Saturday, October 31, 2009

halloween happenings

Halloween happenings in the Manzo/Beckett world...

Wade is keeping Wendy company at UC Davis. Micah, Grammy, Skyler (Superman), and Jadon (Engineer) are trick or treating in Madera with other family and friends. CB and Wesley are at the FSU football game. Go Dogs!

p.s. Wendy's nurse thought Wade wrote the message. Even in severe pain she has 'teacher handwriting'.

not great, but not terrible

From the mouth of Wendy, "last night was not great, but not terrible." This is good!

She ended up having the CT scan of her chest and abdomen done last night after all. The scan lasted from 10:45 pm to 12 am. CT results this morning show that she still has a lot of air in her stomach. It is necessary for the NG (Nasogastric) tube to be put back in her nose to help get rid some of the excess air and pressure in her stomach. News of the NG tube having to be put back in made Wendy cry (her first tears since the surgery). Her nose is so sore and raw. They are going to put some lytocaine in her nose to help numb it. She is so distraught and fearful over this tube being inserted back into her nose.

After her CT scan last night she was given Benadryl. She had her best sleep yet! She slept from 2 - 4:30 am.

The final blood culture testing for CDF came back negative. One positive and two negatives. They are going to continue giving her the antibiotics, Vancomycin and Flagyl because they seem to be helping her overall condition.

They will most likely remove her epidural tomorrow because it is coming up on the two week mark. If it is kept in much longer it could become infected.

Her heart and lung are sounding good. Her bowels are sounding less hyperactive, which is a good thing.

The following is an excerpt from an email sent by Wendy's dad, CB.

"Grammy is home! What smiles on two happy little faces when Georgia arrived safely home. After many days in ICU with
Wendy, she is home for a few days. Only you mothers and grandmothers can understand what Georgia is going through - her baby in so much pain day after day. Thursday was one of the toughest days for both Wendy and Georgia - thank you so for your prayers and deep concern and love. Wade flew in from LA this morning and will be with his sister who he loves so much this weekend. He will meet with the doctors every morning and the blog will be updated daily. I will go back Sunday to UC Davis and stay a few days with our beautiful daughter – and pray with her, encourage her, love her and let her know hundreds of people are praying for her and her family. She is strong, brave and will overcome this challenge of life with God's help and continued support. God will use her in ways that time will only tell. It was such a bonding time with Skyler and Jadon this week we made 10 trips back and forth from Madera to Fresno. They are so good and are up to the task at hand. Where do three year olds get all these questions- like "Why do the mannequins at Kohls not have heads? The ones at Old Navy have heads." We looked at everything to do with trains at three Targets - we know what to buy for Christmas and birthdays for the next five years.Wendy is doing much better this evening and we know God continues to do a miracle in her life. Georgia and I thank you so much for the cards, letters, emails and phone calls - your prayers, kind words, and LOVE give us daily HOPE. To our families, friends, neighbors, churches through out the state, school districts - all of you."

cb and gb

  • Her epidural remains free of infection.
  • That awful NG tube doesn't cause too much pain.
  • She walks and sleeps well.
  • Longest period of sleep...2 1/2 glorious hours.
  • No extreme heat spells in over 24 hours.
  • She sat in a chair for a solid hour this morning.

Friday, October 30, 2009

pretty good day

Today was a pretty good day. A fighting Wendy, prayer, and God...a perfect trio for recovery.

Wendy walked the farthest yet! After her walk she sat in a chair for a half an hour. All thirty minutes were painful, exhausting and she continually asked to get back in bed. She pushed through and worked hard today.

So far Wendy has had a negative and a positive reading for CDF. One more test, one last result to break the tie. They considered giving her another CT scan today, but in the end decided against it because she was so exhausted from all of her physical activity. She will most likely have the CT scan done tomorrow morning.

The pain management team now has Wendy on Fetanyl. This drug is commonly used to treat chronic pain. On a scale of 1-10, Wendy's pain has ranged from a "4" to a "6" since being on this new drug. It seems to be keeping the pain measurement of a "10" (where she's usually at) away.

Her white blood cell count is the same. Her blood pressure and blood sugar is holding steady.

Wendy did not have any extreme hot spells today! What a difference this made in her day.

All tubes have been removed from Wendy's mouth and nose. She feels free!

Wendy looked in the mirror for the first time yesterday since her surgery. Previous to today they had advised against her seeing herself because they didn't want her image to be discouraging. She was SO swollen and looked nothing like herself. The beautiful Wendy we all know and love is slowly but surely starting to come back.

Wendy's brother Wade was able to feed her some very tasty ice chips this evening. Hopefully she's close to being on an all liquid diet again.

She will have her blood drawn at midnight. Afterwards they will give her a Benadryl and hope and pray she sleeps until 4 am when she has her daily lung x-ray done. This is an incredible opportunity for Wendy to get her longest stint of sleep yet. With the extreme heat spells at bay, her pain somewhat under control, and a Benadryl, please pray she sleeps all four hours.

  • Four much needed hours of continual sleep!
  • They determine once and for all what is causing her gut pain and elevated white blood cell count.
  • That remaining lung. Pray for it's health and strength.
  • She walks even more tomorrow.
  • No extreme heat spells!
  • Her swelling is continuing to go down.
  • They've found a pain medication that seems to finally be doing the trick.

powerful prayers

Praise Jesus and thank you to all of Wendy's prayer warriors! Wendy has shown tremendous improvement since last night. Last night was a low and scary point in her recovery. For all those that prayed with fervor and diligence, her family sends you their most appreciative thanks. They feel your prayers and are witnessing God's immediate healing as a result.

Wendy's brother Wade arrived today to take over for Georgia. Please pray for Georgia as she travels home tonight to regroup, physically and emotionally before heading back Sunday. Continue to pray for Micah as he fights off illness and cares for his wife.

