Tuesday, May 22, 2018

My Dad - Funeral Arrangements

Mom put this information on Facebook and I thought I would pass on the information here as not everyone is on FB...

The Family Prayer Service for Marv will be Tuesday, June 5th at 6:00 PM 
Zion Lutheran Church
620 9th Street West 
Mobridge, SD 57601
(At the corner of 9th St West and 5th Ave West)
A meal will be served after the service in the gym.

Marv's funeral service will be Wednesday, June 6th at 10:00 AM at Zion also. 
Burial and lunch to follow.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Mobridge/Glenham area hotel information:
Wrangler Inn (Mobridge) 605-845-3641 or 888-884-3641
Selby Motel 605-649-7979
Hilltop Motel & Campgrounds (Selby) 605-649-7622
MoRest (Mobridge) 605-845-3668
Mobridge Kountry Inn (Mobridge) 605-845-7215

Friday, May 18, 2018

My Dad - Is With Jesus

No one really knows what their life is going to be like.  If you would have told me two months ago that I would be writing this blog, I would have told you you were nuts.  But this is life...

Dad went to be with his Heavenly Father May 17th, 11:08pm (central time).  He was only 66.

We are sad.  We are heartbroken.  Our kids were suppose to be spending the summer with Grandpa fishing and working and getting yelled at. ;)

But God doesn't make us any promises on how many days we have on this earth. He only promises He will be with us.  God was with my dad.  My dad may have not been perfect, but he was a great father, to many more than just the five of us... most importantly though, he loved his Lord and Savior.  This is why we all may be sad on this earth, but we know that dad is with Jesus and is singing with the angles.  Who wouldn't want that?

Dad was a blessed man.  We will miss him, but we have so many stories to tell...  He made sure of that!

Missing a few from our last family photo... :) Thirty-Two in total as of today.  Three have been born since this photo.

Dad wrote this song a few years ago.  He believed every word of it!

Thank you for all your prayers and your encouraging messages these last couple weeks.  Dad was a loved man on this earth!

And even though...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My Dad - May 16/17th

Once again, my family is extremely grateful for all the prayers and well wishes for dad.  He needs everyone of them.  But may I ask now for a specific prayer?  The doctors have not been able to find the main source, or cause of the cancer yet.  So please say your prayers for this, that dad is strong enough and is breathing well enough to do some of these much needed tests so the doctors can finally find the main source of the cancer.

A couple housekeeping notes:

1.  I will now start labeling the posts with the dates.  However, since I am currently on the other side of the world, there will be two dates in the title.  Easier for me to keep track of things.

2.  A message from mom, via Facebook concerning messages:  "We hope you will understand if we do not have the time to answer all the phone calls and respond to texts on Marv's phone.  He cannot talk through his oxygen mask.  It is easier if you contact me on my phone so I can respond as time permits between medical staff visits or after I am back at my room while Merv is sleeping."

Please don't stop messaging dad as I am sure he is thrilled to hear from everyone.  Just know, you may not get a response right away, or even one at all.  But like I said, dad would love all the messages!

Ok, this is what I know.  I am taking these notes from text messages that I have received sporadically since I left the States on Sunday.

In the last post, dad was transferred to Sioux Falls South Dakota on Sunday because the doctors in Aberdeen were saying that dad needed Chemo right away because the cancer was spreading so quickly.

The cancer is spreading quickly, but the only thing new since I last posted is that they have not given dad chemo.  They are still looking for the source/tumor.  The reason is is that if they give him the wrong chemo, it will hurt him more than it will help him.

Dad really could use prayers for a strong heart so procedures can be done to find the cancer source.

Sorry this is not much info, but it's what we have at the moment.

God Bless you all! xoxo

PS  Happy Birthday to my Mommy today! :)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

My Dad - Transferring to SF

Dad is being transferred to Sioux Falls. Here’s what I know...

Yesterday, Saturday afternoon, mom took dad to the Hospital in Mobridge because he was having difficulty breathing. Dad’s doctor in Aberdeen wanted him transferred to ABR to keep a better eye on him. So the nurses in Mobridge hooked dad up with oxygen and sent them, mom, Shannon, and dad, on their way. 

After his arrival in ABR, Dad was stabilized in the ER and then was transferred to a regular room. He was going to stay in the hospital until his procedures on Tuesday. 

Now, I may get some of this info mixed up, like times and days, but you will get the picture even if it’s not the exact information. I am just the information “sharer”. 

