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August 1, 2014

An Update on Velma
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 02:52 AM * 49 comments

From the thread on Velma, an update:

This is Kristen, Scraps’ sister. Sorry that I don’t know how to make this an entry of its own; if someone who knows how to could do so, I would be grateful.

Velma (sister-in-law) update - This is what I know: (Apologies if it’s too long. I’m trying to keep a balance between too much information and not enough.)

1st surgery = Wednesday of last week. (July 23; details about that in one of my previous posts)
Velma went into that surgery in a less-than-ideal physical state - very weak, hadn’t gained back weight she had lost in the previous month. (Hospital decided to do surgery even though Velma wasn’t where they wanted her physically because Velma had been losing ground in terms of getting to a stronger place, and because one of the tumors was growing rapidly.) Although weak, Velma seemed to be recovering appropriately. (I had a good conversation with her that Friday before I went back to Portland.) At some point she was moved out of ICU.

Yesterday I received three emails from Scraps.

First: A bad news and good news kind of email.
The bad; This is from Scraps’ email. “Last night was very hard. Velma was in excruciating pain. Her time for the epidural was ended, so that came out, but her heart and lungs were still weak, so the doctors were concerned with giving her too much pain medication and having her heart stop. Unfortunately, they stopped short last night, and while they adjusted, Velma suffered.” Her pain medication was increased; doctor explained that they wanted Velma to be pain free, but they needed to be careful.
The good, again quoting Scraps: “Today she walked almost twice as far, two times. She was glowing; that was good. And the pain is definitely down. She’s been drowsy, but they’ve been watching.”

Second: A short email titled “bad update.”
In intense pain. Moved back to ICU. Temporarily put out and tubes (breathing, etc.) reinserted. (my summary)

Third: She had fluid in her belly.

Today, received three texts from my Mom. Velma had emergency surgery this afternoon, because of an infection. (Don’t have any more details than that.) Quoting Mom here: “Dr says hour by hour to pull through on this part … very low blood pressure … Reason touch and go right now is she so weak after last surgery… Crucial next few hours.”

That’s what I know. Haven’t heard anything from Mom for over three hours.

Prayers and strong healing thoughts for her please. And for my brother.

Being as I’m the praying type, my prayers are with them both, and with their families. I’m sure the affection and goodwill of the community is, too.

Update from Kristen: Velma came through the surgery fine.

Comments on An Update on Velma:
#1 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 03:20 AM:

Deeply sorry to hear that. My thoughts will be with both Velma and Scraps.

#2 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 03:59 AM:

Likewise from here. Wishing Velma a swift improvement followed by a steady recovery.

#3 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 04:01 AM:

Glrk. Prayers/thoughts/energy over thattaway.

#4 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 04:03 AM:

Sympathies. Thinking good thoughts and hoping the antibiotics do their job.

#5 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 08:52 AM:

Abi, thank you for bringing that up. All my best wishes and other acts of magical thinking to Velma. And to Scraps, who must be beside himself.

#6 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 10:11 AM:

Christ have mercy. Velma is the one from whom I learned, "Laughter is a state of grace." Please return laughter to her.

Crazy(and not normally the kind to invoke a specific religious form - but that one touched the right chord for me)Soph

#7 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 10:15 AM:

Oh, damn. I was hoping for one of those "walks away singing" sort of recoveries. I'm so sorry. Velma and Scraps have all my love and good thoughts.

#8 ::: John Desmond ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 10:20 AM:

Sending prayers and good energies toward Velma.

When you get the chance, tell her I said "Hello"!

Peace, John Desmond

#9 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 11:48 AM:

Sending my best thoughts too.

#10 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 12:03 PM:

I'm sorry to hear that. Hoping for the best.

#11 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 12:08 PM:

I'll light a candle for her. Prayers and good wishes on their way.

#12 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 12:13 PM:

Velma and Scraps are both in my prayers. How horrible.

#13 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 12:32 PM:

GoodThoughts being sent.

#14 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 12:39 PM:

Prayers submitted. GoodThoughts and HealingWishes are being FedExed.

#15 ::: David Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 12:49 PM:

Oh no. Thinking good thoughts in her direction

#16 ::: David Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 12:50 PM:

Oh no. Thinking good thoughts in her direction

#17 ::: Geri Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 12:55 PM:

Prayers and strength -- oh so much strength -- being sent to Velma and Scraps as we wait through these hard hours.

#18 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 01:02 PM:

Doubling down on the good thoughts for Velma, and for Scraps.

#19 ::: Ari Davidow ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 01:25 PM:

WELLbeams for both Velma and Scraps on high.

#20 ::: Kristen Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 01:29 PM:

Quick update: Velma came through the surgery fine.

#21 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 01:45 PM:

Oh thank goodness. Thank you for sharing that here, Kristen. Please pass on more updates when you can without overtaxing yourself.

#22 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 03:33 PM:

Kristen @ 20 - Thank you very, VERY much for the updates. I'm doing a lot of "Thanks Be!!" at the moment, and still keeping up the good thoughts and petitions that this seeker indulges in...

