It all started with this post here:
Send Kristen a note of encouragement at:
Kristen – C/O Gary Antosh
800 Belle Terre Parkway, 200
Palm Coast, Florida 32164
To read this post START at the bottom.
Update: 7:51 PM 6/10/2016
People have contacted us regarding an update on Kristen so we wanted to share what has been happening in the last few months.
The 18 month mark passed on May 28, 2016. This had our family reflecting on the milestones reached, and the milestones still ahead. Kristen has many of the issues that she came home from the hospital with, but we can see improvement though it is slow and steady.
Kristen’s fingers and hand still require bandages daily, but there are marked improvements including what appears to be new fingernail growth on some of the most damaged fingers.
When Kristen regains the full use of her hands, this will be a major milestone so we continue to pray for healing. The wound on Kristen’s head is closely monitored, but it continues to show improvement and healing.
Kristen’s legs are continuing to heal, and the doctor has told us numerous times of the great progress and miraculous improvements that have been made.
One young doctor even indicated that the way he views medicine has been changed by Kristen’s case. He now understands the power of waiting, and allowing the body to heal.
We still use Cellerate which has been a key component of Kristen’s leg recovery. We would not be where we are today without the company’s dedication to her case.
We continue to pray for her feet, ankles, and legs with special emphasis on her right big toe.
Kristen continues to wear Dynaslpints, but in a huge praise she regained full range of motion in one ankle so is only required to wear one.
In her last range of motion test Kristen cheered loudly at the new positive number as the measurement had been plateaued for months.
Physical therapy continues with a program designed to help Kristen move forward in gaining strength, endurance, and balance. Nurses still attend to Kristen each week to monitor progress.
We can not compare progress day to day or week to week, but we look at where she was six months ago to where we are today. God is healing Kristen and restoring her body.
We look forward to upcoming special moments and celebrations that our family will have this year, and we are grateful to God we can all gather together.
We thank you today for your interest in her story as well as your continued prayers.
And last but not least…….her little girl is an 18th month old delight who is thriving and growing.
She brings laughter and joy each day which gives us all a reason to smile as we continue on this journey that has elements of pain, tiredness, sadness, tears, joy, celebrations, and milestones.
Update: 5:50 PM 2/13/2016
Today, marks the one year “anniversary” of Kristen coming home from the hospital… 3 hours earlier on 2/13/2015 she was in surgery having hundreds of staples removed from her skin grafted legs.
We begin with a note from Kristen….
It has been a year – a year of birthdays, a year of celebrations, a year of tears, a year of pain, a year of blessings, a year of firsts, a year made up of beautiful moments, a year ago today I was released from the hospital to come home.
Jesus reigns, and HE has carried me always, but this year I have truly recognized and experienced the love notes HE gives everyday in new ways. Many of you have seen posts from my dad or sister, but today I wanted to post myself.
This is my THANK YOU. On this journey I have been touched by encouraging words as so many sent cards and gifts to bring me cheer. I have reconnected with some friends that have brought comfort. Family and friends have travelled many miles, many making multiple trips, to bring cheer, laughter, love, and hugs.
My family has tightly banded together and surrounded me with support helping me to survive. Some doctors, nurses, and therapists have taken care of me and given me hope for my future. It has been a year, but I am forever grateful that I received a miracle and am here to LIVE the beautiful moments yet to unfold.
I have reflected a lot on this past year recently, and I just wanted to convey my deepest gratitude and a grateful heart for everyone that has rallied around and lifted me up.
So as I start this next year I know there may be pain and tears BUT I look forward to a year of birthdays, a year of celebrations, a year of blessings, a year of beautiful moments.
Many many thanks ~ K
Since the last update Kristen has started to do some walking outside for roughly 20 minutes per session.
For walking she can slide her feet into a Men’s athletic shoe, which provides better support.
Her legs continue to heal and improve. Pain is a part of the daily routine, some days more than others.
Kristen has also made great progress with her achilles. Once there was a “hope” of getting to zero from a negative 40.
As of Wednesday when the achilles were last measured… her left foot was at positive 7 degrees and her right foot ZERO.
Still work to do but even the doctor was impressed.
On Thursday’s visit to the doctor, Kristen brought the girls in the office to tears.
Since Feb, 26th 2015, every 3 weeks Kristen has an appointment with the doctor. She happens to be the “youngest” patient in the office by about 25 years.
The girls in the office always have a smile on their face when Kristen’s has her appointment, wants to see how she is doing, show their fingernail designs and… wants to see pictures of the baby, etc.
Once the doctor goes into check out the progress the “girls” are prepping other patients. Once he is finished they return to help apply her leg dressings.
On Thursday, after the leg dressing they asked to see a picture of her daughter. One said… “she looks so tall”!
Kristen replied… “well I’m 6 foot tall.” with a come back of “Really!”
So I grabbed a paper towel, threw it on the floor in front of her wheelchair and told Kristen to stand and show them.
She stood up and took a few steps… this was the first time they had seen Kristen stand… the girls were so excited, and tears began to roll.
One ran to get the doctor and even he was impressed… I could tell because his jaw was about ready to hit the floor.
You could see the proud and rewarding look on the doctors face whispering inside… “That’s why I became a Doctor”
Please continue to pray for Kristen and her ongoing healing. A long road of recovery still is ahead!
Update: 1:35 PM 11/29/2015
It was one year ago today, November 29th, 2014, unknown to her family that a group of doctors and nurses gathered around the bed of a new first time mother, 31 years old… fighting for life… to pray!
Her name… Kristen, our daughter… lying in an ICU bed with more tubes and drip bags than one could imagine.
She entered the hospital emergency room around 7:00 pm the day before with a bacterial blood infection. The infection was racing through her body. Her body responded by systematically shutting down her organs.
Yesterday, November 28th, 2015 marked the one year long journey for our daughter and family.
Over the past year Kristen has faced many challenges…
Fighting for life – coding 3 times
Overcoming what many medical professionals believed would be longshot odds to live or have any quality of life.
Enduring 5 operations which included:
- Two skin graft operations with roughly 400 plus staples in each leg, ankle and foot
- Heart surgery where her aortic valve was replaced
- Surgery to remove the staples from the skin grafts
Listening to one doctor tell her she needed to have her legs amputated at the knees.
Another doctor pushing back and recommending to – “wait… give it time”
She went through 4 – 5 rounds of maggot therapy to clean dead tissue from her legs.
There have been emotional ups and downs, stressful decisions, sleepless nights, frustration and joy.
Much of the journey has been documented below… start at the bottom.
Today, the journey continues, but Kristen has come a long way, she is in a MUCH BETTER PLACE!
Anyone who has seen her when she was in the hospital lights up and is amazed and inspired by her and her story.
Currently, Kristen’s her legs remain bandaged with dressings changed Tuesday and Friday.
The black has “fallen” off her fingers with some assistance from her 1 year old daughter. The finger tips remain very sensitive and require “padding” to help her get through the day. But they are improving.
Down to her toes which overall look great even through she has lost several digits on some of them. The big toe on her right foot still has a black “cap” over the nail bed but we see “movement”… It’s a waiting game.
Her challenge is to find a new center of balance which changes as the bandages are adjusted.
Through physical therapy she is now able to walk. Starting the therapy process of walking, she began wearing a sandal which was adjustable due to the thick bandages on each foot.
During this past month she has retired the sandals for a pair of tennis shoes which are lighter and seem to have improved her balance overall and while exercising. In my opinion it’s made a huge difference.
Her legs from the knee down of which all the tissue had been destroyed down to the muscle are now almost completely closed.
Even her doctor says “WOW” when he sees them every 3 weeks. Since applying a product called “Cellerate” from Wound Care Innovations to the open wounds, the healing has been nothing but amazing! We cannot say “Thank You” enough for their support through this time.
During the 68 days in ICU we developed a bond with her care givers.
The same holds true for her nurse and physical therapist who have been with her at home since mid-February. Both have played a major role in guiding us all through this long medical life changing journey.
One of the big concerns has been with the stretching of her achilles tendons. On Friday, talking with her therapist, he shared how he basically tortured her in the beginning since he was on a race against time. He knew the tendons would hit a point of no return and surgery would be the only alternative.
Kristen, has not shied away from any of the exercises or stretching as painful as they have been. Achilles tendon surgery does not look to be anywhere in the future!
When measuring the “stretch” of her tendons she is in the positive on her left foot with no assistance. On her right achilles with some assistance she is in the positive… over time, with exercise, she should regain most of the range of motion.
She’s moving around the house much easier, but still has a way to go to regain her full strength.
Her daughter, Kadence, celebrated her first birthday last week… a time of celebration and life!
Many of you have continued to keep Kristen and our family in your daily prayers… we thank you all for your prayers. Please continue to keep Kristen and family in prayer. We don’t how we could have faced this life event without prayer, family and holding strong to our faith in God.
Update: 4:42 pm 10/29/2015
Today marks the 11 month mark of this long journey for Kristen.
It’s been 2 months since the last update. Slow and steady progress continues.
Kristen’s range of motion continues to improve. The Dynasplints she wears every evening for a few hours to slowly stretch her achilles tendons seems to be doing the job.
The range of motion with her left foot is about normal. The ankle still needs to be strengthened… in time. Her right foot still has a way to go but is improving. With some pressure applied, her foot can reach “0”. She’s striving for around +10%.
For months Kristen has been wearing bandages on 4 of her fingers. Two of the tips have been black and we’ve been waiting for them to come off.
A few days ago… one finally did. Let’s just say that the word “painful” does not truly describe the feeling accurately.
The 4 fingers still need to be bandaged daily but only one remains with a black tip and the others are extremely sensitive.
The wounds on her legs have been healing as well. The left leg which had lost all the tissue down to the muscle is now almost closed.
Both legs have small “islands” thumbnail size and smaller which “move around” as she continues with her therapy, leg swelling and bandages rubbing during therapy.
Her physical therapy has been going well. She uses a walker and at brief times unassisted. She was able to find her “center” of gravity and maintain her balance.
However, recent changes to her wound dressings has eliminated the use of heel pads that provided a little cushion for her heels.
When you look at the padding it appears so minor. However, getting rid of the pads has thrown her balance off and made her unsteady. It will take some time and therapy for her to find that “center of gravity” again.
This week on Tuesday was a visit to the cardiologist which gave her a good report. Today, she had a 7:45 am appointment with the podiatrist who continues to wait and allow her legs and feet to heal.
The next “event” Kristen is facing will be surgery over the next few months to have several of her toes “cleaned up.” It’s all a wait and see what each day brings.
Her journey continues. I know the updates have been slow, but please continue to keep her in your prayers – the healing of her hands and legs along with the daily strength needed to handle and endure each day.
Update: 4:37 PM 8/29/2015
This update started very early this morning… around 4:37 am to be exact.
It’s been over 6 weeks since our last update. It’s been a struggle to find the time to put one together.
Each day seems to fly by so quickly, yet when looking back over the weeks and piece it all togther you see the steady progress made.
Nine months ago today, around 7:00 am in the morning Kristen was being rolled from the emergency room to her room in the ICU Unit. Just coming on her shift was her nurse for the day… Andrea, little did she know what the day would bring.
Throughout the day, Andrea and many other nurses, doctors, tech’s and medical professionals would play a role in saving Kristen’s life. During that day… they thought they had lost her 3 times.
Over the past 9 months, some days slowly roll into the next, morning turns into evening and into morning. Other days… time flies by.
Kristen has made absolutley tremendous progress. Yet we know this journey is not over by a long shot. There are many days ahead of slow recovery. But it’s important for us to savor those little victories each day.
This is not the first time our family has faced a long road to recovery. There have been several. Allow me to digress for just a moment.
It was 23 years ago this month when Hurricane Andrew came to pay us a visit. Andrew blew through leaving a pile of greenhouses flattened, a business and nursery industry demolished (there was no short sale), a stack of bills to be paid and wondering what the future holds each day.
Ten years ago, my brother-in-law was in ICU for a month facing similar issues as Kristen.
We’ve been there… But through God’s grace… we survived… stayed together as a family! Each day it’s about getting up, lacing up our shoes and putting one foot in front of the other.
Kristen faces the same thing… every day she wonders what she will face that day. Will the pain and discomfort destroy the day or will she emerge ready to fight… fight she has… and each day a new battle wages on.
On a side note. On a recent visit to the cardiologist Kristen made a detour to drop by and visit the ICU unit she spent so many days in.
It was July 29th, 8 months to the day of the beginning of this life changing journey. Andrea was working that day. Both Kristen and Andrea shared a hug, had a few moments to chat, traded smiles, enjoyed some laughter, get teary eyed and exchange photos.
Both her husband and I stepped backed and just watched. It’s moments like those I cherish as I know just how far she has come. It’s a long way from the chairs sitting 60 feet away, where we sat 8 months earlier wondering what the next minute would bring.
Since our last update, Kristen continues to progress each day… slow but steady forward progress.
She continues with physical therapy, where she is now walking, sometimes with a walker but also unassisted. Her balance still has a way to go, but we see marked improvement there as well.
When therapy is over she is usually done for the day as she is normally exhausted, but after therapy comes another roughly 2 hours of leg dressing changes. It takes her body time to recover. None of us truly understand what she is dealing with internally.
On Saturday, if possible… weather permitting she tries to get out and have a little bit of normal by running some errands. This is with her husband of course. Just a small, short trip she shares… “Will take days for my body to recover!”
Most of the days she spends up in her wheelchair, sitting on the couch or in her baby’s room.
Ah yes… the baby! How is she? She (Kadence) is doing wonderful. She’s a happy, healthy little girl, who is beginning to explore! That, is another story altogether!
Kristen does most of the meal planning, paying bills, and worrying about everyone else. It gave her a real boost a few weeks ago to “direct” me through making a favorite meal for her husband’s birthday!
Her wounds continue to heal. Her legs which had massive open areas (basically the complete calf area) are almost closed. She still has small “islands” of open areas which still require regular dressings.
Since we started applying the “Cellerate” product on her legs the healing has been nothing short of phenomenal… I don’t like to use words I have a hard time spelling.
As mentioned before the “Cellerate powder and gel” from the company – Wound Care Innovations, LLC – has played an intregal part in Kristen’s healing process and progress.
I wish it were possible to publicly show the pictures of the before and after… your jaw would drop!
We are so grateful for their support throughout Kristen’s ongoing healing process. I’ll share this again… The doctor said, “the Cellerate powder most likely – SAVED HER – from another surgery.”
It’s these kind of things which truly perplex me. That in a moment.
A new part of Kristen’s daily ritual is wearing a “device” on both her legs called Dynasplints, recommended by her therapist and perscribed by her doctor.
The Dynasplints are braces she straps on her legs and provides a “slow push” from her toes to her nose on her achilles tendons. They gently stretch the tendons to improve her range of motion.
In the past, prior to any walking or physical therapy, Kristen’s achilles would need to be stretched. This would require her to sit in a chair, and her physical therapist, her husband or myself would force her heels to the ground one leg at a time by placing our hands on her knee and basically pushing her heel to the floor with all our body weight.
Now… after roughly 4 weeks of the Dynasplints she is able to get up and get mobile right away. I didn’t say without any pain… just mobile.
Prior to the Dynasplits her range of motion was improving. She was roughly at negative 19% on her left leg and around negative 26% on her right leg.
Measured yesterday (Friday), her left leg is at negative 1% and with me pushing on it a postive 9%. On her right leg she was at negative 9% and pushing on it a negative 5%. Lots of improvement in 4 weeks.
Currently she wears the dynasplints for about 3 hours per day… in bed… feet up!
Now… why I am perplexed? Throughout this journey we have had some wonderful doctors, outstanding nurses, caring tech’s and a first class ZAMBONI driver (that’s for you Rodney).
However, I cannot at times understand the logic of medical insurance.
Her doctor says… “the Cellerate powder most likely – SAVED HER – from another surgery”… but insurance doesn’t pay for Cellerate… they would much rather pay tens of thousands of dollars more for another surgery.
The Dynasplints… insurance doesn’t cover either. They don’t cover them because they need to be adjusted. “We don’t pay for anything… custom!” Plus, the “insurance doctor” which has NEVER SEEN Kristen has determined that “Dynasplints are not necessary and are unproven to work!”
Insurance pays for a wheelchair, that is spec’d for her, but not a transfer board which cost about $30.
I guess using “medical insurance logic” – one size fits all – it’s time for us all to wear moo-moo’s – nothing custom!