Basically they did another CT scan of the chest/abdomen and this time found fluid in his stomach and spots on/in (not sure which) his lungs. His liver enzymes were also elevated. The fluid in the stomach and maybe enlarged liver could be the reason why he has shortness of breath. They may be pushing on the lungs... This morning, Sunday, they found an “infection” in his blood. Again, I’m not sure what the infection is, whether it’s cancer or something else. I’m not even sure what that something else may be...

A surgeon came in to dad’s room this morning and told dad and mom that they were going to transfer dad to Sioux Falls because the cancer is fast moving and he NEEDS to get a shot or two of chemo now!  At least try to get the cancer to stop growing so fast. They still don’t know the source... 

Just so everyone knows, the cancer doctor in Aberdeen is on vacation this week and that’s the reason why dad couldn’t be seen or treated earlier than the 22nd. 

So they are transferring him to Sioux Falls as I write this... Tomorrow, Monday, they will get him a high dose of chemo and another one soon after, I’m just not sure how soon after. 

I guess since the cancer is very aggressive, the chemo will be fast acting and it’s actually a “good” thing. They just need to get the cancer to stop spreading, then they can go look for the source. The doctor also said that dad’s heart is in good shape, but working overtime. 

They, the docs, told Brandei that the cancer is treatable. But whether dad will be with us another month, 3 or 6 or 3+ years, is anyone’s guess. There is only one who knows the answer, and we put all our hope in Him! 

Before I go, I just want to stress how very grateful our family is for all the prayers, for all the messages, and for all the love. Sorry if we do not get a private message of thanks back to each and everyone of you. Know that we truly appreciate every single one of them!

God’s blessings to you all! xoxo

To be continued...

Saturday night. 

Sunday morning.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

My Dad - Preliminary Results

And even if...

Well, it's cancer.  Cancer in the bone that has metastasized from somewhere....  The where is still an unknown.  Dad will have more tests next week.  One from the bottom and one from the top and the doctor REASSURED us that they will not use the same scope!! LOL! 😂 More than likely it is stomach or intestinal because the cancer cells that they found in the bone are consistent with gastrointestinal cancer.

Tuesday they will find out how advanced and exactly what kind of cancer we are dealing with.  The "good" news is it's non-small cell cancer and not small cell.  Non-cell is the slower growing of the two.  But ask Uncle google if you want more info... 😉

So that's it until next Tuesday.  For my friends around the globe, I am headed back to Penang starting Sunday.  But first, starting tomorrow, a quick flight to Michigan to help Marz drive her car back home for the summer.  It's only a drive time of 16 hours...  I think God really has a sense of humor because He knows how much I really love to travel... 😳

Again, Thank You All for the Prayers!!  

Summer of 2017

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

My Dad - Update 2

First of all, our family would like to give a big THANK YOU each and every one of you for all the prayers and words of encouragement that have been sent in regards to dad.  Please know that we are so grateful for the outpouring of support and we love you all!

Dad -
Thankfully dad's heart was strong enough for the bone biopsy to be performed today!!!  Now it's just more waiting on the results...  Nothing like a big does of patience being taught! ;)  Hopefully by Thursday afternoon, we will know what we are dealing with or we may just find that dad is a "perfect specimen of man."  Anyone who knows my dad can probably hear him say that to the doctors AND the nurses! LOL! 😂  He definitely has not lost his sense of humor!

Now the "other" fun stuff....
As some of you my have seen today on Facebook....  Thank you Q1! 😉

This was dad visiting ME in the ER!

Here's the story....

When I landed in LA last Monday, April 30th, my side started aching.  Nothing new for me as I fly all over God's Green Earth and do get myself dehydrated.  I've also been known to have had a couple kidney stones but haven't had one for quite a while.  I usually know when my side starts to ache, that I need to start pouring the water down my throat to try and stop the stones from forming and get my kidneys cleaned out!

So I do... drink... water... all last week.  I'm constantly drinking water, but still not getting any better, but also not getting any worse.  Well, I have to start flying/traveling again this coming Friday.  On Friday I fly to Michigan to go fetch Marz and then we will drive back to Aberdeen. (My mom was going to do this before dad got sick.)  I have to be back in ABR by Sunday morning at 7 am because I am scheduled to be on a flight From ABR-MSP-LAX-HKG-DPS-KUL-PEN!  Yah, I'm exhausted already... 😉 Soooooo, I really didn't want to be on a flight without some really strong meds just in case a stone feels like it needs to present itself.

