Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Zack has been in the hospital for six and a half weeks...

He's still taking sedation medication but lower doses of less powerful meds...so he naps a lot and sleeps through most of the night, but he's also awake enough during the day to listen to music (mostly Elton John and Tom Petty), watch TV (he's watching more SpongeBob than Hogan's Heroes these days) and listen to his mom and grandma reading to him (mostly the Redwall book "Lord Brocktree")...Thank you Jim for the CDs of Elton John live in NYC. 

Zack is doing lots of physical therapy with increased strength every day. He's also been trying to write every day for the past week or so and was able to write an entire word yesterday. We sometimes play Hangman to help us figure out what he's trying to say...He talks all the time, though at this point he can only mouth words because the breathing tube rests on his vocal chords making sound impossible. Zack is fully cognizant and lets everyone know that he's ready to get out of here. 

We are hoping he'll be extubated this week, maybe Friday. His lungs are very strong and he's doing long sprints of breathing on his own with little help from the ventilator. He had another small pneumothorax outside his right lung yesterday so a chest tube was put in and the pneumo was gone this morning. (This was Zack's fourth chest tube...the other three have been removed and this new one will stay in for a few days.)

Zack's liver enzyme count has climbed over the last few days and a team of gastrointestinal docs are trying to pinpoint the cause. He had an ultrasound yesterday that shows his liver slightly enlarged but no cause was evident. 

I am so encouraged by Zack's progress and amazed at his strength and determination. He's pushing himself every day and it's making a big difference in his healing process. Nurses and doctors have been impressed with how quickly he's healing and how strong and healthy he looks. These last few days with the breathing tube are trying his patience but I keep reminding him that the worst is over and he'll be home soon. 

As always, thanks so much for your good wishes and thoughts for Zack!

Zack's Grandparents pose with his Uncle Tim 
and Aunt Monica outside Doernbecher

12 comments:

Cristina said...

Such an amazing update! Thank you - I'm so extremely proud of how strong you've been Zack!!!
Love to you all!

Kate said...

great news! thanks so much for the update. we're thinking of you guys lots. -- kate, aaron and coco

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Zack...you are almost out of there. Slow and sure wins. Like Mom says...the worst is over and now you're starting to sail! Patience isn't fun. Being a patient isn't fun either. You are almost at the top of that mountain. I'm impressed!
Love, Frank

Anonymous said...

Dear Zack,
Great to hear that you are back in action. Keep working on writing and surprising everyone at how much you are improving. Hope we can talk soon and I can hear your voice. In the meantime-enjoy the tunes and Spongebob, McHales Navy and Colonel Hogan.
L,
Bob

Jill Magee said...

Hi there!

Greetings from Pacifica and from all of my sponsors for the 100 mile SF Cycle Team.

You are the inspriation for me and for all of us at Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training to keep going and make it across the finish line. GO ZACK! GO TEAM!

Jill Magee

Anonymous said...

Hello from Pacifica, well I already spoke to grandpa and got the lowdown and Zach you are amazing and I am so very happy to hear that you are doing better and better each day...keep up the good work and I will keep sending up that good Pacifica air. Maria keep up the great work and hello to Kathleen. Can't wait till you guys are able to come down here for the holidays and we can chat. Bless you all Love Carol

Anonymous said...

I love you so much Zack.

Catharine D.

Anonymous said...

You are strong, Zack; you are strong.

Anonymous said...

Keep it up Zack, you are a star. We are looking forward to when we can enjoy SpongeBob and Hogan's Heroes with you. Did you know that Olivia like them too? While you're watching that,your mom and Laura can listen to Mambo Italiano over and over gain!!

big hugs,
Laura, Carlos and Olivia

Mike said...

Yeah Zack ! Keep up the good work! Those lungs are healing every minute and Sir Elton John is helping tremendously I know. He is Maya's favorite .. We miss you Zack and you know we love you so much. Sounds like those chest tubes are a pain .. but you've gotta fight that pain the same courageous way you've fought this whole thing Zack. Beat it down ya know ..

Hey, have you ever heard of Maarten van der Weijden? He's a dutch athelete who just won an Olympic gold medal in China in the men's open water marathon. He beat leaukemia just like you're doing. Very cool, huh?

What everybody is saying about you is true Zack. You are an inspiration to us all. See you soon buddy.

Love,

Mike

Anonymous said...

Hey guys! Great news, I expect to hear such positive reports from two of the strongest people I will ever know. We love you and have you always in our thoughts and hearts. Mike, Jasmine, Aleta, not here yet, Germs and Marley all say hi Zack and we will all be together soon.

George

chris (gabe's dad) said...

Zack,

Pack your bags. Gabe and I are gonna bust you out!! We're coming with a big x wing fighter. We're gonna blow the doors off and fly you out of there. The millenium falcon is gonna be witing out int he parking lot and before you know it, where gonna make the jump to hyper space. Don't worry, there's plenty of room for your mom and grandma.

At least that is my dream. I know you gotta stay until the docs and nurses give you the two thumbs up. But let me tell you, I dream of busting you out of there. In my dreams we fly and fly. I wish I could make it come true. maybe it will. Just keep those bags packed just in case....

Chris (and Gabe)