Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ER Visit Last Night/Better Today

As you may have heard, yesterday was a not-so-great day for Phil. It started at 4:30 am when he woke up in bad pain. He was able to fall asleep till morning, but woke up uncomfortable again. As the day went on the pain gradually escalated. By 9:30pm we were on the phone with an advice nurse from Kaiser and she said go to the ER. At this point Phil was in tears, unable to sit still. In his words it was a 9 out of 10 on the pain meter.

As you may know waiting in line at the ER is a complete nightmare. You have to wait as people all around you who are coughing, bleeding, crying, etc get through the line in front of you. It is just so sad, how many people are sick and in pain in this world. Once we got through, it was about half an hour till he could have relief. He received a room, a bed. There he got into hospital clothes and tried to lay still while he got blood work done.

Finally he was given morphine to dull the pain. First shot took the edge off, but he was still hurting too much. They gave him more after half an hour, and instantly he closed his eyes and exhaled as the pain melted away like a dream. I turned off the lights and drew the curtain, leaving the door ajar for some backround noise outside the room. He slept for about an hour. At this time Dad, Hannah and Jeff went to get coffees, and delivered me a nice treat. They waited for us the whole time <3 I munched away as Phil slept.

Finally it was time for his Ultrasound. I wasn't aloud in the room but stood outside the door. I hear Phil say, "Well, you're the last person to see my gallbladder- enjoy it!" This is just one of his hilarious quotes. We all laugh at his jokes with a little tear in our eye. He is the master of coping with a great sense of humor. There is no other way.

After the Ultrasound he slept longer. I got him 2 extra blankets, which were freshly washed, dried and wonderfully warm. I covered his body and then put the second one over his feet. He looked so peaceful, and it comforted me knowing he was finally resting after a full day of horror. You can't imagine how happy I was to sit beside him and see him okay.

Later the Dr. came in and said that basically the problem is the blockage (tumor) in the bile duct, causing extra pressure and inflammation. In his words, all we can do is medicate the pain until the surgery. We're still not sure if it was something Phil ate or maybe just stress that caused his episode. All we can do is hope he has more good days and use the medication if it happens again.

We got home around midnight, fortunate to not have to spend the night. Phil slept through the night, and guess what? He woke up without pain! We were so happy!!! It's 4 pm now and he's still well. We are going to try to stop his eating by around 7-8 and keep him sitting up after each meal. He is drinking lots of water and eating healthy as usual. Dad picked us up some groceries and also Jeopardy for Wii. Mom, Dad AND Phil's dream! This is gonna be entertaining ;)

Tonight John, Phil's Dad is flying in for a visit. It will be so nice for them to be together. Kay will be arriving next week just before surgery. Then most of the rest of his family will come after surgery for a visit. We thank all of you for your loving texts, emails and gifts. You are keeping us so comforted. We love you!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Case of the Mondays

Philip is experiencing some acute pain today. Cancer is ugly, like you have heard people describe it before. It kills us to see our dearest Phil suffer. Medication would only tax his liver further so all we can really do is comfort with touch, teas and herbs. I have been rubbing him with frankincense and orange essential oils, and Dad's going to pick up a diffuser for aromatherapy as well.

He had a very upbeat and healthy day yesterday, obviously because of the acupuncture he had done the day before. But today we are reminded that the dumb tumor's still there.

Good news though: the nodule in Phil's stomach can be eradicated with antibiotics. If it needs an extra nudge of killing power, some radiation/chemo could take care of it. So this means his stomach doesn't have to be messed with during surgery! A big plus! Great news to hear.

Bakos' had us over yesterday for an all organic home cooked meal! We enjoyed laughter and comfort into the evening. It will be a memory we will hold dear forever. Hospitality means so much, because we love a change of scenery, and of course to associate with loving friends- providing much needed diversion and positive vibes.

We have not missed a meeting since hearing the news, and it is there we receive our amazing dose of hugs and encouragement. We are exhausted every minute of the day because it is hard to be strong. But with all of you and support from Jehovah through prayer, we are getting by day by day.

We hope the surgery comes and passes swiftly, we have a lovely life waiting to be lived! We look forward to having the Phil back that we all know and love.

Much love to you all,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Post

Happy weekend friends! It has been a beautiful sunny day in Sunnyvale, and the sun brightens our spirits.

Last night Phil had a hard time sleeping because he was experiencing pain. He got better as the day went on and we gave him smoothies and hugs. Better yet, Laurence, John Sr. and John(in Ireland) called Philip via Skype and caught up, laughed and comforted each other. It was great to hear the Irish accents, and Phil's accent that comes out when he talks with family! They are going to Skype again tomorrow morning with more of the siblings joining in. Afterward he talked with his mother Kay on the phone and they caught up as well. She is coming as soon as we know the date is finalized for surgery.

