Sunday, August 31, 2014

Out of surgery, back to ICU

Tim is out of surgery, looks like the stent that was placed on the 15th was partially occluded but there are still concerns about a gallbladder infection. Doing additional testing today/tomorrow morning to check. May require surgery again this week to remove it if they find that it's infected but it's complicated with placement of some tumors. Tim's stronger than he was at this stage than he was last time but so far feels all too familiar to this last hospital stay which is scary. He's being placed in ICU after recovery so they can keep a close eye on him but please keep the prayers coming for him...

Back at the hospital

Brought Tim to the ER this morning for an elevated heart rate and a fever. They started him on antibiotics and anti-anxiety meds and are now thinking the infection that was in his colon has reoccurred. They are taking him into surgery within the hour and checking his gallbladder to see if that may be the source and may need to be removed, also rechecking the stent that was placed on the 15th to see if it has migrated or been blocked. Please keep him in your prayers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Side Of Things

Jenny has done an amazing job of keeping everyone up-to-date on how things over these past 2 weeks have been going for me.  I thought that I would try to piece together the things that I remember and how I thought that they happened.

On Friday it was a normal day when I woke up.  I woke up a bit earlier than usual and went a slept for about another 45 min on the couch just so that I wouldn't wake up Jenny.  We both then woke up at the same time and I stripped the bed and put the dirty sheets in the laundry and then came back to watch a few more minutes of tv while Jenny finished getting her shower.  I don't remember being cold or having the chills until I got into the shower that morning and I couldn't get the water hot enough to warm me up.  I had to have stayed in the shower at least 20 minutes before forcing myself out.  I was still shivering cold, so I got dressed quickly and got into my car turned the heat on high and started off to the cancer center for my bloodwork.

I got to the cancer center and was met by Lynn and she could tell something was wrong and took my temp really quick and it came back at 99.7.  She got me 2 heated blankets and sent me over to iTOR to get my blood drawn.  From there they took the blood samples that they needed and then started a bag of fluids to see if that would help any. By the time that the fluids were finished about an hour later my temperature had risen to over 103 and I was bundled under 12 or 13 warm blankets still freezing cold and not able to catch my breath.

At this point Dr. E and Julie decided that I needed to be admitted to the hospital to have a closer eye on my situation.  They moved me to floor 5-D which is the cancer ward of the hospital.  Met the great nurse and before I was in there for 15 minutes she was already calling the emergency response team.  My pulse was beating at about 130 - 150 beats per minute and I couldn't catch my breath.  At this point they decided to move me to ICU.

Here is where the story gets a bit washy for me and I don't remember too many details.  I remember being wheeled out of ICU up to the operating room for my surgery.  I remember meeting the doctor who was very nice and very tall.  The next thing after that I remember is waking up in the recovery room having a dream that there were 10 of us in there and we were all fighting and I woke up feeling terrible because I thought that I had hit a nurse.  Thank goodness I didn't.

Back in ICU I didn't sleep very well due to the nut job that was next to me yelling and screaming all night.

Saturday morning I woke up and everyone must have thought I was doing much better and I was able to be moved back up to the cancer ward of 5-D.  I was there and things were going well from what I though until on Monday and this is where I have a huge lapse of memory.  I don't know why I was moved back to ICU, I think that it has something do with me breathing out of control, and not being able to catch my breath.  Later after the fact I was told by Jenny that they said to her that if she had anything she wanted to stay to me to go ahead and say it then as well as to get my final wishes and my preferences about being intubated.  I think that is the scariest part of this whole ordeal.  I wish that I had known about this because there would have been things that I wanted to say as well.

I stayed in ICU again that Monday night and got the best night of sleep that I received the entire stay of the hospital and by the morning I was a completely different person. They yet again moved me out of ICU to a room on the 4th floor where I would stay until my departure on Friday.  Tuesday through Friday were pretty boring from what I remember with not much excitement.

I guess that I wanted to writing this today because it helps me deal with this ordeal.  It is a very scary thing to find out that you almost died at one point.  It makes you look back and see what you could have done differently in our life.  I am glad that I have been give this second chance at life.  I am going to try to make the most of every situation.

I can't begin to thank everyone enough for all of your thoughts at prayers during this time for me.  I am convinced it is the only what that I made it through.  There is still a long battle left for me to fight so please keep them coming.

I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart,

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Plan & Unsolicited Advice

As most know I was starting nursing school as of last Thursday. With everything going on with Tim I asked USCU if I could defer (technically my mom did) and they've been very supportive and helpful through all of this so provided all goes well, I should be starting in January. I will say that it is a nice break to be able to put all of my focus on getting Tim better rather than having to spread my attention. 