Currently, Kristen has 4 fingers still bandaged everyday. Two which remain super sensitive and two others with “black caps” holding on ever so slightly.
On Thursday, Kristen has another doctor appointment for her legs. She still has two toes on her right foot with black on them… the big toe and the one next to it.
We’ve been ever so thankful for the doctor’s willingness to just wait… let nature take it’s course. However, most likely, on Thursday, Kristen will have roughly half of the second toe on her right foot removed. We continue to see the big toe improving… so only time will tell.
As for the small victories… These may seem small… but to us they are giant.
- After 8 1/2 months Kristen was able to STAND and HOLD her daughter in her arms for the first time… for maybe a minute.
- Her strength is improving daily, which helps the quality of her day.
- She has more mobility to move around. It’s a struggle but a giant leap over being in bed.
- Her physical therapy progress has allowed her to move from 3 days a week to 2 days per week starting next week.
- Painfully she got on the floor for a short time to be at eye level with her daughter.
- The bond between her and her daughter has grown.
The use of her hands continues to be a barrier. Her ability to use her fingers and grasp, pull with full function has a way to go.
Her journey continues. Please continue to pray for the healing of her hands and legs along with the daily strength needed to handle and endure each day.
Update: 10:05 PM 7/11/2015
It’s been about 6 weeks since the last update… I’ve been meaning to post one but… each day seems to slip by.
Since the last update, Kristen’s progress has been slow but steady. Her wounds continue to heal and frankly almost all open areas are now closed. With skin tissue, thin and legs wrapped, small areas open up due to therapy.
During the past 6 weeks she has had several regular follow-ups with the doctor concerning her legs.
In previous updates, I mentioned the “Cellerate powder” from the company – Wound Care Innovations, LLC – and how we continue to see amazing improvement with her wounds.
We are grateful for their support during Kristen’s healing process. The help they have provided and results we have experienced first hand… words would not do justice – Thank You!
About 4 weeks ago at an appointment, her doctor shared, that the Cellerate powder most likely – SAVED HER – from another surgery.
When having her skin graft operations, considering the amount of grafts and area, we were told that a 65-70% take of the grafts would be good.
With the doctor giving her body time to heal, prayer and the Cellerate powder, Kristen has experienced what looks like to us close to 95-98% “take” of her skin grafts.
At every visit to the doctor, the nurses and doctor get big grins and just say “WOW”… unbelievable! On our last visit the doctor said… “they don’t look like the same pair of legs. She’s a miracle!”
Kristen has 2 fingers which still have “black caps” on them. One “cap” came off and is extremely sensitive. Currently, she has 4 fingers bandaged every night for protection.
She lost several tips of her toes on both feet… pinky toe update in a minute.
The toenail on her left big toe had to be removed which requires redressing every evening along with her fingers.
Her physical therapy continues to progress. She’s come a long, long way. However, every day is filled with pain.
To get around, she has moved from a wheelchair, to a walker which she continues to use for exercise and doing “laps.”
She’s progressed to a cane, but still needs to gain her sense of balance to be comfortable using it full time. She has even done some walking completely unassisted.
Although she is able to use a a walker or cane, the real issue slowing her down are the achilles tendons.
They need to be painfully stretched before she is able to “comfortably” walk, get her heels down and feel “balanced. The ankles swell, are tight and painful.
Her therapy is more than walking alone. It involves squats, balance exercises, walking backwards to stretch the muscles and tendons in her legs and… jumping.
Yes, I said… Jumping. The physical therapist has been having her jump while standing at the kitchen sink. She jumped so much she literally, jumped the pinky toe off her right foot!
She’ll be back to the doctor in late July and we’ll see where the next steps of this journey lead us.
For those of you wondering… the baby is doing great!
Tomorrow, July 12th is Kristen’s birthday… we had a little get together today with friends and family. These mean SO MUCH to Kristen.
She had balloons arrive from Spain compliments of Hubert, Gloria and Anna of HomeTipsWorld.com. Hubert is like a brother to me and helped our family tremendously during the past 7.5 months. Ananda from http://www.apieceofrainbow.com/ sent some chocolate cake mixes. She has been a wonderful support, reaching out during this time to not only myself but Kristen as well sending cards and offering encouragement.
There have been so many others, praying and encouraging… Thank You So Much! There is so much that goes on behind the scenes.
I apologize for the tardiness of this update, but please continue praying for Kristen. We still have a long road to travel… with healing, building strength, stretching achilles, fighting through the daily pain and the challenges of being a parent. Each day presents a new day of challenges.
Kristen and her sister Kim celebrating Kristen’s birthday!
Update: 1:55 PM 5/27/2015
It’s been a few weeks since the last update and I wanted to bring you a progress report.
We continue see Kristen’s wounds heal more and more with each dressing change which occur on Monday and Friday.
Her therapy is going well as her physical therapist continues to push and “torture” her. She knows it is what needs to be done to move forward and get her health back.
His focus is on not only stretching her achilles tendons but also working and increasing the movement in her ankles which comes with lots of pain.
The pain she experiences is evident on her face, the tears and little cries are a brief moment of relief.
She’s progressed from moving around the house in a wheelchair, to a walker and today was her first attempt at using a cane.
The rehab process is slow, painful but continuing to move forward as she heals and gains more strength.
This journey has many more twist and turns to come. We’ll face it each day with God given strength as we pull back the layer of the day and look for the positives.
May 29th, 2015 we mark 6 months into this journey.
Our church – Epic Church has been praying for Kristen and our family all along. Our pastor’s have stayed in touch every step of the way… coming at weird hours to pray with us before surgery and life in general.
For Mother’s Day a few weeks ago our Pastor Trent wanted to give an update on Kristen and have her share about her journey at church. Due to her physical limitations she could not.
What ened up happening was Trent and myself doing an interview about Kristen, what she has went through, life and the journey our family is on.
However, Trent did come to the house and recorded about an 8 minute video with Kristen sharing a little about her journey in her own words.
Through this “story telling” I’ve been reminded all of what Kristen has went through… here’s the highlights.
- Dialysis first few days / heavy antibiotics
- Maggot therapy
- Skin grafts right leg
- Skin grafts to Left leg
- Heart surgery to replace aortic valve
- Surgery to remove staples from the skin grafts – 300-450
With each day offering up a new challenge Kristen has remained in great spirits… she is one strong woman.
She has come a long way in 6 months.
There was a time the medical professionals wondered if she would live, then if she would ever walk… to the the best solution… amputate her legs at the knees. Fortunately, Kristen’s drive to live and God’s plans were different.
She’s NOT a quitter and continues to push forward. To say we are proud would be an understatement.
We know there will be a time this will be a memory, with a story to tell that hopefully will help and inspire others going through difficult times.
Please continue to keep Kristen in your prayers. Pray for continued healing, strength and for her to get back to her new normal.
For those of you wondering… The baby is doing GREAT… just started eating food!
I leave today’s update with the images of Kristen walking outside just a few days ago and some links to Kristen’s video and audio of Mother’s Day!
Update: 10:41 PM 5/09/2015
Kristen and her husband celebrated their 10 Year anniversary on Friday. Tomorrow will be Kristen’s first Mother’s Day… she wants to tell everyone “Thank You” all for your continued prayers and support. And…. she wishes all of the Mom’s out there a Happy Mother’s Day!
Day in and day out Kristen continues to make progress… slow but sure. We know the turtle wins the race.
Over the past few weeks, there have been ups and downs. More physical therapy including the daily stretching of her tendons which is very painful. In fact, her therapist says he is basically torturing her at every therapy session. The torture is evident in her face.
But she knows it is what needs to be done to make progress… One tough woman!
Since the last update Kristen has started to walk during her therapy sessions with the assistance of a walker and someone with her. The sessions are exhausting and wipes her out for the day.
Her leg dressing changes are now on Monday and Friday. She has been to see the doctor and he was again impressed with the healing she is experiencing. He shakes his head in amazement and says “Wow.”
On her last visit Kristen got to hear a chilling word – “amputation” – the doctor removed the last digit on the third and fourth toes of her right feet. That makes a 3 total.
Some of the therapy with her arms has caused an old injury from high school to give her some troubles in her left shoulder as well which limited some of her therapy for a few days
Overall she is progressing well, her legs continue to heal and her fingers still have 3 tips which are black and remain very sensitive.
We have seen some remarkable changes to her wounds since applying the product called “Cellerate” at every wound dressing. Our next hurdle is to get insurance to “cover” the cost of the “Cellerate” as the doctor has ordered its application.
Please pray for overall strength especially in her core and legs for daily living as the physical therapy increases and is more demanding, the stretching of her achilles tendons and her continued positive attitude.
Update: 10:42 PM 4/22/2015
It has been about 10 days since our last update… in another week we will hit the 5 month mark of this journey. A journey we will complete!
First a Note from Kristen:
I wanted to extend my gratitude for all the cards and gifts people have sent since I have been home. The cards, drawings, autographed book, special mementos, journals, and money (which we added to the baby’s college fund) have delighted me as I am recovering. Knowing well wishes are sent my way has truly helped my recovery.
My sincerest thanks ~ Kristen
Contrary to what some assume… progress is slow, but steady and putting out a daily update to “fill space” can overwhelm. Of course I could do a daily update and use twitter keeping it to 140 characters!
Over the past 10 days or so Kristen has continued to improve. Her “open” wounds are healing and the skin grafts have done very well!
As an example of “how far” her healing has progressed… is with the use of a product called Xeroform.
Xeroform is a petroleum based “gauze” for lack of a better description which is applied over the open wound along with any medication to keep bandages from sticking.
Each piece of Xeroform measures 5″ x 9″ inches. About 5 to 6 weeks ago each leg below the knee required 5 – 6 pieces of Xeroform. I’ll let you do the math. As of Monday each dressing is only requiring about 1.75 pieces of Xeroform to cover the “open” areas.
She has continued to have the “magic powder” – Cellerate – applied to her wounds and we see improvement with each dressing change.
As for Kristen’s physical therapy, it has been kicked up a notch to 3 times per week where she is up and beginning to take steps using a walker. Prior to taking her first step each session, her achilles tendons need to be stretched. All I can say is her facial expressions and tears show the extreme pain she feels as the tendons are pushed!
Her therapy is growing more intense as the therapist wants to push her more and more. She hurts, experiences pain, is uncomfortable but does not complain. Amazing!
The therapist said today she is moving along faster than he expected, which helps motivate her. She is becoming more mobile but has a long road ahead. Her walking mechanics, stretching of tendons, balance, muscle strength and her feet supporting her full body weight all need to “work together” to get her back to fully functioning.
Her fingers still have black tips on 3 fingers remain sensitive and painful. Each evening they are bandaged after medicine is applied.
Today was a day she has waited 9 weeks for… not sure WHY it has taken so long, but today Kristen received a new wheelchair, customized to fit her. Being right at six foot, the loaner was helpful but not comfortable. Sitting in the chair she could immediately “feel” the difference! Of course, she wanted to test it out so we went to Babies R US and Target!
She said it was nice to get out and feel a little “normal”…
Her appetite continues to improve as well. We take each day as it comes and never look too far ahead. We understand this is a journey God has us on.
Prayers: Appetite, taking in the required nourishment and protein needed for building strength, continued healing, completing the “growing list” of daily exercises and overall positive attitude.
Update: 10:44 PM 4/11/2015
It has been over a week since I’ve put out an update… please accept my apologizes.
We are now into the slow moving of the marathon, with each day hopefully building on the next.
There are some things to report over the past week. After the last update Kristen had a doctor’s appointment with the cardiologist.
Once the doc checked her out he decided to make a change to her meds. The change sort of threw her system all out of whack by dropping her blood pressure. She had no energy, felt weak which was not helpful on top of a cold she caught.
Needless to say the week was more of a recovery week and working to get her meds regulated and back to some sort of normal.
Her wounds continue to heal, but it seems to be taking some time for her to gain an appetite and put away all the protein she needs for healing.
I keep telling her you have to fuel the body!
During therapy this week, she was back up on her feet working on putting more weight on her heals and toes… she says her feet and legs are on fire!
The physical therapist is pleased with her progress, but wants to continue to keep pushing her to new levels.
She did have the black and fingernail finally come off one of her fingers. Extremely sensitive…. waiting for 3 more to come off.
Also more of the black is coming off of her toes… pain will be coming soon to that area.
This week there are no doctors appointments so hopefully she can focus on healing, exercise and building her strength.
Prayers: Appetite, taking in the required protein and food she needs to build strength, continued healing, completing the daily exercises and overall positive attitude.
Update: 9:22 PM 3/30/2015
As Kristen’s journey continues things keep moving forward. We daily stretch her achilles tendons… a slow process filled with pain.
The “Big News” was on Thursday. The therapist on one side and me on the other… football style Kristen took her first steps…
It was exhausting, painful… like walking on hot coals but very satisfying… she managed to push through the pain with each step.
Needless to say she was finished for the day. The next few days she was able to do some exercise but the pain from the steps on Thursday lingered on.
Over the weekend she had a visit from several family members along with their young kids.. it diversions like these that give her some time to mentally take a break!
She is spending longer periods of time each evening up and out in the living room.
Today was another leg dressing, again we see her wounds improving, and her toes on the right foot are coming along very well. We still wait for what the future holds, but we are optimistic.
Each day we look for improvement in her mobility and health,
Pray for overall strength as she builds her core and legs for daily living… the physical therapy will be increasing, the stretching of her achilles tendons, a positive attitude and improving appetite!
Update: 9:57 PM 3/24/2015
It’s been a few days since our last update and things continue to progress forward… slowly… but moving a positive direction.
The weekend had several friends and some family come to visit, helping break the “normal” flow of day to day routines. The down side was that Kristen caught a cold and was fighting through each day.
Monday was a day of interest in several areas – Physical therapy and the redressing of her legs.
The physical therapist… even though she was a little under the weather worked her tail off. He got her doing exercises at her kitchen sink… sitting to standing position and working to get her heals flat on the ground. Rocking from side to side and even picking her feet up one foot at a time and putting her full weight on each foot.
He was pleased with what she accomplished, but was even more impressed with what she was able to do with how bad she felt. When she was done she was exhausted… but a good exhaustion! Next it was on to the leg dressing.
On Thursday while visiting the doctor for a checkup the distributor for a product called “cellerate” was there and provided all the product for her leg dressing.
Normally, Kristen has her legs redressed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but the doctor wanted to give the “cellerate” more time to “work” and did not change the dressing until Monday.
On Monday, was the “reveal”… the nurses, myself and the distributor were all there and agreed we had noticed amazing progress in a few days.
We were blessed to have the distributor again provide the “Cellerate” to redress her legs and wounds with the proper application rate on Monday. Time will tell, but so far the healing of her legs appear to have improved since applying the “Cellerate” powder.
Today, the Physical therapist (me) pushed her pretty hard. I told her it was OK to hate me now but love me later!
Tomorrow will be a redressing, physical therapy and on Thursday will be a doctors appointment and physical therapy again!
Continue to pray for the insurance company to “cover” the cost of the “Cellerate” so Kristen can heal that much quicker…
Also pray for overall strength especially in her core and legs for daily living as the physical therapy will be increasing, the stretching of her achilles tendons and a positive attitude.
Update: 9:49 PM 3/19/2015
The last few days have been “normal” for Kristen… leg dressings, therapy and trying to build strength.
Today she had another day which will show up tomorrow in soreness and pain.
It began with a 8:45 appointment with the doctor to have her legs and feet checked out. Overall the doctor was very pleased… AWESOME was the word he used.
After that it was physical therapy, occupational therapy and finally… medical treatment by her 3 year old nephew! However, the good news… she does not have a leg redressing until Monday.
I mentioned a few weeks ago after our visit to the doctor when redressing her legs they used a “magic powder.”
The results so far have been simply amazing. We’ve watched her legs, ankles and feet improve at what looks like a very rapid rate since applying “Cellerate” an activated collagen to her legs when redressing them.
For example… on her left calf all the tissue had been lost all the way down to the muscle, which you could see and touch. Now the complete area has been covered by new tissue. Pictures showing the difference in a few weeks, frankly make you go WOW! All since starting to use “Cellerate”.
Up to this point she has only been using some small samples from the doctor with extremely promising results.
Now for the kicker. ‘Cellerate” is a relatively new product. It seems “Cellerate” has no problem being covered by Medicare… private insurance seems to be another issue.
