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
Peace and health to everyone,
March 1st, 2006
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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
We’re including a photo of
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
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
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!
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”
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
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.
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.
March 22, 2005 - Still
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.
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
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
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
Thank you again and peace be with you!
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!
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!
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
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
Thanks again to everyone
who has helped us get to this stage.
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.
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
you for visiting the site my fantastic husband made.
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
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
Raising Awareness of
Soliciting a Blood
Donation to replenish the supply Rayna consumed so,
others can benefit during emergencies, and
Asking for assistance in
covering Rayna's massive medical bills
Our website address is:
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@example.com or if you wish to send Cards
or Postcards via standard Mail:
16541 Redmond Way,
Redmond, WA 98052-4482
Thank you for you continued
support and together can we make a difference,
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
- Together, we have started planning out the
upcoming week vs. planning out a single day.
- Looking forward to the next phase
October 20, 2004 -
Milestone Day - Discharged from
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.
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
We are just about ready to tell our story.
Thank you for your continued support,
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
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,
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,
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,
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
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.
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
Her friends, co-workers, loved ones and god are the
source of her continued strength.
Thank you, for your continued support.
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
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.