Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday roundup

Swallow study
Steve passed his bedside swallow study! He was able to eat pudding and crackers and drink water without trouble.

With that good news, he was allowed to start eating and drinking again this afternoon. He's allowed to eat only when he is sitting up and very alert.

Steve has told more than one person today -- perhaps every person he's seen today -- that he likes his food and is happy to eat again.

He was taken off the Heparin IV drip this afternoon and will start receiving the injections later today. The Fragmin injections will be given once a day -- by nurses while we're still at St. Paul and by me (yes, fearful-of-needles me) at home.

The phlebotomist who we love for her kind demeanor and excellent sticking skills had trouble with Steve's veins this morning. She tried twice, and both times the veins collapsed before she could get an adequate sample.

One of her colleagues arrived later and was able to find a vein the first time. We had good luck later in the day, too.

Still, his left hand is horribly swollen and bruised from the multiple sticks he's endured since Tuesday morning.

Conversation with Dr. G
Dr. G and his residents visited for a while this morning. He talked about how it's difficult at this point to understand which problems are creating which symptoms.

Steve's body is fighting blood clots in his lungs, a lung infection and a brain tumor. It's recovering from an aspiration episode. He's dealing with left-side weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing fits and more.

Dr. G told us -- in the most gentle way possible -- that there's a chance that Steve won't recover from all of this. That he won't get better. That we may be out of treatment options for the tumor.

If you're like me, that takes your breath away. Just typing those words is a struggle and brings hot tears to my eyes.

He was not saying that Steve won't recover or that anyone is giving up on him. But he does want us to be prepared and to understand that Steve's body is fighting multiple battles that aren't easy to overcome.

The goal is still for Steve to return to his health and strength from a week or more ago.

We are not giving up. We know that with the prayers and love and support and good wishes holding us up, Steve will continue to do the very best that he can.

And as much as we humans like to believe that we're in control of all the details, of course we're not.

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. ... In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.
(from Psalm 139, NRSV)


jhuckaby said...

my heart pours out for you and your family. this roller coaster of news and moments is not at all friendly or bearable. i can't help but think of my mom, remember her and our lives in these same moments...and a knot forms in my throat and in my stomach that i cannot quell. steve's unbelievable strength and the tremendous power of prayer will lift you above and beyond this moment to the next. i will pray for his body to have the focus and determination of his heart and spirit, to fight these obstacles with a mighty force, so that you may have all the time you need. the love you can handle and the support necessary. all my love.

Melinda said...

...........I do not have words to adequately express the empathy, the support, the unceasing prayers........what a difficult day, and yet---clear as a bell---your sense of hope and determined optimism just blows me away. Completely blows me away.

Cancer cannot quench the Spirit. It is yours in full measure, regardless of illness. Regardless of life or death. As surely as you are held in this moment by the Eternal, you will be held in each moment that is to come.

kimmarla said...

I can't add to what the others have said, except to tell you how much I care, and that you are all in my prayers.

Laura said...

We are praying that Steve's body is able to recover from all of this trauma and can fight its many battles. Thinking of you all.

Daria said...

I am so sorry that Steve has to struggle so hard. I pray some relief comes his way and he is able to recover.

Natalie Willis said...

I am praying diligently for comfort, peace and strength for all of you. Know that all of you are wrapped in love and prayers and never ending hope every second.

Darla said...

I hate that you and your beautiful family are forced to endure so much, Tyra. It's unfathomable. But I also thank God for your strong faith; it's an inspiration to those of us who tend to waver. You and Steve are both an inspiration for so many reasons. I hope you can feel the love being sent from so many directions!

Anonymous said...

I'm thankful for wi-fi in the rehab hospital so I can stay updated on Steve. I'm so sorry it's been so hard.

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to share the highs, the lows, and in between. We cry reading along, and laugh when we hear some funny Steve-ism (there are so many).

We pray for God's loving comfort for all of you and a healing touch for Steve. We love you all.

Mary Stahl

Michael Taylor said...

Sending the whole Damm family a hug.

A supportive and loving embrace.

A simple action, yes.

The sort that says more than words can.

Anonymous said...

Holding you, Steve, Cooper, Katie and your extended family close in prayer, Tyra. May God grant each of you strength of body and spirit and surround you with His grace.
Much love,
Mary G

Anonymous said...

Steve is a fighter and he will face these challenges like a champion. His family and friends are his personal cheerleaders encouraging him to push on. Keep the faith there are many praying for your family, especially Steve. Out Damn Spot! Out!

noelgross said...

Steve's astonished us all with his ability to shoulder through the grim expectations of medical minds. Glad y'all had some quiet time together today.

Anonymous said...


I am continuing to pray for you and Steve. You are certainly "in the trenches" right now. I pray that God will bless you with an extra measure of strength, energy, and discernment. I pray that God will give Steve the strength to fight the battles in his body and for the doctors to have the knowledge to treat him in the best course possible.

Carrie Williams

Anonymous said...

I hope you and Steve are able to get some rest and have some peace tonight. We love you! --- Jackie

Dave Wilson said...

Your relentless pursuit of the culprit is an inspiration daily. You've also been the motivation for more prayers than I've uttered in the previous 10 years, perhaps. I know I can't do much to help, and that's very frustrating for me. But I hope you know that your family inspires so many of us so often, and we're working hard with you to reach the miracle you deserve.

DayleShockley said...


Kelly said...

My heart is breaking for you...reading that has brought tears to my eyes...but God is great and can perform many, many miracles. My family will continue the many prayers we offer up for you and your family as well as this Sunday we will say a special prayer. You and Steve's courage is so amazing. Much love

Anonymous said...

We are all constantly praying for you, Steve, Katie and Cooper. We love you!

H, W & C