Sunday, December 31, 2006

Progress update from Melinda

First of all, both Cheryl and Melinda wish you all a Happy New Year and a fantastic 2007! It’s just under five hours before Cheryl in Vancouver hits 2007, but for Melinda it is all over about 14 hours ago.

Cheryl is now settled into her new private room on the surgical ward, which is where she will now be until the day she leaves the hospital and goes home. She has another spectacular view from her window and is ever so pleased to have a wide window sill where her flowers can be put on display. In the previous private room, friends had put up a friendship wall for family/friend visitors to sign, and that will have to be set up again in the new room, but Cheryl is waiting for Steve to do his creative touches to it. The staff on 10A are absolutely brilliant and Cheryl feels she is going to have a very good time with them. You will also be happy to know that she still has the pole-dancing pole in her bathroom :-)

Cheryl is now getting the TPN (food nourishment) through the PICC line, which goes directly into her aorta vein and the inflammation and pain she experienced the last two days in her right arm (from the IV) has now subsided. The left arm, on the other hand, is still very inflamed from the last IV and the staff are monitoring to bring that down. She no longer has intense pain in her side, which means that the antibiotics are working and the infection in the intestine is obviously subsiding. She will know more about that when Dr Brown comes back Jan 2.

She is so very thankful you are all thinking of her, those that can visit and/or call… She is finding the experience not at all scary because of all of YOU!


Room change

Cheryl has now moved to a different floor and room. This is because she was previously on the orthopaedic ward, as there was no available room where she should have been (hmmmm, no room at the inn???). She still has a private room… with a 3-piece bathroom to boot!

Cher is now at:
Ward 10-A, Room 1002
St. Paul’s Hospital
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
To contact a patient: 1-604-684-6532, Cher's extension is now 67002.

Happy New Year everyone! It is now 2007 here in Oz!


Photos from Stephanie

Thanks, Stephanie, for these photos of Cheryl at the hospital...

A few days after Christmas... holding Bridget's Chrissie present :-)

The IV line that was quite sore and giving her trouble,
now replaced with the PICC line.

Cheryl's room looks very Christmassy.
She really appreciated all the gifts and what the tree and cards
contribute to an otherwise depressing hospital room.

This and the next three pics are of some of the beautiful flowers and gifts Cher has received. They were a terrific boost to her. She was so proud of them and they definitely helped her realize that she is not alone. She was very touched by the thoughtfulness.

This is her very famous pole dancing pole in the bathroom.
She says she will be practicing after her operation.
It might be her new career!

The pink beanie baby is her mascot.
It has a very pretty poem attached to it.

The famous liquid turkey dinner!

Friday, December 29, 2006

An update from Cheryl herself!

Hi all,

Not too much to report today. It appears all is going according to plan. I have now been in the hospital and on the IV antibiotics and IV vitamin therapy for 11 days. It appears to be pain off! I no longer have that intense pain that I’ve had since September. This is a sure sign the inflammation/infection is starting to clear up (keep those positive thoughts coming… it’s working!).

I have been having some IV/PICC line issues. It appears that I am one of those people who are “sensitive” to the IV and PICC line being put in my vein. My system doesn’t like having things poked in me and then left there. So my arms have reacted with inflammation and pain. But tonight, the PICC line expert came and fiddled around, changed the dressing, and took out the regular IV. So I’m now feeling much better (okay, so the oxycodone is helping big time, too J).

Dr Lam, my gastroenterologist, stopped by to visit me today. He went over the plan again. Since neither he nor Dr Brown could go past the blockage when they did the biopsies, Dr Lam will do a colonoscopy approximately six weeks after the surgery. Reason being, when Dr Brown does the surgery he will manually be checking my large intestine for any other possible tumours and a colonoscopy will then search for any possible abnormal cells within the intestine that could not be checked earlier.

So as you can see, I don’t have to worry… this team will have gone over everything with a fine-tooth comb, and then regular checkups for some time after.

So all is going well and according to plan and I am doing just fine.

Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A message from Bob and Curt

Melinda, just a big Mahalo from the islands for keeping us up to speed...We love Cheryl and miss that we can't play this year... but as always we'll be waiting to play next year.
All our love to you both, Bob and Curt

A message from Kiki


Just wanted to thank you so much for all you're doing, in getting Cheryl's updates out to everyone.. It's much appreciated by everyone...

When you talk to her again, would you please tell her HI! from me, and that I'm keeping her in my thoughts and sending every good vibe, thought and healing visual to her, I can..