I made an appointment with our Acupuncturist today, and after his visit he feels a little more relaxed. The Acupuncture Dr. gave us some natural immune system boosters and also some herbs as an extra gift. We will get him good and strong before he gets treatment.

Tonight we are also buying some Francincense oil for more massages around Philip's sore spots. 2 of our friends who are legit masseuses have offered to give Phil treatments. This will be so amazing and helpful.

At this point we are trying to keep Phil as comfortable and content as possible. He likes his whey protein and fruit smoothies and is drinking lots of water. When he feels like food, we make him healthy dishes he's craving, all organic based. He is surrounded with love, and we receive such lovely gifts from friends almost everyday. We are blown away by the support of the congregation and emails from friends and family all over the world! Just tonight, friends picked us up some Chili's for dinner along with some yummy juice and sherbets. We feel the love!!

We thank you so much again for your love and support. We couldn't do it without you!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Little Closer To Diagnosis

Hello friends, we have a bit more news on Phil's diagnosis. After a game of phone tag, we got a hold of Dr. Binkley and received a bit more clarity on the situation.

It looks like Phil's tumor is indeed malignant, and will need to be removed via Whipple Surgery. The Dr. is going ahead and retesting the biopsies for some finality before we dive in. There is a small chance it still might be lymphoma. It isn't clear when we will hear the results, but most likely by early next week. We are still scheduled to go into the city on August 31st for a pre-op and final consultation with the Dr. We are moving ahead with surgery as the current plan.

More details to come. Much love, Hollie

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Yesterday's Adventure

Here is a picture Dad took of us just before our consultation with the Dr. He made a weird face (perfect!) and it made us laugh. Tori was a doll and lent us her car because she has air conditioning and well, we just wanted her there too ;)

After a stressful appt. we drove around looking for a spot for a coffee and stumbled into a Peet's Coffee, attached to an EPIC market/grocery store called Falletti Foods! Healthy Whole Foods vibe, but with much more gourmet and ready made goodies everywhere. They have fancy cakes and cookies out the wazoo!

Tori and I were so excited and stressed out that we had to rush to get a snack because we wanted to browse all day! We all got some hot and yummy food in the deli, and it was just a really sweet way treat ourselves. I have a feeling it will be our tradition to go there anytime we have to make it up to Kaiser in SF!

Phil's Current Condition

Thank you all for your support during this difficult time. Phil's cancer has sprung up as a great surprise, especially because he is in good health and young! However, we know that these things just happen and we are thankful that we are blessed with such loving friends and family.We keep high hopes and a positive attitude by spending time with friends, laughing and trying to live as normally as possible. Phil enjoys visits and texts so do email me if you would like to stop in or get his number.

We met with his surgeon in San Francisco yesterday (8/22), and his diagnosis is that the mass at the head of his pancreas is one of the following

Primary Pancreatic Lymphoma– requires chemotherapy/radiation to kill cancer cells, resulting in shrinkage and ultimate destruction of lymphoma mass

Pancreatic Cancer – requires dangerous, invasive 10 to 15 hour surgical operation to remove gall bladder, head of pancreas, top of small intestine. 6-week recovery period. The surgeon described this procedure as the second most dangerous operation he performs, next to liver transplant.

Benign Pancreatic Tumor – unfortunately requires same procedure as Pancreatic Cancer

Phil’s doctors are of the opinion at this point that the mass in his pancreas/small intestine is lymphoma and we all hope that this is the case, because the treatment is less dangerous than the other possibilities. Because treatment for lymphoma is non-surgical chemotherapy and radiation, they have decided to re-test the biopsy material to verify, and will provide Phil the results this Friday or Monday.

If Phil does require surgery for options 2 or 3, we are confident that all will go well. His surgeon, Dr Charles E. Binkley (wears cowboy boots!) has performed hundreds of these surgeries, and many on Jehovah’s Witnesses. He provided 100% reassurance that he and his team will respect Phil’s wishes regarding non-blood treatment and has had experience with the effective alternatives. Again, our hope is that Phil doesn’t require surgery.

We are with Kaiser Permanente which is great, and thus his appts. take place in San Francisco. Dad is here (Dave) for support and helping with keeping our spirits high. Mom is flying in this Friday, which will also be great. Kay (Phil's mother) will also be flying in when the time comes for treatment. We are praying, and just appreciating all the love you are all giving us at this time. Much love, Hollie

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