On Saturday evening, a bunch of us were hanging out with Billy. We were watching T.V., laughing, and telling stories. But I was having trouble joining in: something wasn't quite right with Billy. I looked across the room and made eye contact with Sam (one of Billy's friends who was visiting for the weekend). I could tell that she was concerned too. We had both noticed Billy struggling. I asked him how he was doing. He said he felt a bit nauseous, like the NG tube wasn't working quite right. Eventually, he was able to overcome the feeling of nausea...but he still didn't feel all that great.
Yesterday (Sunday), Billy started feeling a sharp pinch under his right lung. Every time he took a deep breath, he felt a pinch. He said it seemed like some of the fluid in his belly was starting to accumulate under his lung. It made breathing difficult, and it hurt.
Billy didn't sleep well last night, and this morning was worse. We found out that Billy's NG tube had come out too far, so it wasn't working like it should. The doctors tried--without success--to push it back in place, so they had to replace it. The new tube is stiff and uncomfortable, and Billy's throat hurts so much he can't really talk. The doctors are concerned about the pressure on his lung, so they want to take some "pictures" of what's going on inside his body. Tonight, they planned to do another CT scan with contrast, meaning Billy's NG tube would be clamped off for several hours so that he could drink the "contrast" (dye). Once he finished the contrast, he'd have to wait a few hours, and then go downstairs for the CT scan. He had a scan with contrast done 3 weeks ago, and it took 7 hours. 3 weeks ago, those 7 hours felt like a long time. Tonight, 7 hours without NG suction seemed like it would last forever.
What is a CT Scan?
CT scans can be done with or without contrast. They give doctors a detailed image of the inside of the body; it's far more detailed than an x-ray. When the scan is done "with contrast," it sharpens the images of the structures inside the body.
Billy's CT Scan
Billy tried to ingest the contrast, but it didn't work. He couldn't keep the liquid down. He was miserable and in a lot of pain. It's just not going to work to do a scan with contrast today. Billy is sleeping now (thankfully!), and they're going to try to do the scan again tomorrow.
What About Draining the Fluid?
The doctors need to see where the fluid is before they can drain it. The scan will give them the images they need, so they can determine how--and if--the fluid can be drained.
When Will We Know If the Herceptin Worked?
It takes a few weeks for herceptin to have its effect. It has been 5 days. So we should know something in another 2 weeks or so.
How to Pray
- A restful night for Billy.
- That Billy would be able to tolerate the CT scan.
- That the doctors would be able to determine the source of Billy's pain, and that they would be able to help him.
- That Billy's body would get rid of the excess fluid, or that the doctors would be able to get a clear enough image so that they could drain the fluid.
- Billy's stomach and intestines to start working, so that he could enjoy some of his Thanksgiving favorites.
Thank you for your support and your prayers.