Derailing Our Exit Strategy

(guest post by Matt)

If you're big on coffee, water and ice, this may as well be Elway's Restaurant.

If you’re big on coffee, water and ice, this may as well be Elway’s Restaurant.

In the last update, I left off sharing the great news of Stephanie’s clear PET scan. Since Friday, Stephanie has done well. Very well. Yesterday (Saturday) was a good day. She’s been walking, coherent, eating… she’s been doing everything the nurses have needed her to do in order to be discharged from the hospital. And my oh my, how things change.

Today was supposed to be the day. We thought it and Stephanie’s nurses thought it too. They were so certain that she was going home that they started writing up discharge papers and instructions and even said, “If you feel like you’re ready to go home, you can go home.” Stephanie was unsure and was on the fence between, “I just want to get out of here,” and, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

She and I were on a little stroll through the hallways of her floor, just chugging right along. On our way back to her room, we passed the nurse’s station; Stephanie’s nurse who gave us the choice was there, and Stephanie voiced her decision: “I think I’m ready to go home.”

The nurse’s reply: “Not so fast.”

Well, crap.

During her stay, when the nurses were checking her vital signs, they noticed an irregular heartbeat. They ordered a couple EKGs to be done, but didn’t think that it was that big of a deal. Stephanie was still under the influence of pain meds, she’d just had surgery, her body had been depleted from its regular nutrition… all these things likely played a part in the little hiccup she received on the scan. Well, evidently the medical team thought enough of it that they took our choice away from us. We’d be staying at least one more night.

Not only would we be staying at least one more night, but this involved a room switch. That meant new nurses, a new floor, new just about everything. This switch also involves Stephanie to be hooked up to heart monitors strategically placed on her upper body to monitor her heart rate. Generally speaking, I believe change is good. Change keeps our wits sharp, keeps us focused, makes us pay more attention. However right now, change sucks. It’s overwhelming right now. It’s causing stress. The last thing we needed was one more thing to pop up. Frankly, we thought that a re-diagnosis, surgery, recovery, and the upcoming grueling chemotherapy treatment was enough for the time being.

We don't wear these to be trendy.

We don’t wear these to be trendy.

From where we are now, it’s looking like Stephanie’s electrolytes are low. So, this is a whole different ballgame. For me, when I hear anything along the lines of electrolyte deficiency, I think have some Gatorade and be done with it. But as it turns out, magnesium and potassium (the two she’s lacking) play key roles in heart function. And having just endured what she’s endured, the road to getting out of here seems to be that much longer.

This seems simple enough, but we are drained. Emotionally and physically. Stephanie is over it. She just wants to go home. She’s tired of the pain, she’s tired of the hospital. And I have to say, I’m tired of it too. Personally, I make the 20 minute drive back home to our house twice a day to care for our pup, Scout, before coming back to the hospital. I’d really prefer to not have to do that. I just want to have the green light from the hospital, get Stephanie in the car with me, drive away and never look back. I’m blogging this at 11:30pm. We’re in a smaller room on a different floor with different medical staff. Nights are rough (anyone who’s ever spent the night in a hospital, patient or otherwise, can attest to that). We miss the comforts of home. We’ll never take for granted our own bed or a hot shower ever again.

So, this entry will close with a prayer request. Please pray that the Lord would see fit to strengthen Stephanie enough so that we might be able to go home. Pray for strength and endurance for both of us. Pray for peace despite the situation and for rest and comfort during our stay. Pray for wisdom and efficiency for the medical staff.

We’re discouraged, sure. We’re both running on empty. This in no way signals towards a lack of faith. Our spirit is strong, but our flesh is weak. We still rejoice for the amazing triumphs of the weekend and look forward to the future. Tonight is simply a speed bump. As always, prayers are appreciated, and we love each one of you. Thank you for everything and thankfully, tomorrow is a new day.

Isaiah 40:29 (ESV)

“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.”

9 Comments on Derailing Our Exit Strategy

  1. Ginger
    December 2, 2012 at 11:36 PM (2 years ago)

    I’ll be praying for you tonight. Love, Ginger

  2. Julie
    December 3, 2012 at 1:01 AM (2 years ago)

    The StewBu Crew continues to pray!

  3. Karen Palen
    December 3, 2012 at 7:46 AM (2 years ago)

    Stephanie and Matt: My prayers have been with you during your whole journey, and especially today. I am praying that Stephanie will gain the required strength to come home, that you will both feel Jesus’ strong arms and tender love. You are both very special, deeply loved children of our Father!

  4. Stephanie Oleson
    December 3, 2012 at 11:24 AM (2 years ago)

    Sending prayers for comfort, joy, electrolyte “upping”, peace and hope in the face of
    fatigue and weariness. You are loved!

  5. KC Dierenfield
    December 3, 2012 at 1:42 PM (2 years ago)

    Lord, although the secret things belong to You and things revealed belong to us (Deut 29:29) our flesh desires to know all things so we can make sense out of it. But realisitically, if that were to happen, we wouldn’t need to walk by faith ~ only sight and our own intellect and frankty, we woudn’t need YOU! However, Steph and Matt desire to walk by faith and look to You for everything through this unknown. Please hold Steph and Matt in the Palm of YOUR Hands, and keep them content, peaceful, and full of Your strength as they face another ‘speed bump’ through this journey. If they only knew, what shining examples they were to us all of Your love and faithfulness, grace and mercy, etc. May You be glorified in their lives today. Heal her today of any heart issues ~ we know You can ~ we know You ALONE CAN! We all stand in faith believing in Your Healing Hand! Love You Jesus! AMEN!