The doctor wants her to keep using it with every leg dressing at the “proper application rate” but this stuff ain’t cheap. The distributor has been trying to get the insurance company to see its value to help Kristen heal much faster. So far they are not committing.
The distributor was kind enough to meet with us today, showed how to properly apply it, would like to train the home care nurses as well on application… plus donated all the “Cellerate” used today for her leg dressing… probably over $2000 worth of the product.
We’ve seen remarkable results… probably using it at about 1/20 the rate it should be used. After having the “full dose” applied today, we cannot wait to see what things could look like in a few days.
If she could get the “full treatment” for a month or so… the healing of her wounds could be AMAZING and her healing time greatly shortened.
Pray for a breakthrough with the insurance company to “cover” the cost of the “Cellerate” so Kristen can heal that much quicker… the costs are way beyond what we can afford.
Also pray for overall strength especially in her core and legs for daily living, the stretching of her achilles tendons, her daily exercises and a positive attitude.
Thank you all for your continued prayers! Our family cherishes each and every one!
Update: 9:41 PM 3/15/2015
Kristen continues to slowly improve with each passing day… Friday and Saturday, she seemed to be zapped of energy and experiencing pain in her legs.
We’re trying to determine if the pain is from exercises or from the exercises causing some swelling making the leg dressings too tight.
On Saturday Kristen had a friend come over to visit during the afternoon and spent the night before returning home today.
The visit seemed to lift her spirits, appetite and she even made a trip to the store to return some items. She has been getting involved in planning the meals for the week and eating better.
About 4 days ago we started to use some medication on her fingers which had been used on her toes. In just the past 4 days the changes have been very evident and some of her “black” fingertips are beginning to come off.
Tomorrow is another leg dressing and physical therapy, where the therapist plans on getting her standing on her feet again. Thursday will be a trip to the doctor to have her legs examined. We’re pretty sure the doctor will be pleased and surprised.
Pray for continued healing of her fingers, legs and feet… gaining overall strength especially in her core and legs for daily living, the stretching of her achilles tendons, her daily exercises and a positive attitude.
Thank you all for your continued prayers, we greatly appreciate it!
Update: 8:37 PM 3/11/2015
Kristen continues to make progress each day with the healing of her legs and building strength.
As she continues to exercise and begin to put weight on her feet she is starting to feel some new sensations!
Mainly deep pain when she presses down and when those achilles tendons are stretched. It’s easy to see the pain in her face.
Kristen standing at her sink during physical therapy! A little blurry… but we’ll take it.
Laying in the hospital for so many days on her back unable to use her legs has really zapped the strength from her legs and muscles. It will take a while to strengthen and rebuild.
Today was another leg dressing and her sister has not seen Kristen’s legs since she had her skin grafts… she was surprised at the dramatic improvement.
Her finger tips continue to improve but ever so slowly. Tonight we’ll be using a treatment to see if they can be “moved along”. Having the full use of her hands and fingers would help her daily routine immensely.
Tomorrow is more physical and occupational therapy.
Pray for continued healing of her legs and feet… gaining overall strength in her core and legs for daily living, stretching of her achilles tendons, her finger tips, her daily exercises and a positive attitude.
Update: 8:37 AM 3/9/2015
As you can tell I’ve started putting out updates every other day. Things have changed from a daily sprint to save live and limb to now a marathon of slowly living life each day with the challenges it brings.
Kristen has made remarkable progress to just live. Now it is learning to live with diet changes, medications, the current physical limitations she is experiencing along with pain and discomfort.
For example… late Friday afternoon once her doctor appointment and leg dressing was over she just wanted to “feel normal”, so she asked if we could take her to return something to a store. Her first time out other than a doctors appointment and she wants to go to… Walmart!
On Saturday, she had a friend coming over and bringing lunch. Her sister, brother in law, and two young boys were also dropping by. Knowing that, she did her exercises early. She visited with her friend in the afternoon, then took a rest. Later she sat at the table for dinner with her sister and kids. Overall a long day.
Sunday, was payback day… a tough day. All the activity and transfers on Friday, and Saturday, zapped her energy. Although she can do exercises, the two days showed her how much work she needs to do to build her stamina for everyday living.
This week she has no appointments with any doctors and hopefully can focus on gaining strength.
Today, is another leg dressing change and we look forward to seeing how they have improved.
Pray for continued healing of her legs and feet… gaining overall strength for daily life, stretching of her achilles tendons, her finger tips, her daily exercises and a positive attitude.
Update: 9:20 AM 3/6/2015
The day ended with Kristen being sore and in some pain… all courtesy of the happenings of the day.
Kristen had been feeling some pain and discomfort in her left leg for who knows what… the exercises, putting weight on her feet or maybe just nerve endings getting back in action.
Before it was time for therapy she took some pain meds. When the physical therapist arrived, she told him of the pain but wanted to push forward.
The therapist, got her muscles warmed up and stepped her through some exercises. Then it was time!
Time to try standing for the first time in 98 days. Sitting her on the side of the bed, feet together (being held), legs at a 90 degree angle, the therapist pushed the walker up, where she gripped the handles.
With some assistance, she reached down, pushed through the pain and discomfort to stand – wobbling, hunched over – for just a moment, then back down.
She tried again for a second time. The therapist told her it would be one last try for the day.
This time, though weak, with some assistance, I coud feel her pushing through her legs to her feet… she stood again, this time tall.
It lasted for only a few seconds, but another milestone in this journey was crossed. I’m sure we will see her standing tall soon, unassisted!
Sorry… no pictures, I was holding her feet steady while the therapist helped her stand. Maybe next week!
Today, it is off to see a doctor, leg dressings in the afternoon… it will be a tiring day!
Pray for continued healing of her legs and feet… especially gaining strength and stretching of her achilles tendons, her finger tips, physical strength she needs for each day with expanded therapy, pushing herself with her daily exercises and a positive attitude.
Update: 10:02 PM 3/4/2015
The past two days have been busy, tiring and positive.
On Tuesday, Kristen’s sister and her two boys spend a good part of the day with her.
Her 3 year old nephew, told her to keep doing her exercises since he was going to help her walk again.
Last week, Kristen had a doctor’s appointment with the physician who did her skin grafts.
When redressing her legs they applied a “magic powder” (that’s what they call it) as they have had wonderful results using it.
Today was another day for redressing her legs. Since last week the nurses have used the “magic powder” when redressing. When the dressings came off today, all I could say was WOW, WOW WOW! The difference in a week has been amazing! Her toes on her right foot have also made dramatic improvements in the past few days!
Tomorrow, if all goes as planned it will be a big day… The physical therapist plans to have her stand for first time in 98 days! We hope to snap a picture or two!
Pray for continued rapidly improved healing of her legs and feet… especially the achilles tendons, her finger tips, physical strength she needs for each day with expanded therapy, pushing herself with her daily exercises and a positive attitude.
Update: 10:45 PM 3/2/2015
Today was one of those days which just seemed to all fit together.
It began around 8:00 am with an “echo”… the “interesting” part was her nurse. She started asking Kristen about her “black” finger tips and if she had some disease or condition.
She began telling her about this “mom” who was very sick and she had been praying for but did not have much information about her. She continued to ask her more questions and then said to her… “you’re that girl aren’t you”, can I go tell some others praying for you. She said “sure”!
After her “echo” she wanted to run up to the ICU to say “hello” to the staff who spent so many days caring for her.
On her way home, one of her “black fingertips” came off… painful… but another step forward.
Next, it was physical therapy… working out her achilles, and the beginning of putting weight on feet. She handled pressure pushing downward on her knees, was able to transfer “with help” to her wheelchair several times, and finally put about 75% of her weight on her feet for the first time in 95 days.
Once therapy was over it was on to having her leg dressings changed… where her legs continue to improve… and today… with a lot less pain!
Overall, a positive day to build off of.
Pray for continued improved healing of her legs, feet and especially the achilles tendons, her finger tips, physical strength for each day, her expanded list of daily exercises and a positive attitude.
Update: 10:03 PM 2/27/2015
The week ends with positive comments from the doctors on Kristen’s progress. The week begins on Monday with an early morning “echo” to check out her month old heart valve!
The physical therapist was very “happy” to learn Kristen has been given the OK for full weight bearing on her feet… he wasted no time in getting her started on some exercises. He also gave her some ideas on what to expect next week as therapy continues.
I would not be surprised to see Kristen having much greater mobility in the very near future.
Today was another day of redressing her legs which I have to admit are improving each day. However, after yesterday’s doctor visits she was low in the energy department and the redressing pushed her limits.
After the dressing she was feeling some discomfort and pain in her right leg… why we’ll just have to watch.
Pray for continued improved healing of her legs, feet and especially the achilles tendons, her finger tips, physical strength for each day, her expanded list of daily exercises and a positive attitude.
Update: 9:45 PM 2/26/2015
The day began around 4:30 this morning when a heavy thunder storm rolled in. My hope was… it was not a glimpse into the future of the day. Fortunately, it was not. The day was complete with two doctors appointments making for a full day.
Kristen was a little concerned with both appointments. In the end her worries were for naught! She received great reports!
The doctor who did her skin grafts was extremely pleased and said “it looks better than I expected.” She has now been given the go ahead to begin putting weight on her feet, which will take her therapy to a new level.
She also had her pic line pulled, lost two medications and one doctor released her. Overall it was a long but a very uplifting day.
Now that Kristen is able to put pressure on her feet, her achilles tendons will be receiving a lot of attention. They need lots of work to get the full range of motion without future surgery.
Pray for continued improved healing of her legs, feet and especially the achilles tendons, her finger tips, physical strength for each day, her expanded list of daily exercises and a positive attitude.
Update: 9:45 PM 2/25/2015
Wednesday was another day for Kristen to have her legs redressed. Her legs and feet continue to look better each time they are redressed.
Once the late morning session was complete of the legs being redressed, it was on to physical therapy where they continue to work on building her core, stretching hamstring, building strength and working her achilles tendon.
For almost 3 months Kristen has been flat on her back, out from meds or unable to put any weight on her feet.
Tomorrow she will has an appointment with the surgeon who has been overseeing her progress. He was willing to wait and see how her body responded, recovered and healed, unlike others who wanted to amputate her legs early on.
However, please pray for Kristen. After all these many weeks, it slowly creeps into her head and she wonders if she will ever be able to walk again. Mentally, she has been battling!
Tomorrow will also be a long, tough day as she has 2 doctor appointments. One in the morning and one mid afternoon with lots of transfers, waiting and nervousness.
Pray for continued healing of her legs, the finger tips, her feet and especially the achilles tendons, physical stamina for tomorrow, improved and growing appetite needed for healing, completing her daily exercises and staying positive.
Update: 8:55 PM 2/23/2015
If it is Monday… it must be another dressing change! Having her legs redressed at home is different for sure. For this week they have been sending two nurses to do the dressings and they seem to be getting it down to a quicker routine and smaller bandages!
Both nurses today made comments about her legs that they did not appear to have as much swelling. Swelling was one issue the therapist was concerned with from the exercise. After all this time having her legs wrapped for healing they are now beginning to focus more on her achilles and ankles to strengthen and lengthen the tendon. If not more surgery is a remedy and we don’t want to go there.
One area I have been remiss in updating on is Kristen’s fingers. She still has 3 fingers on one hand and 2 on the other with black finger tips. Over time the black will “sluff off” (that’s the technical medical term – Ha). While waiting… where the skin meets the black area and is healing underneath it is extremely sensitive… even a sheet rubbing against it hurts. Think about multiple paper cuts! This hinders her ability to do many tasks, like opening a letter!
Pray for continued healing of her legs and finger tips, physical stamina for each day, improved and growing appetite needed for healing, completing her daily exercises and staying positive.
Update: 10:11 PM 2/22/2015
Tonight’s update is a roundup of the weekend.
Yesterday (Saturday) Kristen has physical therapy in the morning, where the therapist helped her do several new things and began to put an exercise program together for her.
In the afternoon she had some friends who drove 2 hours to spend some time with her visiting on the couch. There was hope they could get out for a bit but Kristen is just not strong enough yet.
Today, was a day of rest but she was able to get outside in her wheelchair for some fresh air and “roll” through her neighborhood.
She still has a long way to go to build her strength, and at times her legs feel painful.
This week there will be more doctor appointments, leg dressing changes and therapy. She hopes to stop taking her last antibiotic tomorrow and hopefully her pic line as well.
Pray for continued healing of her legs, physical stamina, improved appetite, doing her exercises daily and staying positive.
Update: 11:23 PM 2/20/2015
Today was a much more positive day for Kristen… yesterday everything was a little overwhelming.
The afternoon ended with a dressing change. Prior to that energy zapping procedure, she was able to have a friend washed and blow dry her hair which overall makes her feel better.
Because of her leg dressing changes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, they have been working on getting her physical therapy rescheduled to Tuesday and Thursday. Tomorrow she will have physical therapy in the morning.
She is looking forward to a visit from some friends who will be driving 2 hours each way to spend the afternoon with her. I know she is looking forward to the visit.
Pray for rapid healing of her wounds, mental strength, physical stamina, improved appetite, doing her exercises daily and staying positive.
Update: 10:39 PM 2/19/2015
Today was one of those “hit the wall” days.
The whole journey can at times be overwhelming, especially when the body does not want to move and recover as quick as you want.
Kristen began to experience pain in her legs today she has not noticed before.
Occupational therapy came by today for an evaluation. The nurse told Kristen the first week at home is the hardest.
I know at times I could do a better job of encouraging and motivating, I just want her to get better and get back living again.. None of us know all she has and is going through.
Tomorrow is another energy zapping dressing change.
Pray for mental strength, physical stamina, the wounds to continue healing, improved appetite (some meds have been suppressing it).
Update: 10:01 PM 2/18/2015
After two days of loading up, transferring to and from the car, heading out to doctors appointments and waiting, along with a physical therapy evaluation yesterday. Kristen discovered her mind may want to move but her body is tired.
With that said… today was somewhat of a recouping day. Her being home has overall been a positive move mentally. There are challenges yes, but ones she knows she must face. She’s been consuming bottles and glasses of protein to help heal. She did have a two plus hour dressing change of her now staple-less legs.
Fortunately, through this journey we have acquired some “wound supplies” as the nurse who came today was “under-supplied” for what she needed to handle. Hopefully that issue will be rectified!
With all I know about wounds I could fill 50 books of nothing but Kristen’s legs have come a long way and look great! Lots of new tissue. It’s been a week since I last saw her legs and they have improved unbelievably!
Tomorrow will be an occupational therapy evaluation along with continuing to exercise.
Pray for her body to gain strength and some stamina, the wounds to continue healing, improved appetite (some meds have been suppressing it), doing her exercises and staying positive.
Update: 10:01 PM 2/17/2015
Another day another doctor appointment… which also means waiting. Today it was only a 1:20 minute wait to see the doctor for 5 minutes. The upside is… Kristen is cleared and does not need to visit the heart surgeon again.
Kristen transferred from the wheelchair to the car and back to the wheelchair several times with relative ease… the only down side was getting a little wet from rain in the process. Now that she can at least put a little pressure on her feet, it makes transfers much more manageable.
Later in the afternoon the home physical therapist came to assess her and develop a plan to help build her core and get ready for when she can begin putting weight on her feet.
Tomorrow the occupational therapist will come to start working with her as well.
Pray for her body to gain strength, wounds to continue healing, improved appetite, doing her exercises and staying positive.
Update: 9:33 PM 2/16/2015
The day began with an early visit to the cardiologist. This was the first time going out so working all the moving parts and timing will take some work. Transferring from her wheelchair to the car went very well considering it is something new to her.
Don’t assume that an 8:15 am appointment implies you’ll get in before the doctor gets behind and you have to wait. It doesn’t… they make you wait period!
Once the appointment was over Kristen wanted to head next door to say hello to the staff in the ICU unit were she spent so many days. Smiles all the way around and all were impressed with how well she looked! It made Kristen feel like she was back in the real world.
Kristen had her legs redressed today, which was the first time since her staple removal procedure. She said it was the most painful yet.
She continued her exercise/therapy routine throughout the day. A few of the meds she is taking seems to suppress her appetite.
Tomorrow at 9:40 am she has another doctor appointment with the heart surgeon to make sure all is well.
Pray for good traveling, daily strength, continued healing, new therapy, improved appetite, doing her exercises and staying positive.
Update: 9:33 PM 2/15/2015
The day was a light one for Kristen. After a visit by the nurse this morning, checking blood levels and making adjustments to meds, it was time for therapy with dad.