The current plan is for Tim to start the clinical trial Wednesday and to otherwise keep working on getting better. He's anxious to get back to work but I think we're going to try to get him back in slowly. He gets really anxious whenever anything changes (including leaving the house or adding something new to his routine) but is trying so hard to work past all of that. Any time your struggle to breathe your first instinct is to panic though. He's been amazing about trying to learn to calm himself and is already making significant steps in improving his abilities though.

There are many things that I haven't had the time to fill everyone in about over the past week and I'm actually working on putting more of it all together both for you all as well as for Tim and myself to keep from forgetting. One of those things is that I was told to get Tim's final wishes and to say everything I wanted to get out to him a week ago today. It was traumatizing for me that day and it's been hard for him to hear about and process after. I was able to talk to him about his wishes for intubation with lots of help from Julie Martin (his NP from iTOR) and to let him know how much I love him and that I couldn't be more grateful to have him in my life but i couldn't bring myself to talk to him about what his final wishes were or to say good-bye. It was a combination of not being able to bring myself to tell him that the prognosis wasn't good and some self-preservation as it felt like as soon as I said it, it would be true and I would lose him. Which was and still is unfathomable to me.

I say all of this to urge all of you to have a conversation now with your significant other, parents, etc. about what your final wishes are. It's not a fun conversation to have but I promise that it is a lot easier now than getting into a situation like ours was a week ago. I remember feeling like my world was crashing down around me but I also remember feeling terrified that I may have to plan Tim's funeral and I didn't have a clue as to what he wanted. 

We do appreciate your thoughts and prayers and they have been supporting us through the past week. Please keep them coming as we have a long road of recovery ahead of us as we process the events that unfolded and try to process them in a healthy manner. Tim's still inching forward in his physical recovery but he also still has a ways to go as right now he's pretty dependent upon oxygen. He's worked his way up to managing short distances without it already but it's easy to see that he is frustrated he hasn't made more progress and doesn't see how amazing he already is.

Thank you all!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rough Night

Being back "home" has been an adventure in and of itself already. Our new house is undergoing renovations so we came to stay at Tim's parents house for a bit. His oxygen tanks and machine were set up yesterday evening, we had some dinner and headed to bed. Unfortunately one of his medications caused some difficulties which led to a not so restful night. We've both been sleeping all day and he is currently still sleeping so I'm hoping tonight should be a lot more laid back and restful. We both have a long road ahead of us as we navigate these new physical challenges for Tim as well as we try to navigate the emotional repercussions of the events that unfolded last week. Please pray that Tim can see some improvement in his breathing difficulties as he really needs that encouragement right now. Thanks all!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Going Home!

@tdbright8 is being discharged!! We've got a long path for his full recovery but are so grateful for all of you and your support over the past week. Please keep praying for Tim's continued recovery and that the clinical trial he is about to begin will be the break we've been waiting for. Please also keep the mom of a friend of ours in your prayers as she is now in the ICU herself. We will update with more information about everything soon, today we will rest. Thanks again!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Big Brother

I left Tim and Jenny a little while ago, and I told Jenny that I would give her the night off from posting a blog so she could get some much deserved rest. I am happy to say that when I left Tim tonight he was doing well. As Jenny described earlier, his breathing is doing much better. I would even say that his breathing tonight at the hospital was better than I have seen it in some time (including the weeks leading up to today). To say the least, it is great to see. The main reason that I asked Jenny if I could post an update on Tim was so that I could try my best to explain the gratitude that I have for all of the support Tim has received from all of his friends and family. If you could have experienced the transformation in Tim from Monday to today, you would agree with me that what I witnessed was nothing short of a miracle. I believe it is a miracle that took place in large part because of all of the prayers, support, and thoughts that were sent up for Tim, and for that I thank ALL of you. I also want to share a couple of stories and thoughts that I have about Tim. Four and a half years ago I was told by my father that they found something on Tim's colon that the Dr. believed was cancer. I called Jenny before calling Tim later that same day because I didn't want him to sense my sadness. The first thing that Jenny said to me was "all he wants to know is how you are doing. He is worried about you". That will tell you everything you ever need to know about Tim. As Tim's younger brother, I have always known him to be the best brother and also my best friend. What I have learned over time is that Tim is also my hero. If you look up hero in the dictionary, it is defined as someone who is admired for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. In my opinion Tim's picture could be next to that word. I believe that God places people in situations where He knows they can/will excel. It takes a hero to accept a tough situation, and to the best of their abilities, accept the hardship and excel despite it. Now that we are working together I am with Tim every day, and not one time have I ever heard him complain about the hand that he has been dealt. What he does is live every day with courage, happiness, and thankfulness for what he has been given. There is not a night that goes by that I don't thank God for the day he gave us Tim. What Tim does for me every day, and I'm sure what he does for a lot of people that he comes in contact with, is show them that life is not about what you have, but rather how to excel with what you have been given. He has also shown all of us what toughness really looks like. It looks like Tim. Again, thank you for all of the support that each of you have shown for Tim the last couple of days. He appreciates it more than you will ever know. Steven Bright

