These progress updates were written by Rayna’s husband, Scott Whitright, and are his personal chronicle of her progress as he kept family and friends updated via e-mail.  These Progress Reports will provide you a sense of her amazing strength, courage and determination as she continues on her path to healing…

 
August 3rd, 2006
Hi there, another quarterly update (yes it’s a little late). I have transferred to the Business Solutions Division of Office Depot, and now work there three days a week. It’s a less physically demanding position and it allows me to use my knowledge and work longer hours than what I was able to do in the store. I work with a fantastic team in Kent and they’ve made my transition very easy. The remaining two days of the week I’m working for (and working out) with my physical therapist at Redmond Ridge Physical Therapy. I’m now able to go to the gym and manage almost 30 minutes on the elliptical so my legs are getting stronger and stronger! I’m still walking with the cane for balance and stability, especially when I have to walk longer distances or in unfamiliar areas. My left leg is taking a long time to catch up to the right but I’m still hoping to be able to start stepping by the end of this year! I still have one more surgery to go (in my stomach) and I’m working on figuring out a time frame for that so I can get back to a more “normal” way of living.

Scott and I have managed to take two fantastic vacations this year (thanks to the kindness of friends and family). In late March we went to Acapulco with my brother, sister-in-law and my two very cool nieces. They were kind enough to share their time share with us (muchas gracious a Shawn, Jeanie, Tess & Hayley), and we had a fabulous time. Love the lazy river!
A couple of weeks later in April we went to Maui to celebrate one of Scott’s friends wedding at the Grand Wailea. We were also blessed during this vacation as one of Scott’s family friends (Mahalo Tom, Mary Louise, Heidi & Matt) lent us the use of their exclusive condo in South Kihei. It was a great week long party for Dave and his new wife Sara, and we were lucky to be allowed to take part in their celebration (Maholo Dave, Sara and both of your families).

We are going to celebrate our six year anniversary (10 years of dating, believe it or not) by a quick trip to Las Vegas this month, thanks to the wonder of frequent flyer miles :)

We have a lot to be thankful for this year and we couldn’t have made it without all your support and prayers. I still love to hear from all of you via email, and I’ve now discovered the myspace.com site so let me know if you’re in there (just sent me an email)! A silly site, but nevertheless…

Peace and health to everyone,
~Rayna
 

March 1st, 2006

Hi everyone!  I got a few calls lamenting that I hadn’t updated the site for a while so here you go.  I am still working part-time at Office Depot and also part-time at Redmond Ridge Physical Therapy where I receive my physical therapy.  Joe (my DPT) has got me to the point where I am able to go to the gym again, and I’m now able to manage almost 15 minutes on the elliptical machine without falling off, in addition to some light weight training.  I’m still working on returning to my favorite step classes; that is my new goal for 2006.  My broken knee has healed completely, and I’m steadily regaining the strength and flexibility in my knees and legs.

I received my PHR (professional human resources certification) through Seattle Pacific University in December, and look forward to applying my newfound knowledge in my management career.  I’m now re-auditing the class this spring to try for my SPHR (senior professional human resources certification) in May of this year.

Again, I just want to give thanks to all of you who have supported me and my family the past two years (almost!).  I also want to give a special thanks to all the wonderful nurses and doctors at Overlake hospital and my fantastic PT; Joe Banach.  I still have one more surgery in the next year or so to repair some lingering damage to my stomach area, but that is nothing compared to everything else I have gone through these past two years.  I will put it off as long as possible though (at least it’s one that you can wait on).  I’ll keep you posted as to what the future brings.

Sincerely,
Rayna


October 4, 2005
Just a monthly update, much has changed since last time I wrote. I am working three days a week for three hours a day at Office Depot, trying to build up my stamina so that I can return to full-time hours within the next six months (at least that’s my goal!). I’m still healing my broken knee-cap and trying to build up the muscles in my abs and my legs (through PT three times a week) so that my back will stop aching. I am also taking a class through SPU to get my PHR in human resources. It’s a great class which will help me improve my overall management skills. Things have been relatively busy for me.