She has been given the OK to start putting some “pressure” on her feet and beginning to stretch her achilles tendon to improve the range of motion.
After exercising it was “Time for Christmas”… She transferred to a wheelchair and went out into the living room, where the family gathered to open presents that have been sitting for months.
Kristen loves Christmas and told me she enjoyed watching everyone open their gifts. Kristen is our family shopper. Everyone gives her their “wish list” and she coordinates it all and everything is done by the end of October!
She was only able to spend about 30-40 minutes in the wheelchair before discomfort sent her heading back to bed.
In the afternoon her sister gave her hair a little “spa treatment” and her 3 year old nephew wanted to “doctor” her to help her feel better. She feels better just being home!
Tomorrow at 8:15 am is her first doctor appointment for the week. It will be a new journey, transferring in and out of the car and gauging time along with meds she needs to receive early in the morning.
Pray for daily strength, continued healing, doctor visits, improved appetite, staying positive and doing her exercises.
Update: 11:03 PM 2/14/2015
Valentine’s Day… was a day of rest for Kristen. After coming home last night, she was wiped out. Today was all about recovery.
A little after 8:00 am this morning a home health care nurse arrived to go over her medical condition and needs to get things set up while she heals at home.
The rest of the day she rested, started to go through mail and begin to regain her strength.
I asked her tonight how her day was and she said – “Dad I am ten times better than yesterday. Laying in my own bed, listening to the baby cry and knowing she is right outside the door makes me very happy. And yes! I did do my feet exercises!”
Tomorrow will be a little different than most… it will be Christmas. Christmas was put on hold until Kristen came home. No tree but we’ll celebrate all the same.
Pray for regaining strength each day, continued healing of her body and legs, upcoming doctor appointments (starting Monday), improved appetite, staying positive and doing her exercises.
Update: 9:53 PM 2/13/2015
It is Friday the 13th and Day 78 for Kristen’s journey.
The day was somewhat of an off day for Kristen… no therapy, no food since she was having the 400+ staples removed from her legs.
In the morning Kristen was visited by some friends, along with her sister who came to be with her for her surgery.
Around 2:00 this afternoon, Kristen was singing the John Denver song – Rocky Mountain High… as she was knocked out!
After 78 days of visiting the hospital ER on November, 28th, almost thinking they lost her 3 times on the 29th, from a bacteria in her blood, to dialysis, an operation on Dec 18th to remove infected tissue, numerous MRI, CT scans, echos, IV’s, 2 skin graft operations, a heart valve replacement, physical therapy and another operation to remove the staples, day 78 closed with Kristen being able to sing John Denver’s other hit – Ain’t It Good To Be Back Home Again!
Around 7:30 this evening after surgery hours earlier Kristen arrived in a wheelchair… Home!
Tired and exhausted she begins a new leg of this journey.
Pray for strength for each day, for continued healing of her body and legs, improved appetite, positive attitude to handle each day.
Update: 11:11 PM 2/12/2015
Today was another full day for Kristen. It began with a trip downstairs to the “wheelchair clinic”, where they measured and worked on fitting her for a wheelchair.
It was another session of twist and turns. Kristen’s hands may look good except for the tips of her fingers. However, her hands have “new skin” which is still very sensitive to rough surfaces like propelling a wheelchair.
This makes outfitting her wheelchair only one of the challenges. The other is the support she needs for her legs and keeping them elevated.
To transfer from a wheelchair to another surface requires 2 people… one to support her legs while the other removes the leg rest. Very frustrating for her.
More fun news today came from the insurance company… It is amazing the things they will not “provide” like a transfer board.
After the “wheelchair clinic” is was off to physical therapy and exercises. Once that was over the occupational therapist enlisted the help of several others to help work on the logistics and technique of helping Kristen transfer to and from the car. Did I say she is right at 6 foot tall!
Move the seat up, lower the back, position wheelchair… Once they worked out the kinks she was able to transfer to and from the car with much more confidence. It was work and she was winded but successful. We take each win we can get.
Tomorrow afternoon is a big day for Kristen. With all the staples in both of her feet and much of her left leg from the knee down, they decided to knock her out and have the doctor take them all out at one time. My guess… between 250-400 staples total.
Pray for a successful procedure removing the staples, increased strength, for continued healing of her body and legs, improved appetite, and a positive attitude for each day.
Update: 8:05 PM 2/11/2015
The day was very upbeat beginning with a full non-stop 3 hrs of exercises and physical therapy.
Kristen has been working on transferring from one surface to another from a wheelchair.
Some transfers are easy to handle as they are level and straight across. When transferring on an incline where she has to move from a lower surface to a higher one, it is more difficult.
Today she encountered one of the most difficult transfers so far… from a wheelchair to the car. The transfer into the car was great as you can see from the smile on her face. Of course, after so many days in the hospital she just wanted me to drive her home.
The transfer from the car to the wheelchair proved much more difficult. The confined space, awkward placement of the wheelchair, along with her unable to put any pressure on her feet with over 100 staples in each foot. Go ahead… try moving from one surface to another without touching your feet (including your toes) on the ground.
Tomorrow is another day, another attempt to improve and gain a better understanding of how to live with her current limited mobility.
Once all the therapy sessions were complete, the afternoon was dedicated to education, and having her legs redressed.
Pray for relief from the muscle soreness, strength in rehab, for continued healing of her body and legs, improved appetite, positive attitude for each day.
Update: 10:41 2/10/2015
Today started off a little on the down side. Sore from the physical therapy on Monday and growing weary from the ongoing journey.
Mentally Kristen has hit the wall. She expresses daily that she wants to go home, that she “needs” to go home for her sanity.
The day was another day of hard work. Her body was sore and feeling beat up, some of the physical work today was difficult, which wiggles its way into the head game.
After therapy, Kristen took a little snooze before the 2 hour delayed weekly review. By the way the review went well and she continues to progress nicely.
Tomorrow Kristen will continue exercising her legs, plus working on transferring from one surface to another and hopefully work up to transferring to a car.
Thursday, is when the staples can come out of her left leg… before starting on the left leg the rest of the staples (120 or so) need to come out of the right! That is a work in progress.
Pray for the soreness of her body to leave, strength in rehab, continued healing, positive attitude and spirit for each day.
Update: 8:45 2/9/2015
With the weekend over it was time to get back to a full schedule of therapy.
Last week the therapy was as much about learning and reviewing her capabilities and limitations. Today Kristen had a steady stream of back to back physical therapy sessions which incorporated the assistance of husband and dad.
When the clock hit 2:00 she was ready for some rest, but… it was time for staple removal. After getting some meds to kill the pain they started to pull the staples from her legs and feet. That at least was the plan.
As they moved lower down to the ankle and feet area the pain again became too much to handle so they had to stop. They were able to remove about 150 staples, I would guess there are another 120 more or so to pull on her right leg.
Tomorrow is more intense therapy and the weekly review where all the doctors and therapist get together in Kristen’s room to discuss the progress, answer questions and provide input for the next steps of action. There is rumor she could be going home very soon where she can heal before continuing with therapy.
Please continue to pray for her strength in rehab, healing, continued positive focus and spirit for each day.
Update: 9:58 2/8/2015
The day was a quiet one for Kristen. Sunday is usually a “day off” from the physical therapy and a day to rest up for the week.
Tomorrow it will be back to a full schedule of therapy sessions and possibly a few painful hours having staples removed from her right leg.
Today she and her husband were able to “explore” the hospital some in her power chair, which is a nice change from the four walls she has been surrounded with for so many days. The view out the window is not much to get excited about.
However, she was able to have another visit from her daughter today, feed her and just chill with her.
Please continue to pray for her strength in rehab, handling the pain from staples being pulled from her leg, healing, continued positive focus and spirit for each day.
Update: 10:41 2/7/2015
Today was a quiet day with not much to report. Weekends for those doing rehab are slower with the reduced staff.
The day only had one afternoon session of physical therapy. Kristen took the opportunity to rest after a painful day having staples removed from her leg… with more to go on Monday.
Once therapy was finished she tooled around in a power chair which gives her more mobility. The chair is not a permanent option but one that allows her to get around without putting weight on her feet as of yet.
The highlight of her day was another visit from her baby girl were she was able to spend a little time outside feeding her and enjoying those few minutes away from all the medical trials she has been facing.
Tomorrow, should be a similar day of activity.
Continue to pray for her strength in rehab, healing of her legs, continued positive focus and spirit for each day.
Update: 9:45 2/6/2015
Day 71 was much like the day before with a full schedule of therapy. The difference was her therapy schedule ended around 12:00.
The afternoon was scheduled for her legs. Around 1:30 this afternoon the doctor was to come by to check out her skin grafts. Then the wound nurse was going to remove staples from her right leg.
Prior to the doctors arrival, Kristen was medicated to ease the pain for the staple pulling.
The problem… the meds just never kicked in. After “feeling” the pain was too much to handle, they had to stop the staple removal.
They will look into how they are addressing the pain treatment.
Kristen said today… “My body has been beat up. It’s hard to believe I’ve had heart surgery! Now I’m getting beat up to build my strength but I know that is what needs to be done to get home!” One tough woman!
Continue to pray for her strength in rehab, healing of her legs, continued positive focus and spirit for each day.
Update: 7:40 2/5/2015
Day 70 started off with a full schedule of different therapy sessions starting at 9:00 am until 3:30 this afternoon.
But there was “pre-therapy” which kicked off around 5:25 am this morning with drawing blood, followed by a quick snooze until 6:10 when vitals were checked. Then breakfast of waffles and strawberries, dressed and ready for work (therapy).
Kristen was not thrilled with the full schedule but she worked through it.
After her first therapy session, her therapist was pleased with all she was able to do on day 2. When the afternoon hits she is tired from the physical work!
Due to the fact she cannot put any weight on her feet and her legs need lots of healing, all therapy can really focus on is for her learning how to transfer from one location or surface to another.
Once she has “mastered” these skills along with several other “basics” they feel she can go home to heal before resuming more intensive therapy.
Early tomorrow afternoon, the doctor will check her skin grafts and remove the staples from her right leg. Her left leg still has about 8-10 days to go before the staples can be removed.
Continue to pray for strength in rehab, good healing of her legs, continued postive focus and spirit for each day.
Update: 7:47 2/4/2015
Today, Day 69 (Day 1 ER, Day 2-68 ICU, Day 69 Rehab) started off rocky. Fear of the unknown put an uneasiness in Kristen’s spirit.
Starting many, many weeks ago, Kristen and our family has heard time and time again that she needed to go to Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital. It is where they all said she would get the best results. Today we know why!
Up to this point of a long, winding journey, it really has been everyone else’s plan working behind the scenes. What medicine to take or test to run, all with a goal of getting her medically healthy.
This phase now puts a daily physical plan of attack with time slots, front and center for Kristen to know what is going on and when.
The day started right on schedule with breakfast, getting dressed, on to therapy for an hour, meeting with a dietitian, consult with a speech therapist, talking with her case manager and finally having over 100 staples pulled from her legs… more to go on Friday.
She was not completely prepared for the pain of staple removal, but she pushed through.
After being with her through the first session of physical therapy, I think she is going to recover very well and quicker then I thought. What she learned from her first physical therapist gives Brooks something to build from. Thank You Ivo! She was tired (as expected) but her spirit had been revived.
Doctor’s feel she can be home in 2 to 3 weeks, where she can allow her legs to heal and then begin therapy as an outpatient!
The journey is long from over. However, what I wrote back on 11/30/2014 still holds true! “We and she are still in a fight all are determined to win.” No quitting here!
Continued prayer for strength to handle the aggressive rehab, a solid timeline for her rehabilitation and continued postive focus and spirit.
Update: 9:05 2/3/2015
The day was full of anticipation looking forward to the move to rehabilitation… several doctors came by and said, “You’re still here?” At 11:30 this morning the ambulance arrived to transport Kristen to the rehabilitation hospital.
The move to a new facility is exciting, nervous, worried, unexpected, disappointing… all adding up an experience which is a little overwhelming.
Right from the beginning, the rehabilitation hospital has a unique feel. It is a different kind of medicine… the medicine of strength, accomplishment, adjusting to limitations and physical healing.
After getting into her room, it was not long before a group of doctors and physical therapist were all in her room, striping off her leg dressings, accessing her needs, limitations and beginning to formulate a plan for her.
Anyone who understands Kristen, know she likes lists, a plan and a timeline. Tomorrow, we hope they waste no time in beginning to execute a plan to move her each day closer to getting home.
Pray for strength to handle what we have heard is aggressive rehab, a clear assessment of her condition and capabilities, and a solid timeline for her rehabilitation.
Update: 9:30 2/2/2015
On Day 66, the plan was to move to rehab. First, Kristen had her legs and skin grafts which are looking good redressed.
We were told the hospital does not like to do any transfers after 3:00 pm due to the fact the pharmacy at the other facility may have closed and patients would not be able to get the medication they may need.
They also like to have a few hours before a shift change to make sure a patient can get settled in… all of that makes perfect sense.
With a 3:00 pm “deadline” drawing near… all the drips, tubes and meds had been removed. During the day all doctors signed off on the transfer, papers all done. The rehab hospital called and let them know they had a bed.
But… Kristen was not transferred. The reason… the insurance company’s computer system was down. They called about 4:30 to let the hospital know everything was a go… she waits until tomorrow.
I’m so relieved and glad to know that congress fixed the health care system. I would sure hate to see if before it was fixed! Sorry for the rant!
Tomorrow we move… fingers crossed and rabbits foot in my pocket!
Pray for a smooth transition to rehab, her new doctors and nurses, for a good, clear assessment of her condition and a realistic timeline for her rehabilitation.
Update: 9:21 2/1/2015
After 65 days, Kristen finally had a day go pretty much as planned – relatively quiet.
The day began with the nurse telling her that from all she could see by reading her charts the plan was lining up for her to move to rehab on Monday.
When we left the hospital this evening, it is the first time since Nov 29th she has not had a bag of medicine hanging in the air slowly dripping into her arm.
From what we know the doctors say she is healthy, wounded and injured but healthy.
The move to rehab is somewhat of a mystery as we do not know what to expect or look like. What does rehab exactly mean? That we hope to find out tomorrow.
What we do know, is Kristen needs to take this next step to continue her journey… it is the path that leads home… to be a wife and mother.
Pray for continued healing, a smooth transition to rehab, her feet, new meds, her spirit and motivation to keep pushing forward.
Update: 9:53 1/31/2015
The day was relatively quiet.
Kristen’s journey so far can only be classified as “unique”. She has seen so many doctors each with their own speciality running tests and reviewing the data.
As a detailed person Kristen has experienced many disappointments during this journey, from the timeline of when things are going to happen, to the mixed messages from doctors… but she has rarely complained.
So many doctors, nurses and techs are routing for her knowing all the twist and turns she has had to experience and want her so badly to move forward. I’m sure it is a small reward they get to see the fruits of their labor.
Her nurse today told her each doctor is signing off so she can move forward. The infectious doctor came by to let Kristen know they were reducing her antibiotics to one.
The heart doctors passionately want to “get all her numbers right” for her to begin a new chapter of this journey. Even the whiteboard in her room has her focused.
However, today there was one high point… she had a visit this afternoon from her baby girl out on the patio overlooking the river.
Tomorrow should be quiet as she preps for moving to the rehabilitation hospital on Monday.
Pray for continued healing, her feet, adjusting to new meds, moving on to physical therapy, her spirit and drive to keep moving forward.
Update: 9:04 1/30/2015
The day started early at 5:55 AM being woke up and getting out of bed, but the day was quiet overall, one full of gathering bits and pieces of other peoples experiences.
The parade of doctors seemed to have one theme…. the goal is to move to rehab on Monday, but with all Kristen has been through they want to make sure they have everything right! They don’t want to miss anything.
Physical therapy came in today and was much more informed as to all Kristen has had to deal with.
The wound nurse redressed both of her legs and seemed pleased as to how the legs continue to heal and improve.
Today Kristen heard from several people who have had experiences with the rehabilitation hospital she will be heading to, as a patient, working with people or at the facility as part of their studies.
Saturday and Sunday should be all about finalizing results, making sure medication levels are in balance and evaluating everything to sign off an Kristen moving to rehab.
She has been through such an ordeal and wants so badly to move forward and get herself back to living life!
Please pray for continued healing of her skin grafts, adjusting to new medications she will take for life, moving on to physical therapy she needs, her spirit and drive to keep looking and moving forward.
