Checking In, Part II : When News Is Bad

Paul has asked me to post an update on the status of his mother, Helen. As you may or may not know, Helen has been in critical condition in a hospital in Connecticut for three weeks.

What began as a Gall Bladder that needed to be removed, quickly progressed to Pancreatitis, extremely high elevated Liver levels, sepsis, infection, uncontrolled high fevers, elevated blood pressure and heart rate and she was on a ventilator for almost two weeks since she was unable to breath on her own.

In the last few days, Helen has become progressively less responsive.

Friday, a CAT scan of her Brain revealed that she has a blood clot as well as two large areas of bleeding. The most significant bleeding is in her left hemisphere and is in her language center. The second area is in her right hemisphere and may affect her left side body control.

Another CAT scan of her abdomen has revealed a tumor on one of her Kidneys.  This tumor may be the cause of the bleeding in her Brain

This evening, another CAT scan of her Brain has been performed, primarily to assess whether the bleeding has progressed. It is also possible that there could be a tumor in the brain, but it is difficult to see what is below the bleeding areas.

Last I spoke with Paul, they had had a consult from Neurology and were waiting to hear from the Neuro-Surgical team.

Paul is devastated. His family is devastated. We are all devastated.

We are taking this one hour at a time and appreciate all of your love and support. We welcome comments to this post and Paul will be able to read them in Connecticut. For our Northeast friends who would like to reach out to Paul and his family at this time, please contact me and I will provide details as to where to reach them.

Life is short. Life is unpredictable. Moments like this are painful reminders of the simplicity of those messages. We never know what lies around each corner and what fateful card will be dealt to each of us. We can only hope to persevere through these moments with a strength of spirit and an open heart knowing that we’ve loved, appreciated and savored every moment with those we love.

19 thoughts on “Checking In, Part II : When News Is Bad

  1. Friends:

    Thank you to everyone for your kind words and messages of support. I will work with Jennifer tomorrow to get a more thorough update posted to the site.

    In the meantime, I can say that the last 24 hours have been much better than the previous 48. Special thanks to Costas Hadjipanayis, Jennifer’s Neurosurgeon at Emory, whose thoughts yesterday were reassuring for my father and me to hear.

    More to come tomorrow…


    • Paul and Jen,

      I’m so sorry to hear about the situation with your mom. Hopefully things will get better really soon. You and your family will be in my prayers.


  2. Paul,
    I got your message and will be thinking of you all. I know Jenn and the boys miss you but I’m glad you can be with your Mom and family. We will talk more soon.

  3. Paul and Jen, please know our thoughts and prayers are with you and your Mom, and your family. Please take care. Sincerely, Heidi and Trent W.

  4. Jen and Paul, I am so sorry to hear this bad news about your mom (and MIL). I can’t imagine what you both must be going through and feel so helpless that I can’t do more for you both. My heart goes out to you and my prayers go up to God.

  5. Jen and Paul, We’re so sorry about this awful situation. Hoping Helen has comfort and peace, and that your family continues to have the strength you need to get through it. We’re always here if you need anything.
    Kelly and Michael

  6. We are so sorry to here this terrible new. I’m shocked, I just spoke to Paul the other day and things sounded better. Please know that Anne and I will have you and the entire family in our prayers. Let us know if we can do ANYTHING!

  7. Paul and Jen,
    I am sorry to hear such devastating news. Helen will be in our prayers and we wish her peace and comfort. To you and your family and friends who are surrounding you, we pray for love, strength to endure and peace in your decision making while you get through this difficult time.

  8. Paul and Jennifer,

    I hope the strength of your family bond will get you through this difficult and stressful time. Thinking of you…


  9. Jen, please let Paul know that Helen is in our prayers. I am so sorry to hear of this news. Is there anything that we can do for either of you …. I know this is devastating as well as stressful for both of you. If there is anything we can do we want to help.

    Tom and Deb

  10. Pau and Jen,

    I am sorry to hear of the worsening clinical condition of your mom. If you need me to I can speak to the neurosurgeons in Conn and gather some info for you two. The situation sounds very difficult. Pls let me know how I can help.


  11. Paul, we are very sorry to hear that your Mom’s condition has not improved. We want you to know that we are thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. Jen, please let us know if there is anything we can do.

  12. I’m so sorry to hear this news about your mother in law. It sounds rather like our ordeal this past fall with my father in law. I’m glad Paul is getting to spend this time with his family. If there is anything I can do to make life easier for you here while he is gone, please let me know. I’d be glad to make a dinner or whatever.


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