On a sad note, I read another case of a pulmonary embolism that did not turn out well. Arizona (basketball) center Shawntinice Polk, a three-time all-Pac-10 selection and two-time honorable mention all-American selection died last week (September 26th, 2005) of a pulmonary blood clot. She was only 22 years old. The article was printed in the Seattle Times but I chose not to put a link to the article since it has some potentially misleading information on blood clots. Shawntinice had had a knee surgery earlier that year (I do not know about how long ago it was) and the medical examiner said that this did not “increase her risk for throwing clots to her lungs”. This is a potentially misleading statement, as you can see the direct correlation between my surgery and the blood clots that formed. My deepest condolences go out to her family and friends. Please send a prayer out for them in this difficult time.

I just want to remind anyone who is considering surgery to ask your doctors of the potential of developing blood clots. Be especially concerned if you are female, on hormones, and need to have knee surgery. I have heard of too many “coincidences” to not pay attention to the correlation between these factors. Please pay attention to alternate forms of rehab, and ask doctors what you can do to reduce your risk. Several people have asked me if I would have gotten the original ACL surgery had I known of the risks. My answer is probably yes, but I would have made sure that other factors that increased my risks of blood clots were eliminated so that I would have had the best chance of not developing clots (such as going on blood thinners, moving around more after the surgery, not being on hormones, etc.).

Well that’s it for my preaching today. I’m also selling my car, in favor of an automatic transmission so if anyone is interested in a “like new” 2004 Corolla LE 5-speed with only 11K and a sunroof, please send me an email. I’ll post a photo later (I’ll make you a deal!).

Thank you,
Rayna

 

August 19, 2005
I spent the day at the Seattle Center last week; showing my niece Tess and her friend, Bethany, the Space Needle and the EMP. We had a great time walking around (yes, walking with just a cane!) and got home early in the evening. Apparently my cat thought I was much better too; (for all of you who are acquainted with Tux) he can be a “bit aggressive” in his playing. He decided to nip the back of my calf in order to start a game with me (him biting me and me chasing after him; so on and so forth). It surprised me so much that I jumped; ended up falling on my knees and therefore broke my left kneecap. So now I’m back to a walker and a brace on the left leg; waiting for the kneecap to heal. Waiting to heal is frustrating, but I know I’ll recover!

We’re including a photo of Scott and myself at Jen & Kurt’s wedding on the 30th of July; both of them looked beautiful and I’m so happy for them! The next day we went to the Microsoft Annual Picnic in North Bend; it was a great weekend.

I’m in talks with my wonderful DM at work; John Blakeley; and hopefully will be able to start back (very Part Time) in the near future at Office Depot. I’m also taking a course at Seattle University in the fall to update some of my management/HR certifications.

Scott and I are taking a few days of R&R up at Orcas Island this month to celebrate our 5th Anniversary and my 33rd B-Day. I’m so grateful to be here to celebrate this time.

So all in all, things are going relatively well. The fall was a set-back; but I hope to be back up and running (at least walking faster) as soon as possible. Again, prayers and emails are also welcome and greatly appreciated. Please let me know if there is anyone out there who can benefit from my prayers to them too.

Talk to you soon!
--Rayna
 

June 6, 2005
I’ve been back at home since the 2nd of June; the surgery was successful this time. Currently I am getting used to my body being “normal” again after nine longs months of abnormality. I am still healing internally and from the stitches on the adnominal area, the stitches will be removed later this week.

Thank you for all your prayers and emails over the last couple of weeks, I truly believe all the good thoughts and wishes are what helped me be successful in this last surgery. Now if I get really lucky over the next couple of months I might not have to go into the hospital for any other surgeries here on out. That will just take time though to determine whether this one was the last.

I plan on starting out-patient physical therapy as soon as I am ready and can hopefully start gaining some weight back into the body! It’s amazing how many commercials, web sites, etc, are all dedicated to losing weight, yet not one on how to increase your weight in a healthy way (no “supersize me” thank you)…

I do try and answer all the emails I can and hope to be more social this time around. I’d love to visit the gym, maybe go to a restaurant or a movie… We’ll see! Please keep good thoughts for me over the next healing processes and we’ll update soon…
-Rayna

May 24, 2005 - Surgery #15
After a very long day (Tuesday), Surgery #15 was completed successfully. Now, we are waiting for her body to takeover the healing process... I'll post an update later this week.

