Thursday, December 20, 2007

Subclavical Artery...say what??

A lot has been going on with Tina's health here lately. It started back in September at a dentist appointment. The dentist noticed that the inside of her mouth wasn't matching up ie: left side looked more swollen then the right side. So off she went to another dr. who ordered a cat scan. He didn't know what it was and so he offered to referr her another dr. Tina decided to call her family dr. and get his opinion, basically both dr's read Tina the definition of an AVM off of webmd, which is the same thing Tina read. (Googling can be a bit scary at times!) Off to another dr. she goes...who basically charged the Flohr's $30 to read the same definition to her again and referr her to a dr. in Hershey.

Paul and Tina arrive in Hershey after a crazy day of getting there, to find that Tina's new dr. can't really do much one sent the cat scans! Though, Tina was relieved to meet someone who has dealt with AVMs before and can explain some things to her...since Hershey is a teaching hospital, there were 2 others in the room learning as the Flohr's did. Apparently, the blood rushing through Tina's AVM (which is right under her left jaw line, and as Tina found out, goes up under her tongue) is called a "thrill"...Funny to hear everyone referring to Tina's "thrill", and even more important is that the residents got to feel the thrill. Big thing! (so I've heard).

Now its time for the waiting game...the named Dr. Rugg (we'll keep it simple for story telling), can't really tell the Flohr's too much, except that he can feel "the thrill" in her mouth and under her jaw, but without the cat scan images, there isn't too much he can say.

After two weeks, Dr. Rugg calls Tina and says, "Wow, from the outside you look like a healthy young woman, but the inside is a mess!" And goes on to explain how the AVM is connected to the base and bottom of my tongue, that removal would require removing my tongue (insert concerned Tina here), and that he would consult with another physician and they would call me back to set up an appointment to discuss more options. Yippee....another wait for another dr's appointment, with no real solid answers and the thought that Tina is going to lose her!

Next appointment rolls around and now Tina has a "team" of dr's...Dr. Rugg and Dr. Kalap (again shortened for story telling), and they discuss some options with Tina & Paul on ways to "attack" this AVM. They explain that its pretty rare, Dr. Rugg says he's only seen AVMs in young children, no one in the double digits and not any in this rare place on her body. Tina's feeling like a freak!

Options are, and will be discussed at the next tumor board meeting (Tina feels important): radiation, removal or shrinking it by shooting particals into it through a catheter. In the meantime, they discuss another "mass" in Tina's chest that showed up on the cat scan and set up an appointment for her to get an MRI done...note to those that are reading: Hershey is an hour away, this AVM is getting pricey with the gas!

Skip forward to the present...I can't remember what all happened in between, but the MRI still showed the "mass" so the docs set up an outpatient procedure: a needle biopsy with cat scan to figure out what this thing is and Tina is hooked up to heart monitors and has her heart checked out...crazy, but Tina's been experiencing heart palpatations now (STRESS! does this have to happen right around the crazy holidays, and does money have to be tight??) All is well in heartland, and Tina prepares for her biopsy. (The heart monitoring and what not was done the morning of the biopsy, it was a long day...about to get longer!)

She gets all checked in, settled into her nice hospital gown, jokes around with nurse Kathy and Paul and relaxes. Another nurse came over, insertered the i.v. and slapped Tina's arm around a little...that right there should have been the warning sign that things were going down from there. Not that that had anything to do with it...but it just seemed like the start to the fall.

They wheel Tina down to the cat scan room and an intern dr. comes out to explain the procedure to her. He also explains how small the area is that they will be working in (WARNING! WARNING!) and all the important mumbo jumbo that is in the area. How everything should go smoothly and hopefully they won't miss anything and blah, blah, blah...wheel Tina in and send in the happy drugs. All is good in Tina land as she's being pushed in and out of the cat scan until suddenly she grabs her and mutters in her druggy slew, "Ouch, that hurts, is that supposed to hurt?"

They pull her out and again, being a teaching hospital, groups of folks that Tina didn't even realize were in the room, gather around to gock at her. They immediately take her off the drugs (Tina questions this, not realizing the pain she's feeling isn't supposed to be there) and wheel her into another room...

Basically, after Tina freaks out because it hurts like a dickens to breath and she can hardly breath, they discover (maybe after another cat scan or x-ray, or something...they wheeled her into another room, she doesn't remember much at that point) that in the process of extracting stuff from the mass, they punctured her subclavical artery and it bled. The blood, following the natural state of gravity, flowed down and pooled into her right lung...thus resulting in a "bruise" in her lung. Luckily though, it wasn't a lot of blood so they didn't have to drain her lung, but they did drug her up (which made her get sick) and kept her over night and ALL day the next day for observation.

What a loooonnngggg day...and mind you, Paul didn't know anything was going on, until they rolled Tina back into the post-op room and he was chillin' and then get freaked out. Nothing like seeing your wife roll in with oxygen tubes up her nose and not being able to breath.

Tina is on the way back to recovery and it will take a few weeks, but she feels a little better everyday. She'll be thrilled when she can lay on her back again and sleep! Taking deep breaths is still uncomfortable as well as coughing, yawning or sneezing. All to be expected.

Next blog post will be about Tina's AVM surgery: the date, what will go down (as the Flohr's know right now) and the rest of the 411...stay posted!

Happy Merry Merry :-)

Until then, enjoy a summer LO of Riddy enjoying an ice cold treat...maybe it will warm us up in during these cold winter months :-)


Kristin said...

Can I say WOW... I hadn't even realized half of what had been going on even prior to the subclavical problem. Tina cannot lose her tongue! I can't imagine a Tina not being able to talk! :) I hope all goes well. As I said before, if you need any help watching the girls, etc., please don't hesitate to call me. I'd be more than happy to help out any way I can. You have my thoughts and prayers for a full and speedy recovery from this icky mass.

mama hall said...

tina i can not believe the caca you are going thru! wish i could be there to give you a big hug. and i also think it would be cool to see your thrill. :) xoxo

Anonymous said...

Lex had filled me in on some stuff, but I had no idea it was to this extent. So sorry you are having to go through this. Life is throwing us some curve balls, but join me in my daily motto now...
'I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.'
Phil 4:13
You are in my prayers.

Much love, Stephanie Boutwell

Lisa said...

Tina~ This is Lisa from our Jan Mommies group! I love your new blog and will read it faithfully. Here is a great blog that is guaranteed to make you smile: He is just an ordinary Dad putting a hilarious spin on life, marriage and raising kids. What a scary ordeal you are going through right now. I am praying for you and will have my church add you to their prayer list as well. With that many people praying for you then I can predict great miracles coming your way! Hugs to you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tina,

Goofyemt96 AKA Mary from Scrapgirls, Just wanted to stop by your blog to check it out. and WOW. What a story, so sorry you went thru all that. I'm glad you are on the road to recovery and look forward to seeing you on the boards... I live in Jersey by the way! About 2 hours from Hershey! TTYL

Anonymous said...

OMG!! You are in my prayers did not know this was all goin on child!! You know I had all that heart stuff too and when I quit taking the pill last January they went away. The cardiologist said the pill would not do that but the gyn said yes it very well can cause increased HR!! Keep that in mind if you take it! Don't let them get your tongue!!

Buffy said...

LOVE your new blog! Tina- so sorry to hear of your yucky hospital experience. We are praying for you and will be watching for updates!

Buffy Storm and family