Sunday, October 30, 2011
My healing is progressing well. Sometimes those days right after surgery just seem like a dream. I am grateful for what they were able to do but I don't really like hanging out in hospitals very much. The last time I spent a night in the hospital as a patient was December 24, 1960. They wouldn't let me out then because I was in the newborn nursery. Oh how the great have fallen!
We have been fortunate to have a lovely home to stay in as I regain my strength. (thanks to JoLynne). Shanelle and Mike were able to be at the house for a couple of days, then they went home to take care of our other little cutie pies. (Peter and Spencer are still cutie pies, albeit, not so little any more!) Seth was able to stay until Thursday morning when his flight left for him to go back to China. Wednesday we took the opportunity to drive up to the temple and do a session with Seth. This was amazing and wonderful and it was a blessing that I felt good enough to attend a session. Even though the whole surgery thing hasn't been pleasant, it has been a very spiritual few weeks for JoLynne and I, and the temple was a wonderful place to be. We didn't have our own temple clothes but they had some to lend. I felt bad that my right leg wound was still weeping enough that when I finished the session I looked down to see the right leg of my pants somewhat bloodied. The ladies at the desk were super nice "No problem, I have something that will get that right out". Later, I was expressing my dismay to someone and they said, "Now you know how we women feel". Weird, I didn't know that women had spontaneous bleeding from their calves. There is so much I don't know.
After we left the temple. we wanted to take a picture of the three of us in front of the temple but had no one to take the picture. Only a moment passed before a car stopped full of women who were leaving the temple and asked if they could help us. (Minnesota is overrun with nice people) As we visited for a moment it turned out that the woman who had stopped grew up in the same general neighborhood where I grew up. She asked my name and I said "We are the Vogel's" to which she replied "Eric Vogel?, I was just reading about you on Facebook this morning. My friend had asked me to pray for you." Wow, we live in an interesting and small world.
Friday I had my visits with the surgeons. They were very pleased and kept saying nice things like "You are our star patient", and "We just love it when things turn out this way" and "It's so nice to operate on someone healthy for a change" They don't know that I have numerous prayers being offered in my behalf. How could I help but heal well. They took a panoramic radiograph of my new jaw. It is so interesting to see the "new me". JoLynne has been walking around singing "The leg bone's connected to the Jaw bone". Very appropriate for Halloween.
Today, we went to church, but only the first hour. For some reason I was really feeling tired. This afternoon I felt quite a bit better so we went and drove around town and found a cool mansion to walk around.
Tomorrow we meet with the chemotherapy doctors. I am not really looking forward to going through chemotherapy but I also don't want to risk this coming back. I have read quite a bit about osteosarcomas since my diagnosis. The survival rates have really gone up in the last few years and it is largely due to chemotherapy. Sarcomas have a nasty habit of spreading through the blood to distant sites. Chemotherapy seems to stop that from happening quite effectively. The good thing about it will be walking up to Bishop Broderick and asking him how it feels to have so much hair. That will be a sweet day.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Well, I'm sorry about the short entry last night. I was completely exhausted but thought that I had enough energy to write about one sentence. Getting my wedding ring back was the most important thing that I could think of. JoLynne and I have been married 28 plus years. I don't think in all those years I have been without my ring more than a few hours. She wore it for me while I was going through all of this. As she put it "It will be safe here and look, it's really close to mine."
I really appreciate Shanelle keeping everyone posted while I was indisposed. She is a sweet daughter in so many ways.
I am so appreciative of each of you for your love, your prayers and your faith. I believe that God hears and answers prayers. Sometimes things don't turn out just like we would like them to, but when we really pour out our hearts to God, things do work out. In the bible dictionary, under prayer, it says:
"As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings."
I believe that statement.
This has been an amazing week. Shanelle has shared much of what has happened. There are some things that probably shouldn't be shared. Suffice it to say, we have felt and seen the Hand of God and I have never felt that I walked this path alone.Yesterday I was discharged from the hospital, ahead of schedule. The original plan called for 7-10 days in the hospital. I think we are basically on the "custom plan" schedule now. The tracheotomy tube came out a day or two early. By the way, for any of you who may have had those in the past, I really apologize for not showing you more compassion. All I can say is "WOW AND YUCK". The NG tube that allowed them to feed me through my nose to my stomach came out Friday, 10 days ahead of schedule. One of the older nurses told me that she had never seen one come out in less than two weeks in a case like mine. All the rest of the pumps, tubes, IV's, and cast came off Saturday Morning. They then told me that I could be discharged early if I wanted. It helps to have my son in law Mike here, he is an ICU nurse for Utah valley and a darn good one. Or maybe I was just so dang grouchy they would do anything to see me out of there. That is quite possible. I was thrilled to be discharged. Oh, and JoLynne gave me back my wedding ring! I was so grateful for so many kind, knowledgable doctors and nurses who took care of me. Many of them had the opportunity to hear my testimony. I plan on sharing that more often.
