Kirsten Returns to Work!

Kirsten ventured out into the snow storm to take pictures of the girls. I'm glad she turned the camera around and snapped one of herself.
Kirsten ventured out into the snow storm to take pictures of the girls. I’m glad she turned the camera around and snapped one of herself.

I have some excellent news to report: Kirsten returned to work at the hospital this past weekend, just three weeks after switching from short-term disability to long-term disability. She worked twelve-hour shifts Friday and Saturday night, on R9 at Maine Medical Center. Her coworkers were very glad she was back, and quite surprised, as they had not been informed of her return.

I know how much returning to some normalcy means to Kirsten, and am, therefore, glad she’s back. I worry about her stamina and strength, and of course her slipping on the ice and snow. But I can’t require her to stay in bed where there’s little risk of falls. She has to live life. I couldn’t stop her if I wanted to; she’s just not that kind of girlfriend.

Kirsten is, as usual, nearly always smiling. The exception to that is when she doesn’t take enough of her narcotics and the pain and nausea return with a vengeance. Thankfully, Dr. Kulke has done a great job of helping her to manage her pain and discomfort.

She received in the mail this past weekend her Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program card. Hopefully cannabis will help her pain and nausea, which is at times debilitating.

Kirsten's Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program card
Kirsten’s Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program card

This morning Kirsten had another MRI of her head. Afterwards, they gave her the images on a CD to bring to Dr. Kulke at our Thursday appointment. Of course, I pulled them up on my computer as soon as I got them in my hand. I don’t want to see things that aren’t there; I’m certainly not a radiologist nor an oncologist. However, when I compare the images to others I found on the Interweebs, I am not encouraged. Her pituitary tumor was surgically removed and then radiated. I hoped to see very little. However, considering that her current diagnosis is a malignant pituitary cancer and the she had a sudden, dramatic, and precipitous decline in health a few months ago, I would expect the pituitary to be growing. As far as predictions go, I think it’s a good bet.

Kirsten's brain
Kirsten’s brain

So, as I’ve said, we’ll see Dr. Kulke back at Dana-Farber this Thursday morning. It will probably be a short visit, in which she’ll describe her pain and nausea, and talk about the MRI and chemotherapy (she’s handling it well). She’ll also have labs drawn prior to our visit, which should give us some clues.

Thank you all for your continued love, concern, compassion, and generosity. We love you.

3 Replies to “Kirsten Returns to Work!”

  1. Sara Sterling says: Reply

    I’m so glad Kirsten is able to go back to work. I can imagine it would help mentally/emotionally to keep busy like that. I hope it goes well. I’m glad her pain is being controlled for the most part as well. Hope the appointment goes well also. Love to all.

  2. What an amazing organ! Clearly an exceptional example.

    Love you guys,


  3. […] Thursday morning Kirsten and I returned to Boston to visit Dr. Kulke at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. We weren’t expecting much. We were going down to discuss the first round of chemotherapy, have labs drawn, and hopefully get some analysis of the brain MRI. […]

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