Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Good News!

Since I was home for the week, I was able to accompany mom and dad for his monthly MRI and doctor visit at Huntsman Cancer Institute.  I hadn't been there since late May, and was greeted by several familiar faces.  The view of the valley up there is amazing!! 

Mom was really anxious to see how his brain looked after the scary strokes dad had about a month ago.  He's also had a rough couple of weeks where he took some pretty serious falls several days in a row.  Dad is pretty scrapped up and his muscles and joints hurt.  His balance is really suffering.

Dr. Coleman showed us the MRI after the stroke and the one taken today side by side.  The area where the stroke was is nearly back to normal.  The brightness seems to have decreased significantly!  Good news!  Also the area with cancer seems to be quite stable with no new growth and even some decrease of brightness in some areas!  More good news!!  Brain swelling doesn't show up on an MRI, and Dr. Coleman alluded that might the cause of his loss of balance and strength on his right side.  Dad was prescribed a new steroid that should help if that is the case.  He will go back in another month for another follow-up MRI.  If that one is also stable, we will try go 2 months until the next one.  Good news all the way around!

Dad seems to be in good spirits though he has very limited energy.    Just taking a shower and getting ready in the morning wipes him out.  He needs a nap afterwards.  We're working on strengthening his right side and his endurance.  Hopefully, with a little more cooperation (hint, hint dad) we can make some more small improvements.  He does seem to lose track of time and days of the week.  He is also having a hard time navigating around the computer and his phone.  When you get an extra phone call from him, just smile and tell him you love him! 

I'm enjoying being back in Utah with the family.  Lincoln, Sawyer, Crew, and Hudson came to visit on Sunday night and brought their parents!  I love my nephews!! We had a great time playing and I am the proud owner of two Star Wars trading cards. 

Thank you for all of your continued prayers and support.  We appreciate and need them. 
Love to you all,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Daily Life

It's been almost a month since our last update and so I thought I'd post a few pictures of Dad from this weekend and let you all know how he's doing and what life is now like.

Lincoln (Dad's oldest grandson) was visiting yesterday and to entertain himself while Rob, Mom and I talked he took pictures around the house.  He snapped this one that I thought captured a piece of Dad's daily life.  Ever since the strokes last month, Dad has been exhausted.  It takes a lot of energy from him to do the smallest tasks, so he sleeps a lot.  Here he is in his recliner in his bedroom.  What you can't see, is the TV.  Dad is obsessed with watching NCIS.  Last weekend Mom bought him the first two seasons on DVD.  He's spent the last week watching those.  Yesterday he asked me to start them over.  It might be time to invest in the next season. Or introduce Dad to a new show, any suggestions?  This week he branched out and watched The Lion King.  Dad saw a commercial for it a few weeks ago and has been obsessed with watching it.  When it was re-released this week, Mom picked it up so Dad could finally see it.

Dad has lost most of the strength, coordination and vision on his right side.  We are working with him to choose to use his left side.  As you can imagine, if you've lived 61 years as a right handed person, suddenly switching to using your left doesn't come easy.  But after a few falls this week, I think he's realizing it's a necessity. 
Today Dad made it to church!  On the days he feels able he tries to get up and move.  He's made it into work for a few hours most days each week.  It takes a lot of energy from him and my mom (she's a saint) to get him up and going each morning.  Thankfully Uncle Russ lets him come over and take a nap at his house before going to work, that way Mom still gets to keep her job.  And thankfully, the JCC still welcomes Dad to work everyday with open arms.

Next month Mom and Dad are moving to a one level apartment near Mom and Dad's work.  This will alleviate the stressful mornings and the falling hazard of the stairs in my parents house. 

Dad's a trooper and a fighter.  We are grateful to all who help out in whatever ways they can, including all your good thoughts and prayers on Dad's behalf.   He gets to have an MRI and meet with Dr. Coleman in a little over a week.  We'll update again then.