Update: 9:45 1/29/2015
The day was leaps and bounds over yesterday’s day of frustration.
They got Kristen up in the chair around 5:30 am this morning.
Doctors came by, did the usual questions and checking… most have signed off on having her move to rehab. Two doctors told her she would probably be transferred on Saturday and another said Monday.
She continues to lose tubes and wires. Early this morning they pulled a drain tube and the central line in her neck, but placed another pic line in her arm.
The representative from the rehabilitation facility came by today to get the ball rolling.
She was able to take another “field trip” today, move to a wheel chair to be rolled down and outside to the patio on the 2nd floor, to enjoy the warmth of the sun.
The highlight of her day was around 12:30 when “the boys”… four men she has been working in the trenches with for 70-80 hours a week during much of 2014 with came by to visit.
She was happy to see them along with details of “new opportunities” they have been able to explore.
Tomorrow she hopes to have more details on moving to rehab and taking the next step in this journey!
Please pray for continued healing of her skin grafts, adjusting to new life medications, getting the physical therapy she needs, her spirit and drive to keep looking and moving forward.
Update: 11:14 1/28/2015
The day could be summarized in one word – frustration
Starting early getting out of bed and in the chair… physical therapy came by and was not very up to date on Kristen’s condition. The therapist was ready to get her up to walk… but she cannot put any weight on her legs due to the skin grafts.
Due to the heart surgery she could not have her do much with her arms and upper body. Physical therapy was a bust!
The wound nurse came in to change her leg dressings around 11:30 this morning. One doctor wanted the legs dressed in a different way then the surgeon who did the skin grafts. Hours passed until the surgeon could get by to see the legs and weigh in on the best way to wrap the legs. He was pleased with how the skin grafts are looking!
This waiting game changed the plans for the rest of the day.
Also the contact for her move to rehabilitation came by and told her she had a meeting and could not talk with her today and would have to come by be tomorrow.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day and more productive!
Please pray for continued healing, the skin grafts, physical therapy she needs, her spirit and drive to move forward.
Update: 9:06 1/27/2015
Kristen learned today a new way to count. She assumed Day 1 was the day of surgery… it’s not! Surgery day is ZERO, Day 1 was today. This matters only since there are milestones in the recovery process.
Overall Day 1 was a good one. She did have some pain but managed it fairly well. Normally they would get patients up and walking on Day 1. Due to her leg and feet issues, they had her up in a chair around 6:30 this morning, where she stayed until around 3:00 pm.
Right around 3:00 pm, the nurse got her in a wheelchair, where they wheeled downstairs to the 2nd floor and out to the patio overlooking the river. She held onto her “heart pillow” and enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze for about 30 minutes or so before heading back indoors.
Tomorrow she will have her legs and skin grafts accessed and dressings changed.
Please continue to pray for Kristen, healing, her new heart valve, the skin grafts, her spirit and drive to do what it takes to get home!
8:07 am – Kristen is in surgery now! Speaking with the doctor this morning they said her aortic valve is severely damaged and needs to be replaced.
9:36 am – Currently on the bypass machine and dong well!
11:07 am – Out of surgery, did a small incision, doctor thought it was an infection that was “sterile” and had eaten a hole in the value, replaced the valve with a mechanical valve, she is doing well and doctor believes the her heart problems are fixed and does not foresee any problems recovering. They are monitoring to see how she responds.
6:01 PM – Kristen has been in her room for a few hours, slowly “waking up”. The nurse says “She is doing GREAT”! She has been asking for ice chips and able to communicate about her pain.
Update: 8:16 1/25/2015
Today was a quiet day for Kristen as she preps for surgery tomorrow.
She read info on the procedure, watched a video and did her breathing exercises.
The nurses drew all the fluids to have tests run to make sure everything was ready for an early morning operation to replace her aortic valve.
A friend came by to visit for a while and helped get her mind off the surgery.
Before leaving we gathered around her bed and prayed. We know it is all in God’s hands as has been this entire journey.
Please pray for Kristen, the doctors, the nurses, surgery and a speedy recovery!
Update: 10:36 1/24/2015
After a good night sleep, the day began on a positive note with the anticipation of taking the next step and moving to another hospital.
At 12:56 this afternoon Kristen was rolled out to an ambulance who transported her to another hospital downtown. She is in a new room, with a great view, but scared. New surroundings, unfamiliar people, the unknown and the gravity of life changing open heart surgery.
This journey began 58 days or 1392 hours or 116 shift changes ago when Kristen entered the emergency room. She has fought hard through multiple procedures, surgeries and test… Faced highs and lows, as a family we have had someone with her 24/7.
The post this evening is a little different. Although today closed a chapter at one hospital and begins at another, we would not be making this trip at all if it was not for so many dedicated nurses, techs and professionals who have cared for, nurtured, listened to ups and downs, praises and disappointments, provided encouragement, dished out education and information and were the right person for the right day during our stay.
We saw several today who where with her on the very day she entered ICU and wondered if she would live. Live she has!
They have provided Kristen excellent care but also welcomed our family. We’ve spent Christmas and New Year’s with them, learned about their families, spouses and kids, discovered where they are from, the cars they drive, music they like and even about their pets. Some go with the flow, some have a strange sense of humor like me and others run a tight ship. They are real people, special people caring for others in need.
So many have helped Kristen fight to win at living and continue her journey… for that our family and especially her new baby girl want to say Thank You!
I sat with Kristen in room 859, the place she has called home for so long we tried to remember all the names (50+) of the nurses and techs who have helped in her care. Some names may be missed, spelled wrong… sorry… some are duplicates (multiple Krista’s and Brenda’s) and only mentioned once… if you read this you know who you are.
Thank you for your dedication, inspiration and care in Kristen’s time of need.
and…. last but not least 1 ZAMBONI driver…
Tomorrow is a new day, in a new hospital, meeting new nurses and doctors to face another life challenge.
Pray for strength (the move rattled her), her spirit, peace, clarity and great prep as she gets ready for surgery early Monday morning.
Update: 9:24 1/23/2015
The day was a day of cleaning up, sorting through, touching base, taking meds and prepping for the next step.
Kristen felt pretty good throughout the day considering she had surgery last night. Since she had traveled the road a week ago she knew what to expect and planned on getting the pain meds every two hours to help manage the day.
Early this morning I started going through things which have “collected” during her stay. When her mom arrived they sorted things out as to what was moving on and what needed to head home.
During the day, Kristen had a slow steam of nurses, physical therapist, staff and doctors come by to see her, wish her well, along with give and get contact details. After 55 plus days a bond is built with many of them. That fact was evident to see last evening as she headed out for surgery where several nurses hugged and kissed her before rolling down the corridor for her skin grafts.
Despite all the politics of medicine we’ve heard over the last few years, medicine at its core is one person caring for another. Kristen has had wonderful care from some talented, caring, dedicated medical professionals, who provided a human touch and spirit.
Tomorrow, if all goes as planned… basically a bed comes available… Kristen will be leaving one hospital for another continuing her journey of healing. Monday she looks at open heart surgery!
There are so many people who have invested so much time, love, care and compassion to help her become whole again. It would be nice for them to see their efforts to the end… but they will have to wait for another time.
Pray for… a bed to become available, the move, continued healing, doctors, decisions, strength, clarity, peace, quick recovery and moving on to rehab.
Update: 10:21 1/22/2015
Day 55 was much like day 54… a day of waiting!
With so many things which have transpired in this journey, what else could happen. Well, last evening Kristen even had to have the bed replaced due to a malfunction.
Kristen expected to wake early and sneak in a breakfast before stopping all foods and fluids for the upcoming skin graft surgery. That didn’t happen! The doctor came in late last night to tell her no food after midnight since surgery was scheduled for 2:00 PM. She was not rolled down to the operating room until 6:30 PM.
She appeared to be getting antsy and irritable continuing to wait with no food or drink all day. It is currently 10:05 and we are waiting for her to get back to her room.
The day, like many began early. The news has spread among the nursing staff that she will be leaving them soon. Several came in before the shift change to talk with her and wanted to know how they could keep up with her progress. We gave them the link to the daily updates.
The doctor was pleased with the surgery, said she did great and though the journey has been long, it has allowed her body to heal.
She has come along way from the one doctor who felt that amputating her legs was the most likely path forward. God had/has different plans.
Kristen and our entire family thank you for your prayers and support. However, the journey is not over. On Saturday, if all goes as planned, Kristen will be heading to another hospital downtown for open heart surgery on Monday to replace a valve.
Please continue to pray for… the move, healing, the doctors, decisions to make, daily strength, clarity, peace, quick recovery and hopefully moving on quickly to rehab.
Update: 9:23 1/21/2015
Day Number 54… was a day of waiting and waiting and waiting.
It began early with a dressing change of both legs. The skin grafts seem to be coming along very well. Kristen’s left leg looks good and ready for surgery.
The waiting of the day was for the next step… surgery on the leg or the heart?
The hope was for the heart doctors to render their opinion early in the day. After numerous txt messages and calls from the hospital doctors they finally responded around 4:00 PM.
After looking at the test data and images from the TEE, they determined Kristen needs to have her heart valve replaced.
However, prior to heart valve replacement she will undergo surgery to have skin grafts placed on her left leg tomorrow (Thursday).
On Saturday, the plans are to move her downtown to another hospital where the doctors will evaluate her and make a final determination if they will replace her heart valve on Monday.
As a dad it’s tough watching my daughter go through all the ups and downs, plus all of the difficult choices she has been faced with. I have seen God in so many ways but it still hurts to feel so helpless.
Pray for… the doctors, peace on this journey, wisdom, confidence in the decisions, daily strength, guidance, clarity and quick recovery.
Update: 9:52 1/20/2015
Another wild ride today… Ups, downs, direction changes and more info.
Starting about 7:00 am the wound nurse came by to redress her left leg and hopefully prepare for surgery.
Around 10:30 today Kristen had a “TEE” procedure to get a better look at her heart value. The doctor felt she did well, and the “vegetation” was smaller than previously expected.
That was until, the doctor reviewed the data and determined there was not one but two areas of vegetation. Plus, the condition of her aortic heart valve was classified as “severe.”
Kristen wanted to know how this impacted the surgery on her leg.
As of right now, she is scheduled for surgery on Thursday to place skin grafts on her left leg. First the cardiac surgeon has to determine if her heart can handle the surgery or if she needs to have the heart valve replaced.
As with most of the events in this journey, nothing has been normal. What continues to “trouble” the infectious disease doctors is that all of Kristen’s blood work are coming back negative. Plus she shows no classic symptoms of one needing a heart valve replacement.
The doctors are continuing to review the “vegetation” to determine IF there could be another cause for it and not being bacteria.
Until then we wait for the cardiac surgeon’s verdict.
Pray for… peace on this journey, wisdom, confidence in the decisions, daily strength, guidance and clarity.
Update: 10:20 1/19/2015
After the post from yesterday, ups and downs, the waiting there was anticipation of seeing the doctor this morning for her feet and legs along with getting some answers on the path forward. Really, what could happen…
As expected, the wound nurse (who has been wonderful) showed up around 6:45 to get things ready for the doctor at 7:30.
The doctor was very pleased with the progress of the skin grafts. After examining her left leg, he liked the way it looked and IF she was cleared by the cardiologist and anesthesiologist be would proceed with surgery.
After the cardio surgeon team reviewed some of Kristen’s “echo’s” they feel she will need to have open heart surgery soon… like next week. However, before moving forward they ordered another test tomorrow to run a scope down to get a better picture of her heart valve.
Cardio would like to have any open wounds (legs) closed up without any infection prior to replacing her heart valve.
Once the test is completed and read, hopefully it will be determined if she can have the surgery and skin grafts on her left leg.
Of course, as it seems to be a daily twist and turn of this journey Kristen and our family is on, about 1:00 PM her mother stepped out of the room for a few minutes. When she returned, signs had been placed on the door.
During surgery on her right leg last week, the surgeon did some debridement on the heel. Tissue was sent out for test and came back with a bacteria. It is now required for us to wear a grown and gloves at all times in her room.
Overall Kristen’s mood appeared measured, in thought processing everything but good more upbeat than expected. Tomorrow looks like another busy day.
Pray for… peace on this journey, wisdom to know what steps to take, confidence in the decisions, strength for the day, guidance and clarity. We also prayed today that we were ready to baffle the doctors and whole staff with having only one explantation for a super-natural turnaround – God!
There are plenty of miracles left!
Update: 9:11 1/18/2015
From the Christopher Cross song “Sailing” – “Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be”
That’s how Kristen has been feeling… like she is sailing away with a plan to where she wants to be… home with her baby and husband! That is until about 2:30 this morning.
Around that time the nurse came in to draw blood for blood cultures ordered by the “covering” infectious doctor. After reviewing an “echo” the vegetation on her aortic valve has grown, and the doctor was concerned.
By 4:00 am we had text messages where there was discussion Kristen would have to move to another hospital for open heart surgery!
She’s her back on antibiotics and the next step in the puzzle has yet to be placed.
Four doctors came by today. We waited until late afternoon for a heart surgeon to arrive, read her records and sit down for a consult. After going over the situation, we pulled out a full page of questions, of which he addressed them all.
The plan was… to move ahead with the skin grafts on her left leg. At 7:30 tomorrow morning, the doctor handling her legs and feet will access the skin grafts and how things look for surgery on her left leg.
In the afternoon, once the heart doctors have had an opportunity to review tests, we should know if she can move ahead with surgery on her left leg. If that will be on hold for a few days, if the heart issue must be dealt with first, if the problem can be handled with meds or… I hate to speculate! Basically, she continues to wait.
Today, before the heart surgeon arrived, looking down and disappointed we talked, cried and told me how she feels trapped and all alone. She asked… “Are all the miracles gone?” “All I want to be is a mom, a wife and get back to life.” I put my arms around her, told her to look at me and we prayed. I told her to quit trying and let “Jesus take the wheel!”
Pray for what I told her to pray for… let God lead, inner peace in this journey, don’t try to understand it, wisdom to ask the right questions, listen to the answers and be confident in the decisions, strength to handle the day, guidance in the steps to take and clarity. More decisions to make over the next few days…
Don’t forget… There are plenty of miracles left!
Update: 10:20 1/17/2015
The day was generally quiet at the hospital. Kristen had a good night’s sleep but before she closed her eyes…
One of the nurses on the floor last night was doing some “extra” training in the ICU for a few days. It happened to be the nurse that first saw Kristen in the ER on November 28th, 2014 and knew she was in bad shape. Basically, a life saver. They both remembered each other and had some time to just talk.
Waking up, Kristen was a little upset I could see and looked down. She liked the idea of seeing her baby, but felt bad she could not spend more time with her.
One of the things which lifted her spirits were cards sent in from people all over the country. People she does not even know, reaching out to her to encourage her and let her know they have been praying for her.
Today she had one of her legs redressed (one without skin grafts), worked with physical therapy… who was very pleased with her progress.
The afternoon was capped off by spending some time with her baby. She was also able to feed the baby… another milestone.
She is looking forward to Monday when the doctor will be checking the skin grafts and if everything looks fine, they plan to schedule surgery on the other leg very soon.
Please continue to pray for her legs, the skin grafts, her overall health to continue improving and to stay positive on this ongoing journey.
Update: 10:12 1/16/2015
Today was a quiet day for a Friday as much of the time now is in waiting mode.
Kristen had her both of her legs redressed this morning. The left leg which was dressed as “normal” continues to improve with lots of new tissue. The right leg which had the skin grafts was redressed differently for obvious reasons.
Feeling extreme pain while the right leg was being redressed due to the need to wipe and clean some areas, Kristen had to ask for some pain medication.
The wound nurse, was pleased with how the skin grafts were progressing and how much better the muscle area on the left leg looked.
She tells everyone who steps in the room that her days on the floor are numbered. She knows she will be here through next week, but looks forward to moving to rehab.
Hopefully tomorrow, weather permitting, she will be able to see her baby again. It always makes for a special time for all involved.
Please continue to pray for the skin grafts to “take”, her health to continue to improve, mental toughness and positive outlook moving forward.
Update: 10:20 1/15/2015
The day seemed to take a bit to get going. For whatever reasons, the surgery, pain meds, late night visit from the doctor… Kristen was sleepy for the first part of the day.
She appeared upset, and did not want to move much. Several of the nurses noticed she did not seem herself and wondered if something was going on.