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Afraid to say he's on the mend but he's doing better

Still waiting to meet with GI, the rest of the pulmonary team and the cancer team and Tim is having a CT Angiogram this morning to try to see if they can see any clots in his lungs which would've been blocked by tumors in the last scan. They are looking at lowering his oxygen levels to allow him to breathe on his own a bit more and have cleared him to walk around the floor a little provided that he can keep his breathing under control. The most important update is that he has finally officially been fever free for 24 hours now. Your prayers are working, please keep them coming. Somewhere around 48 hours ago I thought I was going to have to say good-bye to Tim which was (and still is) the most painful thing I've ever experienced. Thank you for helping me keep him.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Another Room Change

Tim was moved out of the ICU today. We're nervous about it but he is being closely monitored with a heart monitor and OxSat monitor. He has a long way to go before getting out of here but it taking baby steps in the right direction. His white blood cell count has dropped so it is more important now than ever that we only have immediate our parents and siblings visiting right now in order to help protect his fragile immune system. Thanks to all for helping us to protect him.

He's finally resting

We've actually had a quiet night which was very much needed. I woke up a good bit just checking on Tim Bright or getting him to slow his breathing as alarms went off but he slept through the night without waking for more than 5-10 seconds at a time. Thought he may have an allergic reaction to his pain meds so began giving him benedryl along with it which I think has been the best thing for him. I know his body needs sleep right now and am grateful that he has finally begun to get some. His breathing rates have also slowed slightly and he doesn't appear to be moving as much as he was each time he inhales. That being said, we still have a long way for him to go before he is completely out of the woods. Please pray that he continues to rest well and that his breathing challenges continue to improve so his body may get even more rest. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

From Bad to Worse

Today Tim was placed back into ICU due to his struggle to breathe. Everything is touch and go at this point. We're petrified but he is determined to continue to fight. We still don't know what is causing all of this, his labs are coming back clear which typically we'd be grateful for but it's really hard when we really just want to know what is happening. They are running more tests to try to find if/what bacteria is causing all of this. Please pray that he will make it through this just as strog as he's been. I need him.

Bad Night

Last night was pretty bad, I think we both got even less sleep than Friday night. It started out pretty well and we were even able to hang out together for a "date night" here at the hospital. Soon after, Tim spiked a higher fever early yesterday evening and although we got it down quickly, he ran a slight fever most of the night. He's also been coughing up colors that should not be coming out of his lungs so those have been cultured and were waiting on those results along with the blood culture results from Friday. He's begun to have lots of trouble breathing again, just taking a lot of work to take in a breath. We're waiting on the pulmonologist to determine if he may have a blood clot in his legs/lungs or if he may have pneumonia. His poor body has been through so much trauma the past few days and I know it's scaring him that things aren't getting any easier. Please pray for him to start getting better instead of having so many set-backs. He's also having some (understandable) trouble processing everything happening as it is a lot for anyone to take in so please pray for some comfort and peace for him, the more anxious he becomes the more trouble he has with breathing and the higher his heart rate spikes. We're going to try to get some sleep until the doctors and nurses head back our way again and hope to have another (better) update later today.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Slowly Improving

Tim's fever spiked a little last night but went down on its own for the first time in days. Still no results on the blood cultures and still has a higher breathing/heart rate than he should but he's slowly improving day by day. My back is killing me from the crazy chair bed but I finally feel rested and somewhat coherent again. He's finally feeling sore from the surgery, both in his throat and abdomen and his entire body is sore, likely a combination of being so sick and being in a bed for so long. As for some good news, he's been on a narcotic cough syrup for weeks now due to a racking cough that won't go away. The breathing treatments he's receiving are making his cough a lot stronger but much more infrequent and the cough is actually productive now (a very good thing). With his abdomen, the cough is pretty painful but were glad for improvement. Thank you all again for all of the love!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ups & Downs

Today has been much more calm but still with its share of ups and downs. Tim is still running fevers up at 103 intermittently which causes him lots of distress with his breathing and heart rate. We did get back to a private room and have been sleeping off and on today. Still don't feel caught up but we do feel better than this morning. We're waiting on his blood cultures which may be back as late as Monday to see if any particular bacteria grows showing there is an infection in his bloodstream. This will determine how long his stay is and how long he will be getting IV antibiotics. We've also been meeting with a respiratory therapist and think we have a good plan in place to try to improve Tim's breathing and quality of life. His jaundice is clearing up which is also a good sign and he did some walking around the floor this evening without oxygen and hopefully that will help him progress faster. He's on a clear liquid diet and hoping to get moved up as he manages each step well. Were so appreciative of all of you, this is draining but having such a good care team here at the hospital and a support team of all of you behind us has made all the difference.

