Jul 31, 2007

Big MRI Tomorrow for Roger

I know; long time, no blog. As you have been reading, thanks to Holly’s posts, I have been quite busy here. I now have formation every Mon, Wed and Fri at 0730, and I have to call in on Tue and Thu before 0800. Right now I am doing regular Physical Therapy (PT) on Mon and Fri at 0930 and Aquatic PT on Tue and Thu at 0930. I leave Wed open to rest. All the running around here in the heat and all the exercise from PT really wears me out. And let me tell you, I’m not just doing the minimum in these PT sessions either. I really push myself way beyond the numbers that they set for me. I want to get better and it feels good to work out. Yesterday, I pushed it a little hard but it didn’t phase me… I was doing this exercise where a therapist and I do a very quick side step while tossing a seven pound ball back and forth… we move at a pretty fast pace. Well, it was pretty crowded and there were lots of canes, people and wheelchairs lining the aisle. We did a couple down and back, but on the third one it looked like more stuff was in the way, and I was so busy looking out for stuff, that I ran into the curtain. Only problem was, there was a chair behind the curtain! So I fell on to the floor.. my right hip hit the ground but my arm hung on to the chair and that helped break my fall a bit. My therapist asked if I was okay and a Navy O-3 helped me up… I announced that I was fine… and we did a few more laps. No pain, no gain; right?

In other news: I recently started attending a group here that meets twice a week called “The Think Tank.” And I am also looking into helping out the newspaper here on post, the Stripe. More on those in another post.

So, here’s the BIG reason for this post: My One Year MRI after the end of my cancer treatment is tomorrow at the Naval Hospital at 1pm. The only problem is.. I can't talk to my doctor about it until Aug 13th! No worries though, after the MRI is done, I'm going to go downstairs and get of a copy of it on CD and pop it into my laptop. After looking at these things for over a year and having my last one to compare to, I think I'll be able to tell if there's anything growing that shouldn't be. And I'll be able to get a copy of the Radiologist's report in a few days to confirm. I know God has been good to me and I feel pretty peaceful about it and that it is going to be a good scan. But I might have trouble sleeping tonight thinking about it. Please pray for me... please pray that I get some rest and that it is clear. I can't tell you how excited I am to have this year behind me since I finished Radiation Therapy. I can't wait to finally declare to the world that I, Roger Mommaerts Jr, am a cancer survivor.

Jul 27, 2007

Latest on Roger & Harvey Sr

Well, Roger's MEB process officially started last week. He had a bunch of exams yesterday and has been gathering all the paper work needed for his packet. Now he can watch the progress and hopefully help speed it up.

My dad is doing a lot better. All his swelling is down. He feels a lot better but his legs are still weak and tired. He had been exercising his arms and legs to try to get them strong again. But he over did it on Monday. I keep telling him he needs to rest more than exercise but I can understand him wanting to get better. As far as I know, his defibrillator has not gone off yet. Thank goodness.

Please keep Roger & my dad in your prayers.

Jul 21, 2007

Update On My Dad

My dad was released from the hospital on Thursday aftenoon. I took him home and got him all settled in. Friday I spent the day organizing and rearranging my parents' house so he can get around easier with his walker. He is doing better at home. His spirits are up. He hates hospitals and doctors. He was supposed to get physical therapy to walk him around while he was at the hospital but they never showed up. So he laid for eight days in the hospital and he was pretty swollen from no activity. He walked around the house a lot on Friday and that has helped with the swelling a little. It will take a while for it to all go down. He is taking a pill for water retention and he used the restroom quite a bit Friday. So that will help with the swelling also. He was pretty weak when he got home. He is still weak and tired. But he is trying to walk around and rest to build up his strength and endurance again. He was doing pretty good before he went into the hospital two weeks ago so he believes he can get back to where he was.

