Monday, June 13, 2011

Ice Cream never tasted so good!!!

Oh the sweet taste of cherry ice cream!!!  Dad finally got to eat something!!  After he had walked around the pod a few times, Dr. Sugarbaker said he deserved a yummy, refreshing snack! You would think he would look happier?!

Today, he got to have "real" food!  If you want to call Mac and Cheese real.  He wasnt entirely thrilled by it, but he did get to chase it down with some chocolate ice cream!!   Later, for dinner he got to have chicken noodle soup and a grilled cheese sandwich!  I can only imagine the joy!! 

Dad is a little hard to cheer up lately!  He doesn't realize how well he is doing, and so he can't see his own progress!  Any words of encouragement would be apprecaited!!

We love you Dad!!  You have no idea how amazing you are doing!!  Keep it up and we will BBQ for your b-day! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Crazy Field Trip?!

So, the last few days have been some we wish we could do over....I am sure there would be some things done differently! 

Yesterday around 11:00, we were informed that dad was once again going to be moved to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Facility.  Needless to say, I was NOT happy!!!  I knew that it was a bad idea, but, being across the country from the situation, I couldn't really stop them.  The "floor" doctor, or the doctor that does rounds on the floor and knows really nothing about dad or his case, gave the go ahead to move him to the rehab and that is what was done.  No one noticed that he was acting strange and very tired.......all the nurses figured he needed a nap.  Well, just 3 hours after being moved, dads O2 levels spiked and he needed help breathing. After that evening, he was back AGAIN to the ICU at Brigham and Women's Hopstial!  Someones I's were not dotted, and someones T's were not crossed, and dad ended up back on the ventilator for the night!! 

This morning, he is off the ventilator, and just got up and walked around the ICU.  No answeres yet on what caused his O2 to spike, but I will make sure to update as soon as we have any ideas! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Behind on Updates.....LONG POST.....

I have been just terrible at updating the blog since I got home from Boston.  Going there and leaving there were two of the hardest things that I have ever done, and returning to this blog reporting things from a distance has been an emotional trial for me.  Being there, in the middle of it all, somehow made me realize just what a huge mess we had on our hands, both there in Boston and at home!!  Nothing can prepare you for the nasty thing that is cancer, nor what it can do to people involved! 

I always have seen my dad as one of my very best friends.  He is my hero and this situation has made me realize more and more what an amazing man he is!  He does not deserve any of this, and watching him struggle through all of this has been heartbreaking to me.  So, I will do my best to keep my emotions in check and keep this blog updated, so that one day, hopefully soon, my dad can read this like a journal and realize the miracle that is his life!!!

Since my last post they had moved Dad to a step down unit.  He was making HUGE progress in the few days that he was in that unit.  Wednesday, the 25th, they decided to move him to a rehabilitation facility in Cambridge.  We had heard amazing things from the doctors about how great this facility was, and so we were excited about the step forward.  We arrived at Spaulding Rehab Center at about 7:00pm that evening, and were checked into a room with a roommate....not ideal in any sense, but this was AWFUL!!  The little man next to dad was obviously a very impatient man, and instead of ringing the nurses button, he would kick his bed and yell!  He began throwing things after we had been there a while.  I was very uncompfortable with the set up and expressed my concerns to the nurse.  Not much was done about it that night, and Dad obviously didn't get any sleep that night.  The next morning I was more than irriated!  I insisted that he be moved, and shortly after, they did find his roommate a new room.  I had anticipated things going a little more smoothly after that. 

The doctors and rehab team took turns coming in and meeting dad, and getting aquainted with his case.  But nothing was being done.  He sat in bed that whole day, and the next moring he told me he was having trouble breathing.  I finally got the nurses attention, and she called the doctor.  To shorten this story a bit...we ended up back at Brigham and Women's hosptial ICU on Friday afternoon. Dad had fluid building up in his chest cavity, and it needed to be drained.  They put him on a lasix drip and started to get the probelm under control, but by then he had sat in bed again for almost 3 days.....so much progress just out the window!  We were back to not being able to stand and walk again....so much for rehab!!!

