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A short video message from Wendy.
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Just a little update (and a video message from Wendy :-) ) ... She has since had a PICC line placed because she's been poked so many times they have trouble getting good IV sites anymore. The lumbar drain is doing a good job keeping the leaking incision area by her right ear dry, affording a chance to heal. It's not healed yet, but at least there's a better chance. The biggest concern is the infection she's been battling: several cultures and antibiotic tweaks later, she's now receiving gentamicin and meropenem. Both are intravenous, through her PICC line, but she also receives the gentamicin directly into her spinal canal via the lumbar drain catheter. Gentamicin is toxic to the sensory cells in the ear, and the inner ear responsible for balance, so I hope it doesn't cause additional problems. (One of its actual medical uses is for special treatments to destroy or damage vestibular cells within the ear.) Another infection-related consequence is "contact precautions", which means you have to put on an impervious gown and gloves when you're in the room. She had several days during which she had some whole-body cramps/spasms that would sometimes last a solid hour. She would shake and grimace and her pulse would often climb to 160 bpm along with her blood pressure. Thankfully those seem to have subsided. We're trying to get her to eat - she hasn't eaten much at all, and there was some recommendation to place a feeding tube, but we're trying to avoid that if at all possible. She has to eat a pureed diet at the moment, with thickened liquids. Ending on a better note: Saturday Oct 5th was our 11th wedding anniversary! She was alert enough to recognize a little bouquet of sunflowers I brought for her and I got a big Wendy smile in return! And, she ate a little bit of food after several days of eating nothing, so I was happy :-) -John
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Hi, everyone, Wendy wanted to share some good news and thanks ... She was discharged last night from Riverside Hospital back to Darby Glenn for skilled nursing and rehab — by the time we got her all settled in, I ran out of time to post the clip last night, but scrounged a few minutes to do so over lunch today. Her "bone flap" removal is evident in the video, but not the skin graft area in the back of her scalp. She has to be extremely careful of both, which has been a real challenge due to some confusion, soreness, and itchiness from healing. She's still fighting infection with an off-and-on fever, but here incision appears to be healing gradually, although still draining. The folks at Darby Glenn had enabled Wendy to make a lot of progress at her last stay, so we're looking forward to getting back to health! I meant to post some video clips and photos showing her progress, but things got a bit crazy when she was admitted back to the hospital, having two surgeries since then, so I'm hoping to get back to that soon ... In the meantime, here's Wendy! -John
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Happy Anniversary, Wendy!

Today would've been our 12th happy year together!

There aren't many happy memories I have from the many times Wendy was in the hospital, but one is extra special. Each day, she'd be asked if she knew where she was, what day it was, and similar things to assess her awareness. I brought her some flowers on our 11th anniversary and for a few weeks after, when asked what day it was, she'd say with a big happy grin, "It's my anniversary!"

Happy 40th Wendy. We miss you.

-your little brother

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Today is Wendy's birthday - she would be 40 years old. It's difficult to return here. Making a collage over the past few months as part of grief therapy has been very helpful for me -Johnny (Wendy's husband)

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We need more happy pictures on here! My favorite music teacher She did her hair special just for me that day! -John (Wendy's husband)

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Despite the difficult economy, the students, faculty, and staff at St. Patrick School were so helpful, generous and caring toward Wendy with walk-a-thons, spaghetti dinner, cards, etc. I'd like to show my appreciation by offering to cover the $35 registration / donation fee for any student, faculty or staff from St. Pat's who signs up to run, walk or volunteer with the Wendy's Warriors team. Join the team, contact me via Facebook message with your mailing address, and I'll reimburse the $35 registration / donation fee if you'd like me to do so for you.

--John Bower (Wendy's husband)

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Hi, everyone,


Sorry it's been so long - it's been very difficult for me to return to Wendy's page, but I wanted to share information about the upcoming Breakthrough for Brain Tumors 5K Run and Walk here in Columbus, OH, Jun 14 (http://hope.abta.org/site/TR?fr_id=2970&pg=entry).

...
Carie Thompson has a team for Wendy:  Wendy's Warriors (http://hope.abta.org/site/TR/ABTAEvent/BreakthroughforBrainTumors?pg=team&fr_id=2970&team_id=25230)  Her story about Wendy is so nice, I've shared it below.