Her blood will be cultured three different times as they test for CDF. The first test came back negative. The doctors still think it is CDF that is causing so much pain, the elevated white blood cell count, and distension of her stomach. It is very possible that the first test was a false negative.

The pain management team has been working hard to help Wendy feel less pain, but also keep her coherent. They've found that multiple pain medications put into her body through various ways seem to work the best for her. Currently they are giving her pain medicine in a shot, a steady amount through an iv, and a slow drip through an iv.

Wendy's homework for today is to walk four times as much as she has ever done before, even though she is in an extreme amount of pain. Walking and being upright is crucial to keeping her lung clear and to her overall recovery. She didn't get up at all yesterday because of her gut, potential CDF issue. It is imperative she walk today.

So far Wendy has not had any extreme heat spells today! She has usually had multiple spells by this time. Please pray that she not have any more. Pray the heat spells are behind her, and a thing of the past.

Wendy's mom washed and braided Wendy's hair this morning. It seemed to boost Wendy's spirits and relieve her psychologically.

  • Wendy doesn't have anymore extreme heat spells.
  • She walks four times as much as she has before.
  • The infection is CDF and they give her the most appropriate antibiotics to fight it.
  • Strength and protection over Micah and Wade as they care for Wendy.
  • Safety over Georgia as she travels home.
  • The simple comforts of clean, combed hair.
  • No extreme heat spells yet today.
  • Improvements from last night.
  • The power of prayer.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

hands and knees prayer

Wendy needs your diligent, heartfelt prayers right now at this very moment more than ever. Family, friends, fans of Wendy please get on your hands and knees and pray for healing over Wendy.

Wendy's mom called to give the nightly report in tears. For any of you who know Wendy's mom, Georgia Beckett, you know she is a strong woman of God. She has shown such composure, strength, and optimism through Wendy's surgery and recovery. Tonight she is broken. She is exhausted and in pain from watching her daughter hurt for so long. She said tonight the only thought that brings her comfort is knowing that our Heavenly Father knows what she is going through. Pray for Georgia, a mother wishing more than anything that she could take her daughter's place.

Micah is feeling sick. He is taking over-the-counter medicine, hoping to keep illness at bay. Please pray he doesn't get sick. Wendy needs him to be physically present.

Her white blood cell count continued to rise into the night. They think they might have found the infection. They speculate she has Clostridium Difficile (CDF). CDF is a naturally occurring species of bacteria in the body that can grow out of control when you are on some types of antibiotics. They are going to hit her hard with Vancomycin a powerful broad spectrum antibiotic that treats Gram-positive bacteria. They will also give her Flagyl, an antibiotic used for treating infection of the colon.

Wendy is back to NPO. No food, drink, or ice.

Her heart rate is up and her breathing is very labored.

She is very drugged out right now, uncomfortable, experiencing constant, lengthy heat spells, she can't lay still, she is in pain from head to toe. Wendy R. Manzo needs your prayers.

The only bright spot today was that she had her favorite day nurse. She'll have her favorite night nurse tonight. Pray for these two nurses. Give them wisdom and guidance to best care for Wendy.

  • The cause of infection is CDF and is treated quickly and effectively by the Vancomycin and Flagyl.
  • Wendy SLEEPS tonight.
  • Georgia is surrounded by God's peace, love, and comfort.
  • Micah does not get sick.

back on antibiotics

Wendy's white blood cell count is continuing to climb so she is back on antibiotics. They are still trying to find a source of infection. She is having her blood cultured and her thyroid checked today in hopes of finding a cause.

Her lung seems to be tired today. Her breathing has been more labored all day.

Wendy continues to enjoy a liquid diet. She had broth and jello for breakfast and lunch. She said jello has never tasted so good. She has to sip and eat extremely slowly so she doesn't get nauseous. Aspirating is not an option.

Doctors are still baffled by the extreme hot spells Wendy continues to experience. The overwhelming heat is coming more often and lasting for longer periods of time.

A physical therapist came in and checked Wendy's right leg today. The PT thought the majority of her leg looked really good. There aren't any additional locations on her leg with nerve damage. This nerve damage could be permanent. Please pray that the feeling in her leg comes back.

The sleeping pill they gave Wendy last night did not work. She only slept for an hour and a half total. She is having a hard time blocking out the constant sounds that fill the ICU. She is going to try and wear headphones tonight and listen to soothing music. They are going to give her a Benadryl tonight to see if that helps her sleep. The nurses are stressing the importance of Wendy being awake during the day and asleep at night. AM/PM confusion often plagues ICU patients in the hospital and it can continue after they are released. It is hard to reverse this confusion.

  • Wendy is awake and comfortable during the day and sleeps peacefully at night.
  • Her right leg is not permanently numb. Pray to Jesus for rapid healing.
  • Doctors figure out why her white blood cell count is up.
  • The extreme hot spells cease.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

all liquid diet

Wendy was given a 4 ounce glass of grape juice this afternoon that she conservatively sipped from 3:00 to 5:45 pm. Because she did such a great job drinking it and didn't feel nauseous she graduated from no diet to an all liquid diet! She thoroughly enjoyed broth and jello for dinner this evening.

A nurse from the Inter visual Radiology department came up to check on Wendy's PICC line today. The PICC line is looking good.

Wendy's white blood cell count is still elevated. The doctors are unable to find any signs of infection so they are discontinuing antibiotics.

Wendy walked well with the help of a walker again today. She only had to stop once to sit down. Her right leg is still numb. When Wendy was put on the heart and lung machine during surgery they had tried to access her femoral artery, without success. Wendy's surgeon suspects a nerve in/near the femoral artery was damaged. He doesn't expect the nerve to be permanently damaged. She will definitely need physical therapy to get her leg back to full use without numbness and it could take months of work to get there.

