At University Hospital Feb. 2011

At University Hospital Feb. 2011
February 11, 2011 at University of Utah Hospital

Monday, February 28, 2011

The fight is on!

Today Phil's medical oncologist at Huntsman Cancer Institute confirmed what we already suspected--Phil has Stage IV colon cancer which has metasticized to the liver. He was told 6-12 months without any intervention--perhaps 2-3 years with chemotherapy. Phil has an incredibly upbeat attitude and is determined to beat this, and I know he can!

Here's the current regimen:

ASAP: The oncologist ordered a PET scan to determine if there's more cancer in his body (e.g., lymph nodes and glands, etc.). Our insurance company has to give approval and then this test will be scheduled--we're hoping to get it done while we're in Salt Lake this week.

Today, Monday, March 28: Phil had a CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) blood test which measures a protein indicating "how extensively cancer has spread."

Friday, March 4, 8:00 a.m.: Phil has a consultation with a surgical oncologist at Huntsman, but his medical oncologist is not too optimistic about surgical options. Any surgery would postpone chemotherapy, which the oncologist feels is our best and most expedient option. During the consult, the surgeon will also schedule surgery to implant a chemotherapy catheter in Phil's chest (for chemo infusions). We're told this surgery will probably take place on Monday, March 7.

Also on Friday at 9:00 a.m.: Phil will have the first of 8 iron infusions to counter severe anemia resulting from blood loss due to the ulcerated tumor in his colon. The first infusion will be by IV, but the others can be infused through the catheter. Also, the oncologist said Phil can probably have the other 7 infusions (and possibly some of the chemotherapy infusions) at Allen Memorial Regional Hospital in Moab, at their new Infusion Center. In either case, iron or chemo infusions, Phil will need to have the first round at Huntsman to rule out any adverse reactions, then the others can be in Moab. We're very hopeful about getting treatments closer to home!

Tuesday, March 8: Phil's oncologist will present his case for discussion by the Huntsman GI Tumor Board. The board is made up of specialists in all areas of GI cancer treatment who will have studied Phil's diagnostic tests and, as a well-oiled team, make recommendations based on their various areas of expertise.

Wednesday, March 9, 9:40 a.m.: Phil will see the oncologist again to learn what the Tumor Board recommended.

Introspection: When we walked out of Huntsman we were overwhelmed by the vast amount of information we had received in such a short time. I collected facts, facts, facts in my notebook, writing as fast as I could.

Phil, on the other hand, collected feelings. Here's what he told me. He felt he had found a new friend in his oncologist--Phil felt this was someone who believed in his ability to beat this cancer and someone who really cared about him. That's my husband. He, like Will Rogers, can honestly say he never met a man he didn't like. Phil's positive outlook and his tremendous faith in God will pull him through the trials ahead.

And I'll have his back all the way . . . along with our six children (John, Jeff, Adam, Mark, Liz and Becky), extended family members, and an incredible network of true and treasured friends in Moab and Blanding. Thank you all for your faith, prayers and support!

We love you all!


  1. Thanks for posting the update Lou. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Phil. We too believe Phil can beat this cancer. And there is no better place than the Huntsman to have on your team.

    Be well - Be blessed.
    Scott and Marla
    Cancer Team: Tandemfolk

  2. Thank you for the Update Lou. My faith and prayers are with Phil.
    Be safe. Love you two.

  3. Wow! I now know I am completely out of the loop--I had no idea you were dealing with this. Needless to say, we also have no doubt Phil will beat this cancer. The man can do anything! Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and you have the best medical minds available to help you get through this!
    We love you!
    Jim and Amy Kensley

  4. I also had no idea of Phil's condition. Let me know if you need anything. You are both in our prayers.

    Merry Palmer