Back at Brigham, I could tell dad was feeling much more compfortable.  By the next day he was already feeling better and things were back under control.  I expressed my concerns with the rehab center to the doctors and they decided to keep dad in the ICU there at the Brigham until the fluid was under control. 

Paul was able to come out for a few days, and he got there on Saturday the 28th.  Dad was excited to see him!  It was so good for both of them!  I had to leave on Sunday the 29th, and it was tough!  I cried the whole way to the airport, because I hated leaving him!  Paul got to spend a few alone days with dad and then Barbara got there on Tuesday evening. 

As of now, Dad is back in the step down unit and doing well!!!  He has yet to pass his swallow test, and so he is still unable to swallow anything, other than water soaked spongies. Today he walked the whole way around the nurses desk in his unit...WITHOUT STOPPING!!!  That is HUGE!

The plan as far as we know right now, is to get dad to a point that he can walk and get to the bathroom by himself, and then send him to a rehab facitlity for the physical therapy part of things.  Since they are playing things by ear right now, there hasn't been any firm plans made, other than to get him well enough to come home!  That is the ultimate goal!! 

I will do my best to keep the blog more up to date!!  Thanks Aunt Ardis for giving me a little kick in the butt!!  :) 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Movin' on .....over??

We have finally moved from the ICU!!  They moved dad this morning to a step down ward...same floor, just down the hall....but not ICU!!  It will be good to have a new room, with new scenery!! 

They have been giving Dad some sleeping pills to help him rest at night, and he seems to be very groggy and almost incoherant during the day.  They are going to try and not give him the sleeping pill tonight and see if they can start to regulate his sleeping naturally. 

Today has been a slower day.  Since he has been pretty tired, they havn't really pushed him to walk yet.  He did do a floor pedal for about 20 minutes this moring, and he is now awake enough that they are going to try and get him up to walk. 

Hopefully, tomorrow will start better, and he will be more awake in the morning!  He is anxious to get moving, and is constantly excersizing his legs while in bed!  He wants to get strong and he wants to get out of here!

Lots of love from Boston!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sleepless in.......Boston?

Hospitals are meant for rest and recovery....unfortunately, it seems that hospitals are the hardest place to sleep!!  After a huge day on Wednesday, Dad didn't get alot of sleep that night, so Thursday ended up being a rough day!  No sleep makes anybody feel icky, but no sleep on top of an already leangthy ICU stay can make even the calmest person loose their mind a bit! 

Frusteration was the hurdle to cross yesterday.  Its hard when you are the one in the hospital to understand just how much you are progressing.  To Dad the days just seem to keep repeating themselves, and he can't understand just how far he has come! 

He is still off of the ventilator and late last night they did take the drainage tube out of his nose!  Both HUGE things!  He did walk yesterday twice as far as he did on Wednesday, so that is also a great thing!   There is talk of moving to a rehab faciltiy by the beginning of the week, and there has also been talk of moving to a step down ward also.  We will hopefully know for sure what the plan is by the end of the day today!

Barbara stayed in the room last night with him, and that helped dad sleep a little more.  I guess we will be taking turns sleeping here with him...he needs his rest, and whatever helps!!

It has also helped that we have been skyping the family at home!  It helps to be able to see all of the people who are constatnly pulling for him!!  If you would like to skype with him, leave a comment with your skype name and we will arrange a time!  He loves to visit, it helps him feel just a little closer to home!

We love you all and thank you for your love and support!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

WaHoOoO!!!

Up and Walking!!!!  What an amazing day we had yesterday here in Boston!!  Dad was off of the ventilator from 8:20am until midnight!  They put him back on the ventilator for a few hours, and he couldn't stand it, and made them take him off again at 3:00am!  I think he has kicked the vent to the curb!!  He says he feels much better with out it!  HUGE PROGRESS!!

The biggest suprise of the day yesterday was hearing dad talk!!!  After 2+ weeks of silent looks and note writing, he could finally talk to us!  Such a great sound to hear his voice!  He made a video for everyone, but its pretty hard to hear because of all the machines....and he starts to cry in the middle.....but, you get the idea I suppose!
video

Dad also walked yesterday...TWICE!!  He did so well....walked about 60 feet both times.  His legs are strong, but a little wobbly!  (The video is sideways.....sorry!  In my excitement, I forgot which direction to hold my camera!!  It adds charachter!) :)

video


After his marathon, I gave him the royal treatment, and rubbed his piggies with Purell,.....AGAIN....these darn clot socks are beastly to put on!!  Its a workout for sure! I get my workout after he does his! Fair trade I guess!

