Mar 31, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday

Wow, what a Wednesday! Roger had a great day of OT, PT and group therapy. And we got some unexpected news.

First, OT was great. He did a lot of balloon and ball bouncing exercises that worked his balance a lot at the same time. He did great and was able to recover well when he got off balance which is more work. And just like the last time he was in in-patient therapy he pushed himself harder than the therapists required. After a short break, we went to group therapy and it was awesome. A therapist who plays the guitar and harp leads music therapy once or twice a week. She explains what music therapy can do and how it helps healing whether you are a patient or not. She explained how singing exercises the lungs and helps keep fluid from building up in the lungs and singing works both sides of your brain at the same time which is rarely done with any other activity. So she passed around some Easter eggs half filled with beans for us all to use as shakers. She sang the Tom T. Hall song, "I Love" then asked each participant to state something they loved and she wrote them all down and sang our version of the song. It was great. An older gentleman in the group who was a patient said he loved his wife and his life. He told us during introductions that he was married for 55 years and had one great-great-great grandchild. And when she sang that part of the song I began to tear up but then I looked over at him and he was crying. I lost it. The tears wouldn't stop. Everyone in there were cancer patients and has been through so much. They were all uplifting and encouraging. It was truly unbelievable. Roger and I were both so glad we were there to meet them all and experience it. We will be making it to all the group therapy sessions. She played one piece on the harp which was beautiful then a bunch of other songs we requested from a long list. We all sang and shook our shakers. It was great.

We had a delicious lunch and rested until Roger's afternoon PT session. Before the physical therapist came to get Roger, a speech pathologist showed up to evaluate him. Of course she decided he didn't need any speech therapy which doesn't just include therapy on speech, but memory, reasoning, cognition, etc. We had a great session of PT with Myleen. She worked Roger hard, but he tried to work harder. She really knows her stuff. Roger likes working with her a lot as he knows she is going to get the muscles that aren't working firing and he's going to see good results with her. Dr. Shin one of the rehabilitation doctors came to see Roger first thing in the morning for rounds. He always asks if we have any questions to which I turn to the questions in my notepad and go down the list from the previous day. He and Roger discussed why his right leg has spasms stating Roger needs to stretch a lot more as the muscles are tight and are over exaggerating. He came back in the afternoon to let us know they are planning to discharge Roger next Tuesday, April 5th which is great! We weren't expecting that! Roger has follow-up appointments on Wednesday, April 6th with his neurosurgeon so we will stay the night here in the Rotary House where I'm staying and go home after our appointments the next day. We asked him a bunch of questions about returning home, out-patient therapy and other needs once we return home.

The other crazy thing about Roger being discharged on April 5th is that happens to be our eighth wedding anniversary. The reason I think it is crazy is we have not missed an anniversary yet. Through deployment separation, first brain surgery hospitalization and military disability/retirement processes we have not missed celebrating an anniversary together. On April 5, 2006 we had delicious Italian take out at home by candle light as Roger came home just the day before from living in National Rehabilitation Hospital for 3 weeks after his one week stay in Bethesda Naval Hospital from his first brain surgery. Praise God! I had begun to think about what we could do next Tuesday for our anniversary in the hospital. From trying to have a semi-private dinner together in the hospital to some way to get out of the hospital for a couple hours, I was starting to work it out, but now I don't have to. This is truly amazing.

We went for a roll in a wheel chair around the inside and front of the hospital so Roger could get out of his room a little. He really enjoyed the fresh air and the sun. Roger also got his own ankle-foot orthosis right before dinner arrived. So it turned out to be a wonderful Wednesday. ~ Holly

Mar 29, 2011

More PT Drill Sergeant

Roger is bound and determined to get out of here as soon as he can. Since he has decided to stay here at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) for a week and a half of therapy and rehab, he will get three hours a day of a combination of occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT) and group therapy. He only received a little bit of PT by the OT on Monday afternoon, but this morning he started early with OT. He's having breakfast then moving on to PT. Maybe he'll get in some group therapy this afternoon or more PT. Keith the OT that came to see him yesterday afternoon told him to stay out of bed as much as possible and do everything himself that he can and both will help him to get better sooner. Of course it's more work to sit up than lay down in a bed and he will be more tired but he wants to be tired and walking on his own without a walker so he can get home sooner. I have posted a few videos of Roger on YouTube so check out the one below and click on the link to see more.

