"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh and anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." Ether 12:4

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Movies, Weddings, and Water (oh, and Puking)

Hello friends and family!
Things haven't changed that much since the last blog update. Dad's had a rough few days with puking and stuff, but he technically doesn't need to eat, so it's not medically that concerning. He's now getting most of his medications via the PICC line, so we know they are working even when he's sick. I guess when he feels nauseous, we're going to start giving him fluids via the PICC line as well, to help keep him hydrated and give him energy.

Things are going well in other areas, too. Alex was ecstatic over the new Transformers movie (he's a typical 16 year old boy). His top 2 favorite movies are now: 1) Transformers #2 - 2) Transformers #1. The irony is that Adam and I used to play Transformers all the time when we were younger, and now it's Alex who talks about Autobots and Decepticons nonstop.

Benj is gearing up for the wedding in five weeks and has been working full time up in Park City with Adam. Speaking of which, congrats to Adam on his new calling. It required the ordination to the office of High Priest, which was a true miracle and blessing (dad was able to ordain Adam and pass on his priesthood lineage, which Adam can now pass on to the other boys). We were grateful to be able to participate in the experience, and hope it won't keep Adam too busy :)

I've (Nichole) been having fun with my aunt Lisa in scuba diving lessons (minus bloody noses. Oh, and inner-ear pressure headaches. Oh, and the panicked feeling that comes when you just swallowed water. Through your nose.)

We are grateful for the experiences that remind us we are alive, only human, and those times when we realize how incredibly blessed we are. Be grateful you can eat through your mouth.

The Losers

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Home at last...

Hello all!
Here' s another update from the Losers:

Dad is back home from the hospital now (he got back yesterday evening), and it's been an interesting two weeks. He has two ostomy sites, one G-tube, one PICC line, and a belly full of staples at the moment. He's feeling better, but still in some pain (which is to be expected - he's hauling around like 200 lbs of medical equipment lately). We are running the TPN in the evenings, and dad is still able to eat, so he's feeling better with all this unexpected nutrition, too.

With all the new stuff going on, the doctors want dad to keep records of EVERYTHING that has ANYTHING to do with his body. It's a little annoying, trying to keep it all straight. Now was that 270 calories of urine, or 2 milligrams of calories? I don't know anymore - it's like word vomit at the moment.

Overall, dad's happy to be home. Oh, and something I personally think is funny? Dad's PICC line is in his left arm, and the TPN runs at night, so guess who had to change sides of the bed after 30 years of marriage? Mom said that she woke up in the middle of the night and had no idea where she was. I wish I could have seen her try to figure that out :)

Thank you to all those who visited and stayed at the hospital with dad. Mom and I couldn't have done it alone. Also, thank you for your continued concerns, thoughts, and prayers. We are looking forward to this Sunday when we can spend Father's Day at home, with our family.

Treasure your fatherly moments.
All our love,
The Losers

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hospital Schmospital (can I get two of those, please?)

Hello all,

Today is Friday, June 12th, and dad just got out of surgery. He's been here at the hospital for a bowel blockage that started out annoying and developed into a full obstruction. So, yesterday, we finally talked to the surgeon Dr. Griffin (the same one who took out dad's colon and found the cancer in October). He wanted to do surgery, but also wanted to know more about where the blockage was and had dad do a whole bunch of tests he's not done before. The doctor decided it was important to do the surgery asap, so dad went in today around 3:30 pm. 

When Dr. Griffin came out, this is the story he told us:

Dad's cancer is wide spread on his intestines, and there were several blockage sites where his guts were twisted with scar tissue and tumors. As a result, Dr. Griffin couldn't separate his intestines without doing a lot of damage, so he left them as they were. Instead, he 

1) moved down along dad's intestines from his stomach as far as he could (leaving 2-3 feet of good intestine) and created a new ileostomy on the other side of his stomach. Yes, he now has two. This means that he can eat still, and the 2-3 feet aren't tumor-ridden. It also means he doesn't have enough intestine to survive off of regular eating habits. 

2) "installed" a G-tube (Gastric-tube) that is a drain directly from the stomach out through the abdomen wall - it's permanent and sticks out of his stomach. If dad has any more bowel problems, he can hook up the G-tube to a vacuum machine that sucks out any blockages at home; this keeps us out of the hospital in the future. 