If you'd like to run, walk, volunteer, support, or cheer for Wendy or another friend or loved one, you can join Wendy's Warriors, or participate as an individual or as a group.

This is so nice, too, because Wendy sure loved running and coaching both track and cross country!

-john (Wendy's husband)

I am participating and fundraising in memory of an amazing woman who crossed my path just a few short months ago in August 2013. I had the privilege of getting to know Wendy when i became one of her many nurses August 24, 2013. Wendy was diagnosed with an Anaplastic Astrocytoma in 2004. After countless surgeries and courageously fighting, Wendy's battle ended in December 2013.  She, in our regards, won the war, as she touched countless lives, including my own.  I have never met a stronger woman, or more wonderful family.  Wendy was in the hospital for nearly four months straight, and Wendy, nor her family, ever lost hope or good spirit. The love John and Wendy shared was like a fairytale.  I have never seen such a strong love between two people.  Many times as Wendy lied in pain in her hospital bed, she expressed her concern for her husband and always said she would be fine as long as he was okay.   Wendy's husband, John, expressed the importance of fundraising in lieu of flowers, and as a woman who loved to run, what better way to remember Wendy than participating in this 5K.


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Hi, everyone,


(Wow, it's hard to type these words) arrangements are at the end of this post. In lieu of flowers, please donate in memory of Wendy Bower to the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), whose address, phone, and website information can be found below. For those unfamiliar, the ABTA provides "... comprehensive resources that support the... complex needs of brain tumor patients and caregivers, as well as the critical funding of research in the pursuit of breakthroughs in brain tumor diagnosis, treatment and care."


I understand there is some type of ABTA race/walkathon being planned for Columbus next year to raise money. Maybe we can have a group of participants in honor of Wendy who loved running very much.


-John


Calling Hours

Thu Jan 02, 2:00-6:00pm

Eberle Fisher Funeral Home

103 N. Main St.

London, OH 43140


Funeral Service

Fri Jan 03, 11:00am
First Presbyterian Church
211 Garfield Ave.
London, OH 43140


In Lieu of Flowers, Contribute in Wendy's Memory to:


AMERICAN BRAIN TUMOR ASSOCIATION
8550 W BRYN MAWR AVE STE 550
CHICAGO IL 60631-3225

Ph: 773-577-8750

Web: www.abta.org

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Wendy Bower passed away this evening surrounded by family. Services will be held in London, Ohio. More information will be available at a later date. Thank you for all of your support.

-Randy Combs

Hi, everyone,

Just a small update: still not eating much, but drinking a *little* water and nutrition liquid. Resting very well this morning after some exhausting heavy breathing periods yesterday into today. She had a fever very early this morning (over 101 F) which has subsided for now.

-john

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Hi, everyone,

Sorry it's been a while - I had held out, perhaps a bit too long, to post on a more positive note. On the good side, Wendy is very relaxed and resting well in the past 24 hours. She was transported last evening from Riverside Methodist Hospital here in Columbus just a little way up the road to Kobacker House for hospice care.

She hasn't come back around quite so well as she has in the past. Maybe she just needs some more time and rest.

...

She's having an increasingly tough go with sympathetic nervous system "storms" which can happen after brain injury from tumor, infection, trauma, etc. Her pulse goes high (130, 140, 150+ beats/min), blood pressure goes high (175/100), respiration rate increases, temperature increases, pupils dilate, muscles tense up, she flushes very red and perspires heavily.

In the time since last posting, her hospital stay was brightened with wonderful cards and notes from students, friends, and family, a few pastry treats outside her puréed diet (Wendy's a big fan of apple fritters and cookies with ginger), having her nails done, relaxing massage therapy, some Christmas treats, favorite peach & Earl Grey teas, visitors, listening to her favorite Christmas and other music, seeing the snow outside her window, etc.

Everyone we've met here at Kobacker House is so nice, too.