I slept in late today as a result of hitting off on my alarm instead of snooze and me forgetting to turn on my back-up alarm (the hotel room alarm). Obviously I needed the sleep and the time to catch up on uploading pictures & video, blogging, entering receipts and keeping up with our finances with Quicken and my own personal hygiene as I have been staying in Roger's room all day and late every night helping him. But with him doing in-patient rehab and therapy we will have more of a schedule and I'll be able to get more done knowing what time everything is and not sitting around doing nothing while waiting for someone to show up. So today is catch up day for me. Yeah! ~Holly

Mar 28, 2011

Monday, Monday

So far it's been a relatively quiet Monday morning. PT & OT have not showed up yet, but they should. There are lots of patients in the pod Roger is in and they are making their way around doing PT/OT with other patients. Roger's neurosurgeon Dr. Lang & his nurse Cheryl Martin came in this morning a few minutes after the rehabilitation doctor came in to give his recommendation from the PT/OT/rehab evaluation. He is recommending in-patient rehab for a week and a half here at MD Anderson. Dr. Lang recommended the same so Roger could start getting therapy and rehab right away and be here in the event he needs any medical assistance. And Roger agrees with them. If he wanted to go home, it would take days to get all the paperwork transferred to a facility in Austin and for Tricare to find a rehab facility that takes our insurance. Roger is looking forward to the rehab here at MD Anderson just not being here that long but knows it is necessary and for the best. And you never know, he may go home sooner if he improves faster. Dr. Lang also stated that the MRI looks good and perfectly clean. The pathology results will be available most likely by Thursday at the conference with other doctors including Roger's oncologist Dr. Conrad to review the results of the pathology and MRI. So we'll here more about that after Thursday. The IV in Roger's hand was removed this morning and he is super happy about that. All his meds are by mouth now which are just anti-seizure, steroid & pain/nausea medication as needed. I'll probably post again this evening after he does some PT/OT today. ~Holly

Mar 27, 2011

Boring Sunday

Well, today was pretty much boring the whole day except for when our friends Scott & Lydia and their children came to visit us. No PT, no OT, no rehab, nothing. But it was good that it was so boring as we were both able to get lots of rest. Roger was really tired this morning and took a nap mid day. I did not sleep well Saturday night so I took a nap in the late afternoon. So we're both trying to go to sleep relatively earlier than we have been so we are rested up for all MDACC has planned for us tomorrow. We know Monday is going to be a busy day.

And thanks for the prayers, Roger has had two BM's since yesterday. No suppository for him. Yeah! And maybe tomorrow he'll be able to get the IV taken out of his hand if his neurosurgeon Dr. Lang agrees. He's been off the IV saline and is now only receiving a steroid for swelling and 1 mg of dilaudid when needed for pain by IV. Both are available in non-IV form. And he's only had pain medication once each day since he moved to a regular room. I don't think he asked for any pain medication today. And he actually did some of the exercises he was given for his right leg today. We both can't wait to see what OT, PT & rehab have in store for tomorrow.

Good night.
~ Holly

Mar 26, 2011

Quiet Saturday

Well, Saturday here at MD Anderson is pretty quiet. Here's how the day has gone so far.

