Thursday, October 13, 2011

Up, Up and Away...

IT IS SO NICE TO BE HOME! Even if it is only for a few days.

Our last day at Mayo was spent mostly in running around from doctor to doctor trying to gather letters to help us convince our insurance that they should pay something on this surgery. The doctors were all willing however some of them wanted to wait for the biopsy so that they could speak more to the point. We went up to visit with the people in the business office about our bill. JoLynne had moved funds around various ways until we had nothing owed on our credit cards. We then maxed out all three credit cards and paid a part of what we will owe on Monday. When we get home we will pay off the cards and then max them out again on Monday. Hey, we might as well get some frequent flyer miles out of this, right? We left for the airport with plenty of time to spare so we detoured out to some small towns along the way. The weather was overcast and the colors breathtaking. Sometimes I wonder if you look through new eyes after you have had a life threatening experience. I feel like I am looking through new eyes. The flight home was uneventful. The tumor is pressing on my inner ear so it is very hard to equalize the pressure when the plane goes up and down but I made it through. We finally arrived in Salt Lake around 11:00. Shanelle and Mike were kind enough to meet us. We arrived home at 12:30. The kids were all asleep. We hugged and kissed them anyway. Funny Spencer, when I went down to kiss him his eyes popped wide open and he threw his arms around me and hugged me and hugged me, telling me how much he had missed me. In the morning he didn't remember any of it but I do.

Today I was back to work. It was so nice to be back treating patients again. I love being a dentist. I have to admit I was feeling more compassion as I poked my patients with needles. Part way through the day my surgeon from Mayo called to tell me that pathology was finally back. The pathology team simply couldn't put a name on the tumor, so they gave it a descriptive name, "Fibrous, mixoid tumor" and then stated that they didn't feel they could give a full diagnosis until the full tumor was resected. However, they conjectured that it was probably a low grade osteosarcoma. Sometimes osteosarcomas are treated with chemotherapy first to try and shrink the size so I asked the surgeon how he felt. He said that because the tumor was so large and because we aren't even sure if it is an osteosarcoma, he thought it would be too risky to try chemo first. In his words "If it grows much more you will be inoperable. We can't take that risk" So, I guess surgery is on for Monday.

I only worked a half day then JoLynne and I went to meet with a ENT oncologist in Salt Lake. He is very well respected here and abroad. I told him that I needed someone to follow up with me after my surgery and that we were going to be treated out of network so I needed a letter stating that I would have a better chance of success at a bigger facility. After reviewing the CT scan he agreed completely. He felt that Mayo was probably my best choice and said he was glad to write a letter to that effect and also to take care of me after. That was another blessing. One day at a time. I can't help but think that if God is going to take care of all these little things, He will surely take care of big things like surgery. I am a little nervous but I trust my Heavenly Father.


  1. So glad you get to be home for a few days. Love you Erico.

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  3. Dr. Vogel,

    Many on the team at Aribex have recently learned of your health situation. As you prepare for, undergo, and then recover from your surgery, please know that you will be in our thoughts and prayers. You are such an important part of the Aribex family, and we empathize with you and your family. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

    Also, I have to say that this blog is amazingly candid, open, and inspiring. I'm sure it is blessing the lives of many.

    Ken Kaufman

  4. Thanks for sharing things as they are, Eric. We continue to pray for you. Glad you get to spend a few days with your kids!

  5. Shouldn't you have the credit for growing this tumor? How about naming it "ericstriumphsarcoma" or 'vogelstrengthcarcinoma'hmm I'm sure we can come up with some good ones.

  6. Thank for your blog and the kindness you have always shown to Roma and our family. We are praying for you and your family.