Yesterday, Brandei calls her Dr. friend to see if she could get me in today and I got a call back this morning from the doctor's office. Because they will either need to do an CT scan or Ultrasound, I just need to go to the ER and check in.  I'm really not impressed with that choice, but the alternative of traveling without meds is much worse.

CT scan done, no kidney problem.  Only an ovarian cyst.  Nothing to it, I get those all the time... 😳

Our matching bracelets.  Shannon said he needed to get out of the hospital before he got one! LOL!😂

Again, Thank you all for the prayers!!

To Be Continued....

Monday, May 7, 2018

My Dad

A couple weeks ago (It feels like an eternity ago...) I was on my way back from seeing the kids in Penang and stayed a couple extra days in Bali.  You know, I had to get my hair done and stuff... ;)  Anyway, mom mom called me on Tuesday (local time) and told me that dad had a CT scan to try and figure out why his hips and lower back had been hurting so badly.  The CT scan results came back and the doctors didn't like what they saw "inside" the bones.  So a bone scan was scheduled for the next Tuesday.

Wednesday Morning, Mom called me the second I woke up and told me that she and dad were not going to tell any of us kids, the five siblings, that the reason for a bone scan was because they were looking for cancer.  I am not a scientist or a doctor and never wanted to be either one, but when mom told me about the bone scan, those were my first thoughts.... So like everyone these days, I went to consult Uncle Google. And yes, cancer is the main reason for doing a bone scan along with a few other reasons.

I finally decide to quit messing around in Bali and go home Thursday morning.  Thursday afternoon Chris and I decide that I would take emergency leave from site to go back home to be with mom and dad when the results of the bone scan came in.  I left my house Sunday afternoon (early Sunday morning Aberdeen time, there's a 14 hour difference) and arrived in Aberdeen Tuesday night around 11:30pm (Wednesday afternoon Papua time) I couldn't get an earlier flight out of LAX on Tuesday, so I actually missed being there for the bone scan...  

I'm just going to say right here that I am sooooo thankful for two ladies on site (you know who you are) for encouraging me to leave as soon as possible because yes, you definitely do not want to be flying and get bad news.  I was on the flight from LA to MSP when the results of the bone scan came in.  I has a thousand messages on my phone that I did NOT want to look at when I landed in MSP because who wants to be sobbing as you run from one plane to another?!?!?  So I waited until I arrived in Aberdeen to check out all the messages on my phone...  

The bone scan came back and showed lesions on bones, but was inconclusive, so they scheduled a bone biopsy for the next day.

This is where all the "fun" began for the last week....

Tuesday night, while everyone was waiting for me to get to Aberdeen, mom, dad, Brandei, BJ, and maybe their boys went out for dinner.  While at dinner, dad started to slur his words, but then was fine.  No one really thought anything of it other than "What the heck did he just say???"  I arrive at Brandei's house around midnight and everyone was up.  Dad looked noticeably sick to me.  I have not seen him since last August.  He was also talking kind of slow.  When he got up to use the bathroom, he was walking very slowly, kind of shuffling...  When he came back and sat in the recliner, I had to lift his legs up to put a pillow under them, he could not do that himself.  Then we all went to "bed"...  Well, we had a big camp out in the family room.  I of course did not sleep...  It was day time for me.

Wednesday Morning... 5/2

We are all sitting around drinking coffee and catching up.  I'm trying to sleep, but it's not happening... My brother calls dad and talks to him.  As they are talking, my brother tells dad that he is slurring his words.  Dad gets up after a bit and is walking, more like shuffling, around.  He's talking to my mom, sister and me.  He sometimes talks like he has food in his mouth, but then he talks fine.  I'm thinking to myself, am I hearing things???  My brother texts me to be on the look out or be aware of dad's behavior... When mom is on the phone with the doctor, dad is joking around about asking for a handicap parking sticker because he wants to be able to park out at the country club in the handicap parking spot that NO ONE ever uses.  So while mom is asking questions about the scan and other things, she also asks them to sign the paperwork for the handicap sticker.  They tell her to come in and get the paperwork. So my parents leave to go run a few errands before the now scheduled bone biopsy.