His dressing was taken off and it didn't even need to be cleaned it was so neat still. OT showed up at 8:00 am. They had Roger get out of bed and into a chair for breakfast. They told him he has to have all his meals in the chair and needs to be in the chair for 4-6 hours a day. PT came and had him walk with a walker 30 feet to the corner of the unit and back which proved easier as he came back. They also saw movement in his toes! OT asked Roger when his wife would be there because they wanted to observe Roger taking a shower. A little bit of notice would be good people! So they missed observing his shower, but they didn't need me anyway. He was able to take a shower all by himself although he did need a little bit of assistance getting in and out of the bathroom and sitting down on the shower bench with the walker and drying off only a little bit. But other than that he did it all by himself. He also shaved completely on his own. He tried to have a BM but it was a no-go. He has been given stool softener with every meal and milk of magnesia this morning. If he's not able to go soon, he'll have to get a suppository. Fun! Oh and all your prayers worked on the urination problem yesterday. He's definitely good to go with that now. So thanks! He was so happy to not have to have the foley put back in. His IV was also removed before he took a shower and it looks like he won't have to have it any longer. He's going to pill form for all his anti-seizure and pain medications. And speaking of pain medications, he hasn't had any since 3:35am this morning when they came in to take his vitals and some blood samples. He had a few visitors today, his sister Cindy, my brother Harvey Jr and sister-in-law Brandy and our neighbors Eric and Brea.

He's doing really great. We are blown away with how well he's doing compared to how we thought he might be after the surgery. We were ready for permanent paralysis and maybe speech loss. God is good people!

So we are expecting Sunday to be even more quiet which will be good for Roger to get more rest. We don't think OT or PT will show up on Sunday. While Roger takes a little nap, I'm blogging, uploading pics (click on the image above to go to Flickr for more pics from this adventure) and doing a load of laundry before I head back to Roger's room. We only brought enough clothes for a week (We've been here since last Monday.) and it looks like we will be here a little bit longer. I'm staying at the Rotary House which is a hotel for the family and patients of MD Anderson and they have facilities and activities for long term lodging. It's so nice to just take an elevator to a skybridge that connects directly to the hospital. Worth the extra money.

Until the next update...

~ Holly

Video Post Surgery

Here's a video I took of Roger in ICU shortly after he got there from surgery. Enjoy!

Day After Surgery

Roger's first day after surgery proved to be an extremely busy day. I just got back to my room about 12:15am. It started out better than his first night. He moved from a liquid diet to a soft diet. For breakfast he had a hardboiled egg, bacon (of course!), orange slices, honeynut cheerioes with 2% milk and apple juice. Dr. Lang came to visit him and ordered his foley catheter removed and his magnesium and potassium IV's removed. He also said he could move out of ICU when the next bed became available. We thought that would be a while.

Physical Therapy came to evaluate him. A PT came and helped him get out of bed and sit in a chair. They did some exercises on his legs to see if he needs to go to the rehab floor for a bit or just stay on the regular floor. His left side was good, but his right side was slow. The second set of exercises they did on the right leg went faster and better than the first. He was still not able to move his right foot or ankle. As a result of this he can not walk without assistance. If he does go down to PT they'll probably do some electrical stimulation for that. It worked on his right lower leg after his first craniotomy caused him paralysis. Shortly after the PT left a Rehabilitation Services person came to evaluate his self care and home care abilities and if he would need therapy in those areas. He told us they would be evaluating him again and by early next week as he rested and more movement & abilities returned they would know what rehab and therapy he would need. He was super tired after all this.

