Saturday, October 9, 2010

Our Latest Adventure: 29 days in the hospital

It's been a long time since our last post. Did you think we died?
Not to be dramatic, but one of us came close. 

I've been quiet about what's going on here until things settled down, but now I'm able to talk about it. Here's our latest adventure in a nutshell. In April Frank was diagnosed with cancer in his large intestine. (Colon cancer is not just in the butt but can also be in the gut.) He finished his radiation and chemo this summer and did very well. He still has all his hair, which is nice, because I think he looks silly without a moustache. 

Yes, if chemo makes your hair fall out, ALL of your hair falls out. Frank was lucky.

He had the tumor removed in August and that's when the adventure took a rocky turn and turned our lives upside down. He developed a nasty infection, got terribly sick, had an ambulance ride to the hospital, 3 more surgeries, kidney failure, antibiotics, etc etc... It was touch and go and for the first two weeks his doctors wouldn't say if he would make it or not. They would just say, "Well, he's very sick. We have to wait and see."

Very scary. I cried a lot and spent a week by his side in the hospital. Poor Rachel was stressed out and worried about her dad while trying to get ready to start high school. She just had to wait her turn for my attention. 

When it was all done, we counted up how many days Frank was hospitalized: 29.

At this point he he healing very well. Due to the 3 surgeries to clean up the infection, he was left with a large open wound. At the beginning it was 6" long (his belly button is gone forever) and 3" wide and about 2 1/2" deep. Something this large can only heal from the inside out, and so he has been wearing a wound vac since he was finally discharged from the hospital a few weeks ago. Yesterday when his nurses changed the dressing they told him it has healed to the point where he may only need to wear the wound vac for maybe one more week. Yay! Wearing it means he has a tube from his abdomen to the vacuum unit and cannister that he has to wear like a fanny pack or purse. It's a hassle and he hates it. I don't blame him.

Now that he's healing, the other side effect of his illness is starting to kick in: the financial side. We've got health insurance but with the deductibles (his own insurance ended during this ordeal and so I switched him over to mine, which means we have to meet two deductibles this year) the medical bills we're responsible for are whopping big. On top of that, he hasn't been working, of course, but I've been taking time off work to take care of him, so our income is ... wait. What income? 

Meanwhile, we have set up a page on Facebook for Frank called Support Team Brown. Yes, you are correct. It is a poo joke. Please visit Support Team Brown - And please Like the page to spread the word about Salem Oregon's very own Deaf Chef and help him as he recovers from cancer.

Our goal is to have 10,000 likes by the end of October. Thanks!

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