More Improvements

Just spoke to Dr. E and Dr. Rickoff (the GI treating Tim Bright). His bilirubin has dropped from a 7 to a 4 and his jaundice is already beginning to clear up a bit. We're still waiting on blood cultures to see if the infection traveled to his bloodstream but they're being proactive and loading him with antibiotics. He is being downgraded from ICU back to the oncology floor today (yay for no more neighbors screaming profanities that think they are in Miami all night!) and they will slowly begin to reintroduce food to him today. Still have a ways to go but so thrilled by the amount of progress he's already made! We love all of you and would love to see you but are asking that you wait to visit until he is stronger as we're trying to get him back to health as quickly as possible so we can get back down to the business of fighting this cancer. Thank you for understanding! In the meantime we are well taken care of but will def still take all the prayers you want to send this way. Thanks again to all of you, you've made us feel so loved through this!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Worst day of my life

 First of all, we just want to thank everyone for all of your kind thoughts and prayers, it has been a very long and VERY terrifying day. Tim had surgery tonight where a stint was placed in his bile duct and is now back in ICU and stable. The big issues now are a really high fever, issues with a really high breathing rate and a high heart rate. We're hoping those will resolve as this infection within his liver clears with the stint and he continues to receive strong antibiotics. He's had a dream team of caregivers here at GHS who have moved quickly not only to take care of him but me and our families as well during the insanity, especially our second family at the Cancer Center. We're also waiting for the results of his blood tests to make sure the infection didn't spread into his bloodstream. They are letting me stay in the ICU with him tonight but I'm not allowed to sleep in here. For now I'm just grateful that he's still here with me to have an all-nighter with. Thank you for your prayers, I have no doubt that God is hearing them and working his magic with Tim Bright!

We will fill in more information later but my brain and emotions are currently fried. Thank you all for being so incredible to is once again.


Everything is changing by the minute still but Tim's gone downhill quickly today and was placed in ICU due to a high fever and breathing/heart rate issues. He may have surgery this afternoon to place a stint in his abdomen to help drain all of the infection going on in there and they are also running blood panels to see if he has sepsis (an infection in his bloodstream). Other than knowing he will likely be in for at least five days, we don't know much else. I'll keep everyone informed as much as I can but all we really need right now are prayers for his healing. We're both pretty scared right now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Results Are In...kind of

We should've updated this information yesterday but to be honest everything happened so quickly that it wasn't really an option. Yesterday (Tuesday) Tim got a call that an opening had just become available for today (Wednesday) for his endoscopy and they asked if he could come earlier. So we arrived at the hospital to get Tim prepped for the scope/ultrasound around noon today. They took him back for the procedure around 2 which took an hour. He's still been hurting a good bit so they gave him some good pain meds and coupled with the anesthesia, he was pretty out of it after the procedure.

The doctor spoke to us and mentioned that although he didn't see any tumors on Tim's pancreas, he did see scar tissue indicating Tim likely had pancreatitis previously. He's never had any symptoms like this before so everyone is unsure of when this happened. The doctor did mention thickening of the beginning of Tim's small intestine. He took a biopsy that should give a few additional answers about what is going on but it's still too early to speculate about exactly what is going on. This was not the news Tim was hoping for so its been pretty rough on him which is awful timing considering that tomorrow (Thursday) is his 32nd birthday. He has an Op-Ed piece coming out in this week's Greenville Journal (I believe) and needed a headshot so my talented photographer cousin, Jessie, took some great photos this weekend. I thought I'd share my favorite of the birthday boy!

The other challenge we are having right now is keeping Tim's weight stable (and preferably increasing) as he is on a strict low-residue and low/no sugar diet to rest his gut and pancreas. He's having a hard time with eating the same things (bland things) over and over again and really wants something sweet which is not possible right now.

Please pray that the swelling is not associated with the spread of Tim's cancer. Although it wouldn't change anything about the treatment plan or Tim's staging, it would be a blow to him and he could use all the good he can get right now. Please also pray that this pancreatitis will clear up quickly so we can get Tim back into a robust diet to improve his weight.