He's not too happy about the defibrillator. They didn't tell him anything about it before it was implanted. And after his surgery was done on Wednesday, a rep from the manufacturer came Thursday morning to go over it with him. The rep told him he would not be able to be near a welding machine nor generator. My dad was pretty pissed about that since that's how he makes his living. The rep told him he needed to stay 20 feet or more from those machines. We know he won't be welding for a while, but he was not happy that they didn't tell him everything up front. Also, he can't lift his left arm above his shoulder for one month nor lift anything heavy for 3 months. He couldn't get the incision wet for 48 hours so my mom is going to help him shower this afternoon. I know he's ready for that. He'll need help mainly because he's so weak and gets tired just walking a short distance. He has an appointment next week with Dr. Bond, his internal medicine/PCM and in two weeks he will have his defibrillator checked. My dad's GI had a CT done Wednesday morning of his stomach and abdomen. He hasn't heard the results of that and as soon as we know, I'll post those. I'm glad they are still trying to figure out what's going on with his digestive system. I did find out the two polyps found during the flex sig were removed and as I posted before they were negative for cancer. So...please keep praying for my dad and his health and my family. Thanks again.

Jul 19, 2007

Prayer Works!

Thank you for praying for Roger's lost wallet to be found and for protection. Not only was it found, but it was found by a police officer. Usually lost and found are given to a specific department and it takes weeks to return the object to the owner. The police officer who found it gave it to a detective because he saw Roger's military ID. That detective used every piece of information in Roger's wallet to contact him. He found Roger's medical alert card and looked it up online. Roger's information on that website says to contact his wife and gives my cell phone. So my first call early this morning was from an Alexandria, VA police detective. Roger has already contacted him this morning and his wallet is being mailed to our friend's house since it is hard for Roger to get to the police station during the week and during business hours. Praises and blessings to you who prayed and praises to the Lord for answering our prayers. On that note, I am asking you to prayer for my father and my family. My father's health is not good at all. I haven't expressed that in my previous blogs because my dad was not telling my mom everything and therefore I wasn't aware of everything. My dad was moved into ICU last Friday because all indications were showing his health was getting scary. If he improves from all this, it's going to be very slow if at all. He even mentioned something to my sister about his legs being amputated. My sister and I have decided arrangements need to be made and decisions about how my dad wants things done if he passes need to be made. We don't like thinking about that, but it's got to be done. So please, please pray for my dad's health and my family's peace and rest. I'm on my way to Bryan now and I have a list of questions for the doctor's and my mom & dad. Please pray for me to be able to stay calm and not lose my emotions addressing these issues. And pray for all of us, my siblings, to be able to be there for my mom and each other during this time. Thank you.

Jul 18, 2007

Surgery Today

My mom just called me (11:30 a.m. Central) to let me know a defibrillator was going to be implanted in my dad today. My dad told my sister last night that he flat lined nine times while he was in ICU. My mom didn't even know that. My family is not known for good communication. So the defibrillator will monitor his heart rate. It uses batteries to send electric signals to a heart that’s beating too slow, same as a pacemaker. It can also deliver an electric shock to help restore a normal heartbeat to a heart that’s beating chaotically and much too fast.

Last Saturday my dad had a flexible sigmoidoscopy. Two polyps were found and tested for cancer. The results were negative. The doctors said they would go back and probe his stomach also, but I'm not sure how soon this will be done now that he is having the defibrillator implanted today.

My sister and her kids were on their way to the hospital this morning to see my dad. We still don't know what time the surgery will be performed. I am going to Bryan tomorrow morning. I might be able to take my dad home from the hospital. Please keep my dad in your prayers. We knew this would be a long road but I don't think we ever imagined it would be this rough also. I will update early tomorrow morning with the results of his surgery. Thank you so much for praying for my dad and my family.

Jul 17, 2007

I'm Home!

Well I got home late tonight after a crazy journey today. My flight from DC to Raleigh was delayed over an hour and I almost missed my connecting flight. The worst part was we were informed after we boarded the plane and taxied out to take off that we would not be able to fly due to bad weather and wouldn't find out for an hour when we could take off. I couldn't believe they were going to make us sit out on the tarmac for an hour. But we did. Thank goodness all other flights on the East coast were delayed. My plane landed in Raleigh and I ran, flip flops and all, to the next gate to hear "We are now boarding." I was so happy. I did not want to have to stay in Raleigh for the night. But I didn't have time to get food or go to the bathroom. So I had to wait until I got home after checking in with Super Shuttle and waiting about ten minutes to be the last person dropped off before I could get dinner. I walked into my house at 10:30 p.m. My last meal was lunch with Roger at the Mologne House at 1:00 p.m. If you know me even a little, you know I was about to die going nine and a half hours between meals. Thank goodness I forgot I had a SoyJoy bar and a Kashi TLC bar in my purse and security didn't find it. I was not about to pay $3 for a bag of potato chips or a snack pack on the plane.