There has been a lot going through my mind these last few days. I believe I will survive this cancer. I have been given another season in my life to see what I will do. I try to think of what I can do better and what the Lord wants me to learn from all of this. My nights have been largely sleepless as my mind races in circles. Friday night sleep wouldn't come. At about 3:00 am I finally sat up in bed and said, "Hey Heavenly Father, are you there?" I had that warm feeling that he was so I said "Are you having trouble sleeping too?" Sometimes I wonder why he doesn't just zap me and get it over with. Anyway, we had a good talk during that night.
(The view out our windows)
Well, this is too long. JoLynne rented, (for $80 a night) a beautiful house that looks out over the river. That woman can find a bargain! I hope she didn't choose me because I was cheap. I prefer to be considered "a good value" We will be here until Oct 31 for a few follow up visits but mostly to make sure I don't have complications that need to be attended to. Thank you again for all your love and support. We look forward to being home.
Okay, God must think my faith is weak or that I need constant reminders. JoLynne just called me over and pointed out the plaque hanging on the wall here just as you enter the door.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
We have been joking that the pathologist didn't know how to classify the tumor, because it is a miracle and they have never seen this kind of miracle tumor before. I'm pretty sure they couldn't write that on their pathology report though. It would be pretty funny to see a pathology report with "miracle tumor" as the classification.
So now the doctors are trying to decide what to do about it. Last night radiation was on the table, but we just heard from Dr. Foote, the radiation oncologist that they have officially decided not to do radiation. The surgeons don't want to do anything because it was completely clean and came out like a benign tumor. The medical oncologists are talking the possibility of chemo right now, but there is no decision about that yet. We think it might take a few days and several more consultations until there is an official decision about what to do going forward.
In the meantime, my dad is healing well. He is progressing much more rapidly than scheduled (due to all of your prayers which are being answered by our gracious Heavenly Father I am sure) and all things considered, he is feeling quite well. This morning they removed his tracheotomy which he is so grateful for. He is talking again, and has been up walking quite a bit with a walker. He has made four laps around the nursing station which adds up to about 200 feet total- well on his way to his next marathon.
Here's a picture of him with his metal tracheotomy. I think he looks like a borg. But he looked like a storm trooper with this plastic one the day before, so he is just working on emulating his way through several great sci-fi shows.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
He is doing very well and seems to be recovering quickly. He has figured out how to talk a little bit with his tracheotomy tube in so we have been able to talk to him a bit today. He also got up and walked around a bit with a walker this afternoon - after they spent 15 minutes unhooking lots of tubes, and drains and machines. He will be back to running in no time at this rate. Minus all the equipment, he should be pretty fast!
Monday, October 17, 2011
The fasting and prayers all of you have been offering have paid off today. My dad is in the recovery room right now. The surgery couldn't possibly have gone better. Thank you to all of you for praying and fasting for him. God really does answer prayers.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
IT IS SO NICE TO BE HOME! Even if it is only for a few days.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Sometimes out of bad things comes good. God seems to work that way. I think that we all know that we have friends all around us. I am finding that, when faced with a serious challenge, just how sweet people are. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't have multiple expressions of love given to me. I awoke the other morning to find my door decorated with balloons and messages of encouragement. Anonymous, of course. On Friday, at my son Jarom's request, we went running. Over the years I would have to say that running hasn't been his favorite pastime. That morning we ran 4.4 miles. It was great. While running Jarom told me that as soon as I was better he would run a half marathon with me. Later in the day Shanelle and Mike came by with a gift certificate offering to run a marathon with me. Wow, getting better is going to be more work than I expected.
Conference has been wonderful. Why is it that it takes something like this to make me really listen? So many of the talks seem to have been written just for me. What a gift to hear God's voice through his servants.
We leave for Mayo this coming Wednesday and will be gone until the following Wednesday. Kind of like a vacation I'm guessing. I am anxious to have a full workup. The pain has come back and now seems to be pressing into my ear. I am ready to move forward and be healed. I see the Lord's hand every day in my life and I am so grateful that I know I won't walk this path alone.