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Update on my mother-in-law Jackie and my friend David

I recently wrote two personal posts that have generated a lot of sincere concern from my Active Rain friends:

A Day of Clarity for my Family (about my mother-in-law Jackie) and

My Friend David (about a dear friend battling cancer for the second time this year)

Since I have received a good number of phone calls, private emails, and comments asking about how they are doing, I wanted to take a few minutes to give an update on both of these important people in my life.  I have also included some older pictures of Jackie (easier to find today on short notice), and a pretty recent photo of my friend.  The second picture is of Jackie and my wife Pam when Pam was a baby.

 After that original post was written about Jackie, the doctors started her on a very powerful pain medication called Suboxone, along with an anti-depressant.  Suboxone is also given to help heroin addicts, so you can imagine how strong it must be.  A day or two after she started taking it, we noticed that her mind was slipping very quickly.  Over a 24-hour period, she went from saying a few odd things, to not knowing who we were, to not speaking.  Needless to say, this was more than a little worrisome, since we had already cut her Suboxone dose in half at the advice of an ER doctor friend of mine (later confirmed by Jackie's physician, who was UNREACHABLE on Sunday when we needed him the most). 

After we cut the dose, Jackie immediately starting going through withdrawal, and she was up all night Monday.  She slept the entire next day, and when we couldn't get her to speak at all, we called EMS to come check her, and they took her into Seton Hospital, where she has been since Tuesday night.  Pam spent the first night there with her, since Jackie seemed very agitated.  Pam and I both thought that there was a strong chance that her mother would not make it through that night - she simply looked too sick.

She did start speaking again that evening, but none of what she said made ANY sense at all.  It was some of  the worst delerium that I have witnessed, and I used to work in a geriatric hospital when I was a teenager.  Suffice it to say that we have tried to keep a sense of humor about it, since some of her comments are actually very funny.  The doctors immediately took her off of the pain meds, and they gave her Haldol so that she could sleep better. 

Over the past couple of days, she does seem more lucid, but not all there yet.  She knows my wife and most of what she says makes sense now, but there is still some confusion.  They are discussing having another back surgery since her MRI came back showing additional damage, but Pam is quite hesitant to go this direction with her mom, because her kidneys may not be strong enough (she is on dialysis three times/week) and because the first back surgery is what initially started this domino effect of negative symptoms. 

We have around-the-clock caregivers stationed at the hospital for now, so that we can get adequate rest for a few days.  I thank all of you who have been praying for Jackie and for me and my family during this time.  Please continue to pray for peace for all of us, wisdom and guidance on how best to proceed, along with prayer for healing for Jackie. 

 My friend David (pictured here with his wife Jan on a date night before his illness returned) had a PET scan Monday which was clear of any additional cancer (YES!), although he still has the oral cancer to deal with.  However, the fact that he is cancer-free elsewhere is very good news, and it rather dramatically changes his prognosis.  He was scheduled to be released from the hospital today, and they have an appointment at 4pm today to see the surgeon here in Austin, to make sure that he can handle this delicate procedure.  If not, it is my understanding that they will have to travel to MD Anderson in Houston to get it done.

Again, I thank you all so much for your sincere interest in my friend's well being.  He is one of the finest men that I have known, and I believe that he will make it through this.  Please continue to pray for healing for David, and for God to put the best possible doctors in charge of his care. 

 If you have any questions, please feel free to put them here in the comments or call or email me if you want to.  Thanks!

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