Wendy's family asked her surgeon when she would be released from the ICU. His response, "I won't let her leave here until she's ready and she's not ready."

It is imperative that Wendy get more, quality sleep. She was given a cup of warm tea and a sleeping pill tonight. They are hopeful that the tea will soothe her raw, painfully sore throat and the sleeping aid will help her rest. She is still in an extreme amount of pain from head to toe and is having a hard time sleeping. The longest period of sleep she got last night was 15 minutes.

The severe hot flashes are getting more peculiar, and are occurring for longer periods of time. This afternoon she had them at 3:10, 4:45, 6:20, and 8:03 pm. Each one lasted 45 minutes to an hour. She has little reprieve in between these episodes and they completely wear her out. The hot flashes have affected her entire body up until today. She only experienced the "on fire" sensation on her right side today, her incision side. Her surgeon, the doctors, and nurses are completely baffled and still can't explain the extreme heat. If the extreme hot flashes would stop she'd be more successful at everything. These episodes are exhausting her.

  • They figure out what is causing the extreme hot flashes and that they stop.
  • Her right leg heals quickly and that the feeling comes back.
  • Her extremely sore throat and thrush go away.
  • Wendy sleeps!
  • Wendy is enjoying a diet again!
  • The PICC line is looking good and working well.
  • Her support team is being protected with strength and health.

rough night

Last night was another rough night for Wendy. The pain management team will re-evaluate Wendy today. They are hopeful to find the perfect balance of pain medication. She is still in a tremendous amount of pain and continues to have extreme hot flashes. She had one almost every hour last night. Wendy's team is baffled by the "on fire all over" sensation she continues to experience. They aren't sure if the reaction is due to a medicine she is taking or if her body is just confused and fighting itself. She continues to experience "ICU psychosis" at night.

Wendy is be allowed to drink small sips of water today as they start to graduate her beyond ice chips. She started receiving nutrients through her PICC line last night.

Her intestines and bowels are waking up! Woohoo!

It is getting more difficult for the nurses to draw Wendy's blood. As soon as the PICC line has been flushed and is more established they should be able to start drawing blood from it.

  • Nurses are able to draw blood from her PICC line soon.
  • Wendy doesn't experience extreme hot flashes or "ICU psychosis" anymore.
  • The pain management team finds the perfect balance of pain medication.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

rough day

Overall today was a rough day. Every procedure that was done on Wendy today was painful and every part of her body hurts. Her white blood cell count is still up. The doctors have not been able to find the infection. They are grasping at straws.

Wendy is still experiencing EXTREME hot flashes. She goes from a normal temperature to a pink faced, burning hot, on fire temperature. Wendy's mom fills surgical gloves with ice and then puts them on her forehead, legs, and arms. Cool wash rags are then placed on top of the icy gloves. Once the burning sensation passes Wendy is back to a normal temperature. The doctors have not been able to figure out what is causing the extreme hot flashes.

Her throat is still raw and painfully sore. The antibiotics and UC Davis Magic Mouthwash have yet to touch the thrush.

A praise to report! Wendy walked more than 24 feet today with a walker but without a physical therapist locking her knee! Her right leg is still numb but she was able to put some pressure on it. Praise the Lord!

Wendy really needs a break tomorrow.

  • Her severe sore throat and thrush go away.
  • Wendy does not experience "ICU psychosis" tonight.
  • She gets 2-3 hours of solid, uninterrupted, comfortable sleep.
  • The doctors figure out what is causing the extreme hot flashes and that they stop.
  • Micah and Wendy's mom feel comforted, stay healthy, and get good rest tonight. They are incredible advocates, support, and consistent warriors for Wendy at the hospital.

wendy the patient

The epidural Wendy has had since surgery had to come out today. It wasn't working effectively anymore. The new epidural is lower in her back. The hope is that she'll get better pain relief with this lower placement.

She really needs to start receiving nutrients, but food is just not a possibility yet. Please, please, please pray that the PICC line is successfully inserted today. Pray they find a strong, accessible vein. Pray that vein is strong, healthy, and will hold the PICC line for as long as she needs it.

Wendy's stomach is still tight and her bowels and intestines are not working yet. Movement in her belly area is a HUGE prayer request right now.

Wendy experiences something called "ICU psychosis" every time she doses off for a lengthy period of time. She sees, hears, and imagines bad things going on. When she wakes up she works very hard at trying to figure out what went on and how to get rid of the thoughts. She thinks all of the nurses are mad at her because she thinks she is a "bad patient". She apologizes every time a doctor or nurse comes in and has to perform a procedure. Even though they reassure her she is doing a great job and that she is not a bad patient, she is genuinely concerned about her "burden" on everyone. Wendy's mom said it is funny, (in a not funny way) to watch and listen to Wendy try to take care of the people in her room. Wendy's mom said she has dark circles under her eyes, dilated pupils, a swollen face, and acts very drugged (because she is) but is micromanaging the nurses and her family. She asks if people have eaten, used the restroom, taken a break, etc. Taking care of and worrying about others even though she is the patient and fighting for her life. So Wendy.

The ICU staff is trying to get Wendy accustom to the difference between day and night again. They want her body to get used to being awake during the day and asleep at night.

  • Wendy's bad thoughts caused by the "ICU psychosis" are replaced with positive ones.
  • The PICC line is a success!
  • The new epidural provides better pain relief.
  • Wendy's bowels and intestines start working.

Monday, October 26, 2009

family, friends, and followers

Because Micah and Wendy are currently "out of commission" they aren't managing this blog. If you are family, friends, or a follower of this blog and would like to have your blog added to their "Blog List" please include your blog address in the comment section. The more people praying for Wendy, connecting to this blog, and showing their support the better.

not so super motrin

The "Super Motrin" didn't work. She is on a new narcotic. She isn't experiencing as many hallucinations but is extremely groggy. Managing her pain is something the doctors are constantly working on.