After some digging, and the weeks of dealing with issue after issue, she just did not want to do anything which could jeopardize the skin grafts. Anything that could delay her moving forward. She just wanted to play it safe and lay low. Who could blame her!
It has been a long grind day after day with many ups and downs, delays, along with a waiting game. The anticipation of the surgery on Tuesday, is followed by waiting a week before she can have surgery on her left leg.
Talking with the nurse, she said the doctor was very pleased with how the grafts looked, he saw less necrotic tissue and a “nice profusion” of new tissue in her feet.
Pray for the skin grafts to be successful, improved health, mental strength and positive outlook moving forward.
Update: 11:20 1/14/2015
Doctor just in… inspected the skin grafts, changed dressing and thinks everything looks very good! What a difference with the skin grafts… maybe not Rockettes ready but looking fabulous!
Update: 10:24 1/14/2015
Today was a GREAT day for Kristen. She was clear headed, seemed more like herself, tired from the surgery but ready to move forward.
Her sister was able to spend a few hours with her before having to head home to her family.
Physical therapy was lighter today, due to being tired from surgery.
She is beginning to has some irritation with the tips of her fingers which are still black due to blood pressure medication when she first entered the hospital. They are “peeling” up and catching on things from bed linens to physical therapy equipment. She’s tried gloves but they make her hands wet.
However, she is focused on taking the next step to recovery. One of the steps is reducing any and all medications if possible. She’s come a long way from the 20+ bags of meds dripping into her veins at one time.
There was the parade of doctors coming to visit during the day, telling her she is doing well and are pleased (amazed) at her progress. The one doctor we have not seen yet is the one who did the surgery last night. The promised to visit her, check out the progress and redress the leg with the skin grafts. As of 10:24 pm this evening… we are still waiting.
One highlight of the day was a brief visit from a work colleague and his wife who were in town for business. Those small things truly lift Kristen’s spirits… Thank You for taking the time!
I’ll put this one to bed now as today at least 5 people asked this question: “How are you and the family doing?” Thank you for asking… we are fine. The hours can be long and wait times for doctor visits and procedures unpredictable, but it is what we do as a family. Want you can do for us is continue to pray!
It should also be said that with all Kristen has been going through he husband has been right there supporting her all the way. Proud to have him as a son-in-law… it’s not fun being at the hospital plus I can be a pain!
Pray for the skin grafts to be successful, improved health this week as next week, she looks to have more surgery on the left leg, mental strength and being able to get off more meds.
Update: 10:20 1/13/2015
Today was a slow day for Kristen bug she was in fine spirits. The Cardio surgeon came by to render his opinion on surgery and her heart. He saw NO issue but did feel it was something that needed to be looked at sometime down the road.
Her legs were redressed again and the wound nurse who has been dressing her legs everyday noticed Kristen’s “spitfire” attitude and wondered if she was on medication. It was just the mark of a determined woman wanting to get on with her life. She wants to close this chapter with her feet and legs to begin the physical therapy process.
She was in a good mood, ready to be rolled down for surgery hoping her sister would make it in time for the 6:30 surgery. As a family we prayed at 5:00 pm, her sister did make it at about 5:30.
The day was prepping for surgery at 6:30 pm this evening. As I write this, it is 7:17 pm, we are all in Kristen’s hospital room…. Waiting for them to come get her for surgery.
The surgeon had two surgeries scheduled for this evening and decided to do the second one first. You could see the expression on her face turn to scared, happy and excited to here we go again. She wanted to make sure she was going to have the surgery – no more delays.
Kristen finally went in for surgery on her right leg around 8:00 pm… just as the clock hit 11:00 pm the doctor came out and told us everything went well. He grafted everything but her toes which he said he wanted to wait on.
He debrided everything and was very pleased that the heel was “better than I thought.” He’ll watch the grafts for the next week and if she does well, he will proceed and do her left leg.
She is back in her room and feeling some pain.
Pray for the skin grafts to “take”, rapid healing, quick recovery, for her heart to stay strong and mental stamina.
Update: 10:41 1/12/2015
The day started around 6:00 am this morning for Kristen. After a good night of sleep, she was ready to get today underway.
She began by eating a few Nilla wafers and some water, before taking the pain medication needed for her leg redressing.
About 45 minutes later the wound nurse arrived and began cutting away the dressing on her legs and feet. Then doctor arrived shortly after to access the next chapter in this journey.
At 5:00 am the weather outside was rainy and clear as trucks and cars slowly made their way up I-95.
By 7:00 am the clear weather turned to a dense fog making it difficult to see much from her 8th floor window. Fog was the best way to describe what Kristen was feeling.
The doctor, pleased with the progress, said he was ready to do the surgery and skin grafts on one leg this evening. However, Kristen decided to wait until tomorrow.
Throwing a little curve ball, the doctor said “you want to go ahead, even with the heart issue, the possibility of a stroke, heart attack or even death. I’m fine with that as long as you understand the risk.” Now that is a nice way to start your day.
Tears running down her face she looked at me for answers… I have none.
She told me how many of the staff had said how sick she was, and wondered if she would survive. But God spared her life. Looking at me, she whispered, “If He saved me from death for some future purpose of His, I dont see how He would let me die now.” I had no response, but had to agree.
With a plan in place, surgery is scheduled for 6:30 PM on Tuesday… until. Until the anesthesiologist said they where not sure they felt comfortable putting her under, they wanted to review some things.
As we wait on yet another doctor to render their opinion, surgery is scheduled but could be delayed, postponed or who knows what.
Pray for a good report on her heart, if that is God’s will. If not may we see it as an answer to prayer to not move forward
Pray for continued healing of her legs and feet, the doctor doing surgery, mental strength, quick recovery and for “limited” anxiety with the surgery!
Update: 10:09 1/11/2015
Today was a quiet day for Kristen. Her mood was relaxed and upbeat.
A cardiologist came by today who had not seen Kristen since she first was admitted. She gave her husband and mom a hug when she came into the room. She said she got goose bumps and was teary eyed, as she was happy to see Kristen was alive!
The podiatrist dropped by and told her her would be in early Monday to reexamine her legs and feet. If all goes as planned, Kristen will have surgery on one leg which will include skin grafts on Tuesday and Wednesday. Surgery on the other leg would tentatively be at the beginning of next week.
Her legs were redressed again today late in the afternoon, and sat in a chair for about 3 hours.
She’s relaxing this evening watching a few if her favorite shows on her iPad.
Tomorrow will be major step forward in the healing process. Pray for a good report on her legs and feet, the doctor, mental strength and for “limited” anxiety with the upcoming surgery!
Update: 10:41 1/10/2015
Today’s update will be a short one. Overall it was a quiet day.
As planned Kristen and the baby gain were able to spend a few minutes together downstairs just before noon in the hospital chapel. The time was way too short but better than nothing.
After waiting for a delivery of some type of medicine to apply to her legs, the nurses were able to redress her legs in the afternoon. About 3 hours later than planned.
However, the “trip” downstairs really took a lot out of her and she nodded off all during the afternoon. I’m sure there is much deep thought wondering what the doctor will have to say early Monday morning.
Please pray for mental strength, I see her growing weary, also for continued healing of her legs, ankles, feet, heels and toes – her healing has been amazing.
Update: 11:45 1/9/2015
After a day of disappointment and being down… today began with Kristen on point and in control.
She asked the Hospitalist if she had no issues with her legs if he would clear her to move to a facility where she could get physical therapy. He said “yes.”
She responded back… “then let’s focus on my legs. No more testing unless it involves my legs and getting me home.”
Her legs were again redressed and then physical therapy came by where she asked for additional exercises to help her gain some strength before the eventual move to another facility.
Her sister came by today and spent the afternoon with her.
As it stands right now, her legs, feet, ankles, toes and heels with be accessed on Monday and surgery which will include skin grafts should be one day next week.
Weather permitting she hopes to again see her baby tomorrow (Saturday).
Pray for mental strength, continued healing of her legs, ankles, feet, heels and toes and a peace with the future steps on this journey.
Update: 11:45 1/8/2015
Sometimes it seems like Kristen cannot catch a break.
The morning started off telling Kristen she has what looks like a bacteria on a heart valve… nothing big they cannot hit with antibiotics. Also her heart was beating too fast and they wanted to slow it down.
Then it was time for her leg dressings to be removed, before a visit from the doctor to check on her feet.
Before the redressing, the hospital reported that hyperbaric treatment was no longer an option. This would be something that required moving to a new hospital.
The doctor checked her feet and really felt she was making wonderful progress and wanted to wait until Monday to reexamine them again and schedule surgery for one day next week to clean things up and do some skin grafts.
Next a nurse practitioner told her that she had a bacteria on her heart value and it was very serious.
Followed by an infectious doctor who has been with her all along, telling her it did not look like a “living” bacteria, and that what was left is a “skeleton” (my description) and nothing to worry about.
Next a cardiologist, tells her, her heart value was weak, the “bacteria” could detach and go anywhere in the body, cause possible stoke or even death. Followed by – Any Questions?
A tough day emotionally for her. However, we are determined to ask lots more questions and get better answers to them.
One area we could use prayer on is for her to get regular physical therapy each day.
Pray for mental strength, continued healing of her legs, ankles, feet, heels and toes and a peace with the future steps on this journey.
Update: 9:53 1/7/2015
There are days as a mother or father your kid makes you so very proud. Today was one of those days.
There has been some talk of Kristen possibly having hyperbaric treatment to help improve the healing process.
As I shared yesterday, she has been “contemplating” and “calculating.” Under the current scenario she would have 18 hyperbaric treatments, surgery and then 12 more treatments. She knows that works out to about 35 days of so… or mid-February.
After having her legs redressed Kristen started asking every doctor or therapist who stepped into the room to get her some info on the hyperbaric status. If she can have hyperbaric treatment she wants to get the show on the road, if not tell her and get moving with the surgery!
Lately, it seems that each day there is a victory, then something comes in to wipe it out.
Today, she was able to stand 6 times and was very happy with the accomplishment. Then an “echo” was ordered to take a look at her heart. Then they wanted to come back and take another look, which makes her put her “worry” hat on and it crushes her spirit.
I walked into her room, she was crying, the nurse was talking with her as her mom looked on.
I started to walk out and she asked me to stay. She wanted me to do something for her. After everyone had left, she asked if I would take a picture of some of the cards she has received and lining her hospital window. She wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to write a card, send a note and pray for her.
In the midst of disappointment, she was thinking of all of you… not herself. It’s times like these that show me how blessed I am to have two daughters I love very much and make me very proud.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement for Kristen. It means more than you’ll ever know.
Tomorrow late afternoon the doctor is suppose to reexamine her legs and feet.
Pray for mental strength, continued healing of her legs, ankles, feet, heels and toes and a peace with the future steps on this journey.
Update: 9:49 1/6/2015
The day was busy for Kristen. Another day of leg dressings which came with some surprises.
While cleaning up and bandaging her legs, the wound nurse asked Kristen if she could feel her touching her feet, she replied “yes.” She then asked, if she knew which toe she was touching and tell her which one. She told her with precision. Good news as up to this point they really have not been able to tell how much “feeling” she has around her feet and toes.
The bad news… she started to experience pain which she had not had before. We know this is actually good, as the nerve endings are waking up! However, the last few treatments she went through them without any pain meds, so she was not prepared for the pain.
After her legs were bandaged, it was time for some physical therapy.
One of the goals for today was to have Kristen stand again. After getting all ready, as she started to stand supported by a machine, excruciating pain shot through her calves and asked for pain medication.
They were able to do some physical therapy today, but standing was delayed. She was able to sit in a chair for approximately 5 hours.
With the damage to her legs and feet, it has been suggested a hyperbaric chamber could benefit her greatly. That is being considered, but has some obstacles which must be overcome.
As Kristen has improved, so has her time to “contemplate” which can bring her down. As she “calculates” the time involved she sometimes feels trapped and that it will never end and wonders “why.”
Pray for mental strength, continued healing of her legs, ankles, feet, heels and toes and a peace with the future steps on this journey. Also pray for the right rehab facility to meet her needs.
Update: 10:21 1/5/2015
The day was another early start for Kristen. The “wound nurse” was in around 6:30 getting everything ready for the podiatrist to check out her feet, heels and toes.
She is producing more healthy tissue and things are slowly improving. The doctor was very pleased with the progress in just 2 1/2 days and wants to give her a few more days to review her feet again. We appreciate his desire to not rush things.
The dressings were changed and then it was time for some physical therapy. Part of her therapy was getting into the chair where she spent about 4 hours. Slow but sure improvement.
The one downside today was the inquiry into the “recommended” facility which could care for her wounds and provide more intense physical therapy. Currently, she need to heal more before they would accept her.
Overall she had a good day moving in a positive direction. We’ll wait a few more days.
Pray for her continued healing of the wounds on her legs, ankles, feet, heels and toes, clarity and peace with the next steps on this bumpy road. Also pray for the right rehab facility to meet her needs.
Update: 10:48 1/4/2015
The day was a prep day, a day to prep for an early consult with the doctor tomorrow morning.
Dressings changed again on her legs, all without the aid of any pain meds.
After the dressing change it was up in the chair for lunch.
There is discussion of moving to a new facility like a burn center that can treat her “wounds” and also begin more intensive physical therapy.
However, several doctors came by and want her to progress a little further before moving her on.
Throughout the day, there was discussion of the some of next steps to take in this journey along with things she can do now.
Currently, there is a lot of research and fact finding on facilities, treatments, doctors and steps for the next phase.
Pray for her wounds, clarity and peace with the next steps on this bumpy road.
Update: 10:27 1/3/2015
The update for today will be short. Although the journey has many more twist and turns several milestones were reached today.
The dressings on her legs was changed and in my opinion… what do I know… they continue to improve. Kristen was able to go through the change without any pain medication.
After the dressing change the plan was for lunch, a little sleep, up in the chair, then a transfer to a wheelchair which needed a little “retrofitting” to accomodate her bandaged legs.
Around 4:10 in the afternoon, after 35 days without seeing her new baby girl, Kristen was reunited with her in a quiet courtyard. The song Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith kept rolling on my head.
She cried… held her… kissed her… smiled and cried some more as her husband, mom, sister, grandmother and myself along with several nurses looked on. It was another special moment in this continuing long journey.
After 20 minutes, her tank empty, she headed back to her room in ICU.
We will see what tomorrow brings.
Update: 10:55 1/2/2015
The day was a rough one emotionally for Kristen.
Up until the past few days she accepted the fact that she was sick and seeing her new baby was off limits. However, from the knees up, she is “healthy” and no longer wants to miss out on seeing her daughter.
Hopefully in the next day or two we’ll be able to get her in a wheelchair and outdoors where she can hold her little girl.
She did well with some occupational and physical therapy, using her hands, plus sitting on the side of the bed and in the chair for a bit.
However, the air was also heavy with the overwhelming options that lays ahead of her concerning her legs, feet, heels and toes.
Her legs were redressed again today after the doctor examined them and presented some options. On Monday, they will be re-examined and by the end of next week a plan in place.
She understands the options but wants clarity on the steps to take. This evening our pastor and elder came to pray with her and the restlessness seemed to subside.
Continue to pray for a miracle recovery of her legs, ankles, feet and toes, for her spirit, clarity and peace on future life changing choices to be made.
Update: 9:54 PM 1/1/2015
What’s Better Than Steak and Potatoes?
Kristen appeared to be in good spirits throughout the day. Always on a treatment or procedure day she seems a little down, which is natural.
After a good night sleep she was ready to take on what looks like her final treatment on her legs, feet and toes.
The wound nurse was pleased to see new tissue developing on her legs, and feet. The down side is that there are some areas on her feet and toes that may possibly need to be surgically removed. After some consultation in the near future, choices will need to be made.
The legs will most likely need some plastic surgery and skin grafts.
With all this “Life Changing” information Kristen kept her composure and appeared upbeat.
I would sum up her mood and attitude as – Let’s move forward. Let’s look at our options, make the call take the next step!
Yesterday, Kristen’s brother-in-law was going to grill her a steak and bring her a baked potato… but she just did not feel like it, so it was canceled.
It was rescheduled for tonight’s dinner. She looked forward to her steak all day. It was to be the highlight of her day. But is wasn’t!
Kristen has been sitting in a chair off and on for a few weeks now.
Earlier in the morning the Hospitalist suggested that it would be great if in someway, they could get her in a wheel chair and out of her room. It was a wish she was hoping for. But did not happen.