This morning we had a meeting with Dr. Sugarbaker, and Dr. DaSilva.  They feel like dad is really progressing well, and the plan is to move him to a rehabilitation faciltiy here in Boston next week.  They are expecting him to only be in that faciltiy for 10 days or so with all the progress he has made!! 

The facitliy is in Cambridge, which makes it a little difficult for the person staying with him.  It is about an hour bus/train ride from the Meso house here in Boston. It will be hard for dad to not have anyone close over night....but, we will make it work!

Dad is overwhelmed with all of the love and support he has recieved....he loves you all and keeps telling us he wants to come home and be closer to everyone who cares about him!  He says in the video that he didn't know his life mattered so much!  So, thank you to you all for making him feel so loved! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Its getting better every day!

We are moving right along these days in Boston!!  Dad is consistantly making progress every day!  He is determined to do his best to get out of this place!!  The staff is amazing, and have really helped him come a long way!!

I mentioned in the earlier posts, Dad's love for Purell foot rubs....this is the face of a man completely content! 

 He is constantly giving me puppy dog eyes, begging me for foot rubs!  I have used my ability to rub feet as a bargaining chip!  He has to work for them! 

 He has to sit up as much as he can, and for as long as he can....we try and keep him occupied by playing an intense game of skip-bo! 

 And tic-tac toe!  He won every game and so got bored quick!

 He earned an extra long foot rub when he got out of the bed/chair and baby stepped to the real chair!  He did very well, and sat up for almost 3 hours the first time in this chair! 

Today has been an expeptional day!  He has been off of the ventilator 2 times for 3 hours each, and has sat up in a chair 2 times for 2 hours each!  He also......STOOD UP!!!  

He was a trooper!  They had him sit and then stand 3 times in a row, and he did GREAT!!  They will continue to work with him until he can walk the hall with a walker!! 

As soon as he is able to be off the ventilator for 24 hours, then he can move from the ICU and EAT!!!  We are at 8 today....with another try on the schedule for later tonight.  That means 12 today.....maybe 16 tomorrow and then hopefully by the end of the week.....24!!!!  We know he can do it!  He is being such a champ! 

Thank you all for your love and concern!  Dad loves when I read him the blog and all of your comments!  Thats what we do to help him pass some time in his chair!  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

More and more progress!

Today was another good day in Boston!  Dad was off of the ventilator 2 times today for 2 hours each.  The goal was 3 times, but later this evening his blood pressure and heart rate were up a bit, so they decided not to push it.  --I think he was just so darn excited to see me!  Too much excitement! ;) 

Since I have been here, Barbara and  I have been conned with longing looks, to rub his legs and feet with PURELL!  Yes, the hand sanitizer!!  He has had tight stockings on to help prevent blood clots, and they get itchy....apparently the cool of the purell feels good, because he BEGS us to do it!!  He seems to enjoy the time without the stockings, and has made me promise to do it atleast 3 times a day!  Now, thats love! ;)

Tomorrow, he gets to have the drainage tube from his stomach removed, and he is very excited!!  He will be one tube lighter!! 

Tomorrow is another day, and he has come a long ways!  I will keep you all posted!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

YAHOOOO!

Just a quick post, but its filled with GREAT news!  Dad has been off of the ventilator for 3 hours....and still going!  He even fell asleep off of it, which means he must not be struggling to catch his breath!!!!!   Yay for baby steps!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

For now....