If you know Roger, you know he had a strategy for choosing his lunch options so he could have better options for dinner. He had an MRI scheduled for 9:00pm and he wanted to eat before his MRI so he wanted to save the big meal for dinner. For lunch he had cream of mushroom soup, a philly cheesesteak sandwich, green peas and the root beer he didn't drink the night before. Well, they moved him to a room on the regular floor and the rest of the day was spent dealing with the move, getting situated then being sent off for the MRI between 6:00-6:30pm earlier than planned. He was taken to the 3rd floor in-patient MRI department and as soon as they tried to put his head in the forms for the MRI it hurt his incision again. So his new nurse on the regular floor who he had not even met yet had to come down from the 8th floor to give him some dilaudid. He didn't return from the MRI until 8:50pm which caused a problem with eating dinner as dining services stops taking orders at 9:45pm and closes at 10:00pm. So as soon as he got back in the room, I had to get him to decide what he wanted to eat (they are given a menu) and call the order in asap. They always say the order will arrive in the room in less than 45 minutes so we were pushing it. As we waited for dinner to arrive, Roger's nurse was literally running around trying to get everything that every patient needed done done. It was crazy busy in there. As she was trying to get one anti-seizure med via IV, stool softener & another anti-seizure med in pill form to Roger she noticed his IV hand was swollen. She knew his IV had gone bad and needed to not only switch it to his other hand which had another IV in it but she needed to remove the bad one completely and she noticed he hadn't gone to the bathroom for a while.

So she unhooked him from the bad IV so it wouldn't keep going into his skin but then she got called to another patient. When she came back she did a bladder ultrasound on him real quick and it showed his bladder was filled to 800 units and told us anything over 250 should have the foley put back in. She got called to another patient and Roger tried to urinate while she was gone. And he tried really hard because he did not want the foley back in. He had been trying for a while when she returned and he convinced her to let him try standing up. So she held his right, weak side while I held his left side so he could try standing up. It took forever and he was able to slowly get rid of 400 units. We talked him into taking a break and trying again later as she and I both were getting exhausted. At this time it was 10:00pm and his dinner had not shown up yet. She told me to try and call dining services but they may not answer. So I called and got a recording. They were closed. I opened the door to his room and looked around to see if maybe they brought it and just set it outside the door. Nothing. Then I saw a tuxedo clad dining services person coming down the hall. What a relief. Roger got his fancy dinner of Greek salad with Greek vinaigrette, stuffed shrimp with lobster sauce, wheat dinner roll, Sprite and angel food cake with fresh strawberries. He said it was delicious.

And he was able to urinate again and get rid of the remaining 400 units. It was a little easier this time and we didn't have to hold him up. His nurse was also finally able to get rid of the old bad IV for good. We got him all situated again and ready for bed. Now I'm off to bed finally myself. So glad too, I'm super tired.


Mar 25, 2011

First ICU Night

Roger's first night in the ICU did not go well. First he had a bad headache and the ICU staff tried hydrocodone, morphine and dilaudid which did not help. The staff had to call the Neurosurgeon on call and he approved a higher dose of dilaudid which finally worked. It turned out it wasn't a headache but pain from his incision. His incision was being pushed on by the bed so they had to try a bunch of different solutions to get his head off the bed but comfortable. He can not lay flat so he is kind of sitting up a little at 30-40 degree angle. Rolled up towels finally worked.

Once he was finally able to be pain free and get comfortable he was able to fall asleep but as soon as he did the pulse machine would go off because his heart rate would get too low. So the ICU staff finally cut that off. Then people were talking outside his room and that woke him up. The staff tried to shut his ICU room door to discover it was off the rails. They finally got that fixed and when he was finally able to go to sleep a dining services person showed up to take his breakfast order. So he only slept really from 4:00-6:00am. He called my room the first time at 6:15am and left a message to bring his ear plugs when we come to visit. He said he couldn't remember the other stuff he needed yet. He called again at 7:55am and I got to talk to him that time and he gave me a list of things to bring him and that he didn't want any visitors when visiting hours started today so he could sleep longer. So we'll be going an hour later than we planned this morning. Thank goodness we're just across the street.

