At University Hospital Feb. 2011

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another great scan!

That pretty much sums it up. We were worried because Phil had developed intense pain in his back and was having great difficulty walking. Our wonderful friend, Dave Kasteler, who passed away four weeks ago, suffered immensely after his colon tumor infiltrated his spine. That was our fear for Phil. Gratefully, Phil's CT scan showed "no new growth!" It was a huge relief to learn that Phil's back pain wasn't a result of the cancer spreading. In fact, one tumor in his liver actually shrank a millimeter or so.

Phil at Huntsman waiting for chemo.

We never thought we'd be grateful to find out Phil's back problems flared up again, but this time we were. The pain resulted from his degenerative arthritis and scoliosis, which was diagnosed about two years ago. In fact, at that time Phil was told his spine looked like a grenade went off in it. Luckily he was able to see his specialist in Provo the day after chemo. I couldn't go because of my eye surgery, so they changed from general anesthetic and administered Phil's cortisone shots under local anesthetic so he could drive afterwards. Phil hasn't had complete relief, like last time, but he has improved so he can walk with less discomfort, and he has a follow-up appointment in one month if he needs it.

Another wonderful highlight for Phil this month was being named Moab Citizen of the Year at their Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 2. This was a great honor which touched Phil deeply. As Citizen of the Year, he also served as Grand Marshall for Moab's Electric Light Parade the next night.

This is a shot of Phil being named Citizen of the Year, with Santa (Phil's great friend, Dan Mick) on hand to help bestow the honors!

Liz, Katelyn, Anna and Ellie came to Moab to help celebrate. Later, Adam and Heather, and Brian and Becky and Josh, Keira and Kami joined us. Another of Phil's great friends, Shon Walter, arranged for us to stay at one of his condos for the weekend. If you need a place to stay in Moab that feels like a home away from home, you want to stay in one of Shon and Rosanna's beautiful cozy condos! For a peek, go to:

Hard to see, but this is the Hummer that Phil rode in to lead the parade. He's sitting beside his friend Beth who manages Zion's Bank, the Business of the Year. I'm inside the Hummer with our granddaughter Ellie, while four (of our 25) grandkids followed behind on their scooters all lit up!

L to R: Keira, Josh, Katelyn and Anna

It was an amazing evening and Phil is so deserving of the accolades he received!

I mentioned my eye surgery. On December 8, I was operated on to remove an epiretinal membrane which formed as a result of multiple eye injuries last year. Between July and October of 2010 I had two retinal detachments, three vitreous hemorrhages, and four surgeries which resulted in a lot of debris (dead cells, etc.) in my eye. The debris attached itself to the center of my eye and proliferated, creating scar tissue which puckered and distorted my central vision. This puckering was worsening over time so my retinal specialist, Dr. Paul S. Bernstein, at Moran Eye Center, removed the epiretinal membrane (ERM) and the inner limiting membrane (ILM) to smooth out the retina. It will take up to six months before we know how much of my vision will return, but at my one week checkup Dr. Bernstein said he was "very pleased." I have to avoid any strain on my eye for "several weeks." I'll be two weeks post-op tomorrow and each day has seen (little pun) slight improvement in the pain, swelling, dilation, dryness, and inflammation. Today is the first day I haven't felt like I had gravel in my eye--for which I'm very thankful.

Here we are, waiting for my eye surgery at Moran Eye Center. (I considered loading an after-surgery picture, but decided to spare you the gory details.)

In the midst of all this, my 84 year old mother had to be rushed to Salt Lake for an emergency gall bladder operation. Over a period of one week, Mother was recovering in University of Utah Hospital; Phil was being scanned, examined, and infused at Huntsman Cancer Institute; I was having eye surgery at Moran Eye Center; and our grandson Dillon was having a follow-up visit for a recent stay at Primary Children's Hospital. Seems like we keep that med center pretty busy!

During my surgery my sisters took our mother on a tour by wheelchair. She visited our son Adam's office (he is a Clinical Research Compliance Officer) and my sister Wendy's office (she is a Financial Aid Officer)--they both work in the hospital complex--and then across the sky bridge from the hospital to Moran Eye Center where our daughter Liz and granddaughter Ellie were waiting with Phil. Everyone was nearby when the doctor came out to announce that my surgery was a success. Evidently I missed a party!

Here I am visiting Mother at University of Utah Hospital the night before my eye surgery. Sadly, my 90 year old dad has taken a couple of falls lately, and that's a real concern. Mother's surgery was the 6th, she was released from the hospital on the 8th, and Wendy and John brought her back to Blanding on Friday, the 9th, because she was so worried about Dad. Mark brought me home three days ago, on the 18th, and I'm glad to be home. But I'm not gonna lie, between what's happening with Phil and Mom and Dad and me, I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed.

But we are grateful for a multiplicity of blessings, namely (1) that Mom appears to be recovering nicely, (2) that Phil's cancer is not spreading--and that he has had some relief for his back pain, (3) that my eye is improving, (4) that Dillon is OK, (5) that Mark is home for the holidays (and just in time to do all the heavy lifting for us and for his grandparents), (6) that we have wonderful children and grandchildren, (7) and wonderful friends like you! We thank our Heavenly Father daily for these tender mercies and tiny miracles!


1 comment:

  1. Wow! You seem to have had more than your fair share. I love your positive attitude. Hopefully this year you will have a rest . Have a very merry Christmas!