Received from Joy on 4/24/2021
Donald White gave up his fight on Thursday, 4/22/21. He passed peacefully. I have Melissa's story from the Caring Journal and will send it to Mary for the website for classmates to read. It was a long and hard journey for him and his loving family.
Journal Entry by Melissa White — 4/20/2021
Condition worsening, please continue to pray
Unfortunately, Donald’s condition has not improved and has actually worsened. He continues to be on the Bpap most of the time. Yesterday he was very agitated and didn’t want to eat. He is also very cold and they have put a “bear hugger” on him to help elevate his temp. They also have someone sitting in with him to make sure he doesn’t try to get the Bpap off like he was last night. I will be seeing him soon when visiting hours start and I will update on any developments when I can.
Please pray for his comfort and peace of mind. At this time, I think that’s what will makes things easiest for him. Thank you.
Journal Entry by Melissa White — 4/14/21
Off the ventilator and talking! He’s off the ventilator and talking!! He’s a little shaky and very confused, and Alison (his nurse) said they took him off about 11:30. He did really well so they didn’t have to take long to wean him off. He’s arguing with me that it was 8:30. 🤣
He doesn’t believe that anything he’s been told actually happened and he doesn’t remember anything. But he’s breathing on his own now and hopefully he’ll continue to improve with the pneumonia. Hopefully they can get this pneumonia knocked out so he can get home and annoy his teenaged son in person. 😄 And there’ll be no more arguing about the use of oxygen!
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Keep them coming.
On a ventilator and sedated
Journal Entry by Melissa White — 4/14/21
Donald was not able to breathe this morning, even when they got him to the hospital and put him on the BiPap. They had to put him on a ventilator which they did once they sedated him. He's been sedated and sleeping comfortably so that is good. Hopefully it will give his body a chance to recover and his lungs to start getting healed so that he can breathe on his own. They won't know for a day or two how he does breathing on his own because they need to wait to start weaning him off the ventilator. There's a lot of information I was told today and I'm just too tired to try to remember it all. The bottom line is that he's not breathing on his own, but hopefully with a few days in the hospital he'll be able to come off the ventilator. His daughter, Cheri (Dr. Cherilyn White), drove over from Clarksville which is about 3.5 hours away so that she could see him and make sure he was okay. She thought his color looked good and some of his other vitals were good, so she was optimistic that he can get off the ventilator. It's nice that she's a doctor and lives within driving distance because she knows the right questions to ask and the best way to explain things. She pointed out that it will be up to him as to whether he's going to show us that he can fight. I hope he can. I hope he wants to. Please continue to pray for him and send any and all good wishes and healing vibes and all that jazz, that he has the strength to get through this.
Journal entry by Melissa White — June 9, 2020
What a strange time we’ve had over the last couple of months. Donald continues to go into his infusion treatments without me every three weeks; however, I did join him briefly when we met with the oncologist last month.
Good news is that Donald’s CT scan last month showed no growth or spread of cancer!
There were some lymph nodes that were slightly larger but the doctor was not concerned about it and thought that perhaps, they were enlarged due to inflammation from the treatments. He is going to keep Donald on the current Treatment Plan until he sees him in a couple of weeks. Then they’ll decide whether to increase the Inlyta pill or stay at the current dosage.
In other good news, our son Nicholas finished his junior year of high school at the beginning of May. The last quarter of school since spring break in March was all online and he did very well at adjusting. We are looking forward to school being back in session at the end of July and hopefully it will be IN SCHOOL. Fingers crossed.
Nicholas did very well again this year, especially in art, science, and math. He took his AP Physics exam online at the end of the school year and we presume he passed although we don’t know yet for sure. I’m sure he passed with flying colors. :) Donald and I are so proud of him and how well he’s done, even with the struggles with Donald’s illness and dealing with Covid 19.
On yet another good note, we went on vacation. Just know that it was well-deserved and we made sure to be safe. You gotta live and enjoy yourself, and not be fearful every minute. “Safe but sane.” That’s all I’ll say about that.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and good wishes. Donald, Nicholas, and I appreciate you all!