Mar 24, 2011

Last Update (3:04pm)

Dr. Lang met us in the surgical waiting area. Here's a recap of what he told us:

-They are sure they were able to get all of the tumor.
-Turns out the blood vessel going over the tumor was only going to the tumor so they took it. The tumor was very bloody and had cysts in it.
-The frozen section of the tumor showed it was ependymoma so it was not necrosis or anything else. Further pathology will be done to tell us the grade. It could still be grade 2 but might have increased to grade 3.
-During the surgery he couldn't move his right foot but could move his right leg. His right arm is fine. Later in the surgery he couldn't move his right leg, ankle or foot. Dr. Lang did stimulate the part of the brain that controls motor function and his leg shot right up. So it's there but may take a while to come back if it comes back at all. He may have to wear a brace. (He has since picked up his right leg many times in ICU & had some reflex in his right foot but no movement yet.)
-His dura was completely stuck to his brain right over the motor cortex and it took a while to get it separated. This might have had something to do with his movement problems on the right side.
-They did remove his old screws from the first craniotomy and used part of the old incision but had to extend it and make the flap larger so he's going to have a more interesting scar than previously.

He was moved to ICU after surgery and will remain overnight. Dr. Lang will check with Roger tomorrow morning and as long as there are not any complications he will move to a regular room Friday.

He is on a liquid diet tonight so he ordered cran-grape juice, rootbeer, cherry popiscle, rainbow jello and chicken broth. It was delivered by a tuxedo clad server. He has been given those respiratory exercises to do 10-15 blows every hour of daylight.

Thank you all for your prayers, concern, messages, comments, well wishes and love. We had peace all day. The only time I got anxious was right before the first update and all the other families in the waiting area were getting their updates and we heard nothing. I went to the rest room and felt as if I could start crying. I thought to myself, "Okay satan, you are not going to do this to me and take away my peace & joy." When I got back to the area where my family was, I leaned my head on my mom's shoulder while she was reading and asked God to give me peace and as I prayed I started to get teary eyed. But as soon as I lifted my head up, I felt peace all over. I know it was God surrounding me with his love.

We will be updating the blog as often as we can and uploading a video as soon as I get it uploaded. Maybe even have Roger doing an update soon. He said he remembers a lot during the surgery and it would be great for him to recount what he remembers especially for people who might be preparing for awake surgery. I didn't sleep much last night but I'm pretty sure I will sleep very well tonight.

Third Update (2:12pm)

Just got the third update: They are done with the resection and are closing him up. Have the dura, etc done. They are preparing the bone flap then only have the scalp left to staple closed which will take another 45 minutes to an hour. Then we'll get an update from the neurosurgeon.

Big Sigh!

Second Update (12:15pm)

Just got the second update: He's awake. (I thought, yeah I know, I just talked to him on the phone.) They are working under the microscope. Vital signs are good and everything is going well. More in two hours!

Phone Conversation During Surgery

Oh Em Gee!! I just talked to Roger on the phone while he was in surgery! I'll try to recap the whole conversation.

The volunteer at the surgery waiting desk came and told me they wanted me on the phone. I walked to the desk and she handed me the phone. I said, "Hello?" and heard the anesthesiologist Dr. Ferson say, "Roger". Then Roger started talking to me.

Rog: Hi baby. I'm talking to you during the surgery.
Me: I know. Isn't this weird?! How are you?
Rog: I'm a little groggy, but fine. My throat hurts a little. They are working on my brain right now.
Me: Really? What have they had you do?
Rog: They had me move some of my body parts and talk. The light just turned off. I think they are using the microscope.
Me: Are you in a halo?
Rog: Yes and kind of in a little cave.
Me: Your head isn't going to come out? You can't move too much and come out?
Rog: No, I'm in good. But I have to go now.
Me: Okay.
Rog: I love you.
Me: I love you too baby. Bye.
Rog: Bye.

So freaking weird cool!! This means they are in his brain working on getting the tumor out right now. Next update around noon.

First Update (10:20am)

We just received the first update. The surgery started at 8:28am and they are still working on the approach to the tumor. The next update will be around noon. Thank you all for the prayers. We really feel them.

