Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tests, Tests and More Tests

Sunday January 4th, 2015

This day consisted of pretty much nothing besides sitting around and waiting. They had Chad's pain pretty much under control but we had no more answers than we ever had. We probably seen some doctors and I believe made the plan to run some tests. They monitored his vitals and kept him comfortable as we waited until Monday rolled around and we could make some progress. They planned another scope and some other tests - so at least we had a game plane.

Monday January 5, 2015

Today was the big day for tests. Times and lengths fail me now, as it seemed a lifetime ago. I know they did a scope and as a result found out that Chad's Gallbladder was functioning at 6%. So the next plan of action was to remove that the following day. After speaking with the surgeon, Dr.Swain - they decided they may as well take out his appendix too. He described it as looking 'murky'. Nothing they were concerned about but since it doesn't really do anything doctors are aware of in the human body (Besides cause trouble) they figured, they may as well.

Tuesday January 6, 2015

Today was the big day. I was a nervous wreck. I did my research and I knew gallbladder removal was one of the most common and routine surgeries performed in the USA but I was still anxious. My in-laws came to see Chad before they took him for surgery. We were told he could possibly go home the same day but would most likely be the next day. When they wheeled him away, I cried. I was confident everything would be okay but I still cried. I got a call shortly thereafter that they surgery had begun and everything was going well. They told me it would take about an hour and Dr.Swain would come see me in the waiting area when it was done.

And he did. It was a success he said! Chad did great and everything went as planned. He told me there was a cyst on his appendix but they didn't think it was anything to worry about as it did not look cancerous. He would most likely be back to the room in about an hour and could go home tomorrow. 

Chad was brought back to the room and he was still sedated but coming around. It was actually a terrifying hour because his monitors kept beeping and I had to keep telling him to take deep breaths and breath through his nose. The nurse gave him oxygen eventually to help him wake up and within a few hours he was yelling at the Kentucky Wildcats playing on television, so I knew my husband was okay. Sore. But okay!

Wednesday January 7, 2015 - The Day Our Lives Changes

We walked so many laps around the hospital. Everyone told us it would help his pain and it did! I won't go into details about the side effects but they were manageable. Finally the admittance doctor (Who I still don't know the purpose of because she only knew what was going on when we INFORMED her, just another bill) came around and 'examined' Chad. Which was really nothing more than listening to his stomach and asking us what all the other doctors said. She said, she would wait to see what Dr.Swain said and go from there. We waited around all day. I was restless. I just wanted to take my husband home. I slept in a chair for the past four nights, had little to nothing to eat and I just wanted out of there. 

Around 4/5 PM I finally seen Dr. Swain. He was sitting in the nurses station typing stuff up on a computer. I told Chad and we anxiously awaited him to come in and send us home. We did a few more laps to get Chad up and moving. Shortly thereafter Dr. Swain came into the room and changed our lives forever.

He had some bad news.  He was shocked. Everyone was shocked. No one expected this. He told us Chad had cancer and what kind of cancer. He didn't sugar coat it. He told us it was rare and it was aggressive. Those words repeated themselves over and over in my head and have not stop until this day.

I was holding Chad's hand, just looking at him. He was starting at Dr.Swain and squeezing my fingers. I could see his eyes getting glassy. My hearing is bad, so I could only hear half of what Dr.Swain was saying but it was more than I wanted.  He explained what they would do next. I asked if there are any tests available to see what we're dealing with. He said there was and that would be our next step. I asked for a survival rate. He didn't want to give it. :(

He explained that, usually, with this type of Cancer - it is discovered too late. He described it as a Salt Shaker. That the cyst usually bursts and like a salt shaker, spreads cancer cells all around the abdominal cavity. The upside, (If there was one), was that this didn't happen. As far as they know, they cancer was contained. The pathologist said it looked like it attached itself to the fatty tissue surrounding something or another (Sorry to this day, I can't explain this part) and that is why the next stage would be a Laproscoptic Right Hemicolectomy. 

Once Dr. Swain left the room, I held my husband while he cried. I tried to be encouraging. But I can't remember what I said. I remember, at some point, telling him we are going to beat this. That I would stand beside him every step of the way and all that motivational shit no one really wants to hear. Then I asked him if he wanted his Dad to come out and he said yes. I excused myself while i made the phone call because I didn't want to break down infront of him.

I called his Dad, told him what was going on and asked if they could come to the hospital as Chad wanted him. I then called my Dad and then my Mom. This was most definitely, the worst night of my life. I didn't go home that night for a shower. I couldn't face Haven. I just texted her to make sure she was alright and to let her know it was cold out and I didn't want to go out into it but that we should be home tomorrow.

It was a bad night. Chad barely slept. I passed out from pure exhaustion. 

Thursday January 8, 2015 - Home

At around noon, we were finally able to go home. It was bitter sweet. My husband had the weight of the world on his shoulder. I had a few goals.

