Thursday, January 18, 2007

No Turning Back . . .

I've commandeered the blog because Jeff is asleep. We checked into St. Luke's Hospital at 9:00 a.m. this morning. As an interesting side note, this hospital has a McDonald's inside it! It's either pure irony (this hospital is the premier heart hospital in the area) or it is ingenious (albeit, ruthless) marketing.

Jeff ate a good lunch in his hospital room, then they took him to a surgical radiologist who inserted a "central line." This is a catheter that is inserted into a main artery through the neck. Two small tubes remain exposed and are coiled and taped to his chest. Hydrating fluids are administered through one of the tubes; medications are administered through the other. Jeff said he will be required to keep the cenral line in for one year. P.S. He can never get it wet, so showers are going to get a little more challenging!

After the doctors inserted the central line, they gave him some anti-nausea medication (one given orally and the other given through his IV). Then they brought him dinner and encouraged him to eat before they began the chemotherapy. However, as soon as they brought his dinner, they gave him two more anti-nausea mediations. These made him extremely tired almost immediately, and before he could finish eating he fell asleep.

The nurse came in the room to administer the first chemotherapy drug called "DTIC" at 6:30 p.m. She tried to wake Jeff to explain what she was doing, but he was completely out of it. She started the DTIC via an IV drip and left the room. I kissed Jeff on the forehead and cried. Jeff is officially undergoing chemotherapy and there is no turning back. I trust his doctor completely and the nursing staff is wonderful. I just hate that Jeff has to go through this and no matter what the outcome, I realize our lives will never be the same again. I feel like today was both the end of our "old" life and the beginning of our "new" one. I'm sure we'll all adjust.

I just took a break to talk to the kids on the phone. They are being real troopers! Jeff was too exhausted to hold the phone and kept falling asleep while he tried to talk to them, so we kept the call short tonight. As we talked on the phone, Jeff finished the first chemo treatment! (It is now 8:30 p.m.). So far, so good.

I'll update everyone again tomorrow. Until then, I want to say a special thank you to our friend Katie for taking Regan and Aubrey for a girls' night out tonight and to my extra-special friend Liz for dropping by the house tonight. I wish I could have been there to see you! I'll likely be home late next week. In the meantime, we'll be making arrangements for Jeff's mom to come to Houston for the second week of treatment (the sick/tired week) when he'll be out of the hospital. I rented a "medical apartment" today--thank you, Betty for pointing us in the right direction!--so, very soon, Jeff will have an address in Houston where you can send him well-wishes during his off-weeks when he is out of the hospital. In the meantime, he is in Room 2034 at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. We'll likely be here until next Tuesday or Wednesday if all goes as planned.

In the meantime, please keep praying. Don't let up! He needs it now more than ever.

12 comments:

Mary M Clay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monica said...

Kelly,
For days I've been trying to decide what to say, I was quite shocked when mom told me what was going on. Thanks for the update I've been thinking and praying for you both (and the kids) all day. I wish there was something more we could do. Just know we are thinking of you often and praying very hard!

Katie Clancy said...

Kelly, as predicted you're sounding strong and handling things with the usual finesse that we know as Kelly Dodd. Best wishes and lots of hugs as you travel down this path together. Much love, Katie

Bob Johnston said...

Jeff & Kelly:

I am so pleased to note that the program has begun. I anxiously wait for the daily messages-I think to cry a little and pray a little and hope and hope and hope. Well put a raincheck on the Healing Mass at Holy Hill until you get back to Wisconsin. By the way, I introduced myself to your dad. Made myself available for anything he and your mom might need.

Go with God Jeff. You are in his hands.

Bob and all your Notre Dame supporters.

Rod & Joyce said...

Jeff & Kelly,
We are thinking and praying for you and your family daily. So glad there is treatment for you, Jeff, but so very sad that you have to experience chemo. Our hearts are with you and your entire family. So many people have offered to help, remember that when you reach out for their help that makes them feel good, so don't hold back asking for the assistance of those that offer. Love you all, God bless. Rod, Joyce & Family

mphaley said...

Laura & I continue to pray for you everyday and our families in Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere are praying and spreading the word that prayers are needed for Jeff and your entire family. Thank you so much for sharing your personal insights and details of Jeff's treatment with us. May God's blessings be on you all (or is it y'all down there?). Love and prayers from Omaha.

Cathy said...

Prayers keep coming. Today I will be stopping by the Cennical, a Retreat Center here in Houston on the west side of town, to request that the sisters keep Jeff in their prayers for success with his treatment, good health to him; to keep all of your family safe; to give the family courage and strength to make it through this trying time; and for you Kelly, to give you extra strength, courage, and good health to you and the miracle the life of your third child. God bless all of you.

Steve and Molly said...

Jeff, Kelly and the whole Dodd family, I can't even imagine what you all are going through right now, mixed emotions every minute I'm sure! You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. Keep strong and keep smiling:)
God bless you! Molly and Steve Hall (part of the Kuchta clan)

mka said...

Kelly, remember, anytime you want to call me day or night, don't hesitate. I haven't been sleeping too well anyway with all this on my mind. I got up at 3 this morning. I had had a dream of Jeff at a target range shooting at cancer cells. The guy at the range was telling him he was getting all bullseyes. So maybe that's a good sign. I'm still praying though. Love, Mom

Denise O'Meara said...

Hi Jeff & Kelly-
This is your neighbor, Denise writing. Our family just heard your shocking news yesterday evening when Robin Cox called. (We were in Florida for a week.) I knew something was terribly wrong by the tone in her voice on the answering machine. My head was filled with so many questions last night and I couldn't stop thinking about you, Jeff. Today I read your blog. It is wonderful for all of us back home because it addresses so many of those questions we all have. It is also very uplifting to read about your and Kelly's incredible courage as you face what is surely the greatest challange of your lives.
Just remember, they have those blind studies for a reason; the power of the spirit can dominate over mind, body, and all of science! You're in the middle of a mighty battle and from what you're reporting, it sounds like your out to win this fight. Go for it! We'll be cheering all the way back in Wauwatosa.

Emily said...

Jeff & Kelly, It is so wonderful to hear that treatment has begun so swiftly. Prayers are coming from everywhere, from total strangers that hear about your family. It is good to see the world is still willing to help, pray, and pull together. We continue to pray for you daily and tell everyone we know to do the same. Much love to you, your kids, parents, and siblings,
Rob and Emily Broyles and family

John said...

Sounds like everything is going good so far as cancer treatment goes. It's strange to consider cancer treatment a good thing. Anyway, from the moment you told me about Jeff until now, as I've told you before, I get a stronge feeling that Jeff will be fine, so I'm not terribly concerned. I've prayed for Jeff and all of you, but you shouldn't worry because I get a strong feeling that everything will be fine. He is in great hands and has the best family.