I can tell when things get tiring in Boston, because the text messages make less and less sense! That is totally understandable, but I will try my best to translate!  :)

Dad has been battling a bit of a fever the last few days.  It is unsure if it is because he has an infection somewhere, or if its just his body on "drug overload!"  As of last night, his fever had dropped, and they got his pain managed so he could sleep.  Dads blood pressure has been and on again, off again problem since surgery.  This morning is an "on again" morning!  They did an echocardiogram to see if it was possible to turn up his pacemaker.  This seemed to make the problem worse.  They gave him a unit of blood to see if that helps, and then they want to concentrate on getting his streangth up.  Once they get his blood pressure under control, they can start getting his stomach to wake up from its liquid IV food, and get him some more nutrient food!! 

Things seem to change so quickly there, that I will try and get an update later this afternoon!  Usually when I can call, I understand more and then I am able to spread that information along to all of you!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

One step forward....two steps back!!

As with any major surgery, there are good days and there are bad ones.  We weren't under any illusions that this whole experience was going to be a cake walk, but we have had some very unexpected things happen!  It seemed like dad was on the mend, and then yesterday he was again having problems breathing on his own.  This morning after getting him out of bed for a little chair time, he was again struggling to catch his breath.  The doctor decided to to a CT scan to double check some things.  The CT scan showed that the instesine was slowly creeping its way up into the now empty lung cavity...while this sounds pretty alarming, it seems that this happens quite regulary in lung removal cases.  The gortex mesh "place holder" had moved, allowing the intestine to wiggle where it wanted to! 

Dad had surgery to repair the mesh and put things back where they belong at 8:00 tonight.  The surgery went well, and the doctors feel that this will alleviate the problems that dad has been having with his breathing.

Dad still has quite a bit of fluid around the chest cavity, and they are draining as quickly as is safe and they are confident that with this surgery fix and the fluid gone, that dad will be able to breathe easily again! 

Please keep him in your prayers!  I will post an update as soon as one becomes available to me!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Doing better!!

Today is a new day...and a better day!  Dad is off all pain medication excpet for Tylenol, and is off of the sedation!  He is now giving the nurse who won't give him water dirty looks, which is progress! :)  They have the ventilator turned to an "assist"mode.  Meaning, dad tells it when to breathe!  The machine won't kick in and inflate until dad starts to take the breath.  This makes it so he still has a little help, but it makes the muscles around the lung start to get a little streangth. 

This morning they did another bronc test and things looked great!  The lung is nice a clear and all incisions are healing properly.  He is still on a feeding tube, and is frusterated about it!  He is hungry and thirsty, but until he can come completely off the ventilator, they won't let him eat or drink.  David Max is heading to Boston today to stay the weekend, and told dad he would bring him a baconator from Wendy's if he was ready to breathe when he got there!  Sounds like good bribery to me! :)

The plan for this afternoon is to get him up for a walk!  That will be a HUGE step!  They are hoping to have him out of the ICU in a few days. 

I am so very proud of my dad and the progress that he has made!  He has been through more in the last 3 months than anyone deserves!  Hang in there dad!  You are doing awsome! 

Feel free to leave comments here on the blog!  Dad will read them and it will help his recovery to hear from all of you! :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Making Progress!

It has been a LONG few days!  We have been patiently waiting for things to start looking up, and it seems like today they are.  This morning they did a tracheotomy on dad.  They will use his trach to assist his breathing so that they can take him off of the ventilator.  He can then be mobile and get up and start moving!  The trach surgery went well, and he is now sitting up in bed!  HUGE progress as far as we are concerned!  The nurse gave him a shave, and washed his hair, which I am sure made him feel better too! 

They are hoping to get him up and walking tomorrow!  David will be able to visit for the weekend, and I think that will make Dad feel good!  I will be going out next week to stay for a few weeks as well! 

Thank you for all of your calls and well wishes!  We really appreciate it! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rough Road

It has been a rough weekend in Boston! On Friday,  they were having a hard time getting his blood pressure under control.  They had him on an epidural pain pump, and they turned the pump off to see if that would help.  It did, and so they decided to give him alternative pain meds, and turn up his pacemaker to keep his blood pressure stable. 

Saturday he was making great progress, they had his blood pressure under control and his pain managed and things were looking good.  That evening he started having trouble taking deep breaths.  His breathing was shallow and labored, and he was having a tough time relaxing because of his breathing.  They got him relaxed and settled him in the for the night.  At about 3am, we woke up and felt like he needed to gasp for air.  The doctors did a "bronc" as they call it, where they look at the lung and pull excess fluid and mucus and make sure there is no infection.  They started giving him some dieretics to help drain the fluid, and that seemed to help.  They kept him compfortable all day, and he seemed to be on the down hill side of things. 