Just to let anyone know who hasn't read it previously, there are three phases to the surgery. Phase one was opening the skull and exposing the brain. This phase Roger is under anesthesia. The second phase starts when the brain is exposed and they are ready to start the "real" surgery. They will eventually bring Roger out from anesthesia for part of this phase to have him respond to tasks and complete the tasks such as talking, moving body parts, etc. This is the phase where if they want to see how he sends and receives information they may have him call me during the surgery. Pretty wild. The last phase will be putting him back under anesthesia and closing him up. Each of these phases will take around 2 hours. So the surgery should be around 6-7 hours total.

Surgery Beginning

Good morning everyone. We checked into surgery at 5:00am and took turns sitting with Roger back in the holding area. They gave me instructions and reviewed the surgery again to us. We did learn they are not doing Roger's surgery in the BrainSUITE after all. Dr. Lang is not happy with the way a microscope or something is drifting nor the position Roger would be in so he moved the surgery to a regular craniotomy operating room. Which means no MRI during the surgery to see if they got it all. They will still use the MRI data during the surgery, but they won't take an MRI during the surgery. This could mean they may not be able to get it all and will not know until they do an MRI after the surgery. Roger was not estatic about this and kind of made him a little anxious. Dr. Ferson came in to talk to Roger about the anesthesia. They decided because of his recent pancreatitis to not use Propefol but something else. I couldn't understand the name as Dr. Ferson is Polish and has an accent. But Roger is happy with all their decisions and confident in these changes. His assistant gave Roger an IV and some calming medicine. Right at 7:10am they gave him the "tequila" as she called it and wheeled him away. We "should" receive our next update about 10:00am.

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Thank you to everyone for all your prayers, thoughts, messages, concerns, well wishes. We have had a lot of peace this week and we know it is because you have all been lifting us up in prayer and God is with us through everything. I have to thank our amazing friend and neighbor Paul Emerson for something he said to us on Sunday evening that has been resonating with us ever since. Our God does not change and he is bigger than cancer. Hallelujah!

~ Holly

Mar 23, 2011

Down to the wire!

Friends, we are down to the wire. All of our appointments went fine today. Tomorrow morning we have to report for surgery at 5:15am CT and we figure the surgery will begin roughly around 7:30am CT. The surgery should last about six hours total. The first two hours will be getting me asleep and cut open; the next two hours they will wake me up and then remove the tumor; the last two hours they'll put me back to sleep, close me up and roll me to the ICU. Simple, right? I mean, it's not brain surgery... wait, it is. (Sorry, had to use that one again five years later.)

Click the pic to see the
fiducials being placed
We talked to the surgeon again this morning and the major risks are still the same... small possible loss of speech and possible further paralysis of my right leg, ankle and foot. I really think that we've covered this in prayer though and it's in God's hands now. The nurse also put fiducials on my head that the surgeons will use during the surgery. It was fun walking around with what looked like lifesavers on my head. We even went out in public and enjoyed some fresh air as it was the last I was going to get in a few days.

I feel good about everything. I can't wait to get to sleep and wake up at 4am to get on with this. I'm going to shave close tonight so that it will last a few days and maybe wash my face. I can't bathe because it might cause too much steam and the fiducials could come off. Holly's mom and sister came out and my parents are here now also. We also got to spend time with our good friends Eric and Brea that live in our neighborhood. Eric lost one of his fingers to cancer just a few months ago. It was nice to be in such good company all day long and to read all the wonderful messages on Facebook and Twitter to us from our friends and even their friends. Humbling.

We are off to bed. Holly will be updating the blog which will update to Twitter and Facebook in near real time. The blog will be most current and timely at I hope to be blogging again real soon.

Thanks to everyone and I love you all so much.


Surgery on or not?