The PICC line failed. Wendy's veins are small, weak, and damaged. She is going to IR (Inter Visual Radiology) tomorrow where they will use more advanced machines to search for a good vein.

90% of after surgery fluids are usually consumed or released by the body naturally 3-5 days after surgery. Wendy's body did not get rid of the fluids. A tube was inserted in her left side today to release some excess fluid. 920 cc's (close to a liter) of liquids were absolved. The combination of a surplus of fluids and the confusing side affects from the narcotics left Wendy feeling like she was going to explode. It is a definite praise that so much fluid was released today.

Wendy still has thrush in her mouth. Her blood sugar is high and she has been receiving insulin shots. Wendy still receives a breathing treatment every 6 hours. The duo-med Wendy receives in the breathing treatment goes to the poorly profused areas of her lung, helping with infection prevention and inflation.

  • Wendy's bowels and intestines are still asleep. Pray they start moving. She is very uncomfortable.
  • They find a good vein tomorrow and the PICC line is a success.
  • Wendy experiences less pain every day.
  • She walks more than 24 feet tomorrow.

24 feet

Let's start off with the praise of all praises! Wendy walked 24 feet with the help of a walker, two physical therapists, a nurse, and her mom! One of the therapists crawled along on the floor locking her knee so she could bare weight on it. The nurse held the tubes and lines, while pushing her oxygen tank. She only had to sit once, walked all the way to the nurses station and back to her room. By the time she made it back to her bed she was exhausted, but she did it!

Wendy's oncologist/surgeon is back in town! There will be some big changes today. First of all they are going to put a chest tube in to drain fluids near her lung. She will be sedated during the procedure. The tube will allow for fluid to constantly drain. The tube will be painful and uncomfortable. Second, her surgeon has decided to take her off of narcotics. She is going to start receiving a pain medication that is like a "Super Motrin". She will receive the "Super Motrin" through the epidural and iv. It is important that she continue to receive pain medications through two sites. She is still experiencing a tremendous amount of pain. The narcotics are causing Wendy to experience psychosis through hallucinations, hyperventilation, and confusion. Lastly, her surgeon has decided to have a PICC line put in. Wendy will receive nutrients, including proteins, fats, and medicine through the PICC line. Wendy hasn't had any nutrients since before her surgery. Her organs need good nutrients to continue to heal.

A hematoma has developed near Wendy's incision sight. Treatment can involve draining the accumulated blood. Thankfully at this time the hematoma is only creating minor pressure to the incision site and is not infected. As long as it remains as it is, they will just monitor it and it should go away within a few weeks.

Wendy's stomach is tight and distended. Her stomach and intestines are a mess right now. They are giving her treatments to help her bowels wake up. The distension has started to compress her lung. It is imperative her bowels start moving. Wendy's mom said, "she'll gets starts on her chart if her bowels can wake up today."

  • The chest tube and PICC line are successful.
  • Wendy's intestines, stomach, and bowels are awakened!
  • The hematoma doesn't change or get infected.
  • The "Super Motrin" gives her good relief so the narcotics can be discontinued.
  • Wendy walked 24 feet!
  • Her oncologist/surgeon is back in town.
  • Her swelling is going down. She is starting to look like Wendy.
In the day that I called you, you answered me. You encouraged me with strength in my soul. Psalms 138:3

Sunday, October 25, 2009

4 ante meridiem

And so another day of recovery comes to an end. Wendy had a bit of a scare towards the end of the night. She and her mom were sitting quietly in the room when all of a sudden Wendy started hyperventilating because it felt like the entire right side of her body was being inflated. A team of doctors and nurses flooded her room and gave her numbing medicine to help with the odd and frightening sensation.

Pray Wendy gets some good sleep tonight. Her next tests aren't until 4 am, so hopefully she will get to rest. Peaceful moments are few and far between in the ICU. Wendy is connected to wires, ivs, lines, tubes, catheters, and cuffs. She wears a cuff on each leg that inflates, and deflates to help with circulation. The cuffs are on all through the night. Her room only has three walls for easy access and close monitoring. Quiet, rest, and peacefulness is close to non-existent in the ICU. Despite all of the craziness that is the ICU, please pray that she experiences some peace tonight before those next tests at 4 am.

They are starting Wendy on a new pain medicine tonight. Wendy is still complaining of pain, pressure, itchiness, and overall discomfort. She will receive the new medicine through her epidural and an iv. Their hope is that his new drug will get to more parts of her body. Without good pain management she hurts and can't relax, which makes it difficult for her to heal.

Wendy is working hard to move her left leg and foot. She has been scooting it from side to side in bed. She knows how important movement is to circulation and she is very anxious to start improving. That Wendy, she's a fighter!

It is imperative, essential, crucial, necessary that Wendy stand (with a walker), and then eventually without a walker, and ultimately starts walking SOON! Let's pray she stands with the help of a walker tomorrow!

  • She continues to move her left leg and that her right leg is no longer numb.
  • Wendy stands with the help of a walker tomorrow!
  • The doctors discover the perfect amount and type of pain medicines that bring Wendy much needed comfort and relief.

happy birthday micah

Happy birthday to Wendy's husband!
  • Micah feels comforted today, even though Wendy is not well.
  • He feels special, even though all of the attention is (and has to be) on Wendy.
  • A healthy and happy next year of life.

white blood cells

Wendy's white blood cell count is up even higher today. The doctors put her on an antibiotics until they can figure out why her count is up. They performed scans and took cultures today to determine if she has an infection somewhere in her body.

She is still dozing a lot and seems to be in a dream-like state. She has yet to experience a deep sleep. She has dark circles under her eyes and is in much need of some solid rest.