Sunday morning things weren't getting any better!  There is nothing scarier then not being able to breathe, and so the anxiety of if all was of course unsettling to dad, which made his breathing even harder.  They monitored him through the day yesterday, and this morning they decided to put him back on the ventilator so that he could get some rest.  Dr.Sugarbaker felt like him getting rest would really help speed things along, and the best way to get him to rest would be to help him breathe with the vent. 

This morning at 7:00 am, they put him back on the ventilator.  It seems like that is a huge step backwards, but in all reality, it will help him progress faster.  The doctor said they will do the vent for a few days, and then try and take him off again when all the fluid has drained.  I will keep updates coming as I have them. 

I contacted the mission home in Boston, and they are sending the Elders over at 2:00 today to give Dad a blessing.  Thank heavens for missionaries all over the world!! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Surgery complete!

At 4:45 Dad was out of surgery.  Things did not go 100% according to plan.  The cancer had spread into the lung itself, it was no longer just in the lining.  The whole left lung had to be removed.  The surgeon said that while not ideal, that was the best option to remove all of the cancer.  As of now, Dad is "disease free"...meaning they got everything they could see.
Recovery will actually be easier for him with just one lung, since his affected lung won't have to heal.  His remaining lung will compensate for the missing one, and he probably won't notice a huge difference, seeing as how that lung was only working at 40% with the cancer in it. 
Latest news is that he is still in recovery.  Dr. Sugarbaker says he feel really good about how things went, and that Dad may not need to be on a ventilator.  That will be determined as soon as he wakes up enough to see if he can breath correctly on his own.  I will post as soon as I know more!  I know all of you are worried, so I wanted to give you something!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Asking for prayers!!

Tomorrow is the big day!  Dad is all checked in and awaiting surgery....He got a little sick from all of the medications they had him on for pre-surgery, but from the looks of this photo, I think they gave him something to sleep it off! ;)

 He is being quite a trooper!  Just one more HUGE hurdle, and we got this!  The doctor is very confident, so that gives us a little peace!

Surgery is at 11:30 Boston time, so 9:30 our time.  Please send some prayers his way!   I will update as soon as I know anything tomorrow!  Thank you all so much!

We love you Dad!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Update from Boston

Dad has been having his pre-surgical workups the last two days, and today he met with the surgeon.  Dr. Sugarbaker says that things still look good for the surgery to go according to plan.  They will be operating on Thursday morning at 11:30, which is 9:30 mountain time.  The surgery will take between 5 and 7 hours, depending on the severity of the tumors.  Dr. Sugarbaker plans to take out all of the cancer that is visible, and then they will do a heated chemotherapy treatment poured directly onto the affected areas. 

He will then be in the ICU on a ventilator for 2 days, and 2 more days in ICU without the breathing machine.  He will then be moved to another floor for 10-12 days.  Once he is discharged from the hospital, he has to stay in the Boston area for 2 weeks to be monitored. 

There is a "mesothelioma house" across the street from the hospital where families and patients are able to stay at a discount.  Barbara will be there for the first 3 weeks, and then I will go out and stay the last few weeks and bring him home. 

I will try and keep updates available as I get them!  Thanks for all of your love and support!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

April 27th, 2011

Surgery is finally back on the schedule!!  April 27th is the day!  While not ideal as far as time goes....we were hoping for something a little sooner, but the doctors feel that time will not be a huge issue as far as the cancer itself goes.  Mesothelioma takes YEARS to present symptoms, and so it grows at such a slow pace that 1 month won't really make a difference. 
Last wednesday Dad was having a really hard time breathing.  We had to take him in and have the fluid removed from his lungs again.  They took about 2 liters of fluid off of his left lung!!  He felt much better after getting drained. 

Dad has been such a trooper through this whole thing!  He is my hero!  All the poking and prodding and testing, and he has never complained....just been positive and has kept us all positive!