We're battening down here, for another BIG snow, as you deal with heat...LOL


Monday, December 25, 2006

Progress update from Melinda

Hi everyone and a Merry Christmas to all. Yes, it’s already all over her for another year.

I just spoke with Cheryl and she is sounding quite good. Things are nice at the hospital today (Christmas Day), with Christmas music and lots of visitors for Cher. Jo brought Bridget in for a visit. Bridget was soooo excited to see her mum, and then wanted to go home with mum. Bridget settled down, left Cher, and proceeded to visit other patients on the ward. Now she is back sprawled on Cheryl’s bed :-)

Cheryl has been having problems getting an IV in her arm (veins too thin), so they are going to put in a “pick” line. It’s a line that goes in the arm and comes out at the collarbone. With this one line, Cheryl can receive antibiotics, they can take blood, and she will also receive food supplements, all through this one line. Cheryl is shaking her head at the food supplements – a girl who has had to diet her whole life has to be force fed? LOL

Dr Brown came to visit this morning to wish Cher a Merry Christmas and to say he is still aiming for Jan 4 for the operation. This may be delayed a bit if Cheryl still needs more time on the antibiotics.


Thank you Jo for the Holiday pack of Jones Soda – new 2006 limited edition. Flavours are: turkey & gravy, sweet potatoes, dinner roll, pea, and antacid flavours (for after you’ve eaten too much)! What a riot! Cheryl hasn’t opened it yet and will have this for dinner tonight. Cheryl is really looking forward to all the turkey dinners she’s been promised for when she gets out of hospital (about 6 of them!).

Thanks to Metro Theatre for the flowers – a lovely spring bouquet, all kinds of colours.

Thank you to Holly Horwood for a gorgeous bottle of wine.

Thank you Joan Lynch (Bridget’s vet and Cher’s friend) – for a Natural Ionic Crystal. A tea light holder that is made from natural salt rock that is approximately 250 million years old! Should get rid of any negative vibes.

Happy Boxing Day, and stay safe through the holidays.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Progress update from Melinda

A very BIG thank-you from Cheryl…
  • The gang from work for the decorated Christmas Myrtle tree.
  • The beautiful flowers from Bonnie Klassen.
  • The gorgeous flowers from Deb C and the TLC gang.
  • Debi Kennedy for the beautiful Christmas arrangement.
  • Christina G for the flowers – stunning birds of paradise in Hawaiian flower arrangement.
  • FASB for the lovely carnations.
  • Aunt Cathe, Greg, Denise, Lisa and Dan – for the lovely azalea tree.
  • And a huge thank you to Keith, for cutting down a tree in Squamish, hauling it over to the mainland, bringing it in to the hospital, and decorating and putting lights on it (Cheryl was thrilled!)
Rest assured that Cher is not at all bored (barely has time to read a few pages from her book!). She is so enjoying the many visitors and phone calls.


A message from Alison

Dear Melinda: It's so good that you are keeping us all up to date like this. I just spoke to Cheryl and I will visit next week. She told me about the white light, and I am certainly sending all the good feelings I can in her direction. She is an amazing spirit and I am sure she will overcome in her usual fashion.

Progress update from Melinda

Hi everyone…

Unfortunately the biopsy result was not what we were hoping for as there is a definite indication of cancer. Everything is still on the same plan - antibiotics for the next two weeks and then surgery and the doctor is of the opinion that there is no sign that the cancer has spread and is still enclosed within the intestine. If all goes well they will be able to remove the offending section and will also investigate to make sure none of it has adhered to any other organs. This is not quite what we were hoping for, but at least it is operable and we won't know much more until they actually open her up and see just what is what. Chemo will follow the surgery.


Cheryl would like everyone, when they think of the cancer, to surround the infection/inflammation with a white healing light (visualize). Then, take that same white light and surround it around the whole intestine and mass area so that it is protected and nothing escapes that area. Then (step 3) visualize Cheryl in a happy healthy place with everything cleaned up and all is okay. The whole part with doing this around the infection is to help the antibiotics clear it up. Getting the infection cleared up will help with getting the entire mass out in one piece. At the moment, with the infection, the mass is sticking to other organs.

With 250+ people on Cher’s email list, she would really like us to do this and trust in the power of the mind.

Thank you all so much…

Melinda xox

Friday, December 22, 2006

A message from Sandy

Melinda; One of our group just talked to Cheryl, and she was told an hour ago that the mass is cancerous. They are still going to wait to try to clear up the infection before surgery. I am so sad to hear this, and pray they will be able to get it all when they operate.