Crazy(and more goodthoughts to Velma, Soren, Kristen, the families...)Soph

#23 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 03:45 PM:

It's good to hear that she's OK for the moment. I continue to hope for her best possible outcome.

#24 ::: Angus MacDonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 04:25 PM:

Thank you; my thoughts are with them both.

#25 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 05:13 PM:

Kristen @20: That's a huge relief. Thank you.

#26 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 06:20 PM:

A load off the mind for the moment, Kristen @20. Thank you. Not stopping the good thoughts, though!

#27 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 11:17 PM:

Sending prayers and healing energies.

#28 ::: Harry Payne ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 07:55 AM:

Prayers and thoughts away. I remember Velma fondly from Liverpool when she was on her TAFF trip.

#29 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 10:20 AM:

More good thoughts and healing energies. I will chant the Green Tara for her.

#30 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 01:04 PM:

Kristen @20, I am very pleased to hear that Velma has come through the surgery. I will continue to hold her in my thoughts.

#31 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 05:39 PM:

Love and light, good thoughts, and prayers for Velma and Soren. Thanks for keeping us updated.

#32 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2014, 01:38 PM:

I've been traveling and largely off the net, so I hadn't seen this. My best wishes to Velma and Soren.

#33 ::: vard ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 05:59 PM:

All available digits crossed for good outcomes. And BEAMS.

#34 ::: Vicki, with an update on Velma ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 09:47 PM:

I’m just back from another visit to the hospital. Velma is doing better than a few days ago, and is very pleased to be off the ventilator. She would like company, but not surprise visitors—get in touch with Soren first so they’ll know to expect you.

She is somewhat drowsy (I’m guessing both from the painkillers and because post-surgical recovery takes a lot out of the body). Also, no flowers are allowed in the unit she’s currently in, though they were talking about moving her to a “step-down” unit in the next day or so, and I don’t know what the rules are there. She’s likely to be in the hospital for about another two weeks.

#35 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 10:14 PM:

Thank you for the update.

#36 ::: Ari Davidow ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 09:47 AM:

Any news? In all events, much healing for both Velma and Soren.

#37 ::: Vicki, with another update ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2014, 01:03 AM:

Velma is doing significantly better than when I last posted. She's now walking around the hospital floor, without a walker. She told me yesterday that on Thursday she had been able to get up and take a shower for the first time in too long. They moved her to the step-down unit a few days ago; Scraps is still spending most of his time with her, and sleeping on a cot in her hospital room.

Velma is healing faster than the surgeon expected. Her white blood cell count is back to normal, so probably no infection, but they're keeping her on the IV antibiotics a bit longer, just in case.

As I understand it, the current plan/hope is to arrange in-home nursing care so they can send her home sometime next week, and continue to get stronger so they can do chemotherapy. (I'm not sure how much nursing she'll be getting once she's home.) She and Scraps are likely to need significant practical assistance at that point, including with shopping, laundry, and taking out the trash; when we have more details someone will post to the Vanguard list, and probably here as well.

#38 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2014, 03:22 AM:

Thank you for the update, Vicki.

Keeping them both (and their friends and family) in my thoughts.

#39 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2014, 10:46 AM:

Thanks for the update, Vicki. That's really good news.

Continuing to think good thoughts.

#40 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2014, 11:43 AM:

Oh hooray. That first shower is always such a huge morale-booster.

Best wishes for continued improvement!

#41 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2014, 02:14 PM:

Great news, Vicki. The situation sounds at least like Velma's out of the most immediate danger.

(I've been waiting for updates, but wanting not to pressure you or other friends and family, who have enough and more to worry about.)

#42 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2014, 08:08 PM:

That's great news. Bright blessings and good thoughts.

#43 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2014, 11:25 PM:

I have no words to express my gratitude for the support and good wishes you have extended....

I am home at last, with Scraps, who was as wonderful and stalwart as you might have expected, enduring weeks of hospital cafeteria food in order to be with me. I still have IV antibiotics, and a feeding tube, and about seven inches of open wound that I get to clean and re-bandage daily (human beings are made of meat -- it looks like aging steak now, rather than uncured bacon, which is a blessing), and the likelihood of chemo in the future. (Though this type of cancer doesn't always respond well to chemo.)

It's going to be an interesting autumn.

#44 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2014, 11:52 PM:

Glad to see you here, Velma! Best wishes for the autumn.

#45 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2014, 11:53 PM:

So happy to see you well enough to comment here, Velma, even with the tubes etc. Continuing good thoughts!

#46 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2014, 12:09 AM:


Welcome back & best wishes for continued improvement.

#47 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2014, 12:03 PM:


Oh oh oh!

:throws biodegradable glitter everywhere:

#48 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2014, 01:25 PM:

Welcome back, Velma!

Best wishes for continued improvement.

#49 ::: Jennifer ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2014, 03:24 PM:

Velma! I am so glad to see words from you. Many good thoughts streaming to you from our neck of the woods. Know that you are both loved and cared for -- wish I could bring you an expensive assortment of gorgeous pens to fondle as you heal.

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