Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010

Entry by Kurt: We started the day again at 6:00 a.m. with a ride to Waukesha Memorial Hospital for yet another surgical procedure. This time they prepared mom for the feeding tube that we will use in the event that radiation causes difficulty in swallowing. It is called a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube. Feeding tubes are not painful and are not easily visible when wearing normal clothes. When not in use, they can simple be taped to the patients stomach to prevent them from moving around under clothing.

PEG tubes are placed with the aid of an endoscope, the scope going down the throat to assist in guiding the placement of the tube through the wall of the stomach. Once the scope is in the stomach the doctor first checks for any signs of bleeding or ulcers. The doctor reports that all is great with mom's stomach. Then a light is turned on inside and is pressed against the outer wall of the stomach up against the abdomen. the light is bright enough for the doctor to see it through the adbomen, and a small incision is then made. The surgery is simple and involves little risk or discomfort. The procedure takes about 20 minutes. The PEG tube extends from the interior of the stomach to outside the body through a small incision only slightly larger than the tube itself in the abdominal wall. The tube is prevented from coming out of the stomach by a very small balloon at the end of the tube which is inflated within the stomach after insertion. Removal of the tube involves deflating the balloon section of the tube allowing it to slip easily from the stomach. About three inches of tubing will protrude from the incision area. Initially, there may be some discomfort while getting used to using the system, from gas or air, or from adjusting to the liquid foods themselves.
I've included a diagram and a photo. there's also a photo of the PEG tube in a person - no this isn't Mom hee hee hee. It's a clinic photo.

Mom is in a lot of pain this afternoon and she has some medication to help with that. She's an amazingly strong woman though. I had a little fun by putting on some scrubs, a stethascope and mask and taking mom's pulse. It made her smile and that's all that matters.

Dad is hanging in there as well. At times the information shared is a little overwhelming and hard to remember but that's why I'm here.
Mom hopes that this blog will help people - maybe someone you know is going through or about to go through treatment and would like to know that someone is out there who understands. mom's a trooper. Even in her pain she is always lifting people's spirits, checking in on how they are doing, and she remembers to hug and thank EVERY nurse and doctor that is caring for her.

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