May 21, 2005
Sorry I haven’t updated the site in such a long time. The past two months since the last surgery have been a bit difficult here. After the second emergency surgery I received on March 24th, I developed a complication after coming home which is quite uncomfortable. It involves changing bandages about every 2-4 hours the entire day and night. This has definitely hindered the social life, as I haven’t been very comfortable going “out on the town” because of this. Mostly the social life consists of several doctor’s appointments, another cat scan and short lived shopping excursions. Thank you Pat and my mom for the transportation provided on almost all those appointments! I also experienced my first fall about a week and a half ago and managed to tear up some scar tissue in my left knee (as you know this the knee that started this whole mess). After a visit to an orthopedic surgeon and an x-ray, it was determined that all was going to be OK.

Since the last two surgeries were not a success, we have waited these two months and are now going back into surgery on next Tuesday (May 24th) to accomplish what the last two could not! If all is a success, I should be home around the 4th of June and ready to go full time into physical therapy to regain my strength (and weight) in my legs and body.

Thank you to everyone who has sent postcards from around the world and emails to me! These keep me motivated and I check the email daily now, although I will be incommunicado from May 24th – June 4th. I can be reached at Overlake hospital and would love to have visitors after the first few days if all goes well. Please keep the prayers going as I need all the help I can get during this next surgery.
Thanks again and Scott will keep you posted with updates over the next week.

-Rayna

March 24, 2005 - Surgery #14 - Colostomy
Recovery was going slow due to complications from the previous surgery.  Rayna went back into surgery around 6:45pm and was out by 11:15pm.  Not a pleasant experience for anyone. We've been told it's going to be another week before she is able to leave. Recovery timeline has now been set back by 3 months, meaning she will need to come back in June for Surgery #15 - another attempt at taking down the colostomy.  Rayna is still fighting and would like to thank all those who have sent emails and postcards.
-Scott

March 22, 2005 - Still Recovering...
We were expecting to be discharged from the hospital today - It didn't happen.  We've been told it may be as long as another week. Although the surgery went well, no one can predict the recovery timeline.  Aside from a sore stomach and dry throat, Rayna is doing better but, she hasn't met their requirements for going home.  She has been able to get up and walk w/assistance around the hospital floor at least a couple of times a day. Can only say that it's very frustrating for both of us being in the holding pattern, again.
-Scott

March 15, 2005 - Surgery #13 (Colostomy Take-Down) - Completed Successfully!
We've been at the hospital since 6:00am this morning and around 11am we received word from our surgeon that everything went according to plan.  Great news and now the rest of her stay (7 days) is simply 'resting' while they monitor her post-op recovery. 

Word spread fast that Rayna was back in the hospital.  Whether moving from floor to floor or walking through the halls or going to and from the car both of us are routinely stopped by doctors, nurses, aides etc, who haven't seen Rayna since last summer.  More have been stopping by her room to say hi and see how she's doing.  Experiencing their compassion and interest from this many nurses, physicians, and staff has made the hospital feel like a home away from home... strange but, comforting knowing that everyone is watching out for us.
-Scott  


March 12, 2005
Hi there everyone! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written an update. Things are going well with me. I’m mainly using the walker now and am able to use just a cane to walk for short distances and stairs. I’m going to out-patient physical therapy twice a week and will hopefully upgrade that to three times a week come April. It’s a brand new clinic in Redmond and the PT (Joe) is great!

I’m going into surgery #13 on Tuesday, March 15th, and will remain in the hospital for seven days, hopefully to be released on the 22nd or earlier. They will be reconnecting the intestines and trying to “mind the gap” in the stomach area. This will definitely be a plus as long as everything goes according to plan. I’m a bit nervous about going back into the hospital but it’s a necessity. After this I’ll only have one more surgery to go, and that will occur around June of this year.

Again, I’d like to thank everyone for your emails and prayers during this last year, and ask for at least one more set while I’m in the hospital this next time. I’m able to answer most emails that come in (of course not from the 15th – 22nd) and would love to hear from everyone.
Thank you again and peace be with you!
--Rayna

 


January 19, 2005
Hi there everyone!