After a long day of blood tests, a chest xray, a doctor visit, another blood test (they missed one), an EKG and one final doctor visit plus a whole lot of waiting, we found out that my Lipase levels were slightly elevated at around 400 (normal is around 50) but the doctors are very certain now that with my good health history (except for the tumor) that my Pancreatitis was caused by Depakote, the anti-seizure medication that I was placed on for the clinical trial. Now that I am off of it and feeling very good, the doctor says that he does not see any reason why I cannot have the surgery on Thursday. So we are GO!

Click to see pics from all angles
Tomorrow we have an early appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Lang, to talk about the surgery one last time and also so that he can place markers on my head that will be visible in my MRI tomorrow and used during the surgery along with the MRI as a sort of GPS system so that they will know exactly where they are in my brain. Five years ago I had longer hair and they shaved circles in to my hair so they would stick to my scalp and then before the surgery they shaved a strip where they were going to make the incision and I had all different lengths of hair up there. Well, not this time around.. Holly and I shaved it down to nothing with the clippers so that it'll all be even this time around. It's silly... we've learned so much from our experiences.

Wed morning is my last shower for a while as I can't moisten my head after the markers are put on because they have to stay on. So I need to get to bed as I have to get up quite early. For those interested, here is the schedule of events for tomorrow.

Date / Time Description Location Status
03/23/2011 07:45 AM  PATIENT CHECK IN  Brain & Spine Center  
   Brain & Spine Center is located in the Main Building on the 7th Floor near Elevator B.

03/23/2011 08:00 AM  LANG, FRED M.D.  Brain & Spine Center  
   Brain & Spine Center is located in the Main Building on the 7th Floor near Elevator B.

03/23/2011 12:30 PM  PATIENT CHECK-IN  Anesthesia Assessment Center  
   Anesthesia Assessment Center is located in the Main Building on the 6th Floor near Elevator A.

03/23/2011 12:45 PM  ANESTHESIA ASSESSMENT  Anesthesia Assessment Center  
   Anesthesia Assessment Center is located in the Main Building on the 6th Floor near Elevator A.

03/23/2011 04:30 PM  PREPARATION/CHECK IN FOR MRI  Outpatient MRI  
   Outpatient MRI is located in the Mays Clinic on the 4th Floor near Elevator T.
   Preparation Instructions:  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

03/23/2011 05:00 PM  MRI, BRAIN W & W/O CONTRAST  Outpatient MRI  
   Outpatient MRI is located in the Mays Clinic on the 4th Floor near Elevator T.
   Preparation Instructions:  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

We're also having lunch with our friends Eric and Brea, who will be at MDACC for some follow up for Eric's cancer. The the family starts to arrive in the afternoon... my parents and Holly's mom and sister. Thanks again to everyone for your prayers and thoughts.

We love you!

Mar 22, 2011

Tue 3/22 Prayer Need

Hi faithful followers!

One specific prayer request for today... the basic reason for being here today is because of my bout with pancreatitis one month ago. The doctors want to be sure my pancreas will be able to handle the anesthesia, apparently it can do quite a number on the pancreas. So I have a lab, chest x-ray and visits with two doctors. Specifically, my lipase and amylase levels need to be normal. Please pray for that today if you could. If the numbers are not just right, the surgery could be called off on Thursday.

Some of you have asked what our schedule looks like, so here it is for today:

Date / Time Description Location Status
03/22/2011 08:15 AM  BLOOD/SPECIMEN COLLECTION  Diagnostic Center  Scheduled
   Diagnostic Center is located in the Main Building on the 2nd Floor near Elevator A ***.

03/22/2011 09:30 AM  PATIENT CHECK-IN  Internal Medicine Center  Scheduled
   Internal Medicine Center is located in the Main Building on the 6th Floor near Elevator A.

03/22/2011 10:00 AM  SMALKY, KATHLEEN MD  Internal Medicine Center  Scheduled
   Internal Medicine Center is located in the Main Building on the 6th Floor near Elevator A.