I am so glad to be home. I wish Roger was here with me, but we can't always have it our way. Roger and I are already talking about when I will go back. It's easier for me to go visit him than for him to visit me. He actually has to use leave which he doesn't have much. And now that it looks like he's going to be there longer than we originially thought he wants to save up as much leave as possible for Christmas. He meets with his Physical Evaluation Board Liason Office (PEBLO) Wednesday. So that means his process should be starting soon. And hopefully he can make it go faster.

I heard that my grandfather might have been able to be buried on Sunday morning. The funeral happened as scheduled on Saturday afternoon although no one was able to get to the cemetery because of the condition of the roads due to all the flooding. I will make a special trip to the cemetery as soon as possible. I heard lots of pictures were taken of all the family at the funeral and dinner following. So hopefully I will be able to see those soon. I wish I could have been there. It's really sad that the only time we can all get together is at a funeral. Maybe we'll have to change that.

So my dad is doing a lot better. He is still in ICU but he does not have a parasite or bacteria. He is still going to see an infectious disease specialist this Thursday. But I'm glad he's still there getting one on one care. I plan to go to Bryan Thursday and Friday to spend the day with him. Hopefully I don't drive him crazy and make his blood pressure rise too much. I have to give him his birthday present since I missed it on July 14th.

I'm finally off to bed. I need to get some sleep. I'm off to Sea World San Antonio tomorrow with my sister Heather, brother-in-law Jeff, my niece Elizabeth and nephews William and Phillip. Man, I'm going to need Wednesday to recover.

Jul 16, 2007

Weekend Update

Well, my dad was moved into ICU on Friday evening. My mom was at my grandfather's visitation way out in Cameron, Texas and I guess didn't get a good cellular signal so she did not receive any of the calls from the hospital or my brother. When she returned home and got the news at home, she was very worried and called me. I told her that even though visiting hours were over she should go up to ICU anyway. So she did and found out he was moved into ICU because he was having chest pains and the doctors were worried about his stitches from his heart surgery in February. So they decided to move him into ICU for closer observation and for one on one care. They did perform a sonogram and ruled out their concerns. My mom said my dad looked and sounded so much better than when she saw him at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon and his blood pressure was up. I am glad they moved him into ICU. I might be a little bias, but I think my dad needs special care right now. An infectious disease doctor has been added to his case. Thank the Lord. Last I heard they were still waiting for the culture to grow to rule out a parasite, but he does not have bacteria.

Due to the flooding most of Texas has experienced my grandfather was not able to be buried Saturday. The funeral home said four by four vehicles can't even get to the cemetery which is way out in the country off dirt roads. I've never heard of this happening before so I guess they'll let us know when he can be buried. Maybe I'll be able to attend the funeral after all. I fly home this afternoon.

To add to it, Roger lost his wallet late Saturday night. Although all accounts have been closed, frozen or put on hold, so far, we haven't seen any activity. We are hoping someone is trying to figure out how to contact him. There is emergency contact information in his wallet if it is searched completely. It was very frustrating for Roger. He was so hard on himself for losing it. He expects so much from himself and can't believe he lost his wallet. Thank the Lord Roger cleaned out his wallet recently and removed a lot of unnecessary stuff. We made a list of the contents of his wallet and there wasn't much in there. There will be some cards he will not attempt to replace until he returns to Texas. And he was able to get on post yesterday even without an ID and we were able to have dinner last night without his meal card. There are some really nice people working here at Walter Reed. He has already replaced a few of his military items and will probably have a new military ID in a few days. All the police, credit bureau and such reports will wait a couple days to see if his wallet is returned.

