Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dad's Long Day

Friday was a really long, hard day for Dad.  After a few hours in the office at work I took him over to Research Park at the U of U to do two MRI's.

The first MRI was the functional MRI.  As Amy stated previously this MRI was done to map where exactly Dad's speech and language center is in relation to the Deathstar.  I got to sit in on the instructions the doctor gave Dad before the MRI began.  We went over a few of the tests (or stages) they would be doing.  The stages rotated between periods of activity and rest.  Some of the stages included:
  • Dad was asked to tap his tongue on the top of his mouth making a "T" sound for 20 seconds, then the word REST would appear for 20 seconds. 
  • During another stage over the headphones Dad would hear a descriptive sentence like "Something cold you eat on a cone."  Dad was instructed to say in his head what the sentence was describing. Next he would hear scrambled language.
The doctor explained that answering right wasn't the point, but that Dad keep trying and thinking to help acquire clearer pictures.  The test lasted for about an hour and half.  Because the Deathstar is really affecting his ability to think of words, say words and remember things this MRI was really taxing on Dad.  He was pretty wiped out and really sick to his stomach afterwards. 

With only about 15 minutes of resting with me in the waiting room, they called him back to do his second MRI.  This was a regular MRI.  Combining the functional and regular MRI, the doctors will be able to determine what parts of the Deathstar they will remove and what parts they won't.  The hope is that when the two are combined Dad's speech and language center won't be intertwined much with the Deathstar.  The surgeon will only take what he can to preserve Dad's ability to communicate.

After the MRI's we had to take a trip up to the Huntsman Cancer Center for Dad to have some blood draws.  These are for the study Dad has elected to be in (we'll write about that later).  But for now, know that the study has nothing to do with Dad's current treatment plan.  It's additional work to hopefully help people in the future.

Dad crashed on the way home (as in slept, not crashed his truck because I was driving).  And pretty much slept the rest of the evening and most of Saturday.  He was sick to his stomach that whole time too.  Saturday afternoon Dad got up and milled about the house as Mike, Amy and Mom rearranged the bedroom and moved his new recliner in.  He's got a sweet set up now.

It has been two long days... and I'm sure there are many more of those to come.  We are counting down the days to surgery because that is when we hope healing and some improvements will come.  Thank you all for your phone calls, emails, comments and prayers, they give us strength to carry on.


  1. Thanks for the report Abbie. I have been checking the blog every hour hoping for something (I'm sure I'm notthe only one).

    Dave and your family has been on my mind and in my prayers constantly this last week and will continue to be during this next, extreemly long week ahead. It was great to spend the day with Dave while Dad was in surgery Wednesday. It seems like we have all spent way to many days hanging out in hospitals over the last few years!


  2. Hi all you wonderful Smiths! We are thinking of you and praying for a miracle for Dave.
    We know your faith is great and Heavenly Father will carry you when you can do no more.
    Since none of us can *fix this*...we have to turn this over to the ultimate Fix It Man. Keep going. We know you will.
    We send love to you all. Dave & Dix

  3. Thanks for the update, you are in our prayers, I agree with Russ, too many days hanging out in hospitals lately. All our Love. Aunt Jenny