Her stomach is hard, inflated, and is causing her a lot of pain. The pressure is starting to push on her lung. It is imperative that her bowels begin to work. They will take some pretty forceful (and uncomfortable) measures this afternoon to help move things along.

Skyler and Jadon have hardly asked about Wendy or Micah. Wendy's mom believes that the Holy Spirit is protecting their bodies and minds from feeling worry, confusion, or loneliness.
The boys have been passed between family members over the past week. So far their busy little schedules have run smoothly.

  • God's continued favor over Skyler and Jadon.

  • Peace, protection, and ease over the family that is so lovingly caring for Skyler and Jadon.

  • Wendy's white blood cell count goes up and that her body does not have an infection.

  • Those bowels get busy!

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Thessalonians 5:16

Saturday, October 24, 2009

uc davis magic mouthwash

Wendy got to take her first sip of something liquid tonight and she chose...grape juice! She was only allowed 4 ounces and she had to take one drink at a time over a four and a half hour period. Her response to her first drink, "oh that's sooooo good."

Wendy has a fever and thrush in her mouth. Her mouth is painfully sore and extremely raw. They are giving her something called "UC Davis Magic Mouthwash" to help combat the thrush. She can't decide what is more painful, her mouth and throat or her incision site. The doctors are still trying to figure out how to relieve her pain. They hope to get that figured out soon so they can move into the pain management phase.

The greatest consecutive amount of sleep Wendy has had since surgery has been 45 minutes. She is constantly being interrupted by doctors, nurses, tests, vital checks, medicine, pain, itchiness, and an irregular body temperature. Wendy's body temperature is completely irregular. Her face and head are burning up and her feet are ice cold. She goes from laying in her bed without a sheet and a fan on, to asking to have her body covered up and complaining of freezing temperatures.

Wendy receives breathing treatments every six and a half hours. Her breathing treatment goals are:
1. The left lung inflates as she exhales.
2. Her lung is hydrated.
3. She coughs up anything in the lung.

Wendy's mom asked her if she had any specific prayer requests tonight. The following requests are directly from the raw mouth of Wendy.

Wendy says, "pray"...

  • My mouth and throat are not sore.

  • My body temperature is regulated.

  • My bowels would wake up.

  • I will walk and stand tomorrow.

allergic reaction

Wendy was up in a chair from 6:30 - 9:30 am this morning, her longest stint up yet! However, her sitting came to an abrupt end when they started a new pain, anti-itch, inflammation medication through her epidural. Once the medicine entered her body she felt like she was dying and burning inside. They stopped the medicine immediately and moved her back to her bed. Half an hour later she seemed to be doing better and was resting.

Wendy's white blood cell count is up. One of the doctors suggested draining some of the fluid from around her lung. Her surgeon (who is at a different surgery at the moment but on 24/7 call for Wendy) said absolutely not. Draining the fluid around her lung requires insertion of a needle too close to her remaining lung. It is too risky of a procedure and should only be done in a life-threatening situation. Their hope and our prayer is that her body starts getting rid of fluids on it own, more quickly. They continue to push diuretics through ivs to help her pass
liquids more quickly. That extra fluid throughout her body needs to be gone!

The doctors and nurses still haven’t found the right medicine to completely block her pain. It is a delicate balance, alleviating the pain and pushing her body to heal.


  • Wendy's doctors continue to experiment with pain medications so she is comfortable.
  • Her white blood cell count goes up.
  • Her body gets rid of the excess fluids FAST.
I have unanswered prayers. I have trouble I wish wasn't there. I have asked a thousand ways You would take my pain away. I am trying to understand how to walk this weary land. Make straight the path of crooked life, oh Lord before these feet of mine. When my world is shaking heaven stands. When my heart is breaking I never leave your hands. - JJ Heller

Friday, October 23, 2009

itchy and numb

Wendy is talking, but her voice is not her "normal Wendy voice." Doctors decided to take a peek at her vocal chords today. The procedure required her to be momentarily taken off of oxygen so that a small camera could be inserted into her nose and down her throat. During the test her blood pressure dropped dangerously low. They were concerned with how quickly her blood pressure dropped and by how low it got so they decided to do an ultrasound of her lung. There was fluid on her lung, but not enough to have to go in and physically remove it. They are hoping her body will start to get rid of fluids more quickly. Standing up will help move that long, but her right leg is still numb. A physical therapist confirmed today that her leg is improving, but more improvement is needed in order for her to be able to put pressure on it. In addition, the more fluids her body gets rid of the more her joints will loosen up which will help with flexibility and movement. They wanted her up and walking around yesterday. Sitting up is just not cutting it. She needs to be standing and walking in order for her body's fluids and blood to be circulating well.

Wendy started breathing treatments. She receives them every six hours. They are hyper inflating her lungs to help prevent pneumonia and infection.

The doctors want to remove a line in her neck that was used during surgery. However, her potassium, calcium, and electrolyte levels have been below normal today. They can't remove the line until her levels go up. She will be receiving all three (potassium, calcium, and electrolytes) through the night in hopes they can replenish the levels and remove the line tomorrow.

Wendy is itchy all over due to some of the medications that are being given to her through the epidural. Benadryl is helping, but it makes her groggier than she already is. Wendy is in good spirits when she is awake, but comes and goes between a dream like state and reality due to the heavy medications she's on. Wendy's mom said she believes her grogginess is a "blessing in disguise." She hopes Wendy won't remember the intense pain and difficult details about these first days of hard recovery. Also, the days in the ICU are long and Wendy's unawareness seems to help her minutes and hours pass by more swiftly.

Wendy's surgery and the removal of three large thymomas was the first for her oncologist/ surgeon. He usually removes one, maybe two small thymomas through tiny incisions. Wendy's surgery will be one for the textbooks. Wendy's thymomas were the largest he had ever removed. Removal of the thymomas required a large incision, sawing through ribs, removal of a lung, and reconstruction of the diaphragm and the lining around her heart. This was a HUGE surgery, which means she has a long road to recovery. Her doctors are working hard to manage her pain, yet they simultaneously have to focus on pushing her to heal and recover.