On our website we list the Metropolitan Grill as one of our favorite places to eat at a fancy restaurant. Someone we know (Tricia Miller) emailed the Met and they set up a blood drive in honor of my experience. In addition, if you donated, you got a free lunch at the Met. We had an interview with KOMO 4 TV yesterday and our story also appeared in the Seattle Times (Tuesday the 18th) to encourage people to donate. When we went there today, they had about 47 donors so far, with more waiting outside. Pretty exciting. The lunch at the Met was terrific (as usual) with great service.

It was funny because I was talking to the organizer of the blood drive (Jacob Dineer) and it turns out he went to South Eugene (Eugene, OR) also, and graduated a year after me. We know some of the same people too! Goes to show what a small world it is.

As for rehab, we got cut off by my insurance company last week, so we've been trying to organize with all my doctors so I am able to continue rehab. Right now we're just doing things at home trying to keep up my strength. Luckily, I'm also on Scott's insurance now so we'll pick that one up. I may go back into in-patient rehab at another hospital for a couple weeks to try and speed up the process of recovery, but I'm not sure of that yet. If we don't do that then I'll start out-patient rehab locally next week.

That’s all for now!
--Rayna

December 31, 2004
Hi there everyone!  I’m home now and getting into a home rehab routine. It’s very nice to be out of the hospital and home with all my familiar things. I was released from the hospital on December 14th and then there was a newspaper article which you may have seen in the Seattle Times. From the hospital we went into temporary housing until our house was ready. I enjoy getting emails from everyone and if you send me a question, now I can respond since my computer is back up and running. As for work and such, I’ll keep you posted; I have to get my legs strengthened along with stability. Thank you all for your support this past year and let’s hope for a better 2005! Have a great new year this evening and be safe!
 
-Rayna

December 15, 2004
After 151 days, Rayna, Tux (the cat) and I are finally together again.  She was discharged from the hospital on Dec. 14 2004 - after 3+ hours of paperwork, "nurse training", tearful goodbyes, and well wishes From half the hospital.  We are currently staying in temporary housing until specific modifications can be made to our home before final return. Our target has always been:  Home before Christmas.

This has been an amazing journey and one of which we have still yet to complete.  Those of you who know us understand we are a naturally private couple.  We knew Rayna's story would attract a lot of attention (both good & bad) hence we held off any media requests as long as we could until we felt comfortable with sharing our experience in a proper manner.

The following Seattle Times article is the first, probably not the last, story that provides a perspective on what Rayna and I have been through in 2004.


" To the Brink and Back", by Sherry Grindeland
December 15, 2004 - Seattle Times

Sherry will be following Rayna's Recovery in a series of follow up articles over the next few months.  Now more than ever, Rayna and I are going to need your support, encouragement, emails, & postcards to get us through the difficult phase of aggressive REHAB.  Her goal is walking by July 1st 2005.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped us get to this stage.
-Scott
 


November 27, 2004
Hey there again!  I'm still in the hospital recovering from my latest surgery on Tuesday.  I'll be back to fulltime rehab on Monday.  I can now walk short distances with a walker, but still need help with learning to do the stairs.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it home on Thanksgiving, but both Pat and my mom brought their leftovers to me so I could enjoy some real food.  We're aiming on going home sometime in December if all goes well.  I miss you all and look forward to all of your email and cards.  I hope to see all of you very soon and thank you again for visiting this site and taking the time to care.

-Rayna


November 15, 2004 - Milestone Day
Hi there everyone!  I apologize for not answering the emails coming in, but I look forward to reading them daily and am humbled by the messages of prayer and support.  I'm in rehab now; took my first steps on the parallel bars today.  True, I'm using mainly arm strength at the moment; but I keep doing my best that my legs will soon get strong enough to walk on their own.  Otherwise, how am I going to harass my cat?  My day consists of two hours of physical therapy, one and a half hours of occupational therapy.  I used to have speech therapy too, but the person I was working with told me I was too hard to challenge anymore (this is a compliment by the way).  Warning for all who haven't seen me - I have no access to makeup and I've lost a little weight so therefore; no photographs. :)  I've got a few more milestones to go before my next steps so we'll keep you informed as things change.

