Monthly Archives: March 2009

Friday Evening

Dear Family and Friends,
Lori had her final procedure this morning.  The clot had dissolved a little further but not enough for there to be any circulation.  So the doctor ballooned the vein and put in 3 stents.  These will stay in permanently and will keep that part of the vein open.  She has been moved out of ICU to a regular room.  They will keep her here a couple more days while they do more testing to see if she has a blood disorder and get her coumadin level regulated again.
We of course are happy that she is through most of the danger part of trying to break up the blood clot and are relieved that the blood is now flowing in the more natural course through her body.  As the doctor said, she will have to learn to manage her condition.  She can live a fairly normal life as long as she stays on coumadin and wears support hose from now on.  One thing the doctor mentioned is, ” about the worst thing she can do is fly on airplanes”.  We know God has plans for her and He will have to guide her through any adjustments she may have to make.
She now will begin the long road recovery, approximately 8 weeks.  Once she’s released from the hospital here in Spokane, we will be taking her to Kalispell where she will spend the first phase of recovery at Jon and Tiffany Rietema, her brother and sister-in-law.  They live near the hospital and her new doctor.
We cannot thank you enough for standing with us, with all your prayers, words of encouragement, phone calls, e-mails, etc.  God bless you all!  We consider you all a part of our great big family!  We will still try to report on Lori’s progress but the report may be fewer and further between from now on.  We would still appreciate your prayer support for her.
Steve and Jo for Lori

Friday, 8:30 am PDT


 We just got word that Lori will be going down to Radiology to check the progress of the clot dissolution shortly.  Please pray that it will be dissolved!
Thank you and God bless you all,
Steve & Jo for Lori

Latest Update

Dear Praying Family and Friends,
We have some good news today!  The clot between Lori’s knee and groin area has dissolved!  Praise God!  Above that point, it is still clotted.  We’ve made the decision to try one more day of “lysis”.  This will be the last day because of the risks involved.  If the rest of the clot has not dissolved by tomorrow, they may try to balloon it, or if it is localized, they could try a stint.  We are very hopeful that the clot will dissolve overnight.  Please pray in that way.  The doctor says if we can’t get the rest of the clot dissolved, chances are that the clot in her thigh will reform again.  Then all of this will have been for naught.  We are very thankful for the healing that has taken place and are  asking God for a full and complete healing.  Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, they will stop the treatment but probably keep her here a couple more days for observation and regulation of her coumadin level.
Once again, thank you for your prayers.  They have been effective and God has heard and answered!  Please keep it up, warriors!  Thank you.  We love you!
Steve and Jo for Lori

4pm – Spokane, Wa

Dear family and friends,
Lori was taken from ICU to radiology for another progress checkup.   So far the clot has not softened enough for removal.  They will continue the “liquid plumber” and check her again tomorrow.  Please pray the drug will do its job soon.  They will probably not administer the drug beyond three days for fear of causing serious or fatal side effects.  She is quite uncomfortable with lower back pain.
Thank you once again for all your prayers.  We love you all!
Steve and Jo for Lori

Weds AM update

Hello Friends and Family,
Lori is in the Intensive Care unit in Spokane being monitored closely.  She will undergo another Venascope early this afternoon to check the progress of the procedure.
We are continuing to pray the clot will be dissolved – thank you for standing with us!
Steve and Jo

Surgery [Updated]

Update: Lori is now in the recovery room, as her surgery went better than expected!  They were able to reach the catheter up to the Inf vena cava and can drip in drugs needed to continue breaking up the clot.
Lori is undergoing surgery to break down the clot(s).  They are trying a couple of tactics – first, shrinking it by inserting localized drugs through a catheter going in through the knee.  Second, they may perform a mechanical method, which (I think) is called Thrombolytic Lysis.  Doctors anticipate her being in surgery today for 2-3 hours, though the process of determining the effectiveness of the treatments could take up to four days.
They are very happy with their medical staff – their nurse is a Christian, and both she and the doctor are very caring and compassionate.
Thank you again for your prayers today and over the next few days!