Thank you all for all of your support. We're behind and owe a lot of return communication right now but you all have no idea just how much the calls, emails, cards, texts, Facebook and blog comments, etc. mean to both of us. Sometimes all of this feels very isolating so its a great reminder that there is still a great world outside of the insanity we're currently wrapped up in.

Hope you guys have a great weekend and we will update as soon as we can!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back where it all started

Tim was supposed to start chemo again today but still wasn't feeling great so they've decided to push his start date back a week. He's still been having pain in his abdomen and back as well as issues keeping his reflux at bay so they referred him to a GI. 

It just so happens that the GI he was referred to was Dr. Idris, the GI that found his cancer initially. We've both been wanting to thank him for his diligence for the past four and a half years so it was great to finally be able to acknowledge how much we appreciated his efforts. 

Dr. Idris has recommended doing an endoscopy to check as to why Tim's acid reflux has gotten so bad as well as a special ultrasound to check to see if they can find a reson for the swelling of his pancreas. 

Please pray that Tim's pancreatitis continues to improve (they were really amazed with the amount his numbers dropped between Monday and Froday of last week!). Please also say a big prayer that the swelling of the pancreas has nothing to do with cancer cells or tumors in that area and that a reason for his acid reflux getting so bad can be found (an easy to fix reason that is).

Thank you all for your prayers and support!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Y'all are awesome!

This has been a CRAZY week. Not only was Tim diagnosed with pancreatitis but mold was found in our new house and I not only chipped my tooth but cracked up all the way up. Oh and it was the front tooth. 

Tim hasn't eaten since Monday and has lost 8 pounds in the meantime. The MUCH needed good news is that his levels have dropped back to normal ranges and he'll be starting chemo on Monday as scheduled! 

We still have no idea what caused this and Tim will be on "low-residue" foods for awhile but he's excited to start eating again. I'm also excited for him to start eating again as this kid is not fun to be around when he hadn't been eating. He gets hangry :) 

Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts and for reaching out over the past few days. I have no doubt at all that they are the cause for his recovery. Please continue to keep Tim in your prayers that he will continue to recover and that this chemo will work for him. I know he's really craving some stability and could use a break from the downs.

Thanks again for all you've done!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The hits just keep coming

I decided to give Jenny the day off from writing and thought I would give the update today.  First, I just wanted to thank everyone for their texts, prayers, and thoughts for me yesterday.  I know it might not seem like a lot to just type a quick text to me but those things go a long way for me.  It was very humbling to see so many people reach out to us that I just cant thank everyone enough.  Jenny yesterday mentioned how frustrated that I am currently.  She couldn't be more spot on.  After dealing with this disease for a little over 4 1/2 years now, there never seems to be anything that comes easy.  Just when you think that you can sit back and relax a bit something else jumps up and says "Hello".  I don't want to sound like I am bitching but after a period of time you just want to look around a say "just give me a f#%*ing break".  This road has been challenging, stressful, and fun all at the same time and I wouldn't change a thing.  So I guess what I am asking for are more prayers for the road to be a little less bumpy here for a little bit.

As far as an update goes, I talked with Dr. E on the phone just a short time ago and he informed me on what I already knew:  that my pancreas is inflamed as well as my duodenum.  I started a clear liquid diet last night and will continue on one until Thursday.  We will check my progress then and probably do more blood work on Friday to see where things stand.  I might go and see a GI that day as well to see if they need to do a scope to see if there is an ulcer or anything around there.  So for the next few days I will be on a steady dose of popsicles, Jello, Gatorade, and water.  I know that everyone is jealous.

Thank you again to everyone for their words of encouragement.  I will make a promise that as long as people keep giving prayers and encouragement to Jenny and I, that I will never stop fighting and I will never throw in the towel.  We will update this again on Friday after we have met with more people.

Have a great rest of the week,

Monday, August 4, 2014

Life just became even more complicated

There is really no other way to describe how Tim's been feeling lately other than "off". Today he had his first appointment with iTOR to prep for him starting the clinical trial next Monday. During the CT scan they found that his pancreas was inflamed and have given an initial diagnosis of pancreatitis. They are doing some additional blood tests to try to diagnose exactly what is causing it but he's currently pretty frustrated feeling as though he never gets a break. He's also been put on a strict diet of clear liquids for the time being so there is some concern about him losing weight again as he is skinny enough as it is. Were both a bit nervous and anxious about what this means for him so if you get a chance please say a little prayer that this will be something minor that he can bounce back from quickly and some comfort and peace for him as he's currently in a good deal of pain. Thanks all, we'll update again as we know more.