We have secured a group rate at Hotel Deca for anyone needing a place to stay on Friday or Saturday night. This hotel is very close to University Pres Church and UW. The group rate is listed under Moritz and will be $99/night plus tax for a deluxe room with complimentary parking. Click here for more information on the hotel. Call to book your reservation and tell them you are with the Moritz Group.
We are having a private family burial prior to the service, as well as a family reception after the service. We hope and encourage you to gather in friend and family groups to celebrate and remember Andrew.
In true Andrew fashion, everyone is invited to celebrate with us on Saturday night at 8:00pm at the Garage. The Garage is on Capitol Hill at 1130 Broadway Ave. You can find directions by clicking here. We have rented the downstairs level from 8-11pm. Please join us for an evening of bowling, pool, shuffle board and lots of laughs.
Lastly, did you see the news last night? We were very honored and pleased with how the story turned out. Thank you to Joe Fryer for telling Andrew's story in a wonderful light. I have links to all the current articles on the sidebar of the blog. Here is the link to the King 5 news coverage.
The King 5 reporter called us this evening to let us know the story on Andrew will air tonight at 10 o'clock on Kong and again at 11 o'clock on King 5 News. It did not run last night due to breaking stories the reporters had to cover. We heard there was a family photo and a brief clip that ran last night. The clip tonight will hopefully be a bit longer. Tune in and spread the word!
We have decided to have Andrew's memorial service this Saturday December 3 at 1:00pm. We are still waiting to hear back on the venue, so please check back here for that information. There will not be a reception after the service, but we are planning an informal gathering for friends later that evening at a bar in Seattle. Again, please check back here for more information.
Last item: please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a picture or two that you have of yourself and Andrew. We are planning a slide show for the service.
Thank you again for the outpouring of love. It helps to ease the pain and shock that Andrew is truly gone.
Elizabeth, Sarah, Andrew, Rachel & Martha ~ Forever the Fab 5
Today we are filled with an indescribable amount of grief. We are blessed that Andrew was a part of our life, but as we sit as a family, a vast and empty canyon sits in the middle of us. Thank you thank you thank you for all the love and kind words. It means so much. I can't stop reading all your blog comments and facebook posts to Andrew. They make us smile and remember Andrew for the great person that he was.
There are already a few short articles about Andrew. You can find the King5.com article here and the online Seattle Times article here.
Tune in tonight at 10 o'clock on Kong to watch a brief clip honoring Andrew. The same story will run at 11 o'clock on King 5 News.
We are in the preliminary process of planning a service for Andrew. Please check back here for all the details.
Today, on thanksgiving, our hearts are overflowing with gratitude. We are blessed to have an amazing family and incredible friends. Our thanksgiving on 12 east has been one we will never forget. Thank you to our special friends who made it happen for us.
Andrew was deemed stable enough today to be moved out of the ICU. They gave Andrew a big double room with a view of the city. Sweet! He is completely off his antibiotics and blood pressure medicine and is on a very low dose of steroids and pain meds. The doctor thought that he did not in fact have an infection but instead was extremely dehydrated.
Hope everyone is having a great start to their week.
Andrew was fairly uncomfortable through the night and has been mostly sleeping today. He said yesterday that he had a good day, so thank you to everyone who was there visiting, watching the game and bringing us good food. Thank you Aunt Ingrid for all the goodies!
I am struggling to find a balance between respecting Andrews privacy and wanting to provide everyone with all the details of how he is doing. So if I am vague or brief, please know that I am trying to respect Andrew and think about what he would want me to say. He has been and always will be my greatest coach and boss (my sisters and I always joke that we are all his assistants), so I am trying to lean on the wisdom he's given me during this time where we are speaking for him. Please know I will post information when it is necessary.
Again, thank you for all the prayers, strength and love. There has been a huge outpouring these past few days.
Andrew has been awake most of the day. He's more chatty and even got a fresh cut from Isaiah the barber. He's on high dose antibiotics just in case he has an infection, and it seems like the antibiotics have been working. He is also on steroids to help his lungs and levophed to keep his blood pressure up. The doctor saw him this morning and said he can start eating again and also said he'll have to be in the ICU for another few days to slowly wean him off of the meds.
That's all I know! He is enjoying watching football today and also trying to get some more rest.
I am here in the ICU with Andrew and our family and a few close friends. Andrew was awake when Tyler and I arrived but has mostly been sleeping since. He is not too coherent and is wondering why we are all here. Our sisters Rachel and Sarah fly in tonight. Andrews blood pressure is still very low, even after upping his blood pressure medicine.
I want to convey that Andrew is in a critical state. At this point we are hoping and praying that Andrew is comfortable and that peace flows through his body and heart. His condition changes hour by hour so I will update when I'm able.
There is a lot to report from the last 24 hours. Andrews condition has dramatically declined. Andrew fell in the bathroom yesterday morning due to no strength in his legs and numb feet. We decided he needed to be checked out in Seattle so we brought him to the ER last night around 7. They ran some tests and found his potassium and creatine levels to be high which was causing irregular heart rhythms. He also had low blood pressure and low sodium levels. They admitted him to the ICU last night which is where he is now. I am writing this in the car- we are en route to see him. Please pray for Andrew that he can be comfortable and that his mind can be at rest. He has been very upset with this change of events.