After leaving Brandei's, they stop in at a medical supply store to get a walker for dad with four wheels so he could still go out walking because he thinks he's Superman, and still needs to walk, because he is used to walking 6 to 8 miles a day. I think they also stopped someplace else before going to the Doc's to pick up the sticker, but a small detail that really doesn't matter.... When they are at the doctor's, mom talks to a nurse about dad slurring his words.  So the nurse makes an appointment for the next day to go in and see the doctor again.  They leave to run a couple more errands before the bone biopsy.  About 15 minutes later, give or take, mom gets a call back from the nurse to take dad immediately to the ER.

(I also forgot to add in there at some point Wednesday morning, dad had a CT scan of the lungs.  They were clear, thankfully.)

I get a call from mom saying that dad was in the ER and they said he had had a heart attack!  They hook dad up to all kinds of monitors, give him blood thinners, and schedule a heart ultrasound and brain MRI for Thursday morning.  Needless to say, he did not have the bone biopsy Wednesday.

Thursday morning... 5/3

...rolls around and they do the ultrasound and MRI.  The ultrasound showed that the right side of his heart was working overtime and most of the time that means that there is a blood clot in his lungs.  So they schedule a CT scan of his lungs, again, later that day.  For all those that don't know, I guess the amount of dye and timing between the injection and the scan, picks up different things.  Which is why dad had to do two different CT scans of the same area.

The brain MRI showed that dad had had multiple mini strokes (TIA - Transient Ischemic Attack), probably happening within in the last two months...

The heart doctor comes in before the CT scan of the lungs and almost guarantees dad that he has a clot in his lungs, just by the way his heart is acting.  Well, guess what??? NO clot!!  

Now what???

They move dad out of ICU because they didn't find a clot, but they keep him in the hospital to try to figure out what is going on with the heart and brain.

Yes, we haven't even gotten to the bones yet!!!

Friday... 5/4

Today's test include a camera stuck down dad's throat to look at the back of his heart (ECHO), a spinal fluid draw, and a chemical stress.  We are also hoping, because they took dad off blood thinners yesterday, that they can do the bone biopsy. Well, that was a no go... :( 

The great news is that all these tests, with the exception of the spinal fluid draw (it doesn't come back until Tuesday) came back with out any major problems.  That's great news, but we still don't know what is causing all the problems.  AND we still have not done the bone biopsy to figure out why dad has all these lesions!

Saturday and Sunday were more of the same... 5/5 and 5/6

More ultrasounds, with nothing major found.  Dad however has a high pulse, the right side of the heart is still working overtime, and he is still out of breath.

So that's what's going on as of now.  I will try to keep this updated as we go along and more results come in.  I forgot to say that one of the reasons they cannot do the bone biopsy is because dad has to be heavily sedated and until his heart is strong enough, they cannot and will not do that.  So please say your prayers that dad gets strong enough so the biopsy can happen.  I believe that is where we are going to find our answers!

Now, here are some of the positives... Yes, in everything, there are always positives!

My brothers and I get to hang out... Yah, a hospital is not the best place to do it, but even so...

I, well really dad via my phone, Skypes with this brother and family every day!  I've always said, thank goodness for Technology!!!

My Aunt and Uncle, whom I have not seen in approximately 17 years, drove over to see dad Saturday!  You know, they always say do not wait until times of crisis to get in touch with family members!  A good lesson here!

Another Aunt and Uncle, it's only been three years since I saw them last... (Yes, I am rolling my eyes. I should be better at this visiting stuff!!)

Pretty sure I've never had a picture taken with my mom and her two sisters...

It's been a long time since the six of them have been together! Toooooooooo long!!!!

Another Aunt and Uncle.... sorry I didn't get you all. :(

My nieces and nephew and a sis-in-law! :D


And of course... Dad showing off... LOL :D

He did give the nurses a chuckle with this one... ;)

So thankful I came home!!  You never get the time back...  

So that's it for now.  I will keep everyone updated as I can.  Please, Please, Please do not correct me on medical jargon.  I actually hate all that stuff... AND I am not a good nurse!  LOL!  All weekend long I was wishing Brandei was here because this is her cup of tea...

To Be Continued....

PS... This is my story... some events may not be in the exact order, but close... my opinions too except where there are facts involved... ;)

PSS... I think I have used this bed more than dad... Jet lag is a &*%$#!!  :D  And no, I'm not cutting toe nails!!!  Proof that I'm not a good nurse! :D

WAIT!!!!  There is one more thing....  

Through it all...  Every test, every non answer, every frustration, every tear, every good answer, every BAD answer, every "everything"... We know this...

And truly, that makes EVERYTHING easier! 

Love to you all! xoxo