~ Melissa 💗🙏
Journal entry by Melissa White — Feb 17, 2020
Well, the side effects are back with a vengeance. Since yesterday afternoon, Donald has been experiencing some side effects that make it difficult to enjoy much or go anywhere. He has been sleeping most of the day and we’ve had to reschedule his dentist appointment. If you know the dentist you know that getting another appointment within three months is nearly impossible. But he’s on the call list for a cancellation.
Donald has a scan scheduled for the 28th and we’ll see the oncologist the following week to find out how the cancer is responding to treatment nowadays. Prayers and good vibes are always appreciated and welcome. Thank you. 💗🙏
Journal entry by Melissa White — Feb 6, 2020
Donald’s oncologist had him take about a week and a half off without any Inlyta so that the side effects would clear up. Now he seems to be back to “normal” and they started him back on his Inlyta at 3mg twice a day instead of 5mg twice a day. He took a walk twice this week but has been thwarted by the rain that has come through causing a lot of flooding in the area and school closures. Hopefully he’ll be able to get back to walking when the weather improves. Tomorrow we’re expecting a wintry mix, and the schools are closed due to flooding and possible flooding.
My hope is that Donald’s side effects stay away now that they’ve lowered his dose. They also have him on another medication to help with some of the side effects so that they don’t get out of hand.
A couple positives that have come from both of us being unemployed: we paid NO tax this year on our tax return and both mine and Nicholas’s health insurance are free. If it weren’t for the ACA (aka Obamacare) I’d be without health insurance (children get free healthcare through the state when they qualify). We are taking each day one at a time and continuing to stay positive amongst the many physical, mental, and financial challenges we’ve been given.
All three of us are extremely grateful for the well wishes, prayers, cards, etc you have sent Donald. Knowing that so many people are thinking of him brings him joy.
Quick Update (January 17, 2020
Journal entry by Melissa White — 48 minutes ago
Donald has had some side effects from the treatment(s) he's receiving. Since the oncologist doesn't know if the side effects are being caused by the Inlyta pill or the Keytruda infusion, they stopped the pill for a few days to see if the side effects would clear up. So far it looks like things are improving. If all goes well, he can restart the pill today or tomorrow. Hopefully the side effects won't reappear, otherwise they will have to discuss another treatment method. Thank you for your continued prayers and good wishes.
Journal entry by Melissa White — Dec 20, 2019
Today we saw Donald's primary physician, Dr. Nils Gaddis, for a hospital follow-up. Based on my description of the events on Tuesday, as well as his history with Donald, Dr. Gaddis doesn't feel that Donald experienced a TIA (also known as a mini-stroke). He believes that it was a "vasovagal syncope". From Mayo Clinic: "The vasovagal syncope trigger causes your heart rate and blood pressure to drop suddenly. That leads to reduced blood flow to your brain, causing you to briefly lose consciousness."
This was actually good to hear since it means he most likely did NOT have a mini-stroke as diagnosed by the ER doctors. I gave those doctors the same description of events that I gave Dr. Gaddis (shaking, almost passing out, slurred speech, wanting to throw up, face going sideways like with a stroke, having been sick recently with a bad cold/flu....) but due to Donald's adrenal insufficiency - which the ER doctors knew about - as well as his history of having a previous vasovagal syncope event while in Dr. Gaddis's office earlier this year, Dr. Gaddis is convinced it was not a mini-stroke. He also believes that there is no reason to discontinue the Inlyta or Keytruda treatments but said he won't step on Dr. Schrock's toes and will let him make the decision on that next Tuesday when we meet with him. On the way home, Donald and I agreed that he WILL begin the Inlyta pills again and we will let Dr. Schrock know that this is what we've decided. 😀
For now, Dr. Gaddis is increasing one of his medications to help with the adrenal insufficiency. He sees his endocrinologist in January and I'm sure that doctor will make adjustments if necessary. So many doctors, so many opinions, but I'm thankful for, and confident in, Dr. Gaddis and his diagnosis.
Thank you all for your continued prayers during this last week, and beforehand... and in the future!
2210 Cross Creek Drive, Maryville, TN 37803 email: firstname.lastname@example.org