|SUNDAY, AUGUST 10, 1997|
TUMMY PROBLEMS CONTINUESince my last update just a couple of days ago, Ashley's tummy problems have not gotten any better. She still experiences intense tummy pains from time to time. She still hasn't eaten anything, and she is still throwing up. The vomiting, however, is probably not caused by this last round of chemo. The two chemo drugs she received last week were VP-16 and Cytoxan. The last time she had those particular drugs, she tolerated them quite well, without throwing up at all. So the doctors don't think the chemo is the cause (or at least not the ONLY cause) of the throwing up and tummy problems.
There is still the possibility that she has an ulcer. There is certainly the possibility that all the medications have a lot to do with the tummy problems. And of course it is possible that some of this is anxiety-related. She has certainly been through a lot, and tends to hold her emotions inside (Susan says she is a lot like me!).
FEEDING TUBEYesterday (Saturday), the oncology team decided that it was time for us to go ahead and try using a feeding tube to get nourishment into Ashley's body. We have discussed this option with Ashley before, to be used as a last resort, and she has dreaded the idea. However, after Nurse Jillian explained it to her, I think she is OK with it.
The feeding tube is very small in diameter, is inserted through her nose, and then goes down her throat and into her tummy. Special formula will be fed through the tube, slowly at first, and then gradually increasing the rate. This is designed to be a temporary measure, just to reverse the current downward cycle of malnourishment, tummy pains, and throwing up. I think part of Ashley's initial reservation about using the feeding tube, was the mistaken notion that it would have to be surgically implanted, sort of like her portacath.
The feeding tube was put in place last night, and they began slowly feeding her the special formula. She had a violent vomiting attack a little bit later, and vomitted up the end of the tube. Susan said Ashley proceeded to just pull the whole thing out through her nose! After they got everything cleaned up, the feeding tube was re-inserted. The nurse gave Ashley some morphine to help with the pain and vomiting, and Susan said that Ashley slept most of the night after that. Hopefully, the formula that was fed to her while she was asleep will stay in her tummy today.
COMING HOME?At this point, we don't know for sure when we will be able to bring Ashley back home. The doctors have said that they cannot release her until she is able to keep something in her tummy, without throwing it up. Hopefully, the feeding tube will allow that to happen within the next couple of days.
God bless you all. Please continue to pray! Thank you.