Thanks agian for all of your prayers!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One test after another!!!

Oh the joys of nothing going our way!!  Dad was scheduled for surgery today....that was cancelled.  The doctor in Boston noticed a problem on Dads EKG and cancelled surgery until we could get some more tests done on his heart.  Yesterday we did a stress test and a TEC (transesophageal echocardiogram.)  The TEC test showed aortic stenosis which is a thickening of the aortic valve.  Dad had rheumatic fever as a kid and the doctor said that something like this is common in cases where the patient had rhematic fever as a child.  He also said that he would go ahead and support dad having the surgery on his lung and that we could go years before addressing the heart problem.  GREAT NEWS.....until the cardiologist called and said that we needed to go back again today for yet another heart test!!  Today they will be placing a catheter dads artery!  So, after today....we are hoping to be able to reschedule the surgery in Boston, and give my dad a tiny sense of normalcy for a while!!  He has been through more in the last 2 months then anyone deserves!!  We will keep you all posted!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fundraising.....a BIG job!

Preparing food to feed 500-700 people is no small task!!  We washed and wrapped potatoes until we didn't care to see a potato again!  But, we all did it with a smile!!







We ended up wrapping about 700 potatoes that day.....with great hopes of serving EVERY SINGLE ONE!

We also filled 300 cups of sour cream, 500 cups of butter and around 400 cups of ranch dressing!

The fundraiser was a HUGE success!!  About 500 people came!  We were so overwhelmed by the love and generosity that people showed for our dad.  We wanted to say a very special thanks to the following people:
Broulims
Walker Farms
Ball Brothers
Albertsons
Robin Spencer Photography
Chris and Heather Campell
Dr. Robert Ellis/West Wind Dental
Rush Truck Center
Floral Classics
Cala Alexander
The Garfield 5th Ward
Rita Rasmussen
Reed Tucker/Loft Reception Center
Keith Walker
Mike and Lorraine Hathaway and Family
Ardis and Kent Roberts
Idaho Sod
Mike and Debbie Glass
And to ALL of you who attended, donated, or helped!!  We appreciate you all!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Boston or Bust! Kickin' Asbestos!

Dad just got back from his evaluation appointment in Boston.  He is a candidate for a pleural resection surgery!!  Dad met with one of the top mesothelioma surgeons in the nation, and he feels very confident that the surgery will be a sucess. 

They will be removing the pleural linging of dads left lung, as well as the section of his diaphragm that is affected.  They will be using a heated chemotherapy during surgery, which has been sucessfull in stunting the future growth of these cells.  This is not a cure, but Dr.Sugarbaker says that dads chances of managing this are 50% better with this surgery then fighting it with Chemotherapy alone. 

We want to thank all of you who have donated so far to help us get our dad the best care!  We have been so touched by the amazing out poor of love and generosity from the people around us.  Thank you!

We are going to be having a "Dinner for Dave" fundraiser on the 7th of March.  The location is still being nailed down, but we would love for all of you to come!  It will be a potato bar dinner with a silent auction.  Tickets are $5.00.  I will be posting more details as they become available.  Dad will be there to visit with all of you from 5:30-8:00.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

International Mesothelioma Program - Brigham and Women's Hospital

International Mesothelioma Program - Brigham and Women's Hospital
Click the link above


Above is a link that talks about the Mesothelioma Program that we are sending my dad to.  This hospital has the best, most advanced Cardiothoracic Oncolgoy department in the nation.  My dad deserves the best, and we will do what we have to to get him there! Heaven knows that anyone of his kids would pay for all the expenses ourselves, but that is too much for any one of us to take on alone, so we are asking for help.

We have set up an account at East Idaho Credit Union.  If you have an account there, you can call in and transfer money from account to account, if you do not have an account with East Idaho,  you can stop in at any branch and make a deposit to the David L. Hathaway Mesothelioma Fund, or you can mail a check to either myself, or my brother Paul. 

Dad will potentially be traveling to Boston several times for surgery and post op checks.  We hope to be able to have his chemotherapy treatments done close to home, but we will know more after the initial appointment on the 14th.

This program in Boston gives my dad the best chance, so please, please help us to get him there! 