3) put in a PICC line (he had one before - it's a central I.V. that stays in his arm all the time). They did this because dad needs nutrition, and he will be starting this great program recommended by his new firecracker nutritionist (who has decided to be a strong advocate for him). It involves this cool substance called TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) which is a feeding liquid they create specially for dad's needs. It goes in through the PICC line for 12 hours at night and is like a complete diet; dad won't need to eat when he's on the TPN, but he still wants to try the new KFC baked chicken. Dad's incision is about twice as long as it's been before, so he's probably going to be in the hospital for at least another five plus days. 

I know, I know, it's a lot to take in. At least it is for us. Two bags to change, two new appendages. 
Same dad. We love him.
Thank you, 

The Losers

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hospital Update . . .

Thursday, June 09, Day 234, week 33, month 7 since diagnosis-

Well, I had that nasty dang NG (Nasal Gastric) tube inserted late Sunday night after admission to the hospital @ IMC again. Around 1:30 today my nurse said I was approved for clear liquids. At about 6pm today I got the NG tube removed. It's amazing what a psychological boost it is just to get the tube out! I've been up and walking yesterday and today, trying tto help things move along. If I am able to tolerate the clear liquids, I will hopefully get to eat some soft foods tomorrow. I've lost 8 pounds in the last week and am feeling quite fatigued from fighting the pain and nausea. None of the doctors are anxious to do surgery, especially since they just had me opened up 6 weeks ago, so we pray this decompression takes care of the blockage. If all goes well, I hope to be discharged from the hospital on Thursday or Friday.

We did get some new tumor marker results last Thursday. For the first time since we started chemo back in November, it went up a litlle. Not too significant, but an indicator that we still have a battle to fight. We continue to be grateful for every good day and pray for more to come.
Thanks again for your calls, visits, prayers and expressions of love and concern.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Happy Hospital Sunday

Hello everyone! Thank you for your devotion in reading this blog - we don't post nearly often enough, but try when we can. I know, I know, Yoda said, "Do or do not. There is no try;" but he was at least 800 years old when he said that. It takes time to learn those lessons...

We are posting from the hospital - yep, back again. Dad's got a partial small bowel blockage that's been painful since last Sunday. Instead of opting for surgery right away (every time he gets opened up, the chances of having a blockage as a result later on are like 60%), he is going to stay and be on IV fluids to try and let the blockage pass on its own. If that doesn't work in a few days, we'll try an NG tube (down his nose, into his stomach) and as a last resort, go into surgery. 

So life goes on. There's nothing like having to give a complete medical history five times in five hours. Unless it's listening to the person in the next room puking. 

We'll keep you posted.
All our love!
The Losers

(Post brought to you by Nichole)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Results . . . .

Monday, June 01, Day 225, week 32, month 7 since diagnosis-

Friday, May 22nd we took the motor home camping in the Uinta Mountains. We stayed on the East Fork of the Duchesne River above Hanna, Utah. We stayed in Hades Campground, yes we've been to "hell" and back. It rained every day, but Monday, which turned out just gorgeous as we left . . . However, the motor home made even the rain enjoyable as it pattered down on the roof. We were all snug and dry in warm, comfortable beds. Excepting Alex, who opted to spend the first two nights outside alone in a hammock. He loved sleeping (nesting)in the hammock, even outside alone and under a tarp! It is a very pretty area, at the base of the mountains below the trailhead to the Granddaddy Lakes. We stayed through Monday, going to church in Tabiona on Sunday, and enjoying the beauty of spring in the forest and mountains. It was a great trip, and we made some fond memories.

On Tuesday, May 26th I had a CT scan, followed by an appointment with the oncologist on Thursday, the 28th. The scan showed the disease is stable, and the Tumor Marker is down again. So, the doctor says I am doing very well! Great news! I was actually expecting to hear something different as I have not been feeling well since Sunday- Pain=5, Fatigue=7, Nausea=5, throwing up twice on Monday. I really thought the cancer was entering the next stage. I guess it's just the flu virus that is circulating right now. The hard part of life right now is not knowing what to expect each day. When some new "ache, pain, or symptom" comes along, we don't know if it is the next step in the disease, or just a "normal" bug that is going around. We are trying to take each day positively as it comes and be grateful for the good ones.

Friday, we celebrated Michelle's 50th birthday with an open house, organized by Nichole. The day was a "landmark" day, and we wanted to make it special. So, Nichole sent out an email to everyone in our address list, inviting them to come and party. It was great and many friends and family came by to celebrate the evening with us. Thank-you Nichole for pulling the openhouse off, and thank-you to all our loved ones who came to celebrate!