Back in Kalispell

Dear Family and Friends,
First of all, we apologize for not communicating for a couple of days.  A lot has happened since Tuesday’s update!
The doctor finally came to see Lori on Wednesday evening.  He sat and visited with us for an hour while we asked all sorts of questions.  He advised us to get Lori into the care of a vascular surgeon back home who would be able to maintain her recovery.  He dismissed her yet that evening and we started checking into plane tickets home.  We were able to get a flight out of Fort Lauderdale early Thursday morning and arrived in Kalispell early afternoon.  Lori was so exhausted, she slept most of the rest of the day while we started making arrangements to see a vascular surgeon here.
We were able to see him this morning as well as get her INR checked.  Dr. Dykstra listened to Lori’s history and then recommended that she might like to see an interventional radiologist in Spokane who would possibly do a “thrombolysis” (mechanical removal of some of the blood clots).  According to him, it might speed her recovery and possibly reduce the symtoms of her “post thrombolytic syndrome”.  She is trying to make a wise decision in the next couple of days because it should be done as soon as possible.  Please continue to lift her up in your prayers.  We are all relieved to be “back home” in Montana, but it sounds like there might be a lot more to come.
We appreciate you standing with our family and the love and support we feel from all of you.  God bless you!!!

God is faithful!!

Lori has been released from the hospital and will be flying home to Kalispell tomorrow with Steve and Jo.  The doctors have cleared her to fly, and she is feeling pretty good.
More info to come, thanks again for all your prayers and support – it has been felt by the whole family.