Make Checks payable to: David L. Hathaway Mesothelioma Fund

Melissa Belnap                                Paul Hathaway
861 W. 145 N.                                 305 Hummingbird
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401                Shelley, Idaho 83274
(208)313-0638                               (208)589-7302

Monday, February 7, 2011

Re-couping....

Dad has been home for a few days and has been doing his best to get some much needed rest!  That is not always easy when you have several "motherly, un-credentialed" nurses taking care of you! ;)  He is feeling much better, but has had a hard time keeping a whole lot of anything down.  He has been slowly weaning himself off of his pain meds, and that seems to be helping.

We have things all set up for Dads evalutaion appointment in Boston. David will be flying with him to be his doctor appointment "chaperone." He has appointments all day on the 14th and 15th, and then we will know what the doctor thinks about surgery.   We are all anxious to say the least! 

This sunday, our family was able to go to my dads ward for church.  Dad had great intentions to come with us, but last minute felt too sick to come.  It was nice to talk to all of the people who love and care about him from his ward. We had so many people appraoch us and ask what they could do.  Kids from his primary class sent us home with get well cards and notes! 

As his kids, we cannot express enough how much we appreciate everyone who has supported dad already in this!  The out pour of prayers, and love has been amazing to see!  Thank you so much!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

More good news!!

The doctor called early this morning and he already had the pathology report back on Dads lymphnodes!!  NO CANCER IN THE LYMPHNODES!!!  We are all jumping for joy today!!

Dad is scheduled for an evaluation at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston Massechusetts on February 15th, and then they will schedule him for the surgery.

Help us get our dad to Boston!!  We will be setting up a donation account with East Idaho Credit Union.  As soon as I get the account number, I will post it here.  We should have the account all set up and ready this afternoon.  Any little bit helps! Thanks!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Another hurdle down!

This morning Dad has his thoracotomy done to take a biopsy of the lymphnodes that may or may not be affected by the mesothelioma.  The procedure went smoothly, and Dr. Rundell said that nothing jumped out at him as being "abnormal", but that we would need to see the pathology report to be sure.  We should have those results back tomorrow afternoon, and then we will get a weekend without suspense!

The great news is, is that Dad got to go home tonight.  He was more than anxious to get out of that place, although he LOVED the nurses that took care of him.  His favorites were Crystal, Marj and Tonya.  He would love to see them all again; under better circumstances! ;)

We are having a special family fast for dad this coming Sunday.  We would like to invite any of our family or freinds that would like to join us to do so!  We know that this will be a long road, but we have faith in miracles!  Our new family motto is "We got this!"  We do, we will beat this and we will look back and sigh with relief! 

Love to you all!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Our silver lining....

So today was actually a pretty good day.  It is hard to say that when someone you love has cancer, but...you take the good when you get it!

We got the pathology report back sooner than we had anticipated, and its pretty good news!  It is mesothelioma, and it is stage 3, but...here comes the silver lining.....its the type that responds to chemotherapy!  There are 3 types of mesothelioma one type that is resistant to any type of chemotherapy making it impossible to treat.  One  is somewhat cooperative, and one Dr. Shull called "freindly."  I am glad to say that dad has "friendly" cancer!  The doctor said if you have to have mesothelioma, that is the kind you want.  We would prefer to not have cancer at all, but news like this gives us all a little more hope!

We decided to celebrate our one good piece of news with a photo op!  (Its a little dark, sorry)


Next step is to do a thoracotomy and check the lymphnodes down the middle of the chest.  If they are un-affected, we will be sending dad to Boston, where they will try and resect as much of the cancer as they can! 

We know that we have you all to thank for our good news!  I told my dad that with as many people as he has praying for him....he will be just fine!  So, thank you all so much! 

Dad loves visitors, his favorites are his grandkids!  Our kids have learned to make themselves right at home on the 4th floor!  Dads room is next to a vacant room, and the kids.....with Uncle Jareds help, made themselves compfy and watched some cartoons!  Another funny moment in our chaotic week!

Still making us laugh!

 Dad has been poked, prodded, scanned, cut into and just plain miserable for the last 2 weeks.  That doens't seem to keep his sense of humor from shining through!  (I think the morphine helps!)