Thank you for visiting the site my fantastic husband made.
-Rayna


November 8, 2004 - Update
The month of November is a traditional time of giving thanks and there are so many things that Rayna and I have to be thankful for this year.  Our journey started, 113 days ago when my wife, Rayna, suffered a massive Pulmonary Embolism.  During this time our family, friends, colleagues, and total strangers have followed the ups and downs of this daily struggle. Through it all, everyone has offered up their endless supply of friendship, love and support in various ways. As a couple, we have only grown stronger in our relationship and we are very thankful for all of you.  Rayna has moved into the REHAB phase and still has a long and difficult road ahead. We are sharing her story through our website in hopes of accomplishing 3 things:
  1. Raising Awareness of Pulmonary Embolism

  2. Soliciting a Blood Donation to replenish the supply Rayna consumed so, others can benefit during emergencies, and

  3. Asking for assistance in covering Rayna's massive medical bills

Our website address is:  www.whitright.net 

Please take a moment to read through our website and share Rayna's story with 2 friends.  Also, if you would like to send a Card or Email to Rayna during her recovery, then please use the following addresses:

Email:  getwellfast@whitright.net  or if you wish to send Cards or Postcards via standard Mail:

Rayna's Recovery
Box #246-C
16541 Redmond Way,
Redmond, WA 98052-4482

Thank you for you continued support and together can we make a difference,
- Scott


October 29, 2004 - Milestone Day - First official day of the REHAB Phase
  • Started standing up with assistance using Parallel bars
  • Removed any restrictions on food - Rayna's first "non-hospital" meal request was for a happy meal w/Chicken McNuggets. 

October 26, 2004 - Update
As of today, Rayna is completely breathing on her own and doesn't require any additional Oxygen. This is quite a big accomplishment considering all that has happened. The road to recovery is going to paved with many "firsts"...
  • Took her first real shower today
  • Together, we have started planning out the upcoming week vs. planning out a single day.
  • Looking forward to the next phase (REHAB)

October 20, 2004 - Milestone Day - Discharged from Critical Care!
Its Official - After 93 days in the CCU, Rayna has finally been discharged. We have moved to a new location (not disclosing to protect our privacy) to begin the next phase of the recovery process. Would like to thank all of the CCU staff for getting us through an extremely difficult first phase.

October 4, 2004 - Update
The staff at Overlake told our family that this was going to be a rollercoaster... I won't go into any details but only say that September was a difficult month.
 
Here's an update:
Day 78 - Rayna is still in the Critical Care Unit. She has been fighting a couple of infections that have slowed the healing process yet, all other indications remain positive. Due to kidney failure, she is being dialyzed every other day. Surgery #9 placed a more permanent catheter for easier dialysis access. Her stomach continues to heal and the best news thus far is that Rayna has been off the ventilator since 07:00, October 1st!

The healing process, boredom and general hospital randomness from day-to-day has been taxing on both of us - but, we pass the time reading your email stories, watching our favorite movies and planning our next mini adventures.

Many of you have been asking what you can do to help, please hang tight.
We are just about ready to tell our story.

Thank you for your continued support,
-Scott
 

August 27, 2004 - Update
I haven't sent an update in a while since my ISP interpreted my messages as spam.  I've since changed to a different method for sending out these emails so, here's the update:

It has been 40 days since Rayna was checked into the critical care unit at Overlake. We still don't know when she will move out of the Critical Care Unit and into a regular hospital room.  She continues to recover. Apparently, healing is a slow process.  But, if Overlake has a record for recovery from what she has been through, then Rayna will probably break that record as well.

Last night we quietly celebrated our 4th anniversary.  On Saturday we will do something for her birthday. Regardless of the sterile hospital surroundings, we take comfort in the many experiences we have accumulated together through our travels, events and daily activities over the years.  At some point, each of you have been a part of our lives.  Nothing we own compares to the experiences Rayna and I have shared or will continue to share in the future. Instead of asking us how we doing, I challenge you to tell us a story or share one of your experiences by following the link below. In return, you will be rewarded with the knowledge of helping us through the healing process by simply making both of us…. smile.  
And isn't that what life is all about?  