A message from Dad (Bill)

Hi Melinda - This will be just a short update as Cheryl is keeping her phone clear for the next 20 minutes or so on the offchance that you receive this within that time frame. Unfortunately the biopsy result was not what we were hoping for as there is a definite indication of cancer. Everything is still on the same plan - antibiotics for the next two weeks and then surgery and the doctor is of the opinion that there is no sign that the cancer has spread and is still enclosed within the intestine. If all goes well they will be able to remove the offending section and will also investigate to make sure none of it has adhered to any other organs. This is not quite what we were hoping for but at least it is operable and we won't know much more until they actually open her up and see just what is what. Thank you so very much for the time and effort you are putting in to keep her friends up to date on all of this. Have a Happy Christmas - Bill

A message from Judy

Glad Cheryl is feeling better about things now. You can tell she is dealing much better when she talks her face off.... she is so funny sometimes. I don't know what she'd do if there was NO phone allowed in her room.

A message from Thelma

Hi, please give Cheryl my love and tell her I will visit her as soon as I am better. Got a bit of the flu and obviously won't be seeing her til it's all cleared up. Merry Xmas. Thelma

A message from Christina

LOL - I had to post this related story to you Melinda: I had arranged to have a rather spectacular bunch of flowers sent to Cheryl yesterday using a Vancouver area florist. (my theory from many hospital stays is that the more flowers you get, the better service you receive hahahaha). The (very nice) florist lady called me and said they could not deliver the flowers I had chosen, because the hospital said they would 'smell too strongly' for Cheryl's roommate. I said to the florist "GREAT. how about if I send a bunch of twigs, think would that be okay??" The florist cracked up and said not to worry, that they would come up with something, they've run into this before. I gave them my leave to create whatever they felt was best -- but have no idea what the heck kind of non-smelly flowers they were able to come up with that would be acceptable to the flower-hater. Maybe plastic?

Anyway - am glad Cheryl has a room to herself now - sounds like that roommate must have been a real gem :)

Huggz, Christina G from Chicago

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A message from Sandra

She is so relieved and sounds much better. Three more friends arrived in her room as I was talking to her, and she is so much more optimistic, happy even! :)

An update from Cheryl herself!

I had the 'big-word scopy' done this morning, which is basically a kodak moment of the bladder. GOOD NEWS!!!! Fred, the fistula, does not appear to have invaded Berny the bladder. There will be no need for them to cut into the bladder now, whew...

That was going to be a very complicated part of the surgery which was going to require a second surgical team from the urology dept.

I then met with Dr. McDreamy-Brown. He is going to get the biopsy results today, but from the CAT scan, he is feeling much better that Chuck the mass is not cancer. He says there is no sign of any spreading, so worse case scenario, if Chuck is cancerous, it would appear to be self contained. He is relieved because it gives us more time to let the antibiotics clear up the massive infection and make it easier to unstick the intestines from the surrounding organs.

One last thing, for the sensitive male eyes in the group, I'll go over this part quickly. It appears that Fred the fistula may have started courting Virginia the va*** girly parts, so alas the surgery will still involve evicting Chuck the mass, part of Ivan the Intestine, all of Fred the fistula, and repairing Virginia's house ☺

Doctor McDreamy-Brown's suggested plan is that I remain in the hospital on IV antibiotic therapy for the remainder of this week and next, then we do the surgery the first week of January. Coincidentally, he is going to be in Ontario next week but would be back for the surgery. This relieves me(sic) to no end since I want him to do the surgery and not some other brilliant surgeon. He says he has never seen a case like mine, and will be discussing with his partners so they are all aware.

A message from Sandra

I think a lot of her tiredness is from all the lengthy pain endurance as the drugs haven't really been doing a good job of knocking it down for months. There are rare short spells of no pain but nothing consistent enough to get above it all. Several of us from work went up there yesterday. Today she sees the urologist as I guess he'll be involved in the surgery too. At least she is in very good hands! Thanks for your updates, much appreciated.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A message from Dad (Bill)

Hi Melinda - This is a copy of a mail I dashed off to my sister regarding Cheryl. Nothing much new to report but she is resting much more comfortably today. Hope she does not come to blows with her new room mate as they seem to irritate one another which is a rarity with Cheryl. Will keep you informed of anything new. Regards - Bill