After his lung biopsy, he had to do a breathing excersize. He has to suck air into a meter type thing, and make the stopper go as far to the top as he can.  He hates to do it, but does it because he has about 8 pretty pushy people constantly making sure he does what he is told!  Sometimes he would probably like us to go home! :)

Late last night he was FAR from excited when I told him that he needed to do his breathing excersize before I would go home.  He reluctantly did it, but managed to make silly faces that whole time!

It was good to see him being silly!  Thats my dad!  He wasn't too thrilled that I had snuck my camera in, but....he knew I would break it out eventually! ;)


This morning they did an x-ray to see if he could get his chest tube out.  As soon as he gets that out, he can go home!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Todays update....

This morning Dad had his "exploratory" surgery and tissue biopsy. We had hoped to find that things were fairly under developed and that was not the case.  The doctor said that the cancer was along the entire leangth of the left lung, and on the left side of the diaphram.  At this point however, they are unsure as to the actual sub type of cancer it is.  They said that there is a chance that it is a carsonoma tumor, and not mesothelioma. The doctor said that there are different sub types to each cancer, and each one is treated by a different cocktail of chemotherapy. The tissue biopsy will tell us more.  We should have the pathology results by Thursday or Friday. 

Dad is doing good tonight..  He has a chest tube draining fluid from his lung.  That is a normal procedure after a surgery like his.  As soon as he gets that tube out, we can take him home.  The plan is, reguardless of the pathology report, to start a chemo-therapy regimin as soon as he is able, and proceed as if surgery will be an option.  The closest cardiothoracic surgeon who specializes in surgeries like this is in Boston, Massachusetts. The doctors feel that sending him to Boston is the best option for surgery.  We will know more about the possibilites of surgery later on.

For now, I am having a hard time holding on to the reality of all of this.  As I am sitting here typing, my head keeps telling me that this is all a dream, and that some how in my week of sleepless nights, I have managed to dream all of this.  Please keep dad in you prayers, thank you all so much for your kind thoughts and well wishes!

We will be setting up an account in dads name, where donations can be made.  I will keep you posted as to the details of that.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A diagnosis and a wrench in the works!

I wanted to start this blog in hopes of keeping the many, many people who love and care about our Dad updated and informed about his status. Dad has a large family, and so it makes it difficult for him to contact each person with every detail, hopefully this blog will help to keep all of our loved ones well informed.  Please feel free to leave your comments and well wishes.  I will teach him how to check them! :)

Dad was diagnosed with Malignant Mesothelioma on January 24, 2011.  Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that developes in the outer lining of the lungs.  It is caused by exposure to asbestos.

On Wednesday, January 26th we met with 2 local oncologists.  Dr. Dickson and Dr. Shull. They both seem to be very optimistic! He had a PET/CT scan on Thursday to determine the exact location of all cancer cells, and we were referred to a cardiothoracic surgeon to see if surgery was an option.  We met with Dr. Rundell on Friday and he mentioned that there were some things that he was "curious" about with Dads test results. He wanted to do an "exploratory" surgery with a camera down the throat and also take a tissue biopsy of the lining of the lung.

Most people with mesothelioma have calcium deposits around the outside of the lung, which Dad did not have on his scans. That could be a very good sign that the cancer could be in the VERY early stages.  He felt that a larger tissue biopsy would be a better way to give a firm diagnosis, and it would also give us a better idea of treatment options.

We set up for Monday morning to do that surgery and went over to the lab to do all of the pre-op testing.  During the EKG, they found a total blockage of the lower chamber of Dads heart.  His heart rate was in the low 40's and normal is 65.  Dr. Rundell immediately admitted him to the hospital and contacted a cardioloogist.  A pacemaker was placed Saturday morning at 10:00a.m.

Since we had no idea that there was any problem with his heart, we were all thrown for a major loop! It was definately a very unexpected wrench in the works!

Dad is feeling better today.  Tomorrow we will stay on schedule for the tissue biopsy and scope surgery, at 7:00 a.m.

Thank you in advance for all of your love and support!  I will do my best to keep the most current information updated!