This has been a whirlwind weekend for us full of stresses and struggles. Please pray for healing for my dad's health, peace and joy for my family, safety for my flight today, protection for Roger's identity and the return of his wallet and for God's grace and mercy for our separation. Please pray for me to be able to love, encourage and support Roger from Texas while he's still here in DC. I don't know when I'll be able to return to see him or when he'll be able to come home. Thank you for your prayers and love. Until next time...

Jul 13, 2007

Update on My Dad

My dad is still in the hospital. I'm so glad. He will be seeing an infectious disease specialist today. Now the doctor's don't think he has a parasite, but some type of bacteria. He is still very weak and is not keeping any food down. He is receiving nutrition directly into his blood system. They are waiting for some test results and more tests are going to be done today. I don't see him going home in time for my grandfather's funeral. The visitation is tonight from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and the funeral is tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.

Jul 12, 2007

Wise Men

My dad, Harvey Wise, is back in the hospital. His stomach was swelling and my mom called Dr. Bond Wednesday to ask what should be done. Dr. Bond made an appointment for that morning and asked my dad to come in. I don't have all the specifics but some how they discovered my dad has some kind of parasite possibly from fruit. Dr. Bond's first suggestion was going to take too long for my dad so he was admitted into the hospital, given an IV and medication for the parasite. My dad has been very weak because he hasn't been consuming any of the food he eats I guess because this parasite is consuming it all. His blood pressure was very low. My dad was hoping an IV would give him some energy and he could get some nutrition in the hospital. I'm quite surprised that he would do that but I'm glad my dad is getting better about doctors and hospitals. Last night he threw up all the dinner he ate at the hospital. I'm trying to find out from my mom what caused him to throw up and what it means. I'm sure this will help him be able to get the nutrients he needs and help him feel and heal better and faster. Please keep him and his health in your prayers. As soon as I have more information on this I will update the blog.

Tuesday my grandfather, William "Buster" Jasper Wise Jr, passed away about 2:30 p.m. My grandfather's health has not been well for quite some time. His diabetes has been worse due to not eating properly nor getting insulin as needed. He had fallen a few times and a couple weeks ago his doctors finally demanded he move into a nursing home. My aunts were starting the process of finding a nursing home for him when his health turned for the worse. He was in ICU at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas when he died. I'm still here in DC and will not be able to attend the funeral this Saturday. My mom is not sure if my dad's health will be improved enough for him to attend either. I know we both wish we could be there. Please pray for our family to stay strong and supportive through all these tough times.

Here's the obituary that will be in the Cameron Herald (weekly newspaper) next week: William J. "Buster" Wise Jr., 84, of Cameron died July 10 in a Temple hospital. Funeral services were held July 14 at Marek-Burns-Laywell Funeral Home in Cameron with the Rev. Jim Lafferty officiating. Burial followed in the Rice Cemetery. Wise was born May 8, 1923 in the Hanover Community of Milam County to William and Bernice (Dodson) Wise. He married Ruby Elizabeth Wise and she preceded him in death in 1995. He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and was a member of the Third Street Church of Christ. A sister, Helen McLane, also preceded him in death.Survivors include sons, Charlie Wise of Cameron; Russell Wise of Rosebud; and Harvey Wise and Clell Wise, both of Bryan; daughters, Sharon Harber of Bryan; Margie Horton of Humble and Theresa Klecka of Buckholts; sisters, Edna Lee Riley of Kansas City, Mo.; Esher Addington of Cedar Springs and Lora Lee Mortimer of Waco; 16 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Jul 3, 2007

Mr President & Ms United States

Well today was an eventful day at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC). I discovered shortly after I began my five mile walk that someone very important was coming to the hospital. I have to walk around the base three times to get in five miles. Yes, it's that small. And each time I walked around I noticed more police, more closed roads and gates and more excitement. A helicopter flew around in circles over head for added security. I knew it was the president as I approached the main gate on Georgia Avenue on my third round when a secret service agent came over the hill and motioned for me to turn around and go back the way I had come. I know he saw me before I saw him. There were even snipers on top of the portico where the president would enter. After I turned around some people outside the fence asked me how to get in because they had appointments or needed to get in for work. I had no good information to offer them except the 16th Street gate was still open but it too was not letting anyone in or out either. So I turned around and headed back to Roger's building. I was almost at five miles when I turned around so I had plenty of time to reach my goal and get in some cool down. After Roger & I returned to the room from lunch, he saw the motorcade from the window in his room. We knew it was for sure the president then because of the ambulance. Only the president gets an ambulance following his motorcade. The president was here to visit the hospital after he ordered a commission in March to investigate care for wounded soldiers. Here's a transcript of his speech to reporters after the visit. It kind of annoys me that reporters questioned him about Scooter Libby and nothing about improvements to warrior care. So annoying!