03/22/2011 12:40 PM  CHEST, PA & LAT  Diagnostic Center  Scheduled
   Diagnostic Center is located in the Main Building on the 2nd Floor near Elevator A ***.

03/22/2011 02:00 PM  LEE, JEFFREY H. M.D.  Gastrointestinal Center  Scheduled
   Gastrointestinal Center is located in the Main Building on the 7th Floor near Elevator A.

And a few praises: feeling more peace & confidence, given the opportunity to be used by God to be a light to others to reflect his love & glory, and praises for MD Anderson & being right across the street from the hospital.

Thanks all, and blessings to you.


Mar 20, 2011

Prayer Requests Leading Up To Surgery

We have been asked a lot lately how people can pray for us leading up to Roger's surgery on Thursday. We had a great discussion/cry last night about how we're feeling, etc and I wrote many things down in my journal as we were discussing, sharing and crying. Then today at our weekly neighborhood Bible study, our neighbors asked to pray over us and how they could pray for us. So I grabbed the notes I wrote down in my journal and read it out loud to everyone. It made a great list to email to our community group also so I decided to share it here on the blog so everyone knew what we were feeling and facing leading up to the surgery. So here you go. We are also testing to see if the changes Roger made to the blog work so when we update the blog this week during the pre-surgery process, day of surgery and post-op you can get the updates not only on the blog but immediately on both of our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We'll see if this works. Thanks for the prayers. We really appreciate all of you. ~ Holly

Please pray for:
-peace for both of us during this week, surgery day & recovery
-Roger's fear of dying (see next item), not being faithful enough & losing more movement
-protection from satan's lies
-Roger's anger to be taken away from not being faithful enough, feeling like he wasted time gaining strength before the surgery
-Roger to not be complacent with partial paralysis, to never quit, keep fighting & work hard
-God to help me (Holly) to be Roger's cheerleader, therapist, etc.
-strength for both of us to get through this & always go back to God with praise & glory
-all the doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologist, assistants, nurses, etc.

Mar 15, 2011

Less than two weeks!

We are less than two weeks away from ‘Game Day’. It is pretty much official that my surgery will take place starting the morning of Thu, Mar 24, 2011. We are driving to Houston the afternoon of Mar 21 because I have some tests early the next morning. I have a blood test tomorrow (3/15) and am seeing an internal medicine doctor at MDACC on 3/22 so that they can take more blood and clear me for surgery on 3/24. If at any time the doctors think the Pancreatitis is still lingering, they will call off the surgery. Apparently some type of anesthetics can make the pancreas act up again and they obviously don’t want that to happen.

The question we have been getting as of late is ‘how will people know the status of the surgery while it is progress and when it is completed?’ We obviously can’t call everyone. Holly will be posting updates here on the blog. The blog then updates Facebook and Twitter. All information will be posted on the blog first, so this is the place to hang out on game day. In addition, if you are not all that much into Facebook and Twitter, and you can’t get to the blog, you can sign up to have the latest updates emailed to you for free. Just go to on the right side there is a section titled “Get blog updates via email, Facebook, Twitter and others” just enter your email address in the box and click the ‘Subscribe me!’ button. This feature was apparently broken for a while, but I have fixed it. It will email you, post an update you on your Facebook wall or send a message to you on Twitter; it can even let you know via LinkedIn, Skype, and AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo Messengers. Please check it out. Did I mention that this service is free? I scour only the best free stuff for you my friends!

That’s about it. We’re almost done doing our 2010 taxes. And we have the finances under control. We leave for Houston in a week!


Mar 10, 2011

New Surgery Date Set

Just a quick update... my surgery has been scheduled for Thursday, March 24, 2011 at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. I have some imaging appointments the day before also. In addition, since I had pancreatitis a few weeks ago, I'll have blood tests next week here in Austin and the days before the surgery to make sure that my levels of Amylase and Lipase are normal and that my Liver Function test is also normal. That's it! Love you guys!!