Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas and Update

   Grand-kids on Christmas Day.  L to R:   Katie, soon to be 14, Caleb, 9 months today, Brittany, soon to be 17, and Jackson, soon to be 10.

First of all, praise God that last night was probably the best night’s sleep in 2-3 weeks. And today I feel more “normal” than in quite some time. I have learned a little about managing the itch, since it won’t go away until after the Whipple surgery.
Yesterday we saw my beloved cardiologist, Dr. Jackson, and he cleared me for surgery, which is scheduled at Vanderbilt Jan. 15. I will go off the Plavix on Jan.6.
We had a wonderful Christmas with all the kids. The picture is of all 4 grandkids on Christmas Day.  Today is Dave’s 36 birthday and they will all be here soon to celebrate.
I cannot thank you enough for all your prayers and concern. I will post again before than, but please keep the prayers going up until and through my surgery.
Pray for:
            * Continued improvement in sleep and managing the itch.
            * That our faith, trust and hope in our great God remains strong. He is teaching me so much, and I love the songs and worship in the night as I fall back asleep.
            * That the surgery on Jan. 15 will go as God directs and that I will recover quickly.
God bless each of you.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Latest Update

  I'll try to keep this brief today, but I want to keep all my blog readers up to date on what's going on.
  Since my last post a week ago, much has happened. In brief, after 2 more episodes of passing out, 2 more ambulance rides to the ER, a 2 night stay and a procedure, things are advancing. The jaundice and itching is worse than ever, so my beloved cardiologist, Dr. Jackson conferred with Dr. Parikh at Vanderbilt; they agreed this itching & jaundice must be controlled before my Whipple surgery for the mass in my pancreas. They enlisted Dr. Shondra who Friday performed an endoscopic procedure to put a stent in my biliary duct. It was successful and I only had a moderate sore throat for a day or two.(They stick a tube down your esophagus and through the stomach!!)
  However, today is day 4 and the itching is still at max level. Dr. Shondra said yesterday that it will subside, but a little longer yet. Please pray for relief because the itching is a huge issue right now, and no medications touch it.
  Other good news is that the Jan. 28 confer date with the Vanderbilt surgeon has been scrapped and they think they can do the surgery in about 3 weeks That is an answer to prayer.
  I continue to thank the hundreds and thousands of people praying for me. It is simply amazing...a God thing. I am trying to keep a timely spiritual journal of what God is doing and share it after the surgery.
  Rita cared for the chickens today, Steve is coming any minute to feed 2 more round bales to the cows, neighbor Grey, the vet, stopped to talk with Rita at the mailbox last evening and offered concern and support, wonderful church family and friends have stopped by or called or visited the hospital to offer support and pray with us. Family, friends and bloggers have called, emailed messaged in various ways and I love and appreciate all of it.
  I want to conclude with the words from Rita's favorite card that she sends to friends in need...

I Know That Spot.
The one in life where
you find yourself wondering
if God is still watching,
still listening, still caring.

God is always faithful-
I know that for sure.
And maybe the only reason 
we can't see Him sometimes
is because He's holding us
right up close.

  He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you can hide. His truth will be your shield and protection. Psalm 91:4 NCV

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Update and Pictures

  This picture was Thanksgiving dinner, another wonderful time to give thanks with all 10 family members present. Rita and I center, son Dave left and beautiful granddaughter Katie right.
  Just a little medical update: I am feeling great after the stent implantation. The itching from the jaundice is worse than ever and in itself can be quite exhausting. To be able to sleep, Rita rubs me down with anti-itch lotion and we put a flat freezer pad under the mattress pad under my back. With the house at 68 I sleep with just a sheet covering me. Cool feels good and when my body heat gets going, the itch becomes greater. I wake up about every 2 hours to reapply lotion. My next appointment with the surgeon is Jan 28 when they will do another CT and then he will review it with me and set a surgery date on the pancreas. I wish it were sooner, but I have to finish 30 days on Plavix and then let it clear from my system. I am trusting God in all this.
  I have a 5 pound max limit on what I can lift, so my chores are minimal. I just returned from gathering the eggs and visiting with my red headed poultry friends, but Rita, Steve or Wendy has to feed and water. Steve came by yesterday to take the cows 2 more round bales. Mucky job since we received 3.5" of rain in the past week. Thanks again, Steve. You are a good son-in-law.
  I am journaling my spiritual life during this time and I will blog about it one of these days. God is so good and is teaching me so much.
  My beautiful bride of 46+ years is the world's best home health nurse, especially when the patient is me! (Rita worked as a LPN in Idaho, Oregon and Washington). My appetite remains good, for which I am thankful. I am on a low fat & low sodium diet for the rest of my life, but I am eating like a king, because my nurse is also a great cook! My total weight loss since 1 year ago is now approaching 50 lbs. The good news is that I had it to lose, and after the surgery I am hoping to lose another 10-20.
  Please pray for relief from the itching and for healing because God is able.

