Saturday, September 1, 2012

Surgery Postponed, Tests Continue

It is hard to remember all of the nuances of our days, but I'll try my best to share as much as I can with you!

First and foremost John Sr. is here! We have been chit chatting, playing Jeopardy on Wii and just spending time together. Pauline is also here, and is being supportive as well. They love their lime beers and the cool weather that's blown in.

I have seemed to reach a pinnacle of stress and exhaustion, waking up with migraines in the past few mornings, and having a hard time being sociable. All we can do is our best. I am feeling better tonight, as we were able to rest up a bit today.

Mom and dad have continued to keep the home running smoothly, constantly keeping the dishwasher and laundry going, helping with meals, organizing, providing what guests need and running us around. I honestly don't want to think about what things would be like without them here. I feel as though I'll never be able to thank them enough. They are flying back Sunday, as they must move out of their current rental in Las Vegas, into another apt. and are still waiting to hear about a job opportunity that's been in the works for a while now. Patience. They know that they are always welcome here if they would like to stay. At the same time Hannah and Jeff are moving into their new place tomorrow!

Kay is arriving Monday, and she is such a blessing and a breeze to have around. We are so close and have lived together before (8 months we lived with her in Florida to save up so we could move here) so I know she will make this time even easier. She needs to see her son, and I know she'll feel so much less worried when she is with us. She is a rock, and has not once cried on the phone when we talk to her. She has lost her best friend to cancer a few months ago, so you can imagine what she is going through. It will be good to be together.

The day John and Pauline arrived we got on Skype and I finally got to meet Phil's brother John Jr., his girlfriend and their adorable daughter in Ireland. He was very sweet and got me a little choked up with his sweet words to Phil. Even more choke-up-worthy are his efforts to raise money for Phil with his jewelry business in Ireland. You see more about it here

The gifts and cards and meals keep rolling in, and I am overwhelmed with the sheer amount of support! Everyday we hear how many friends are praying for us. You can't imagine how much that lifts our spirits. The day John and Pauline arrived a friend texted me and said that she would like to buy us all dinner and have it delivered to us. As you can imagine, it could'nt have been offered at a better time. That night we received what you could call a feast! It was DELICIOUS and in amounts that would feed a bus load of people! We were all so moved by the generosity, we will never forget it.

At the SAME time another friend dropped off bags of yummy groceries and artwork from their son which had messages on them saying, "get better soon". Flowers and fresh fruits and veg, eggs, juice you name it! Let's just say our fridge has no room left in it! All night we kept talking about how blessed we are with the brothers and sisters from the hall. Tonight, another friend dropped off a full blown tlc meal for us and the in laws. Not for one minute do we feel alone.

Phil has been feeling okay, with most of his pain at night. He has been able to manage it with his medication. He has a hard time sitting up as his back muscles have atrophied. So he is best resting, laying out the couch. His jaundice is ever more apparent, and it kills us to see him this way. More regarding the latest that has me confused in emotion but must be shared nonetheless...

We got a call from our Dr. saying that he wanted to postpone the surgery to retest the biopsy one more time. He wanted to see if indeed Phil's condition could be a 1 out of a million condition called Auto Immune Pancreatitis, treated simply with steroids. Of course this was amazing news. It is extremely rare and not much is known about it. If indeed the test comes back and shows this is what Phil has, the only cancer we will be dealing with is the lymphoma mass in stomach, which the Dr. said can probably be treated with antibiotics and maybe minimal radiation and chemo. He would get a stint to alleviate jaundice symptoms and improve his appetite while he waits for steroids to do their work (about 3 wks).

We are not getting our hopes up whatsoever. In fact, I have chosen to mostly ignore the idea of it because I have already braced myself for Whipple and I can't handle the letdown all over again. But of course, the chance of not having to face Whipple surgery is a huge deal, and providing everyone with some hope. We vacillated between the idea of telling people and not telling people, hoping not to bring everyone on the the roller coaster ride that this news entails. But we chose to tell everyone, so that we are all on the same page, keeping everyone up to date. If you are praying for us, the best thing to ask for is that the Doctors do as much testing as they need to so that they make the right diagnoses.

In our Surgeons words, he "would be the 3rd or 4th happiest man in the world if he didn't have to do Whipple on Phil afterall." Whatever this thing turns out to be, we will face it with bravery and the strength that you all and of course Jehovah God imparts to us. We will know the results by next Thursday at the latest. Patience is a virtue!

On a lighter note, look what family sent Phil yesterday!..

He loved it so much and we were laughing about it all day! He feels so special, and it makes my heart warm when I see him smile! Here are pics from later this afternoon. A beautiful cool and sunny day...

And in case you were wondering if Phil was getting enough comfort at home here's some proof...

I will keep you all updated when we know more! Much love and thanks again for all of your support. It means the world to see your comments. And just so you know I read them all to Phil! He loves them.


Haley said...

Philip you special stinking teddy bear hugging flippin guy. You are so THE BEST it's disturbing. I still can't believe Hollie found someone so perfect for her. Every day I'm grateful for that! Hollie - I am so sorry about rollercoaster craziness. Let's Skype one day and Seann and I can dance and make you laugh. LOVE YOU TO THA MAX OVER 9000.

Becky Overbeck said...

Haley, we should Skype with them tomorrow when you are here..
Stay Strong Phil. Hollie, you are an AMAZING wife.
Phil can get thru anything with you by his side!
Love you guys so much!
Jay, Becky and ladies.