disease inside trying to take his life. Then, it gets hard. When my mom told me his diagnosis last Thursday, the world seemed to come to a halt. The only word I could say was, "No!" And I couldn't seem to believe that it was possible for him to have such a thing. Being here, I have something to do. I try to help the nurses as much as I can. And when Billy needs water, chap stick, his cell phone, anything...I try to be on top of it. The past three days have been filled with looking out for him. I'm so focused on that, I forget that life last Wednesday wasn't like this.
In thinking about the future, life feels hard. Billy's situation isn't good. Yes, he has made some progress. I think we've found a pain manament regimen that's working. The anti-nausea medication finally seems to be helping. And he seems to be resting well tonight. But he still can't keep anything down, and that's the serious part. He NEEDS nutrition if his body is going to heal. He NEEDS nutrition in order to be moved anywhere (and we still don't know where) to receive further treatment. But in order to get nutrition, his stomach has to stop revolting. We're starting chemo tomorrow, hoping that will work. Please pray for it to work! And not just to work, but to work quickly and effectively. Pray for it to knock out as much cancer as possible, so that his body can hold onto healthy food!
Thanks again for all the prayers and support.
Oh, and one more thing I almost forgot! We have a way for you to help, if you want. Krystian is trying to get together a care package for Billy, and he's putting together a digital picture frame. Could you dig up whatever pictures you'd like to include and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org? He needs them by 9pm CST on Wednesday, September 29. Thanks!!!