I will post more once we see him. Please direct all communication to myself or Martha. He is not in a place to be responding to texts, etc. And please check back here as I will update when I have more information.
Everyone knows that Andrew is famous for his skinny chicken legs. Well, we are happy to report that in the last few days we can actually SEE those cute chicken legs and even his ankles! This is wonderful news! His legs and feet have been full of fluid for the last month+ so it's nice to be able to see his ankles for the first time in a while. Andrew says the only thing really bothering him are his feet. They are so sore it is hard for him to walk.
Yesterday at the health clinic Dr. Parmar and the staff remarked how wonderful Andrew looked and how much stronger his spirit and chattiness has become. Andrew elected to not do the oxygen therapy the last few days and Dr. Parmar stated he does not want to push Andrew to continue with it because it does cause his legs to swell up and they will continue to swell until he gets his albumin controlled with infusions. He said the Hyperthermia and Ukrain are working well enough and that the proof is in Andrew's physical progression. Andrew was very happy to hear that everyone thought he looked so good. Andrew also kept saying how good he felt and how he has been waiting for this feeling.
Sorry my posting has been non-existent this last week. My oldest daughter turned 4 on Friday so we've been busy celebrating. I also spent about 24 hours with Andrew last Wed-Thur night. I was happy to see Andrew and spend some time with him. I definitely was not the best caretaker as I had to keep my little one out of everything in sight. I was able to take Andrew to his appointments on Thursday so was glad to meet Dr. Parmar and many of the nurses and staff at the Integrated Health Clinic. I was very impressed by their clinic and their warm and loving personalities. I was extremely impressed with Dr. Parmar. He is just the kind of doctor Andrew needs. He is full of life and very positive. He sat with us for a while and answered questions and reviewed his labs. Since I didn't write anything down, my information is going to be very vague.
Dr. Parmar said that a few of Andrew's levels indicated some improvement since the week prior. This is good news and he was very pleased to tell us this. His sodium level, however, is now at a critically low point. Andrew needs to be able to take in more salt to get his levels up. Dr. Parmar has put him on a very strict fluid intake and is requiring Andrew to try and eat as much salt as possible. He also has restricted Andrew to only drain his abdomen every few days. Andrew has been taking shots of soy sauce! You can't fault him for his creativity!
Andrew's albumin levels are low, which leads to dehydration and he has been dealing with cracked lips and throat. His feet continue to cause him a lot of pain. This is probably the biggest problem for Andrew. His feet fill with fluid and become extremely swollen and it is hard to walk and even when he is laying down the pain can sometimes be unbearable. Not only have we all entered this medical world, we are also in the spa business now. We all spend countless hours massaging and rubbing his feet, legs, hands, head, etc with every kind of oil and lotion possible. This always helps to relax Andrew and gives him temporary relief. One of Andrew's friends downloaded a bunch of relaxing music on his iPad, so we turn on the music, light the fire and the candles all in hopes he can relax enough to sleep.
Helping and taking care of Andrew is a 24/7 job and I just want to thank each of our family members and friends who have helped out. We are so so grateful. And Andrew is extremely grateful for the help and the love.
Andrew's last scheduled treatment is for next Wednesday November 23. He will be back home in Seattle that night so we can enjoy Thanksgiving together as a family.
That is all for now, we wish you a wonderful week. I'll be back here when I get a report from Martha!
Not the best quality picture, but I think Andrew looks so cute! He's wearing his new hat that Martha brought him this weekend. Andrew has been doing well these last few days. He feels like he's getting some more energy and looks like he's gaining some weight back in his face and upper body. Today he slept though his entire oxygen therapy treatment and came out smiling. The staff at the clinic wanted to know what Andrew did this past weekend because they couldn't believe how well Andrew looked today and said his eyes and skin color looked less jaundice. One of the doctors commented on how well he's been handling the treatments. Andrew meets with Dr. Parmar tomorrow and they will discuss his lab results, how the treatments are going and hopefully he will answer some questions we have. We are hoping the labs show good sodium levels.
My daughter Sonja and I are headed up to Canada Wednesday night to help take care of Andrew until our mother can get there Thursday night. Andrew says he's excited to see Sonja...hopefully he feels that way when she wakes up at 6:30am! I'm sure her adorable smile will excuse any faults she may have (like completely taking apart and destroying an entire house!)
Andrew woke up yesterday morning and said, "Today is a tremendous day". He had taken some melatonin the previous night to help him sleep and was able to sleep for 4 hours, woke up for 30 minutes then fell back asleep for another 4 hours. What awesome news! He said yesterday was his best day treatment wise and he even napped through both treatments. The nurses at the clinic love him, (obviously!) and one nurse even said she read his entire blog over a bottle of wine the other night. Yesterday Andrew received the max dose of the Ukrain injection (20ml) which they will continue at that dose every other day until treatment is complete.