  • Her left leg regains feeling.
  • She can get out of bed and become more mobile.
  • Pray for the doctors' wisdom and discernment.
  • Wendy's potassium, calcium, and electrolyte levels go up so that line can be removed.
  • Her lung and body is protected from any form of infection.
  • Wendy stops feeling itchy all over.

"We don't know what the future holds, but we know who holds it." - Wendy's Mom

give a heart to mrs. manzo

Wendy began her teaching career at River Bluff Elementary in its inaugural year. She continued teaching at River Bluff for the next seven years. River Bluff wasn't just a place of employment for Wendy. River Bluff was a home away from home, that contained her family away from family. Wendy had the great opportunity to take a full time position teaching third grade at Polk Elementary this school year. Even though River Bluff isn't the school she teaches at anymore she will always be treasured, loved, and missed by the RB students, parents, and staff. A former student of Wendy's approached a teacher at River Bluff last week with a red construction paper heart and the letter below.

Dear Teachers and Staff,

As some of you may know Mrs. Manzo had to have surgery on Monday October 19, 2009. I would like to do as much as I can to help. SO I came up with an idea. It is called "Give a Heart to Mrs. Manzo". I will give one heart to each class, please have each of your students write their names on the heart. Your class can decorate the heart however you would like. When you are done you can put them in Mrs. Keeslar or Mrs. Kennedy's box. In case you didnt know who I am. I am Cassie Cowan, a fifth grader in Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Keeslar's class. I had Mrs. Manzo and Mrs. Keeslar as my teachers when I was in 3rd grade. I would like all of these returned by Wednesday, October 28, 2009. After all of them have been colected, I will put all of the hearts together in a book and give it to her as a get well card from River Bluff.

Cassie Cowan

A thoughtful gesture from a young student to a beloved teacher. Your River Bluff family loves you Mrs. Manzo!

praises, progress, and prayers

This morning's update was written by Wendy's best friends, Marissa and Sarah. They have been with Wendy for the past day and night.

"Wendy had a busy day yesterday. The neurologist came by and conducted a series of tests on her right leg that is still not fully mobile. He ordered a CT scan for the lower abdominal area to check the condition of the femoral artery to rule out a blood clot. The results of the scan came back last night and it confirmed that there is not a blood clot in the artery. The nurse told us that since it is not a blood clot, then the problem is with the nervous system. They said it would just take time to see if the nerves can repair themselves. This morning, she is able to move that leg much more than yesterday. This is great news! Pray that the nerves repair quickly! The doctors and nurses all agree that Wendy needs to get out of bed and sit and stand up to get her lung stronger. Late yesterday, Wendy sat in a chair for over and hour! She was such a trooper! She continues to do her breathing exercises on her own to strengthen that lung. When she is doing her breathing treatments, it causes her to cough up the fluid, which is very painful. The goal right now is to have Wendy sit in the chair a couple of times today. This will help her lung clear fluid and gain strength. The ICU team is watching her breathing closely today. They have ordered an ultrasound of the lung to rule out any possible complications. Please pray that lung is clear and continues to gain strength.She is very thirsty and would love a tall glass of ice water. There are sores in her mouth that are hurting her. This is her biggest complaint right now. Please pray for patience for her in this healing process, it is longer than she anticipated."


  • Wendy's lung is clear, healthy, and getting stronger by the minute. Pray for that hard working lung!
  • The nerves in her right leg heal quickly so she can start to stand up.
  • Wendy's mouth...that it is ridden of sores and quenched.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

another day of recovery

There are praises to report. First of all Wendy's blood pressure went up today. She sat upright in a chair for almost an hour. Wendy got her first sponge bath, for which she was SO grateful. Micah is feeling much better and got to go in and visit for a few moments with a mask on. She had a CT scan done today. It was determined that a blood clot is not causing the numbness in her right leg. They are unable to verify if the cause is nerve damage. Wendy still has a NG tube that enters through her nose and will continue to have one until her bladder and bowels start to work again. Once those two systems start working they will rid a lot of the extra fluids and her excessive swelling will go down.

  • The doctors figure out what is causing the numbness in her right leg and that her feeling comes back.
  • Her bodily systems start to perk up and start working efficiently.
  • Skyler and Jadon are feeling happy, safe, and comforted even though they are away from their parents.
  • Wendy's left lung. Pray for protection over that remaining lung.
  • Strength for Wendy's family as they travel back and forth from the Central Valley to Sacramento. Pray for their health, endurance, and protection.

keep praying

Wendy had an uneventful night. The doctors say she's ok, but that there is room for improvement. Her recovery is a narrow road and she must stay on track. Her systems are still trying to figure out what happened and not everything is working just yet. Her body needs to absorb fluids. One of Wendy's and the family's favorite nurses, Nurse Chris explained that there are "liters upon liters of excessive fluids in her body." The exorbitant amount of fluids are causing her body to swell. At this point her swelling could take weeks to go down. Her bowels need to wake up. She still has a NG tube in her nose and it will have to stay in, until her bowels start working. The tube is very painful, so the sooner that comes out the better.

She is going to remain in the ICU under constant supervision until Monday. If she is stable enough they will move her to a regular hospital room where she will stay through the end of the week. According to the doctors, it is a good sign that she is miserable. She is aware of the pain, complaining about her condition, trying to move her body to get comfortable, and in general is just fighting every step of the way. Most patients that have had a surgery of this gravity just lay there because dealing with this comparable pain is just too exhausting, emotionally and physically. GO WENDY GO!