Another picture from Thanksgiving, left to right: Steve, Jackson, Dave,Katie,me,Katie, Brittany and Wendy.

Me (yellow grandpa) with a Duck Dynasty birthday card.

  8 1/2 mo. old Caleb with his mama, Katie.

Caleb with big bro Jackson

Beautiful flowers from our wonderful church family

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Medical Update Saturday

Hello family and friends,
A quick update this evening. Some of you may have already received some news via text or email from Rita, but I will send this to all. So many thousands of people are praying for me; I feel so blessed.
I had experienced no symptoms of any heart problems, but the Vanderbilt doctor doing my pancreas surgery requested clearance from a cardiologist before proceeding, as the surgery is 5 hours and stressful. After a heart CT and an angiogram, it was determined that I had a 90% blockage in the LAD artery, the “widow maker”. That was Thursday afternoon. I stayed overnight in St Thomas Rutherford in Murfreesboro and was transported by ambulance Friday to Vanderbilt in Nashville. God again had prepared the way; the excellent surgeon Dr. Joseph Salloum was waiting and I was taken in directly for a stent implantation. With today’s amazing technology, the procedure took 40 minutes, they accessed the heart through a wrist artery, I was awake the entire time and had zero discomfort. I stayed the night and came home today. I am tired and still itching from the jaundice, but am so happy to be home. I just praise our great God for His unfailing love, mercy and grace. Looking back, I can see so many things that at the time seemed bad but He has turned for good. I trust Him completely for the coming procedures.
Since I must take Plavix blood thinner for 30 days, the pancreas surgery scheduled for Dec. 18 will be pushed forward. Please pray for peace during that time, and that the tumor will not spread.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and concern,

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."   Psalm 143:8 NIV

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More medical updates

  Just a quick post today with no picture, but I want to bring my blog readers up to date. So much has happened it can be overwhelming.
  After the visit to the Vanderbilt specialist, I was scheduled for surgery on Dec 18....a Whipple procedure that would remove the mass in the pancreas as well as the gall bladder, lymph nodes, part of the biliary duct and maybe other pieces. It is a 4-5 hour operation so as part of the pre-op I went to a cardiologist to be sure my heart was up to it. Well.....a heart CT yesterday showed significant arterial blockage, so tomorrow I will have an angiogram and the heart blockages will need to be dealt with before the Whipple surgery can be done.
  In addition to all that excitement, I passed out at home last Saturday evening and spent 2 days in St Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro. No fun, but we met so many wonderful doctors, nurses, aides, etc.  Just amazing that we could connect with so many compassionate, believing people in one weekend hospital stay.
  To think that just a few weeks ago I thought I was pretty healthy and I felt great. A doctor visit  less than 1 month ago to check on my early jaundice led to all this, so now we are facing heart surgery as well as cancer surgery. 
  Son-in-law Steve is feeding hay to the cows; 2 round bales every week or 10 days. He and Wendy are also helping with the chickens as needed. Son Dave and Katie brought me 2 books in the hospital which are wonderful: "Jesus Calling" devotions and Max Lucado's "You Will Get Through This". 
  More family, church members, blog readers, old friends and new friends are praying than we can possibly know or count. Thank you all. God is good, all powerful, he knew about all this before I was born and He will see me through.
  I will post with updates as I am able.Stay with me fellow bloggers!

  "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."   Psalm 143:8 NIV