This is Sara Coggins writing from room 1642 in Building 10 of NIH, the temporary home of Karly Koch. I have been visiting Tammy, Karly, and Kelsey for the last few days and Tammy asked if I would be willing to write an update for the blog. As a result, this will be a little bit of a different perspective than what you may normally get. :)
Some of the fun things I have been learning have been how to adjust the machines so that they don't beep, how to get warm blankets from nurses, how to give a good massage, how to get air out of the lines and restart the machine, where the tray table and trash can are supposed to go (which is a very specific spot), how to unplug the IV pole and make sure it is ready for a trip to the bathroom, and how to properly cheat at games so that she has an excuse for loosing (the queen of cheating still continues to be her mother). I have had to resist the temptation to push every button on her bed - there are a lot of buttons and pushing buttons is fun.
Tammy and Kelsey were able to go to the mall yesterday with Tammy's sister. They found some great deals. This gave Karly and I a chance to hang out and even go to the library here at NIH to pick out a movie to watch - we will be enjoying Jackie Chan later today much to Tammy's delight (haha)!
Karly has had a couple busy days. She has been able to sit up more, without as much of a headache. She has been on a short walk each of the last couple days. On Monday they had a beauty seminar for cancer patients here at the hospital that lasted over two hours. She was given a bag of cosmetics and a great hat. They gave them tips on applying make-up and fixing their hair. It was a fun outing for them. Yesterday she did some painting and enjoyed a magic trick kit that the Children's Inn brought over to her. The "tricks" were so bad that we got a lot of laughter out of them. It has been fun to see her headaches decrease so that she can sit up a little longer. She has also gained some weight back! She just has to be careful not to overdo it and tire herself out too much.
The doctor's felt that Kelsey's liver counts went down enough for her to start her experimental drug again on Monday. She is excited to be back on this medication again because it was really helping. It does cause her to loose her appetite. They have decided to have her stay here until next week because they want to keep an eye on her liver. They will be testing her blood on Thursday and Friday. The results of those tests will determine her continuation on the medication as well as her date of return to Muncie. She is hoping to be back with the rest of her family (and fiance) early next week. I know they have missed her and are looking forward to her return.
Karly is in between rounds of IV chemo this week. Even so, she still had chemo injected directly into a port in her head as usual on Monday. I have been amazed at her strength through all of this. Yesterday afternoon was tough because she discovered a sore on her tongue (from the chemo). It caused it to be painful to talk, swallow, and eat. They have given her some mouth wash which should help numb the pain and allow her to eat if she wants. Although it is a small sore, it is just one more thing that causes life to be challenging for her. So far it is just one sore, but it is possible that the chemo could cause sores down her entire throat. We will be praying that all she has to deal with is this one sore on her tongue. Her immune system is further compromised due to the chemo, so she has to be careful who she comes in contact with at this point. They took her off some of the antibiotics that she had been taking in order to hopefully decrease her nausea.
Last night I had the chance to talk to one of her nurses in the hallway. It was encouraging for me to hear how his life has been touched by the Koch's. He told me that he had not seen her for a month and so when he came in the other night after her being on her chemo for a month, it was hard to see the physical signs of how hard it had been on her. He shared how spending some time with Karly and seeing her strength had allowed him to put the troubles in his life in perspective. It is fun to see how the Koch's are impacting the lives of those that they come into contact with.
Well, I think that is a pretty complete, non-medical summary of what has been happening these last few days. I continue to be amazed at the strength that God is giving each one of them as they deal with things that I can't even begin to imagine being faced with. Thank you for your continued prayers that help to hold this family up. They are so appreciated and felt!
From the hands of the new masseuse,