She hasn't eaten or drank more than a dozen bites and sips since last night, so this calls for the big guns tomorrow morning at breakfast: a fresh, irresistible apple fritter and some coffee from home

-John

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Surgery went well! Wendy's actually awake enough to sip some water! Still a little confused: she said she'd put on her jeans and go home to check the mail while I went down the hall to get my jacket

Thanks everyone! We'll post again soon,

-John

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Hi, everyone,

Wendy will have a surgical procedure Thu Nov 21, tentatively scheduled for 9:30am.

She's had a restful day and evening, but became a little more confused after dinner. She finished a little glass of some of her favorite fruit juice, then said faintly in her whisper voice, "OK, I have to go now." When I asked where, she said she had an elementary school concert to give in Cambridge, OH. Those student-teaching days from college must have really left an impressi...on on her

In the surgery tomorrow, they will perform a ventriculostomy and remove the shunt apparatus which is undoubtedly harboring some of the bacteria which has spread. The ventriculostomy will allow antibiotic to be administered directly into the ventricles of her brain, where it will get good circulation throughout her ventricular system.

There was good success several weeks prior, administering antibiotic into her spinal canal via a lumbar drain. Although there is a fluid pathway between the central canal of the spinal cord and the ventricles within the brain, the CSF circulation in the spinal canal is less as the space there is small. The greater circulation within the ventricles should help spread the antibiotic further where it needs to go.

That is the hope in this treatment. Thank you all again for rooting for Wendy! She gets a lot of comfort knowing folks are thinking about her.

-John

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I'm sorry to report Wendy was admitted at Riverside Hospital Wednesday afternoon (Nov 13). Things have been a bit hectic, so I'm just now posting. There is some infection causing great distress in her abdomen along with some head pain. It may have travelled along the shunt catheter, either from her head down to her abdomen, or vice versa.

She had been "talking" in her whisper voice up through Tuesday, then less on Wednesday, even less on Thursday, and not a word today that... we've heard. Not eating very much, either, although when I helped her eat Wednesday lunch, she did eat everything on her tray, so at least she had full meal before going to the emergency room a couple hours later.

She's in the neuro intensive care unit now, after a very short, small bedside procedure to pull her shunt catheter out from her abdomen through a small incision in her neck.

The photo is from very early today (just a few minutes into Friday, a bit after midnight).

-John

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Hi, everyone,

The light-hearted video clip is from Monday, but please keep Wendy in mind. She was discharged from Select Specialty Hospital today (Tue Nov 12) and is now at The Laurels of Hilliard (skilled nursing and rehab). She unfortunately developed some drainage issues again by her right ear during her stay at Select Specialty, for which she is scheduled to have a short surgical procedure Mon Nov 18 at 8:00am. Should it worsen, she may have it sooner.

She's very uncom...fortable this evening, and there is great concern as the drainage is purulent, showing signs of infection.

-John

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Posted by Helping Wendy

I don't mean to alarm anyone with Wendy's photo in the last post. There are plenty of rough times and thus far we've always tended toward the positive.

Despite the grimace and fright in the photo, she did finally calm down around 9:00pm and is now resting comfortably.

She can't really speak yet, but nods her head that she's doing OK and feeling much better now.

...

-John

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Rough day today - despite a good start with physical therapy this morning, Wendy had a few bouts of headache and flank pain, and eventually several vomiting spells this evening.

The day after her shunt procedure (last Friday, Oct 25), she was discharged to an "LTAC" hospital: Select Specialty Hospital in Columbus. LTAC stands for Long Term Acute Care. It's a hospital that focuses on special recovery needs, critical care nursing combined with aggressive therapy.

It took an in...surance appeal to get her in there, and we're not sure where she'll go next, but for now she's getting the care she needs. Hopefully the VP shunt, antibiotic therapy and LTAC care will break the back and forth cycle between hospital and skilled nursing home. It's unfortunately consumed a large portion of the limited skilled rehab coverage provided by insurance. With every hospitalization, Wendy was starting back at square one or close to it with her rehabilitation.

She was able to be fitted for a protective helmet, which was delivered yesterday, and allowed her to have physical therapy at the LTAC hospital for the first time today. She did very well strength-wise, so we were both happy about that

What had started to be a good day just clouded over - hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Thanks again for all your support,

-John

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