Thank you very much Eileen for your kind thoughts regarding Cheryl. Erin, Pat and I went to visit her yesterday evening and had a fairly long visit though a somewhat disappointing one. She was in some considerable pain from, not only her affliction but also from the biopsy which involved snipping a chunk of her innards out for examination. She had been admitted to the hospital around 1:00 pm and had been gigged up with an intravenous feed but while we were there until 8:00 pm she was still waiting for the antibiotics and pain killers to arrive from the drug dispensary. It seemed to me to be an unreasonable delay as it should not take seven hours to move them up eight floors. The reason for having her admitted so quickly was in order to commence the antibiotic administration as quickly as possible in case they are to operate on her this weekend. Donald and I visited her today and she is now all hooked up and is receiving her pain killing drugs so is resting much more comfortably although is unhappy with her new room mate who snores almost without stop both day and night. They are not getting along too well as the snorer is not happy with the steady phone calls that Cheryl is receiving so now Cheryl is attempting to determine if there is any chance of being moved to a private room where she can display her wealth of flowers, Christmas trees and cards and receive phone calls to her hearts content.

As far as Cheryl can determine there is no definite answer to what they are investigating. She had another catscan today and this along with yesterday's biopsy may help the doctors decide on what they will run into when they open her up. During the biopsy the specialist did indicate that he was not very happy with what he could see and asked Cheryl's regular doctor, who happened to be watching the proceedings, for his opinion. Her doctor also appeared somewhat negative so they called in a third specialist who also professed that it did not look promising. All of this went on with Cheryl listening in which is not a great confidence builder for the patient. However, her doctor later told her not to jump to any conclusions as no one can tell from these tests, they are only a guide and until they actually operate they will not know just what they will find. In any case, even if it should prove to be cancerous it is in an area that carries a very high rate of success, a rate of close to 95% so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

I will certainly let you know of any new information as it becomes available and in the meantime will be having our Christmas breakfast here although it will be somewhat muted due to our missing Cheryl. I will be visiting with her on Christmas eve. Don't worry about things over here as it will all work out for the best I am sure.

A message from Michael

Thanks for the updates...

If theres a way to get word to Cheryl.. please tell her that Michael (still in Mexico) sends her his best... I'll be back on Vancouver Sunday.

A message from Sandra

I went to see Cheryl on my way home from work and it is as you say, she is scared (very) - trying not to let on, and staying as optimistic as possible. We got her phone figured out so it works now. Waiting sucks, so we'll all be glad to have whatever done so she can get back on her feet!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A message from Dad (Bill)

Hi Melinda,

This is Bill, Cheryl's dad. We were in to see Cheryl this evening and were there when you called her. (The first call she received since being assigned a bed.) All in all her spirits are very good although she was in pretty severe pain from the biopsy and although she had been admitted shortly after one o'clock this afternoon she was still waiting for the pain killer and antibiotic drugs to make their way from the dispensary up to the eighth floor of the hospital. Her arm was all gigged up for receiving the stuff intravenously but in the usual fashion of our medical system nobody but the patient and his/her relatives and friends seemed to be overly concerned about the lack of attention. Tomorrow she will have a catscan and, hopefully, the results of the biopsy will give us additional information regarding the cause of all of her discomfort. In any case, it appears that the surgery will probably take place during the upcoming weekend and any plans for Christmas with her family will have to be put on hold. If this holds true we have assured her that once she is discharged and back in her home we will celebrate a second Christmas with her and will open her presents while she opens ours.

Progress update from Melinda

Hello to all of Cheryl’s friends and family,

Cher was admitted to hospital this morning. She went in for her “scope procedure” (biopsy?) and they were suspicious of what they found and would not let her go home (except to quickly pick up a few things and send me a quick email). They do not yet know if it is cancer, but tests were suspicious enough to warrant immediate action. She will have another CAT scan tomorrow and I will be calling her around 6 pm (Vancouver time) to see how things are going. She expects to have her operation over the weekend, or early next week at the latest.

I called Cher this afternoon and she is in okay spirits. She is quite scared and nervous about what lies ahead, but you know Cher… she doesn’t let on too much and she is being optimistic (a good thing!).


Going into hospital!

Damn!! Damn!! I don't have time to call you or wait. My scope procedure that was done this morning was not looking good. The surgeon is concerned that it is cancer... so he didn't want me to leave the hospital. I had to come home to arrange for Greg to come over (he's on his way) for Bridget. I am just gathering a few things and have to go back and be admitted. Surgery could be this weekend... I am getting hooked up to IV antibiotics and they will do more tests in the hospital.

I'm scared now... but keeping a positive outlook. Please let the elves know. We don't KNOW that it's cancer, but it's looking suspicious.

I will be at St. Paul's Hospital on Burrard Street... don't know the room yet.

Gotta run... !!