The nurses and techs whom Kristen has learned to depend on for so many things, decided not to let a wheel chair stop them. They want to see her get better! They decided to sit her up in bed and take Kristen and the whole bed on a quick tour – Doctor’s orders!
Being a holiday the hospital was very quiet! Staying in the hospital they passing a courtyard, stopped and opened the door, where Kristen was able to savor and enjoy some cool fresh air for the first time in 34 days. She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths and commented “how good it felt.”
After her quick tour, she was greeted back at her room by her husband with dinner of – Steak and Potatoes!
Overall a pretty good day and a real morale boost!
Please continue to pray for miracle recovery of her legs, ankles, feet and toes, so those choices do not even need to be made. Pray for strength needed to push forward especially with therapy.
Posted here on Facebook at 8:00 PM 1/1/2015
Update: 10:17 PM 12/31/14
Happy New Year!
The day started for Kristen a little on the “concerned” side, since she knew that the doctor would be coming in early to remove her stitches from her surgery a few weeks ago. Before she knew it, they were out.
She was also able to go through the night with no fever which was encouraging.
Throughout the hospital today there seemed to be several emergencies which kept the nurses running, add to that a holiday and things were quiet.
Due to Kristens system being so beat down, she has been slow producing enough red cells so she was given 2 units of blood.
Whenever she gets a transfusion it seems to make her become very tired and today was no different as she nodded off an on.
She’s been doing well with her breathing treatments and because of that one of the regular treatments has been eliminated.
The hospitalist is reviewing some of her medication to see if they can eliminate some of them as well.
Tomorrow her legs, ankles, feet and toes will be assessed after another around round of treatment.
There has been some discussion of skin grafts and possible plastic surgery o her legs due to tissue damage.
Please continue to pray for miracle recovery of her legs, ankles, feet and toes and for the strength needed to push forward especially with therapy.
Update: 9:59 PM 12/30/14
We’ll title today – Stand Up.
Day 32 in ICU began on somewhat of a down note. Kristen seemed sad this morning, I think it came from the information the surgeon delivered yesterday.
After having a drained pulled from surgery, a protein drink, apple juice, some water, along with some meds she was ready to begin another treatment on her legs, ankles, feet and toes.
It started well with the “wound nurse” continuing to do some debridement on her heels, toes, ankles and legs. She was interrupted and called out on an emergency and returned about a hour later to pick back up where she left off.
Around 1:30 pm it was completed and wounds dressed, awaiting review and accessing on Thursday.
Fever was not present today, but that could be due to some of the medications she was taking for pain.
After talking with the wound nurse she was encouraged by what she was seeing while working on her Kristen’s legs!
The high point of the day came with physical therapy. The day before the physical therapist helped Kristen sit on the side of the bed.
Today he asked her it she would like to stand with the help of a machine… she said why not.
Even though she was tired from the treatment to her legs, she was able to stand up for the first time in 32 days.
It was wonderful to see.
The night is closing with her looking encouraged and upbeat.
Watching Kristen today reminded me of how thankful we should be and usually take it all for granted… like taking a step!
Please continue to pray, especially for her legs, ankles, feet and toes for a miracle recovery and strength.
Update: 9:55 PM 12/29/14
I wanted to start off today’s update on a little different note and report on the baby. She is doing wonderful, thriving, gaining weight and basically setting everyone’s schedule. However, it would be more appropriate to say her grandparents (Dad’s) and Uncle’s schedule.
The day began bright and early with the “wound nurse” redressing Kristen’s legs and feet. it was after that the wheels began to come off the cart.
There was a rumor that another MRI would be done, which Kristen hates. However, that was put on the back burner and a CT scan was ordered to try and locate potential areas for infection which could be causing her daily fever spikes.
Upon arriving back she looked relieved, relaxed and pleased especially when I walked in with lunch from Tijuana Flats.
Later in the afternoon a surgeon came by to “abruptly” examine her legs that had been redressed 6 hours earlier. Gave her a bunch of potential possible, slap upside the head options, and left the nurses to basically pick up the pieces and redress her legs.
My heart was heavy, as I prayed under my breath as I cradled her the best I could while she laid there shaking and holding back the tears.
We know she is making great progress. However, at times she feels it is impossible to catch a break.
Tomorrow her legs will be reaccessed and redressed.
Please keep praying for healing, for her to see how far she has come, for strength to the day, her overall spirit and to remove those thoughts that bring her down.
Update: 8:55 PM 12/28/14
Today is the 1 month mark that Kristen first walked into the Emergency Room around 7:00 pm. What a month it has been!
There was some discussion about another MRI but after checking some of the numbers they think for now, they can hold off.
Each day there are small victories. We see it and the nurses see it but sometimes Kristen does not.
Over the past few days Kristen seems to get a low grade fever, throw in some Tylenol and it seems to disappear. Today was no different.
We have to wonder, with Kristen’s legs all wrapped up for the “wound treatment” does all that heat generated cause any issues. Everything else appears to check out fine.
Tomorrow will be another round of treatment on her legs and feet. Pray for healing and strength as the whole ordeal just wears her out.
One of the big pluses for the day concerned her hands. The hands hurt some which is a good sign and she could see some of the new skin beginning to come in.
Throughout the day Kristen seemed to be “agitated” and her legs were uncomfortable. It could be from thinking about the treatment tomorrow, the desire for quicker results along with the discomfort of her legs.
Please keep praying for healing, strength to handle each day, her overall spirit to fight and to stay away from those thoughts that bring her down.
Update: 10:55 PM 12/27/14
The day for Kristen was an unusual one. Basically, she finally had a day off.
It was a day physical therapy was suppose to put her through the paces, but for whatever reason they didn’t make it. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
Kristen seemed very upbeat today and was able to enjoy a little break from the day to day testing and treatments.
They got her up to sit in the chair, washed her hair and cut her finger nails. Not only has her legs and feet recovering but her hands as well.
The “wound nurse” said that NOW was not the time to be growing fingernails while her fingers are healing.
A few days ago her diet was upgraded to anything she wants. The doctors want her to have more protein in her diet to help the healing process. Everyday we are bringing in a least one meal which will help her get more protein and she also gets a protein smoothie everyday.
It does appear that some of the swelling has went down on her left side.
It was another day in the plus column, as she continues to move forward. We’ll have to see what challenges she’ll face tomorrow.
Please keep her in your prayers for healing of her legs and feet, swelling on the left side and mental strength.
Update: 10:37 PM 12/26/14
The plan for today was an early treatment with the “wound team” to continue treatment on Kristen’s legs.
That was a nice plan but the “early” did not start until around 11:00 and ran for a solid 2 hours. I asked the wound nurse what her thoughts were after treatment and she indicated she was very pleased.
After the treatment Kristen was tired and Physical Therapy was delayed.
The focus of the next 2 days will be on Physical Therapy and continuing to build her strength.
Overall I’d say it was a positive day moving forward in the right direction.
Please keep her in your prayers. Continue to pray for the swelling on the left side and her legs to continue to improve. Also please pray for mental strength during this journey!
Update: 11:02 PM 12/25/14
Today is Christmas… Hope you had wonderful day with family. It was a quiet one for Kristen.
After one of the best nights sleep yet the hospital was running on less than full staff. Physical therapy was off, along with several other services. Doctors did come by with all good progress reports.
The day was somewhat on the sad side for Kristen being that Christmas is her favorite time of the year. She loves to see family and friends smile during the holidays along with giving gifts!
Tomorrow will be a different day. Starting early right after breakfast, Kristen will be having another round of treatment on her feet and legs. A wonderful two hours where her legs are pulled, stretched and cut on then wrapped. All while she puts on a good show as she fights through the pain!
Then physical therapy will make up for “time missed.”
Please keep her in your prayers. Continue to pray for the swelling on the left side and her legs to continue to improve. Also please pray for mental strength during this journey!
Update: 10:57 PM 12/24/14
Today was another early and busy day for Kristen.
It began a little after 7:30 when the wound nurse came in to start her treatment. About an hour and 45 minutes later her legs were rebandaged.
Despite what some may say or think, Kristen is one of the toughest people I have even known. She has endured so much pain, beyond what I am able to communicate.
After getting a hot meal and a little rest, it was time for moving to a chair where she sat for about an hour. It is also where physical therapy had her do all of her therapy movements on her legs and arms. The therapist was pleased with her progress!
She’s now been putting away more protein drinks and eating better to feed her body and help her gain strength.
Overall a good day but tiring. She’s been zonked out for about 2 hours and hope she sleeps through the night. That would be wonderful for her.
It will be different celebrating Christmas in the hospital. However, we are so thankful for all the doctors and nurses who work and support our families during this time of need.
For Christmas, if you can, give your son, daughter or grandchild a hug and kiss and tell them you love them. You never know what tomorrow will bring!
Merry Christmas… From Kristen and our family we Thank You for all your prayers!
Update: 9:52 PM 12/23/14
The day began in tough waters. After a good night of sleep Kristen woke up a little before 6, but she had that look… one of fear, hopelessness, disappointment and a temperature.
The thought of – This journey is getting old, will I ever get better, I can never leave if I have a fever, I’m disappointing so many people that want me to do this and “perform.” The look of someone down.
I prayed by her bedside quietly asking for the right words… I spent the next 20 minutes or so holding her hand, kissing her forehead and assuring her she was not alone. As a family we are right with her. Our family is like every other family – dysfunctional – because we have people in it! But we love each other just the same. I also let her know that there is an army of people praying for her and cheering her on.
I said to her that when we walked into the hospital 26 days ago on nov 29th I told her husband that we as a family would get through this. That we would fight and not quit… That’s not what we do. That battles may come, we may have some setbacks but we will not quit, we continue to push.
I assured her she has not let anyone down, that she has climbed a mountain and not to let other people’s agenda control her progress and dampen her spirit.
The why of it being her and our family asked to go through this journey I could not answer, but down the line she would see many rewarding lessons learned.
All she needed was to know she was not alone, that she had not let anyone down, and her progress has to be on her terms and speed of what her body can handle not dictated by others.
The day improved…
Today the “wounds nurse” again accessed her legs and feet, continuing her therapy with amazing results.
Doctors visited and gave good reports on her surgery and stitches, her diet was upgraded to no restrictions. She is now off all antibiotics and back to sitting up.
The day was not completely over but she throughly enjoyed Chic-fil-a for dinner.
Much has happened in 26 days, please continue to keep Kristen in your prayers. Pray for the swelling on her left side, mental and physical stamina and every day to bring her closer to going home.
Update: 10:57 PM 12/22/14
The day was a tiring one for Kristen. It started out with the “wound nurse” spending about 2 hours “dressing” her legs and feet. Her legs look so much better.
Since her energy levels are low and need to be built up these types of procedures and events zap a lot of energy out of her. It makes for a long day.
On top of that each doctor has their own agenda which at times smack into each other and can be over whelming.
However, overall she is progressing along well. We understand this is a journey.
Please continue to keep Kristen in your prayers. Specifically, swelling on her left side, mental and physical strength handle each day and that her legs and feet therapy will be successful.
A note of encouragement would mean so much to her, knowing that others are out there routing for her. You can send her a note at:
Kristen – C/O Gary Antosh
800 Belle Terre Parkway, 200
Palm Coast, Florida 32164
Thank You all for your support and continued prayers!
Update: 10:14 PM 12/21/14
Today was quiet but Kristen made great strides. I was not at the hospital much of the day, but the reports were promising. When arriving this evening I spoke to two of her caregivers today and they told me she had a “phenomenal” day.
Several doctors visited, checked the incision from the surgery and likes the way it is healing. The “on demand” pump pain killers have disappeared. Fevers have been not returned.
Physical therapy was in, gave her some new exercises and was pleased with her progress. She has also been “doing more” on her own. Beginning to feed herself, hold a cup of water and readjust her glasses. What may seem like a minor task to many of us is just now coming back as she has slowly rebuilds her strength.
The “wound” specialist came by and spent about an hour inspecting Kristen’s legs after her first treatment. They like what they are seeing. On Monday, they will do a deeper assessment.
In the past 24 hours Kristen has moved from having little ability to hold a smartphone or iPad to checking email, tapping, swiping and using electronics.
Continue to pray for Kristen, the treatment on her legs and the strength to handle each day.
Update: 11:16 PM 12/20/14
Today was somewhat of a quiet day for Kristen, although it seems as if it was still busy.
The usual parade of doctors came by to visit. However, it does seem that since the surgery, she has lost a few. All seemed please with where she it all in the scheme of things.
Physical therapy was in today and pleased with her progress. By next week they would like to have her sitting on the edge of the bed.
That’s where prayer is needed. Due to some of the therapies and treatments on her feet and legs the doctors want her to stay off of them. Pray they can find a nice balance.
Nurses who have cared for her drop by each day to check on her progress. Overall a day where Kristen’s general health improved. Please continue to pray!
Update: 10:29 PM 12/19/14
Kristen’s mom and sister spent the night at the hospital providing that extra TLC after the surgery yesterday. She was able to get some sleep until around 3 am when she started to feel more pain and discomfort.
She did have a little fever after the surgery but throughout the day and up until 10:00 pm the last temp reading it has hung right around the 98.6 to 98.8 range. Thank you for your prayers.
Physical therapy was in today, and beginning to work her legs and arms more to increase strength and mobility. Considering she just had surgery they were pleased as her ability to stretch and move.
Today, she started treatment for her feet and legs that will run through the weekend. On Monday the tissue health will be reaccessed.
I’m continued to be amazed at her inner strength and ability to keep pushing without complaining considering all she has been through.
Please pray her body responds to the treatment on her legs and toes and for improved circulation to help “feed” the skin and surrounding tissue.
She has a great attitude but continue to pray for mental health as well.
Update: 9:37 PM 12/18/14
The day started off rough. This morning around 4:00 am Kristen was very uncomfortable and running a temperature of 101.6.
With surgery later in the day she could have no food or water. We started soaking 4 wash cloths in ice and water and placed them on her forehead, then we changed them out every 4 minutes or so.
Slowly, the fever began to come down and around 7:45 her temperature was down to 99.7.
The day before the nurses hatched a plan to give Kristen a little spa treatment. Since food and water was not an option, they washed her hair, conditioned and dried it, then gave her a little style before heading to surgery.
Surgery was suppose to begin around 11:30 and she finally made it there round 1:00 for a period of about 2 hours.
The procedure went as planned and the team was able to remove some tissue and fluid they thought was the source of the fever.
After recovery, she made it back to her room in ICU. While waiting for her to arrive we could sense the stress and anxiety had left the building. Another hurdle has been crossed.
Her husband and I left this evening when her mother and sister would be spending the night to care for her.
Kristen has had a family member with her 24/7 since this journey started back on November 29th.
Once home her sister texted me at 9:18 PM letting me know Kristen’s temperature was 98.6.
Tomorrow the focus moves to Kristen’s legs and feet where they will start the process of – Debridement which is the removal of unhealthy tissue from a wound to promote healing.
Please continue to pray for Kristen and her healing process.
Update: 9:56 PM 12/17/14
Today was a prep day for Kristen… prep for surgery!
Doctors have systematically narrowed down the area of Kristen’s daily low grade fevers and think they have found the source.
Tomorrow they will performing surgery around 11:30 to drain fluid and remove the surrounding tissue.
The operation will take approximately 2 hours. We pray that this will eliminate fevers and she can move forward with the healing process.
The next focus will be her legs and feet.
Please pray for her and her husband, the doctors and nurses doing the surgery, and her recovery.
No one wants to face surgery, but today I sense a peace Kristen has over moving forward.
Kristen and our family thank you so much for all your prayers.
Update: 10:32 PM 12/16/14
The plan for today was another MRI scheduled around dinner time but was canceled.
Doctors continue to narrow down the area of Kristen’s low grade fever each day. Each test seems to help eliminate and check off THAT as a possibile cause.
Yesterday, she had an MRI to see if there was any infection or inflammation in the bones of her legs and feet. Which we are happy to report all is negative when the doctor visited her around 8:30 this evening.
Today, fluid was taken from her lungs to be tested and another x-ray was to be done on her chest and stomach area.
The past couple days have been tiring for her due to tests and now feeling more pain makes her uncomfortable. Yet… she just does not complain. I am amazed at her strength.
The next few days should have things narrowed down to the fever source. Please continue to pray for her and her husband, for strength mentally and physically, the doctors, nurses, baby and family.
We thank you so much for all your prayers.
I’m currently sitting in her room watching her sleep, hoping she can string a few 3-4 hour blocks of sleep together. My two girls have taught me so much through having their own children. I’m very proud of both my girls.
