Sunday, September 2, 2007

Previously on Bartkus Battle

I'm going to post the entries so that you can get caught up with how we got here today.

Subject: Trudie Pretty Sick
Date Sent: Aug 6th

We went to our general MD last week for Trudie's vertigo and other general malaise.

It turns out that her blood has no "octane." She is severely anemic; her red blood count is very low. Her platelets are also extremely low. The doctor says that he is "concerned."

We went back today to give them another few test tubes full to run additional tests. Those results should be back tomorrow and if they confirm Friday's numbers we will next be seeing a hematologist.

Please pray for Trudie and I as we battle this mysterious disease.


Subject: Sat 8/11 Update on Trudie
Date Sent Sat Aug 11th

Thanks to all who are praying and have offered words of encouragement. We greatly appreciate the outpouring of love for us during this time.

The blood tests were re-run and confirmed the initial rotten numbers. Our primary care physician says that the numbers aren't good and now has referred us to a hematologist. We have an appointment on Tuesday. Hopefully he will be able to make sense of the numbers and direct us in a course of action that will get Trudie feeling better.

In the mean time, Trudie still struggles with a general lack of energy. For example, yesterday she cut up some red bell peppers. The effort of standing at a counter and cutting six peppers up wiped her out and she says that she almost blacked out. She spends most of her days either reading, sleeping, or propped up in the recliner chair TV remote control firmly in hand :-).

I am picking up the cleaning and cooking duties and the garden & flower emergency watering detail.

We are confident that God is walking along with us in this journey. We know that with him we can handle anything that comes our way.

Please continue to pray for us as we live one day at a time and do the next right thing. Please pray for healing, courage, strength for both of us.



Subject: Tuesday 8/14 Trudie Update
Date Sent: Aug 14th

We saw the hematologist today. He is a real nice guy.

He said that it was too soon to tell what this was. All he would say was that there was something going on wrong with her blood.

He had ordered her to get a transfusion (tomorrow), a CT scan (Friday), and a bone marrow biopsy (next Tuesday). We will see him again on Tuesday 8/21.

So for now, it's endure tests and all those kinds of trials and then see what he thinks the results are in two weeks.

Hopefully the transfusion will give Trudie more energy and she can get back to tending her poor plants that are suffering midightly in this heat wave we're having.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.



Subject: Tuesday Aug 21st
Date Sent: Aug 21st

Friends and Family,

First, thank you to all who have had us in your prayers. We are truly blessed by family and friends who beseech God in our behalf.

We are also grateful for an awesome small group who are offering and providing amazing help including wonderful meals.

I'm also grateful for a job that allows me the flexibility to be Trudie's support during all this.

Trudie has endured a week of poking, prodding, examinations, x-rays, and more poking. On one occasion a nurse trying to draw blood for a test poked her three times before she discovered that the vial she was using had no vacuum and couldn't "suck." A new vial worked right away.

Trudie's "final exam" was a much-dreaded bone marrow biopsy this morning. It turned out to be much less painful than was feared. She is now home resting.

All the results are being sent to our hematologist. We have an appointment with him next Tuesday (8/28) to discuss the results. But until then we still have no clue as to what is wrong.

I'll let you know when we hear something.

Please continue to lift us up in your prayers.



Subject: Trudie's test results are in
Date Sent: Aug 28

Dear Family and Friends,

After all the tests the initial diagnosis is angiosarcoma. The doctor said that this is a rare cancer of the blood vessel muscles.

Now we need to endure more tests to determine where it is. It may be in one place; it may be in multiple places.

At a minimum we will have chemotherapy. If it is localized he will also fight it radiation and surgery.

He said we are in for a fight.

Trudie has been admitted to Northside Hospital today for another transfusion of blood. They will keep her a couple of days until they run the other tests too.

Please keep us both in your prayers.

I'll keep you posted when we know more.



Subject: Trudie Update - Thursday Aug 30th
Date Sent: Aug 30th

The additional tests revealed three defined tumors. They all correspond to areas in which she has been experiencing much pain the last few months.

The doctor said as the chemo starts kicking in the tumors will decrease and the pain from them will decrease.

He is planning on getting her discharged from the hospital tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday.

A couple of her girl friends from Florida are coming to stay with us next week for a few days. We are looking forward to their visit.

I will be getting ready to do the Yellow Daisy Festival the following week with the help from friends.

Please pray for healing as we start this battle against this disease.

Pray that Trudie's body will tolerate the chemo and other therapies.

And pray that we will have wisdom as to how to receive all the love you are giving us.



Trudie Update - Friday Aug 31st
Date Sent: Aug 31st

The results of last night's MRI have changed everything.

The MRI revealed that she has a compression fracture of her T7 vertebrae. Part of the fractured bone is pushing against her spinal nerves. This explains her leg weakness and even more of the pain she has been feeling.

The neurosurgeon feels that she needs the tumor removed and a plastic replacement piece put in place of the disintegrated bone. So now Trudie is scheduled for surgery this coming Tuesday. The surgeon says that by doing this operation now, and with radiation, she will have a 99% probability of removing all of the cancer at that one spot. With only chemo and radiation the probability is only 80% and if she EVER fell, she could be totally paralized below her chest for life.

So now we are facing a major operation on Tuesday. She will be in intensive care for a couple of days afterward and in the hospital for a week more after that.

We are so grateful that this fracture was caught. This should help a lot of the leg pain as and a bonus will totally remove one lesion. A huge amount more to deal with but with the grace of God that she had not a paralyzing injury before now because of a fall.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.

Trudie here:

Thank you more than you know for your love and support.

I love you all -

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