Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hello all! It has been quite a while since our last family update...

I honestly feel very conflicted about using this page because it has so many emotions attached to it and has gone so long as a blank spot despite the fantastic adventures that we have all been on since the original inception of this blog. Please do not misunderstand. We have lived a very full and exciting life of blessings that I once feared would never be able to happen. At some point, I promise to share as many of those moments with you all as possible so that you can see how much we have made it our mission as a family to live life to its fullest whenever possible. That being said, I am not coming back here and reinstituting this update lightly. All of the wonderful people that love, support, and make up our family are what drive this growing necessity to create a home base of sorts for obtaining updates and information about the most current series of events.

Last year Dad began having some dental issues and pursued the issue with his dentist, who has gone above and beyond and ultimately led to our discovery of a stage 4 Oral Cavity Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dad's left jaw tissue, bone, surrounding nerves, and a lymph node. This was obviously not in "the plan" so to speak and has us all spinning just a bit more off kilter than we would like on a daily basis. He is, however, a battling sort of man and has a burning love for his family and life and has agreed to be the patient instead of the healer (some days more agreeably than others). As a result, he went in for surgery in the spring. Under the care of our fabulous friends at Maricopa Integrated Health System and the doctors, nurses, and so many other wonderful people that somehow continue to save us, he underwent a mandibular surgery which removed a little under half of the left side of  his jaw. The surgery was very successful and is virtually impossible to detect from the exterior. Dad took the summer to heal, travel, and recuperate. Despite the large margins, however, there was still affected area to be dealt with. After extensive testing and review by Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, it was decided that the best course of treatment would be seven weeks of radiation and chemo to clear him. Both Dad and Mom are currently living most weeks (M-F) in a condo near the hospital to make transitions as easy as possible for both of them.

His first treatments began mid-July and overall he was probably eating and drinking in a more healthy manner than he has in years. Those that are at all familiar with his medical history know that Dad struggled for many years as a Type II Diabetic and eventually underwent Gastric Bypass in the early 2000s. Though this enabled him to discontinue insulin supplementation, relieved sleep apnea, and increased nerve regrowth, he has continued to struggle with the balancing act of eating and nourishing his body to the level that it requires. This struggle has somehow managed to rear its head in his current situation as it is imperative that he consume a minimum of 3,000 calories per day in order to appropriately nourish his healing,"chemo-ed," radiated, body. Given the very small size of his stomach and the already difficult task of eating in general, this had been quite the undertaking.

Mom, the problem solver that she is, jumped to action with her Ninja Blender and has blended up the most delicious (yes, I have tried them), healing, and caloric powerhouse meals that could come in liquid-ish form. Despite their constant efforts to stay on top of this massive daily goal, we managed to come across a few speed bumps in the road. Dad, due to his waning immune system, contracted a bout of Thrush which made his already painful mouth and throat beyond capable of eating his required caloric and liquid intake. In a little under two weeks dad lost a significant amount of weight. As we seem to like this whole concept of unique medical conditions, the solution to this is not as simple as it might seem for Dad.

His daily (M-F) radiation treatments require a very closely fitted mask that enables the most accurate and efficient treatment of his impacted region. Continued weight loss beyond what has already reached would impact his radiation treatments and is not an option. If things were simple, he would have had the quick procedure of inserting a feeding tube to get him on track and be on his way.  As we've already established, we are a unique sort and this is just not how things seem to pan out. Due to the aforementioned Gastric Bypass, dad was admitted Wednesday morning to have a feeding tube surgically placed in the remaining stomach that he has left. This procedure is much (and feels much like) like a C-Section. The procedure will allow him to maintain weight and prevent further loss from which he would not be able to recover. The surgery was successful, though it has left him in some additional pain and mom spinning in a few more circles.

We are filling as many buckets with optimism as possible for the coming weeks that will lead to the light at the end of Dad's tunnel and hope that you can help us to do so by keeping him in your thoughts and prayers. He is the most incredible spark in our lives and right now he just needs a bit more fuel to keep him glowing.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Hello in 2012!

We hope everyone has had and amazing year thus far!!!!!! I want to share the last few months with you. Life is an inspiring experience. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More Pictures as Promised!!!

Here is a bit more evidence of the last few months up to our most recent outing. I, personally, feel as though these trips and any time we get to spend together as a family (excluding the very human moments when our strong personalities collide) is how time is meant to be spent. Days when we're apart seem to have a separating effect upon us though we may not notice without some crystal perspective. All my mushy sentiments aside, cherish your family, they are your super glue. 

Apple Annie's
Not the first nor will it be the last time that Mom will be lost in the weeds ;)

Just THIS big

When the okra takes over...

"MOOOOOM....what bucket?????..."

Pressure Garments: first use-prickly preventers while okra picking! 

Famous Sam's Car Show 2011

Savannah dreaming

UofA Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks

Pedro and Jeremy praying...

Notice all Jumbo Tron pics don't highlight the score :'''(

Pride of Arizona


If you saw this game, you know why this is necessary. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recent Adventures

I am thankful to say that the last two months have been "life as usual", which happens to be a phrase that I take great pride in being able to use. Mom is looking great and taking her regiment of check-ups and doctor's visits in stride. We have been on several family trips and conquered all things generally considered to be Susie Q "unfriendly" and are still marching. Up to date, mom has caught fish, hiked up a mountain of stairs into the Wildcat Stadium, and, quite literally, walked her leg off!

Over the past few weeks she has been adapting to the "real" robot ankle attachment that has replaced the previously stiff version. We have already questioned and tested this new addition in rain and have been educated in the fact that it does require a rain coat, however, it is only necessary when in direct contact with rain fall. Our next battle is that of the tennis shoe. Being a fashionable and social butterfly, Mom wishes to move outside the realm of the purely functional and toward the stylish shoe that might include a heal! We are still in the process of working this issue out in terms of balance and reliability, but we hope to have them ironed out prior to the up and coming Festival of Trees!

Keeping in line with visual updates as well as written, I have a few pictures with more to follow of our most recent escapades: