Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A New Low: Angela's Version

Olaf's hoarseness has mandated that I frequently speak for him these days, and tonight that carries on into the blog. Tuesday we met with the surgeon regarding the feeding tube, or PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy). It's been roughly a week since Olaf has received nutrition or calories of any sort, and he is weak and hungry. The surgeon felt the fastest way to get it done would be to admit him to hospital so he could get squeezed in if any openings appeared. Unfortunately, there was no PEG forthcoming today, but we have been reassured it will likely happen tomorrow.

So for now, Olaf languishes in a hospital bed next to someone with a tracheostomy in need of frequent suctioning on one side, and someone who likes to watch Dr. Phil on full volume on the other side. He's been deemed "cytotoxic" because of the chemotherapy, so all body fluids have to segregated in a special bucket.

The novelty of the automatic bed wore off after 5 minutes (o.k., maybe 10), and now the minutes go by slowly; he's too weak and nauseous to do much, but not able to sleep. His third (and last) round of chemo on Tuesday has hit him quite hard. On the upside, he is receiving fluids around the clock and nausea medication through the IV instead of by mouth. But starvation, nausea, pain, and the general surroundings have all contributed to very low spirits. This is his lowest mood yet, and he is also anxious about his physical health.

With the chemotherapy finished, and only 8 radiation treatments left, hopefully he will see the light at the end of the tunnel once he gets a little food into his stomach.


lizh said...

no need to mince words here. two words resonate for me after reading this latest update (thank you brave lady - you're amazing)
the two words are: F*** CANCER.
i am glad that you are on canadian soil - knowing that a musician/composer, even as successful as the maestro, could be seriously compromised in the states at the moment in terms of health care. from afar, this accidental foray into your blog is starting to form some sort of inner commitment to something i kind of forgot about awhile ago: hope.
i think a parade is in order as you have cleared this last round of chemo. huzzah huzzah! you guys DID it!!!! please tell olaf when he's feeling more comfortable that i'd have underscored your last couple of beautifully endured days with copland's "fanfare for a common man". not too loud or showy: just simple, dark, elegant tones that resonate through the bitterest moments.
i agree that food is the #1 priority in order to meet the next hurdle. i think the PEG (in the peg) was the brilliant and brave choice. my worst moments as a human have been when i was hungry. go figure.
so god speed to the good doctor to get the shit DONE asap - so you can both go back HOME to recharge, to weep, to rage, to heal, to breathe. you're not alone.
your friend and fan from afar, lizh

Laura said...

there are no words....Olaf, Angela....fight on. We all are with you.

kevin aichele said...

Thanks for updating the blog Ange. Can he have visitors in the hospital? I meant to ask you on the phone today. I don't know what else to even say but I love you both and am praying for strength and courage for both of you. Keep fighting!

Clint said...

Thanks for the update Ange.

Nolan said...

I appreciate the update Angela. Thinking of you both.

Richard said...

Thanks Ange! "The Light At The End of the Tunnel" was the uplift for me. If YOU'RE saying that, then I feel better. The look on Olaf's face speaks volumes (the pain, but also the determination and fighting, heroic spirit) and I can only keep good thoughts and hopes along with you. My dear friend is in pain, but, like you say, the road ahead, with the chemo finishing, will be ever upward and toward health again! Still with you both!
Loving and missing you - Ever

Anonymous said...

Angela and Olaf - my heart and prayers go out to you both. The upside - the chemo is done - it has to be causing havoc with all those cancer cels inside - that's why you're having such a tough go right now. Fight on my friend, fight on. We will all take part in your victory parade!!! And there will be Victory!!Good thoughts are coming your way.
Hugs Elaine and Leonard

Kim Zeglinski said...

I cannot conceive of this--I know that when I am hungry, I lose all sense of reason and feel very "crazed" and off-balance emotionally.

You are both such and inspiration.

Fight on. The words from a song we sang in Grain of Wheat come to mind:

"Joy is the food we share,
Love is our home,
Praise God for the Body,
Shalom Shalom."

Joy, Love, and Shalom to you both.
May you feel nourished, until you can BE nourished.

Love, Kim

info said...

Thanks Angela . Thanks for your words. Let`s pray for better days will come over and let`s pray for olafs power and resistance will increase now........please
tiko from oerlinghausen/ germany

James said...

You're going to beat this Olaf. Thanks for the update Angela, you hang in there too.

Love James

Daria said...

Let him know a fellow cancer blogger is pulling for him and wishing him all the best.

Wendy Broadfoot said...

My thoughts continue to be with both of you. Thanks again for taking the time to keep us all so informed--your details and the pictures make me feel like I could reach out and give you a hug!
Maybe I will sneak in and be your private nurse!!

Jon said...


Anonymous said...

Thinking of you every day. Don't know quite what to say. Cathy and I are praying for you. Gerry