After Roger finished pool therapy this afternoon, I walked out the main gate across the street to Pure Bliss day spa for a treatment (a maintenance treatment not a relaxing one). When I left the physical therapy area and walked to the main lobby to exit the hospital, I almost ran into Ms. United States Kayla Downs. She wasn't wearing a tiara, but a big sash across her little framed body. I had no idea who she was or what Ms. United States was, so I did a search when I got back to Roger's room. Ms. United States and Ms. United States Woman are not affiliated with Miss USA or another of those other televised pageants. But I'm sure the process is probably the same. If you're interested in that sort of stuff, you can read all about it at their website. I'm sure she was here to see wounded soldiers also. That's really the only reason celebrities come here.

Roger also saw the commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command, Major General Eric B. Schoomaker, M.D. So today was full of excitement at WRAMC.

Melissa worked Roger pretty hard today at pool therapy. He and his right leg are tired. He's going to take a short nap while I do some laundry before we head out to our friends John & Tamra Rich's home. They let us stay with them on the weekends and holidays. We're always with them anyway. We have plans for where we are watching the fireworks but nothing else. With these friends, we never know what we'll end up doing. I've posted pics from this past week. Click on this link to go to this specific set or you can always click on the flickr banner to the right.

Happy Fourth of July to everyone!!

Jul 2, 2007

I'm here!

Well, I've been in DC almost a week now. I can't believe it. Time is going by so fast. Roger & I have been running around like crazy. He has numerous appointments each day and between traveling to and from Walter Reed or Bethesda Naval, waiting for doctors and the actual appointments themselves we are constantly going, going, going. We were so busy last week that we barely made it to meals. We were usually running into the dining facility with 30 minutes to spare which if you know anything about military dining facilities, that's when all the "good" food is out. Of course you know I'm being sarcastic. When the menu for that day runs out, they bring out the leftovers. The food is edible. We try to eat a lot of fruits and veggies. We have a salad at lunch every day. Lunch is the best meal of the day for cooked food. Breakfast is easy. Dinner, that's another story.

I thought I would have a lot of down time here so I checked some books out of the local library in Austin. Boy was I wrong. Not only are we constantly going somewhere, but at some of the appointments they actually put me to work too. During pool therapy and physical therapy, I had to be Roger's spotter. I don't mind it at all, but so much for my library books. Pool therapy is really neat. There's a 3-5 foot deep pool on the third floor of the hospital and one pool therapist named Melissa. She's really nice and knows her stuff. Roger can see how it will help his mobility and balance improve. The physical therapy where Roger goes is outside of the hospital in a portable building. The physical therapy inside the hospital is for soldiers missing limbs. And there are a lot of them here. Physical therapy is a little different for Roger because they are targeting specifics now and they show you your exercises at the first session and you are on you're own after that. Since Roger is still susceptible to seizures, they will watch him closely and assist on some exercises, but other than that you are on your own. Some of the exercises he can do outside of physical therapy. He might even buy a jump rope. That's one of the exercises he has to do in physical therapy. He was really surprised that he could jump rope but he did well. He should see a lot of improvement between the pool therapy and the physical therapy.

As for this whole Med Board process, all I can say is that it's interesting. The process is unorganized and seems to change regularly. It can be frustrating at times. They are trying to improve the process but of course anything associated with the military is not simple nor easy. Everyone associated with it seems frustrated. I'll blog more about that later. I'm going to post a few pictures of what we've been doing since I've been here. We've been invited to a baseball game tonight so we're off to get some things done before we get picked up. Check back soon.