Wendy's throat is extremely sore and raw and she still can't have any fluids. Because of the severity of pain in her throat she is having a hard time talking and still doesn't have a voice. The doctors said there is no reason she shouldn't be talking yet. The doctors still have mixed opinions about her quality of breathing. They want to see improvement. One way her breathing will improve is if she gets up. They sill aren't sure why her right leg has no feeling. One thought is that there were complications with the femoral artery when they were trying to do the bypass. They had moments to complete the bypass when she was being kept alive by the heart and lung machine. The bypass into the femoral artery wasn't working so they had to move to an artery near her arm. The bypass into that artery was successful. GO GOD GO!

The BIG physical goal for Wendy today is to get her to stand up with the help of two nurses and a walker. They want her to stand on her left leg while using the walker to help stand up. They then want her to go from a standing position to a sitting position. They'll have her hang out upright in the chair for as long as she can last. Getting her up is crucial to getting the blood circulating and to her recovery.

  • She is strong today when they get her up. That she can stand and sit for a good amount of time.
  • Her throat feels better and she can talk.
  • Blood circulates, swelling goes down, and lung capacity improves so Wendy can drink something SOON.
  • Pray for Micah's health so he can get back into that ICU room to be with Wendy.
  • Her systems perk up, especially her bowels so she can say goodbye to that NG tube.
  • Safe travels for Wendy's brother Wade as he travels home. Safe travels for Wendy's best friends, Sarah and Marissa as they travel to take over TLC of Wendy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

bleeding dodger blue

Don't worry, no bleeding going on in Wendy's hospital room, just cheering.

hanging in there

Wendy is doing ok. The main concern, and consequently the main prayer request is that she regains feeling in her right leg. Her surgeon and anesthesiologist met today to examine Wendy and try to figure out why her right leg is still numb. A neurologist is meeting with Wendy tomorrow to examine her arteries and nerves. There is a possibility that there was some artery or nerve damage near her hip area that occurred during surgery. It is essential she gets out of bed to sit or stand up. She cannot do this until the feeling in her leg comes back. They had high hopes of getting her out of bed today, but that didn't happen.

Wendy is still very thirsty and cannot have any water or ice until her body starts absorbing some of the fluids. Her blood pressure needs to go up. It is ok at the moment, but it cannot go any lower and must rise very soon.

  • Wendy's right leg regains feeling.
  • Wendy's blood pressure goes up.
  • Wendy's body starts to absorb fluids on its own.
  • Micah is sick and cannot go into the ICU to see Wendy. Please pray his cold goes away.
  • Wendy's parents are having a very hard time being back home, away from their daughter. Pray for their peace and comfort.

thank you for lending a hand

Thank you to all the people that have so generously donated to Wendy and her little family. Your giving hearts are SO appreciated and completely overwhelming to Wendy and her family. To learn more about the "donate" button in the upper right column of this blog please see the post titled, "lend a hand" in the archives. Wendy's major surgery has created a financial hardship for her family. Any help you can give will be received with much thanks.

wendy's dad

This morning's update is from Wendy's dad...

"Wendy is doing ok. ICU is working on dealing with the pain. This was a giant incision with surgeries in many areas within the body. Her internal systems are confused and due to the extent of the surgery, her body is still in shock. We still have miles to cover. The biggest concern is that we cannot have anything go down in to the one remaining lung. They inserted a new NG tube in her nose today to get to her stomach. Last night they had to drain the excess fluid in her stomach. Later today they will try to get her out of bed as it is an important part of recovery. She still is experiencing numbness in her right leg at this point."

Later this morning Georgia and I will head back to Madera. Wade who has been with us the last five days to love, care for and counsel us will fly back to LA this afternoon. The next few days we will be taking care of Skyler and Jadon. Pray for Micah's strength as he appears to be coming down with a cold. The doctors have told us just how dire it is that Wendy is not exposed to any sort of germs in these crucial days ahead.

Upon her dismissal from UC Davis, Wendy will come to the Beckett house in Madera to be cared for in the loving arms of her mother -- one of God's angels and my precious wife of 37 years. Georgia's cookies will give us all strength. While I know many of you would like to come and visit us during the coming weeks, the doctors have made it crystal clear just how important it is that we shield Wendy from any infections or germs.

Your prayers and support are giving our family renewed strength every morning. God is still in control. Thank you so much. To God be the glory for what he had done."

CB and GB

  • Wendy's remaining lung remains free of any fluids. Pray that lung starts working at 100% capacity!
  • Micah does not get sick. Wendy needs his comfort and physical presence.
  • Safe travels for Wendy's parents and Wade as they travel home. Pray they are able to "carry on with life" while their hearts remain at UC Davis Medical Center.
  • Wendy regains feeling in her right leg.
  • Skyler and Jadon are feeling comforted, happy, and aren't missing mommy and daddy too terribly much.
This is the day that the Lord hath made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalms 118:24

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

day one comes to an end

There are a lot of prayer requests tonight. It is imperative that Wendy get in an upright position for the blood and other fluids in her body to circulate throughout. They wanted her to stand on her own today but the upper part of her right leg is completely numb and she can't move it. She was physically removed from her bed and put in a chair where she sat for an hour today, which is a good start. Her pain relief is currently being given to her through an epidural. The plan is to experiment with different types of pain relief to be given intravenously. She complained of pain all day, pointing to her incision and other parts of her body that were hurting. The hope is that they can find a combination of pain relief that will take away the pain and bring the feeling back in her leg.

Even though she is breathing on her own, her lung is not working at 100% capacity. Therefore, she can't have ANYTHING to eat or drink. She has been communicating by writing on a dry erase board that she is extremely thirsty. They can't take the chance of her getting any fluids in her lung or aspirating. So until her lung is fully functioning she is NPO.