The Story

In January, Lori injured her left leg while playing soccer with VBS kids in Nicaragua.  She was slammed on the left side by an older boy trying to get to the ball, and fell on her right side.  The pain in her left leg was severe enough that she could barely walk for 2-3 days and limped heavily, putting all the pressure on her right leg. She did get an x-ray of her left knee while she was there to make sure she did not fracture it.  She continued to limp because of some pain in the left leg for 2 1/2 weeks until that dissipated around February 7th.
On Feb 8th, Lori was squatting to pick up something and suddenly felt a sharp pain in the lower part of her right calf on the outer side.  She stood up quickly and looked down to see an oval-shaped swelling (about 3 inches diameter).  The next day in the office she noticed the cold (air-conditioned office) bothering her leg, and by evening her circulation was being affected, causing slight swelling and discoloration and pain in calf and foot.
Pain was increasing in the area where swelling had first occurred (lower part of right calf on outer side) and the swelling was beginning to spread.  After sitting for an hour that evening she had to be helped up because the pain was too much to put pressure on her right leg.
Two days later, Lori woke up very early due to intense pain in her right leg from toes to hip.  She went to a doctor in St. Croix to check out left knee and right leg and, at that time, he thought she had a possible blood clot in right leg.  He prescribed some anti-clotting medication and scheduled her for an ultrasound the next day (Feb. 11th).
By the time of her ultrasound, the pain from the one spot in her calf had spread throughout the whole calf and was very intense. Though the results from the sonogram showed no clots, her doctor ordered an MRI for further examination (to be done on Feb. 17th).  Three days later, pain, swelling and redness had increased.  Lori went to the Emergency Room. The ER Doctor took her off anti-clotting medication and gave her Ibuprofen for inflammation.
After the MRI, Lori experienced massive swelling in her right leg from foot to hip. MRI results showed a hematoma in her right calf due to the original injury in Nicaragua.  The hematoma was almost the same density as the muscle tissue due to the length of time it was there.  Swelling of veins (phlebitis) was complicating the recovery rate.  Her doctor put her back on her anti-clotting medication and added another (an anti-acid).  She was told not to return until the swelling had decreased so that she could have another Doppler.  Instead, over the next 3 days the swelling increased.
On February 22nd, a woman from Lori’s church called in a favor on her behalf and Lori was contacted by another doctor.  He is a radiologist who works at the Imaging Center where her Doppler exam and MRI results were read.  He spent some time going over her results and called her again on Monday, Feb. 23rd.  He then called her doctor who agreed to have her come in on Monday to take another look at her leg.
On Wednesday, Feb. 25th, Lori received another Doppler.  The Doctor who did the test told her immediately that she had acute blood clotting in her right femoral vein (groin area) and subacute clotting in her calf (in her popliteal veins).  He directed Lori to check herself into the ER immediately.  She went home to gather her things and was admitted into the ER at 10pm that evening.  They gave her Lovenox shots and Coumadin.  She was also given ibuprofen and anti-acid twice a day.  She remained in the ER holding area for 2 1/2 days because there were no open hospital beds.  She was moved into a room early morning on the 28th.
On March 1st, her INR level reached 2.07 and they released her.  She was directed to take Coumadin once a day and told to discontinue use of ibuprofen and anti-acids.
The next day, Lori went in to get her blood tested and her INR result was 2.44, but two days later it had dropped down to 1.89.  Her doctor directed her to increase her Coumadin from 5 to 6mg per day.  He told her there is no point in getting another Doppler until her swelling went down.
Over the week of March 2-8, Lori’s leg swelling increased.  She was more active on her leg Thursday and Friday evening, which produced an immediate result of swelling and pain.  After several more days, Lori’s condition only worsened.  Her friends insisted she get another Doppler to see if more clots were developing.  On March 12th, she went in for a Doppler and it revealed that the clotting was increasing inspite of the blood thinners.  She was told by the doctor to return to the ER immediately and that she was in much too dangerous of a condition to fly.
Her situation was getting serious, so her parents Steve and Jo flew down to help.
Fortunately, a vascular surgeon visiting from Miami was working in the hospital for a few weeks.  He helped with Lori’s case and decided fairly quickly that it was imperative to fly to Miami for specialized treatment.
Lori, her parents, and good friend, Veronica, flew to Miami to go to Jackson Memorial Hospital as the surgeon had recommended.  They were met in Miami by an ambulance and arrived at the hospital around 8pm.
On arrival at the hospital, they were allowed into the ER, but the hospital administration made it appear that they would not grant her admission unless a $135,000 down payment was made.  The doctors and nurses stabilized her, doing what they could to take care of her and get her admitted.
Later that evening, Lori’s brother Jon arrived.  They explored many options of applying pressure in order to get Lori admitted.  This continued through Sunday morning.  She needed admission before she could receive the proper treatment (i.e. surgery).
Late morning, a vascular surgeon (friend of the visiting surgeon in St Croix who treated Lori) visited Lori in the ER and read her cat scans.  He was our “man of favor” who pulled the right strings to get Lori admitted.
An hour later, he returned to give some interesting news.  He was amazed, saying, “Lori is one in a million.”  He explained to everyone that it appears she is missing the Inner Vena Cava.  Instead, blood flows back to her heart and lungs through veins along her spinal cord.  These veins act as a natural filter and decrease the risk of large clots being able to cause major damage or death.  The doctor said he has seen this only 2 other times in his career.
This means Lori was stable and not in as much danger as we were previously told she was if she had had an inner vena cava.
Shortly after, Lori was admitted to the hospital and a hematologist was called in to test for causes of the clotting.
She is doing well, and is very glad to have friends and family with her.  She is very blessed by all the love, support, and prayers during this trying time!
We know God has a plan for Lori and many years left for her to live it!

Note from Dad & Mom

Dear Family and Friends,
The report on Lori this evening will be brief.  There has been little change in her condition.  She is resting comfortably without pain killers.  We had hoped for the doctor to come today and give us more info, but he was called to emergency surgery.  We hope to get more answers tomorrow.
We of course don’t know the outcome of all this yet, but we certainly know that Lori is in God’s hands and He is orchestrating things in the heavenlies for her good and for His glory!  We have learned much these past few days of God’s great love, his provision, and His way of answering prayer.  We’ve also learned more about spiritual warfare and the power of prayer!  Thank you all again from the bottom of our hearts!
We love you,
Steve and Jo