1. Get him comfortable
2. Get the VA to approve a PET/CT Scan

I didn't know if I could do either.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chad Will Fight And He Will Win

Chad M. Cavitt - Born November 30, 1970. Fresh out of high school, he enlisted to defend his country. By the time he was 27 - he had three beautiful daughters and a lifetime of experience. He went through things no young man ever should. But he preserved. 
At 38 years old he became a father for a fourth time to a bouncing baby boy. Shortly there-after, he became a grand father for the first time. 
This is where I enter the picture. Chad is my now my husband and we've been married for just over four years. Since I've been in his life his baby boy turned 6 and we have welcomed two more grand children into the picture.
On January 7th - life threw him another curve ball. Chad was diagnosed with  Signet ring cell carcinoma of the appendix. This blog will tell his story through my eyes.

Morning January 3, 2015 - Bad BBQ

We had BBQ the night before for dinner. Chad insisted the Cole Slaw tasted bad and after a few bites, I couldn't disagree. His theory seemingly became confirmed when I got sick just a few hours later. Sometime throughout the night, Chad ended up getting sick too and was in severe pain. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Chad has had stomach issues for most of his adult life. A tummy ache for a normal person would be a truly traumatic event for him. A year and a half ago, we went through this exact same scenario and Chad spent two days in the hospital and they ran every test you can imagine. No one could pin-point what caused his stomach issues. The VA then took over and began running the same tests and more and to this day, no one was ever able to determine what was causing him this pain. The best anyone could suggest was a sever case of IBS.

At approximately 8 AM Saturday morning, I took Chad to the ER. We explained his history and that the pain he is experiencing was the exact same thing he felt the last time he was admitted into the hospital. The doctor did have a new theory we never heard of and took a blood test and sent away for the results. They got his pain under control with pain meds and while he felt a little off, they sent us home with a prescription for nauseous. I had to specifically request something for pain. I took chad home, got him comfortable and went to fill his prescription. While I was gone, his pain returned in folds and I had to rush him back to the ER.

Afternoon Jan 3, 2015 - ER From Hell

I phoned ahead and let the ER know that his pain had returned and we were heading back to the ER. We had to go through the same red tape that we did just hours before and sat in the waiting room for what seemed an eternity. Chad was hunched in sever pain and at one point another woman waiting to see a doctor told me we had to take him to see the nurse. I explained they wouldn't do anything but she insisted and came with me. I was right. They would do nothing but put us into another room to wait. Eventually we got into an ER room but no one did anything. Over an hour passed (three hours in total for this second stint) and no one did a goddamn thing for my husband other than give him a blanket.

I lost my cool and had a few words with the nurse. She attempted to explain her position and I reaffirmed that my husband was in severe pain and needed help immediately. Within 30 minutes he was resting comfortably with an IV in his arm and pain medication running through him.

Evening Jan 3, 2015 - Fight For Your Right

We've been in this room for hours waiting for the doctor to come see us. Apparently the hospital has protocol that if you return to the ER within 48 you have to see the same doctor you seen previously (wtf) Finally when he arrived, he didn't really have anything to add and wanted to send us home again. I asked about him being admitted into the hospital and he said he couldn't really without any reason. I explained, as calmly as I could, that my husband was in extreme pain and no one knows why. I told them I was uncomfortable taking him home because I am not qualified to care for him and when these drugs wear off and the pain returns, I am NOT going to sit through another 6 hours like I just did so that they can do absolutely nothing again.

They said because of his insurance being through the VA, that they would have to call them and submit a request and it could take hours. I said.. "I've got time".

In my mind, I would much rather sit there for another three hours with medical professionals caring for him, than at home with nothing but a hope and a prayer at my disposal. The doctor instructed the nurse to go ahead and contact the VA.

Eventually, the nurse returned and told Chad they were going to give him a CT Scan. I asked why and she explained just to rule out or find out what could be wrong. I asked for an update on the VA and she said they were still waiting. 

Night Jan 3, 2015 - Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

The night doctor came in to tell us that nothing seemed unusual on his CT Scan and they suggested we go home again. I asked about a follow-up on the VA situation and she said they hadn't even made the call yet. I said I was under the impression that started hours ago and she said she couldn't just request that without having some reason. Meaning, if they asked "What have you done so far to determine what's wrong" and she didn't want to look like the jackasses that they were and say "nothing". 

She told me it was unlikely they would approve it and they are required by law to transport him to the Marion, IL Medical Facility unless they do not have a bed available for him there. I said "Try." So they did. And we waited.

After little to no updates, I decided to call the VA myself and spoke directly with the person who was over-seeing the admittance request. He told me Chad was not eligible for "Transport Insurance" meaning, we would have to pay for the ambulance which would be upwards of $1,000. I said we did not have that kind of money and to please consider that when making the decision as to whether or not they admit him.

Apparently they did because within ten minutes, the doctor returned and told us they got approval to admit Chad into the hospital.

12:01 AM Jan 4, 2015 - Finally Admitted

By the time Chad was actually admitted into the hospital and comfortably tucked into his hotel room it was after midnight, probably after 1 AM. I don't even remember. I went home for a quick shower and to get some things and came back to spend the night. 

We had no idea what was to come, we were just hopeful someone would be able to find out what was wrong and get the pain under control. If we only knew...