Wendy is still very swollen from the retention of fluids in her body. She is currently being given medicine to remedy the swelling until her body starts to rid the fluids on its own. They would like to see her blood pressure come up. They aren't at all surprised that it as low at is right now because her body has experienced a tremendous amount of trauma. However, they'd like to see her blood pressure start rising as soon as tonight.

The family asks that if you want to send cards, flowers, or gifts to please send it to Wendy's home. Flowers are not allowed in the ICU and that is where Wendy will be for the majority of her stay. Wendy will not be able to have visitors for quite some time. The importance of her staying away from infection (people that are sick, that have been sick, or have family members that are sick) and getting a lot of rest has been stressed to her family over and over since they arrived at UC Davis. Wendy cannot afford to have any infection. The family also asks that you please continue praying for Wendy and for them. They can physically and emotionally feel your prayers and can't thank you enough. God is so faithful.

  • The doctors and nurses find the right combination of drugs to help Wendy with her pain and for her to not be over drugged.
  • Wendy regains feeling in her right leg.
  • Her lung works at full 100% capactity so she can drink and eat.
  • She isn't uncomfortably thirsty.
  • Her blood pressure comes up.
  • She sits AND stands tomorrow so that she has good circulation throughout her body.
  • As Wendy's lung specialist was going off of his shift tonight he told the incoming doctor that, "Wendy was a real fighter". Wendy's mom attributes her daughter's fighting attitude to the prayers that are flooding her hospital room. Keep it up prayer warriors!

steady progress

There have been NO complications without the breathing tube. One of Wendy's nurses, Sanya, came in a few minutes ago and saw how good she looked and how well she was doing and got choked up and almost started crying. Praise the Lord!

breathing on her own

Wendy is breathing on her own! The breathing tube has been removed! Please keep praying for her left lung.

day one

Nurses say Wendy is looking good this morning! She still has a breathing tube. The surgeon will decide sometime today if he will take it out today or leave it in one more night. Wendy has already started communicating! She spelled out "water" on Micah's hand late last night because she was thirsty. She has been writing on a dry erase board this morning telling people how she feels and what she wants. She has communicated that she is very uncomfortable, thankfully she is on a lot of pain medication right now.

  • Wendy has kind, gentle, attentive nurses. Pray for the nurses stamina, knowledge, and capability to care for Wendy their very best.
  • That the surgeon's decision to remove the breathing tube is made at the most perfect moment, not too soon, yet as soon as possible.
  • When the breathing tube is removed pray her left lung works great. Pray for that left lung!
  • For her to not suffer from pain as she continues to wake up.

Monday, October 19, 2009

surgery results

This was a BIG operation. She will be in the ICU tonight and at least until tomorrow. Wendy's surgeon believes that he removed all of the tumors. One of the tumors near her back was more difficult to remove and was starting to eat into her chest wall. There could be some residual tumor cells there and she might need radiation in that area later on down the road. Future tests will show if all the tumorous cells were removed. She will continue to be intubated over night so she has adequate pain control to take good breaths. The sooner she takes good breaths the sooner they can take her off of the ventilator. The biggest need for prayer right now is for her left lung. The left lung was taking care of 66% of the work when her right lung was being compressed by the tumor. That left lung will now be responsible for 100% of her cardiac output. Her kidneys are fine right now but the surgeon said he wouldn't be surprised if they showed signs of being unhappy in the next few days, but shouldn't be any worse for wear. They reconstructed her diaphragm and the lining around the heart on the right side where her lung was. She did have a tear in the inferior vena cava and that took some time to patch. They didn't have to remove a piece of her liver! Praise Jesus for that. One less part of Wendy's body that will need to heal. The next 72 hours are critical.

  • Her left lung does 100% of the work without a problem.
  • She starts breathing on her own soon.
  • As she recovers her body is protected from any infection.
  • No worry or fear for her family as they digest the overwhelming synopsis of today's surgery.
  • There are not ANY tumorous cells left in Wendy's body.
  • Safety for the family and friends that were present at the surgery for when they travel home.

lend a hand

Many friends and people praying for and following Wendy's journey to be free of cancer have voiced the desire to help out. Meals, house cleaning, yard work, donation of household items, and help with shopping have already been provided to the Manzo family and will continue once she is home. For those of you that would like to help out with a monetary donation the newly addded "donate" button will lead you to a PayPal account set up in honor of Wendy. The total amount for the surgery, recovery supplies and needs, and her time out of work will be very costly. A record of all donations will be sent to Wendy's email address. The Manzos have been and will continue to be incredibly grateful for ALL the help they receive.

surgery is over

Wendy's surgery is over! The surgeon is expected to be out to talk to Micah and their family in about an hour.

  • The surgeon will have an awesome report and that all the tumors were removed successfully.
  • For Wendy as she continues to be anesthetized and for her comfort when she wakes up.

surgery update

Wendy is doing great and everything is going as planned! Hallelujah, God is faithful and healing! They just turned off the heart and lung pumps. There are about two hours of surgery remaining. Please continue to be vigilant in prayer.

Micah is asking for specific prayer right now...
  • Pray for the boys being away from their mom.
  • The following two hours of surgery to pass quickly and for all tumors to be removed.
  • Good recovery for Wendy.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26

surgery day

Wendy went in for surgery at 7:30 am today. Surgery is projected to be over by 1:30 pm. The nurse just gave the family the first update. She wasn't opened up until about 8:45 am. So far so good. Next update will be given to the family around noon.

  • The surgeon, anesthesiologists, and other specialists are clear minded, calm, and successful.
  • Wendy's body is physically strong.
  • ALL tumors are removed. Her left lung does a good job working solo. Her heart isn't affected by the tumor when it is removed. Her liver is healthy and responds well when the tumor is removed.
After Wendy got settled into her hospital room last night she read through the Bible. The following verses jumped out at her and brought great peace and comfort.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7