Andrew's strep throat culture came back negative so he stopped taking the antibiotics. The only other explanation for his reddened, white patched mouth is thrush. He'll take 4 days of an anti-fungal pill as well as an anti-fungal swish and swallow. Andrew's sodium is still low, so the more he drinks the more he pushes fluid out of his cells and essentially dehydrates himself. He will have to just take sips of liquids and suck on lemon drops. His kidneys look great, so that's good news.
Our sister Martha is visiting him today and she said he seems to be having a good day.
This is Andrew receiving the hyperthermia treatment as well as chemo
Andrew in the hypberbaric oxygen treatment
I was able to visit Andrew today for the afternoon. It took me 1 hour, door to door, so it was a quick and easy trip. Andrew had his treatments this morning, so when I was there about noon he said he was feeling the best he'd felt all week since being in Canada. He said he felt good after the treatments and didn't feel so groggy. The antibiotics have really helped his sore throat. He continues to have fluid build up in his feet, so I was able to massage some of the fluid out while I was there. He is extremely exhausted though, and would doze off during our conversations. Which is amazing considering the volume level of my children. He told me again how peaceful he feels up there, so I was really glad to hear that. It's been easiest for him to sleep in the living room on the fold out futon, so he lays next to a big picture window and is able to look outside to the beautiful fall trees.
That is all for now. I hope everyone is having a great week.
I have to apologize for not updating the blog this past week. We've had a busy schedule around here, a packed weekend and some serious Halloween activities yesterday. Life with two little ones is full! I will continue to keep you posted via this blog, so please remember to check here when looking for an update. We want Andrew to stay as relaxed and stress-free as possible!
This is going to be a long post, so don't say I didn't warn you!
The biggest question people want to know is: is the treatment in Canada working??? This is something that can and may take several weeks to know. So far, on a day to day basis, not a whole lot is changing with Andrew and the way he feels. His treatment is going well and he is pleased to be there and receiving the treatments. He has run into a few problems, but this has to do with his ascites and he also just recently came down with strep throat. He started on amoxicillin on Monday and he woke up today feeling much better. Andrew is still slightly jaundiced but his eyes seem to be a little less yellow and has been up and walking around the house and outside fairly well. Because of the nature of the treatments he's receiving, he has been draining his abdomen every day. This has helped not only the treatments but he doesn't seem to be filling up as quickly and was even able to skip a day of draining. His thighs are not as swollen and the TED hose that he's been using have really been helping.
Andrew receives two treatments each day, 6 days per week. This is what he is getting:
Hyperthermia treatment: He lays on a water bed which helps to conduct the heat from the contraption that they place on his liver one day, then the next day place on his lower stomach. Exposure to the higher temperatures damages and kills the cancer cells and leaves the healthy cells alone. It also makes the cells more sensitive to the Ukrain (the chemo) and any other IV injections they choose to treat him with. Next week they plan to inject selenium and vitamin C along with the Ukrain. Andrew doesn't feel anything during this treatment and has even been able to nap and listen to music.
Hypberbaric Oxygen Therapy: This is oxygen therapy at greater than atmospheric pressure for a total of 1 1/2 hours. The first 15 minutes acclimate him, then he receives treatment for an hour, then the last 15 minutes bring him back to the correct pressure. The idea behind this treatment is that cancer cells flourish in a less oxygen rich environment, so they hopefully will slow their growth. Another goal is the oxygen therapy helps to heal injury. The chemo Ukrain works better in an oxygen rich environment so the Ukrain is given after this treatment.
Andrew had a foot massage the other day followed by an ion cleanse. He put his feet in water with ions which is suppose to pull toxins out of your body. He watched the water change colors which they said was from the incredible amount of toxins leaving him. He didn't quite believe it, but tried it anyway. And he loved the foot massage!
One more medical tidbit...if you want to totally nerd out you can check out this website and read all about Ukrain, the chemo they are giving Andrew. http://www.ukrain.ua/present/ukrain.html. It is a power point study with great results.
On a slightly different note, I heard from Andrew's friend Stacey in St. Louis that the dancing fundraiser she did for Andrew raised $300! Wow, thanks Stacey! And thanks to everyone who donated. Hopefully you had a fun night of dancing. Here in Seattle this past Sunday was another fundraiser put on by Brian & Nicole Lawrence, great friends of Andrew. A special thank you to them for organizing this. They did a Seahawks game parking & tailgate party. They raised $1910. Amazing! Again, thank you to everyone who showed up for this tailgate party and who donated. We can't express enough how grateful we are. Every single dollar counts and matters and is put towards healing Andrew.
That is all for now. For some reason I'm having a hard time with photobucket and it's way past my bedtime, so I'll have to post some pictures in the next few days. I have a few of Andrew at the health clinic that our mother took. Andrew is very encouraged about the treatments but he is in need of a lot more sleep. So if you pray, please pray that he can sleep for long stretches at a time. Currently he is only sleeping in 2-3 hour increments.