Thank you for your continued support,
-Scott
 

August 13, 2004 - Update  

The last 36 hours have been remarkable. Surgery #6 was performed on Monday evening, at bedside, to replace the ventilator tube in her mouth with a tracheotomy.  Rayna is able to finally smile (or snarl depending on the type of procedure or task the nurses want her to perform.)  She is doing 150% better and is keenly alert to all of her surroundings. This morning she had her glasses on and was watching the Olympics on TV even though she is not a sports fan. All of her vital signs continue to remain strong.  The doctors and nurses have shifted their focus/care from a reactionary mode to a more proactive mode, meaning they were able to move her out of bed today into a chair, and tomorrow they want to let her stand up.  These are big steps and we are grateful for each day. For the first time, the lead doctor said they see no reason why Rayna shouldn't have a full recovery in 3-5 months! Truly remarkable.
 
Rayna and I love all of your positive energy, good thoughts and daily prayers - they are very motivational, loving, and inspirational.  If she hasn't started already, Rayna will be reading your notebook full of emails very soon.  I believe your words are the best kind of medicine and I, for one, can not thank all of you enough. We are truly blessed by your thoughts. 
 
Thank you for your continued support,
-Scott


August 4, 2004 - Update  

Thank you everyone for your kind words and payers, they continue to give us all strength during this surreal event.  48 hours after her 5th surgery Monday night, she is tired but doing well.  During the recent surgery they closed her abdomen, closed 3 of the 4 leg fasciotomies, removed her gall bladder, appendix, 4 inches of her colon, and placed a feeding tube into her stomach. She is still on a respirator to assist her breathing but, the doctors say she will probably be off this within a few days as her lungs are getting stronger. She is off the continuous dialysis on to a normal 4 hour dialysis machine and she has been doing normal rehab on her knee from the ACL surgery. Since July 19th, she has had over 100 blood transfusions (setting a new record at Overlake hospital). I will be setting up a blood donation account at local center in honor of her strength and determination (details later).  Her body has been through so much and she continues to fight through this.
 
Your emails have filled up a 3 inch binder and they continue to give Rayna strength and courage.
Thank you for your continued support,
-Scott


July 27, 2004 - Update  

 
Rayna went in for surgery #4 about 6pm Monday night to verify that all of the internal bleeding from her liver had stopped. After very positive comments from the surgeon, she was back in the critical care room around 8pm.  Her swelling is down and her color is MUCH improved.  Aside from a slight fever this morning, all of her vital signs are improving daily (slowly).  Although she’s still on life support, everyone is much more positive and confident. You can actually feel the difference in the tension level in the room.  Doctors say she will be in critical care for another 2-3 weeks until she stabilizes and the nurses fight off her biggest threats of pneumonia and infection.

 

Thank you to all of you who continue to send you payers and wishes for speedy recovery.  Many of the physicians, nurses, emergency staff, and medic teams have taken a personal interest in her progress as well.  I believe we are all witnessing a miracle in person, considering how far she has come along since last Monday.

 

Again, I can not thank you enough in helping our family through this difficult time.

-Scott

 


July 23, 2004 - Update  

I can not express how much our families deeply appreciate your kind and loving words.  Rayna is still in a very serious condition yet, continues to show little signs every day that she is fighting hard.  The doctors are cautiously optimistic and currently, we are in a waiting period for the next 48 hours while she recovers from various surgeries performed over the last 72 hours. 
 
Her friends, co-workers, loved ones and god are the source of her continued strength.  
 
Thank you, for your continued support.
-Scott


July 20, 2004 - Update  

Rayna suffered a "massive" pulmonary embolism on Monday afternoon around 12:15pm and was rushed off to Overlake emergency center.  At the moment, she remains in very critical condition in the Critical Care Unit at Overlake being watched by 2-3 nurses and both of our families around the clock.  She has undergone 3 critical, multiple hour surgeries - the last one being yesterday afternoon. Her condition is very serious; yet, she is an amazingly strong, resilient, young woman that continues to improve as each hour passes. 
 
At this time, we are not taking any visitors (outside of family) while she is in critical care and ask that you hold off any visits until she moves into a recovery room.  I request that friends and co-workers wishing us well to not send any flowers, cards, or gifts as the hospital won't allow any of this into her room.  Instead, I ask that you email your prayers, good thoughts and positive energy via the Overlake Hospital email, which I have been reading to her during my time with her. (https://www.overlakehospital.org/patientsvisitors/sendemail/default.aspx)
 
Thank you for your love and support.
-Scott
 



Site Design by Rayna's Husband - Graphics Supplied by Limelight Media Design