  6. Debbie Kane
    December 3, 2012 at 3:35 PM (2 years ago)

    Hello again Matt (and Stephanie), It’s me, Debbie Kane again. I am hoping that somehow, (by now) you know who I am from the two long posts I have sent to you guys. I am the girl who is also surviving cancer in the NW Houston, Texas area. During my chemo days in 2010, I went Neutropenic twice and almost died on the first event. But, I refused death because I KNEW…BEYOND THE SHADOW OF ALL DOUBT, that I still had more battles to fight (and WIN!). So, when my neutrophils were so low in August, 2010, and my body temperature was 102 degrees, the ER doctors told my husband to call all of our family and friends to bid me good bye because no one typically survives when their neurtrophils were as low as mine were. I too have had low electrolytes, potassium, magnesium and vitamin D, which always were dealt with. To this day, my vitamin D remains unhealthily low and I have to take ONE pill of vitamin D, ONE time per week. It is at an incredibly high dosage of 50,000 IU’s per pill! Even after being on this one pill per week for almost a year, my lab workup on November 20th showed that I continued to have a severe vitamin D deficiency. Please do NOT stress too much over the “bumps” in the road. If nothing else, they WILL serve to be very beneficial in your future as you share your amazing stories with others who will be in desperate need of every word you share about all of this.

    The scripture that you just ended your update with: Isaiah 40:29 (ESV), that says:
    “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.” is a great one for this current situation. I have one more scripture to offer up (ONCE AGAIN, LOL!), that I PRAY WILL comfort the both of you right now, as well: John 14:27 Here is what one translations says: “Peace I leave with you, my Peace I give to you. Not as the world would give, I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither be afraid. Rest assured, I’ll always be with you.” Now…let’s break that down a bit! “Peace. I am leaving you with MY PEACE! It is NOT the kind of Peace that can be found anywhere else in the world either! It is a different kind of Peace and I am giving and leaving it with YOU! “So, don’t let your heart or mind be troubled about anything that is going on right now. Don’t even be a little bit afraid. Simply rest. And when I say “rest”, I mean relax and keep on feeling fully assured of the fact that I will always…and I mean ALWAYS be right there with you.

    Now, see how when you break it down…just how powerful this kind of Peace Jesus was trying to explain to us actually is? Praise His Holy Name!

    Matt, I once again want to make sure that you and Stephanie know that my door is ALWAYS open to you. I have been involved in this particular war, long before I was diagnosed with it. I have been a cancer caregiver on two separate occasions in my life. And BOTH have survived past the 10 year marker too! I used to donate platelets, volunteer at MD Anderson where I would bring my guitar and sing for the children on a few occasions. And now, I have spent the last 2 1/2 years during my OWN battle, researching, studying, documenting this horrific monster. I just may have info in my “data base”, that is supposed to be for you. It would be my honor, to serve you both in anyway I possibly can.

    With much unconditional love,
    Debbie Kane
    Tomball, Texas
    281-826-0244

  7. Debbie Kane
    December 3, 2012 at 3:52 PM (2 years ago)

    Guys, I just proof read what I just sent…and I left something important out! When I spoke about the time I almost died because my Neutrophils were so low and the ER doctors told my husband to gather my family because it is rare for anyone to survive when the readings are as low as mine with…well I failed to tell you what I said and did! So sorry…I didn’t mean to leave you “hanging” there, lol! I saw the color leave my husband’s face as the doctor said this to him. So, in my weakened state, I called the doctor to my bed. I asked him to please check the bottoms of my feet. With sincere compassion, he started undoing the sheets at the bottom of my bed, exposing my feet. He started examining both of them. From the bottom of my bed he looked up at me and asked “What am I looking for honey?” “What symptoms are you feeling?” I replied: “You don’t see ANYTHING?…Are you sure?” “No.” he said. “What am I looking for?” I just said (rather smugly I admit, lol!) “I didn’t THINK so!” “If you don’t see an expiration date stamped on the bottom of my feet, then PLEASE don’t ever assume that I have no chance of surviving the night ever again!” “Only my Heavenly Father knows when it is my time to come home!” “OK?”, I asked. He and my husband cracked up laughing and the entire “spirit” of helplessness and sorrow that had been overwhelmingly present in that room just vanished instantly! So guys….I rest my case! You already know the Truth about Stephanie surviving. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, exhausted and frustrated, just STAND YOUR GROUND! In reading all of your blog “Derailing”, I am so proud of both of you! And it is truly an honor to STAND THAT GROUND with you! <3

  8. worldventuremedia
    December 4, 2012 at 6:16 PM (2 years ago)

    Hang in there guys. Kara and I will pray for grace for the endless “one more thing” you are facing.

  9. Jennine
    December 6, 2012 at 8:07 AM (2 years ago)

    It sounds like Stephanie is having an episode of atrial fibrillation. I’ve been dealing with it for about 7 years now. She will be just fine and get through this with flying colors as well! Doctors are cautious when someone gets it for the first time and a lot of times it resolves on its own. It seems to be common anymore for people to get it during/after surgery. My husband also got it after his hernia surgery. You are both in my prayers!