It’s humbling as a father to watch your little girl go through so much, as you feel so helpless. I would gladly trade places with her and take away all the pain if I could.
Tonight… don’t forget to tell your kids you love them!
Update: 11:33 PM 12/15/14
Another day of the waiting game. Early today, Kristen was told she would need to have another MRI of her legs and feet – about 3 hours worth.
I must say… Kristen is one tough woman – tougher than me! She has went through all this without complaining. Poked, stuck, turned, tested, deprived of sleep, medicated and lots in between… she just wants to get home.
After waiting all day, dinner arrives and it is time for her to go for the MRI, so dinner will wait.
It is now 10:54 PM and she is finally settled back in her room… that is after she finishes her ultrasound on her left arm.
The MRI is to check for any infection down into the bones of her legs and feet.
Tomorrow, she may have another as the doctors continue to narrow down the point of her ongoing low-grade fever.
Update: 9:45 PM 12/14/14
At the hospital today… it was the waiting game. Kristen’s low grade fever continues to hang on and doctors want to find the infection.
One of the issues is that it is all a guess. Tests continue to come back negative, they cannot pin point the area or what is causing the infection.
They have ideas, but no absolutes. In turn this continues to wear on Kristen. She likes answers not a maybe.
She was told around lunch time that she would be having a CT scan and she had a few minutes to finish lunch, needed 2 hours to drink a “tracer” before the test. Nothing until the test was done. Of course 2 minutes before she heads down to the test – dinner arrives.
Fortunately, we had picked up some food to have for her to snack on. So was able to eat once the test was done.
One turning point today is that Kristen is beginning to “feel” some pain. Which is a good thing. But it does make things more uncomfortable.
Overall a quiet day, but one where we are beginning to see the “mental” stress beginning to inch its way in. I can see it on the face!
Please pray for healing, but also mental strength and for the doctors to find the source of the infection so Kristen can move forward with healing.
Update: 10:51 PM 12/13/14
Today Kristen spent a good chunk of the day with her sister and mom having “girl time” to help get her mind off all the things going on. Kristen was able to sit in a chair for over 2 hours. Her sister “washed” her hair and gave her a head massage while they magazine shopped! I’m told it cost me nothing!
She continues to run a low grade fever which remains and continues to be a source of concern for the doctors.
Every Doctor that comes to visit… and there have been plenty, talks about the ongoing fever, finding the source and taking the steps needed to eliminate the source. The trouble is, some of the options are extreme and a lot for anyone to consider.
Continue to pray for the fever to go away, on other fronts the doctors are pleased with the progress and numbers.
The mental stress alone wears her out. Along with wrapping her head around potential overwhelming decisions she might have to make
She tries to be strong and “cover it up” but when I saw her today I said… what’s going on.
Please pray that God would calm her spirit and that she would leave it in His hands.
She has already climbed a giant mountain. One highlight for the day was a call from her uncle Steven and Aunt Debbie…
Please continue to pray… for healing in her legs, to be able to start moving her extremities, for an appetite to gain strength, for rest, a calm mind, for wisdom for the doctors, her fever to vanish, and for her caregivers.
Update: 11:31 PM 12/12/14
Today was a quiet day as far as lots of things happening with Kristen. It was more of a “monitoring” day.
She was able to sit up in a chair for about 1:45 minutes but looked tired. They also removed or relocated several “ports” for blood and IV’s.
She is still weak so every thing she needs requires assistance from someone. Drinking, eating and even pushing up her glasses.
They continue to monitor her temperature and did another round of scans looking for infection.
It may sound like a broken record but her legs and feet remain a big concern.
Probably the highlight of the day was her mom and sister Kim coming over to spend a few hours.
Tomorrow the journey continues as more physical therapy starts. Please continue to pray!
Update: 10:12 PM 12/11/14
Today Kristen was moved! The hospital opened a new floor for ICU patients and began moving them in today.
Before the move, physical therapy came and moved Kristen to a chair where she sat for over an hour.
She is now eating a regular diet. The doctors are still concerned with any infection. Throughout the day she had a low grade fever running around 100 degrees. This caused them to run test and do some ultrasounds to try and locate the hot spot causing the elevated temperature.
Last evening her doctor told her that most people do not survive this type of blood infection. She expressed numerous times – she is happy to be alive.
She continues to ask questions of the doctors to learn and understand her condition more completely.
We are thankful for the small improvements in mobility and gaining strength we see each day.
Through her legs and feet have improved dramatically and the doctors are very encouraged – infection, circulation and the health of the tissue with play a major role in her future recovery.
Please continue to pray for her ongoing improvement.
Update: 9:52 PM 12/10/14
Today was a busy day… so updates are late tonight.
After a 6 hour night of sleep, Kristen has started to piece things together.
We sat down today at her request and she gave me a timeline of all that has transpired until she went to the ER on Friday, November 28th.
Up until this morning she has not been able understand her situation. She “thought” she had done something wrong or caused something to happen and it was why she was in the hospital.
Each doctor that came by today, she wanted to know who they were and what part they play in her care.
She appears to grasp the gravity of her situation and plans to take it one day at a time.
She asked one doctor – Why did you work to save my life?
Right now she is happy to be alive!
Throughout the day it has been busy, as professionals dealing with diet, therapy, breathing and more continue to help her heal.
My job today was more about feeding her and making sure she was well hydrated.
Several people today told her she was simply a Miracle. We would agree!
Much of the focus with continue to be on her health but directly on her legs and feet. Please continue to pray!
Update: 11:45 PM 12/10/14
Today started early for Kristen… sort of. She really had not slept in days and her mind was going 1000 miles per hour. Not sleeping from fear and also anxiety I think. She was talking gibberish and had shallow breathing.
A giant difference from 2 days ago when we had coherent conversation. What she needed was sleep.
The other day the speech therapist came in and determined that Kristen could not handle food and needed a feeding tube through her nose.
Over the past few days the tube has become much more of an irritant. She wanted to pull at it.
Around 3:00 am she was given some anti-anxiety medicine to help her sleep. She did sleep for about 2 hours and things looked promising. While sleeping she was breathing well and when she woke up she spoke the best so far.
It was down hill after that for much of the day. She would fall asleep on her own for 5-8 minutes and someone would walk in to ask her how she was doing and check her out. A hospital is not a place to rest.
Kristen was wheeled out a couple times for test to look at her legs.
During that time she was basically out of it. Sometimes she knew where she was, other times she asked why she was there, what was happening, what the chart on the wall was and wanted me to send emails for her that she HAD to see before sending.
After the second test she was wore out. She was able to sleep for about 2 hours on her own.
The speech therapist came to see Kristen tonight around 6:30. Both her mom and I were not very excited about trying to wake her up.
Then it happened!
After having some sleep, the therapist gave her something like a very thin apple juice and honey. After one taste her eyes lit up like a young child having their first taste of food!
Kristen was SO HAPPY words cannot describe the expression on her face. She had everyone in the room in tears. It was truly a MAGICAL moment.
Then they removed the tube!
Tears running down her face, she smiled, thanked the nurses and everyone around telling them how good it was and how well they have taken care of her.
Then the therapist tried some other foods of different consistency… and she ate them all with no issues! She even had a popsicle.
Before leaving her this evening the doctor who first saw her came by to see her. She thanked him and told him she was so happy to just have a drink of water.
In just a 3-4 hour period with some sleep in between, we witnessed a complete transformation!
What started as a down day ended on a high!
She was given something to help her sleep, hopefully through the night. Please continue to pray. Her legs are going to be getting more attention. More later!
Updated: 8:16 PM 12/9/2014
At 3:00 they finally gave Kristen an anti-anxiety drug and she went to sleep for the first time in a long time. I (Husband) could hear her breathing from the couch. Her breaths were the best I’ve heard from her in the hospital. She woke around 5:30 and was cognitively the best I’ve seen and spoke the best I’ve heard.
Updated: 10:31 PM 12/8/2014
Overall today has been a tough day for Kristen – coming off meds, lack of sleep, therapy assessment, tubes starting to irritate her throat, a fever and assorted things that go on during the day have her tired and looking spent – pray she can get some rest.
They are starting to look more at her feet which have improved. She has come a long way in a week of this journey.
They took xrays of her feet and legs as they’re concerned about infection due to her fever earlier today.
Her temp has dropped to normal for now. They are going to give her a one time dose of an anti anxiety drug to see if it will help her sleep.
Podiatrist looked at her feet and was going to cut off some dead skin then wrap in gauze.
The Podiatrist after looking at her feet said they don’t look too bad to him. But he took some cultures to test due to the fever.
Prayer Request: Fever stays down, no infection in feet and legs so there will be no need for any amputation.
Updated: 6:29 AM 12/8/2014
Sorry for no update yesterday, busy day at the hospital and bad web connection.
Kristen had a long day yesterday, she was awake most of the day, had her hair washed, and started to get a blood transfusion due to a low blood count.
Her feeding tube was causing her to try and clear her throat which took a lot out of her and I think made her a little scared.
She is very weak and needs to regain some strength, it is hard for her to just move her arms. It will take time.
Continue to pray for the tissue health on her hands, feet and legs. They want to do all they can to make sure no infection flares up.
Kristen did share with her limited ability to talk… it takes lots of effort, that the doctors and nurses at Baptist South in Jacksonville has been nothing short of fantastic, compassionate and exceptional.
Two from the ER came to see her last evening. They knew she was very sick and had heard of her “miracle” progress.
Hope to have an update when I visit this morning. We are keeping someone with her 24/7.
Updated: 5:19 PM 12/6/2014
The report today is that Kristen’s kidneys did well through the night, so for now they have taken her off dialysis. They continue to monitor her blood count and her heart rate, it is possible she will need some blood.
The General care doctor came told Kristen she was very sick but doing much better. She is going to start some physical therapy.
The doctor told Kristen that she wants to see her walk out of the hospital!
Kristen is much tougher than many think, she will doing everything asked of her.
Today we have continued to watch Kristen improve. She is able talk “softly” and tell what it is she wants and feels.
It is truly amazing how God has reached down and touched our daughter and family! We are humbled and blessed!
Earlier today they tried to give her some food with different consistency but decided to feed her through a nose tube to her stomach. She took this as a setback and we had to keep telling her that it was not.
In my strange humor way I told her that as soon as I heard that she would be fed through a tube I went to nose-tube-feeding.com to look at the menu. I told her they had tacos and filet mignon… but sorry to say they did not have triple chocolate cake… she would have to eat that on her own… later.
Our continued prayer is for the health of the tissue on and around her hands and feet.
I am currently sitting in her room… waiting for the next step in this journey.
Thank you all for your continuing prayers! We still need them!
Updated: 12:17 PM 12/4/2014
A report back from the hospital on the first shift visit today.
Kristen has two nurses today and they are calling her their “Christmas Miracle.” They wish they could send the way she is recovering to everyone in the ICU unit.
She is keeping her eyes open vs open and shutting them after just a second.
She is continuing to squeeze hands when you hold hers. Great News- She is breathing ahead of the ventilator and if she continues to do so they would take her off of it.
The only reason they might hold off is so they don’t tire her body out. If she came off the ventilator it would be better concerning pneumonia if she were to do the work on her own.
They have removed the breathing tube and have brushed her teeth!
Keep Praying… psst… we already know the miracle worker!
Updated: 6:34 PM 12/3/2014
Today was a very “quiet” day. Kristen had several tests to check her liver and also to “look” for any potential “pockets” where infection could be hiding!
I forgot to mention the infectious doctor said the other day, that they had only heard about this bacteria once in their 15 years.
They have been “pulling” fluids off her through dialysis. Yesterday I believe it was about 5 liters.
She can open her eyes when we speak to her but closes them right away.
Her sister was able to get back to see her, which I think was a boost for both of them. Kim has been a great encouragement in ways we don’t have words to express.
Our prayer request is a big one but not too big for God. With the shut down of her system, there is concern for tissue damage and with the damage, the potential for infection.
How much or how bad the damage is we do not know and the doctors are not saying. Amputation is possible in the future but we will face that bridge when we get to it.
We have full confidence she can be healed completely! We pray for God to bring HIS healing hand, rejuvenate the tissue and make it brand new.
Please continue praying for Kristen. We cherish your prayers
Updated: 10:45 PM 12/3/2014
Kristen is making improvements each day. Lots of numbers going in the right direction. One major concern is her extremities and tissue health in the legs, feet, hand and fingers. We need bold prayer for a bold miracle of healing. She opened her eyes real big and closed them right away. Responding to touch a little and squeezed the nurses hand.
Kristen was given a compliment today – They have been playing music from her iPod and I told her I had not heard a duplicate song. The nurse said she had been with her 3 days and not heard a duplicate either. She said Kristen has the best play list she’s heard!
When visiting Kristen about 1 hour ago I went into her room and in my soft, quiet “Gary voice” I said “Kristen dad here” and she popped open both eyes. There is something special about your little girl looking into her father’s eyes.
Also when visiting I put 2 fingers in the palm of her hand and I asked for a squeeze and got one. Then ask if I should go get her husband and mom so she could squeeze their hand and she gave me a bigger one – made my day! Keep praying
Updated: 9:25 AM 12/3/2014
Husband just spoke with the doctor and they are going to further reduce Kristen’s fluid intake, increasing her food and reduce sedation for a hour to see how she responds. Currently her blood NO LONGER shows and Infection! Thank You Lord!
Updated: 9:03 AM 12/3/2014
The kidney doctor said the kidneys are returning to normal but still unable to urinate without help. He’s hopeful for full recovery after additional 24 hr of dialysis!
Her husband recorded about a minute of the baby crying and played it to Kristen a few times and he said she moved her eyes some and head.
Blood pressure is holding steady!
More as the day progress… Thank you for your prayers!
Updated: 9:23 PM 12/2/2014
Kristen is now off all blood pressure suppressors, her color looks better, and swelling is reduced slightly.
Her blood sugar is now good and does not require that addition “sugar”. They are now feeding her some food like a liquid protein supplement and her BP is holding steady at 110/70 range – there is concern for lungs, kidney and circulation.
They are trying to remove fluids through dialysis. Though she is still on a ventilator her lungs look to be getting stronger and she is beginning to add a couple beats to the breathing cycle every minute.
Updated: 8:58 AM 12/2/2014
I saw Kristen last night. She is completed sedated, on a ventilator and still on dialysis to help flush the infection from her organs and body of the bacteria. Last night her BP was continuing to improve to 118/87. This morning the nurses shared with were able to lower another BP medication and that she needed some platelets. They are concerned about her kidneys.
The doctor did share last night that when she was admitted on Saturday, they were not sure she would make it through the day. Kristen is a strong, caring woman, detailed and does things with excellence. We know she is a fighter. Continue to pray for her please. She and our whole family cherish your prayers.
We were able to bring our granddaughter home late yesterday afternoon. With a dad, two sets of grandparents, a great-grandma, great-grandpa, aunts, uncles and others pitching in she is getting lots of love and care!
Updated: 2:03 PM 12/1/2014
Kristen’s blood pressure has improved from yesterday before our post which was at 80/30 to 100/50 about 1 hour after our post. Her BP has continued to improve and as of 2:00 it has improved again to 109/70.
- She was able to have one Blood Pressure medicine removed completely
- She has started to “wake” up and needed to add restraints on her hands so she does not pull any of the multitude of tubes out.
- Her skin color has started to improve.
As a back story. For the past 48 hours our other daughter, her husband and myself have been at another hospital, making sure our new granddaughter did not have the bacterial infection as well. Currently, we are scheduled to take her home in the next few hours with a clean bill of health!
It will be nice to have our family all together to take on the next chapter!
Updated: 11:43 PM 11/30/2014
Thank you so much for your prayers, likes, shares, comments and encouragement! Please keep praying!
As of late this afternoon… after about 20 hours of LOW blood pressure with NO CHANGES we finally where able to see some progress with her blood pressure raising up (but still low) which has lifted everyone’s spirits.
We’ve been encouraged to “liven” up her room with music and TV programs she enjoys, to talk and touch her to break the “sterile” sounds of medical machines humming away.
To say “good night” this evening we had a brief Facetime session where she was able to hear a few brief sounds from her daughter where she seemed to move her head toward the sounds. We’ll take that as a small victory!
We and she are still in a fight all are determined to win.
We hope and pray for quick progress but also understand it will take time.
Please continue to pray for her, we truly appreciate your support.
It all started with this post here: