Definitely Turned the Corner this Time

The lymph angiogram which was done on Monday was an 8 hour ptocedure that left Doug wiped out for 2 days. The radiologist found the leak and successfully plugged it. The chest tube drainage decreased immediately and yesterday the last tube was removed. However, he has had right abdominal pain since then and we learned yesterday that his gall bladder was full of sludge.  A biliary tube was inserted today to drain the bile and relieve the pressure. I know what you are thinking 1. Can anything else possibly go wrong and 2. Maybe we should rent for a year and register to vote in Minnesota.

Doug can have clear liquids tonight ( isn’t beer a clear liquid?) and then progress to a more substantial diet, like guacamole and margaritas😉.

That’s it for now,




Two steps forward, one step back

Doug is making good progress with walking, transfers and exercising. And he is gradually eating more. However, his chest tube continues to have high output. The doctors have suspected a chylothorax but 2 tests have been inconclusive. In short, the lymph fluid and lipids from the small intestine travel through the lymph system to the thoracic duct to a large vein near the heart. That duct could have been injured during surgery and caused a leak that enters the pleural space where the chest tube sits. So he is NPO ( nothing by mouth) to see if the drainage slows down. Monday a lymphangiogram will be done to determine if there is a leak.

It’s discouraging. Doug needs to eat in order to have the energy to exercise. It’s hard keeping our spirits up.

Fruit Punch and the Penguins

Doug had a swallow test this morning to see if the new connection between the esophagus and stomach leaked. He stood for a minute or two and chugged about 8oz of a contrast while they visualized the site. No leakage noted and a clear diet was ordered. His pain button has been discontinued and now he can take oral pain medication.

On another note, the Pitsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup, their second back to back championship. Doug has enjoyed watching the games and looked forward to a night of hockey.

He still has a chest tube and it is exhausting walking and going to rehab but he is getting stronger.


Who knew fruit punch tasted so great?


One tube gone, 4 to go

Doug in pulmonary rehab

Two weeks ago today, Doug had his esophagectomy. The days fly by for me. For Doug they are filled with nurses coming and going, shift changes, vital signs, emptying drains, giving IV medications, hooking and unhooking the endless tangle of tubes and wires. Taking a morning shower is a huge effort and leaves him exhausted. Then there is transferring from bed to chair, from chair to stretcher, then back to bed for a while to rest before he goes to pulmonary rehab. But he is making progress!

Drainage from the left chest tube was minimal over night so the tube was removed today. That leaves 2 chest tubes on the right, a urinary catheter and the nasogastric tube.

The right lateral chest incision is healing nicely. The abdominal incision will take time to close on it’s own.


Back on Track🤞

Doug went for a ride in a wheel chair yesterday evening and took in some fresh Minnesotan air on the balcony. We were accompanied by his nurse Becca because Doug is still on a monitor. The fresh air did wonders and soon after returning to his room he said, ” I feel like i could have a bowel movement”. And so he did. 👍He has been up walking the halls and we are feeling like he has turned the corner.

The abdominal incision is secured with heavy duty sutures. They will remain in place while the incision heals naturally.

We are thankful for this positive turn and for all your good thoughts, wishes and prayers.

Nurse Jenny

Post-Op Day 11: not much progress

Doug  developed a clot in his left arm as a result from a central line insertion last Thursday. He is now on IV heparin, a blood thinner. Fortunately, there is no clot in his lungs. Doug is very weak from being in bed and is retaining fluid in his extremeties. The bowels still aren’t moving.