Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hello from Orange County Airport.

Hello from Orange County Airport.

Saturday afternoon April, 23 2011 (First travelogue of this trip).

I am making a quick post that is sort of a travelogue – the main reason we started this blog. Wednesday I flew from Denver to Orange County Airport and then took the shuttle to the Embassy Suites (map) in Anaheim. This trip was to work with our customer to do some further fire detection/suppression system testing. I wrote about the last trip (here).

The actual testing took place Thursday, Friday, and this morning. I believe the testing went very well. I have been asked by the customer to not discuss details.

The weather could not have been better. They have been having a lot of rain in the LA area. It was overcast, but we did not have rain, The temperatures were in the mid 60s. Those temperatures are unseasonably low which made the working conditions ideal.

I had been concerned about the possibility of spring break and a huge number of school kids at hotel. It was not all that bad. The hotel has an Anaheim address, but it is not located in the tourist area of the city. Indeed, it is in a pretty industrial area. They do, however, get their share of tourists. The kids I saw this morning at breakfast were well behaved and were from some school band.

We got finished today at about 11:30. I had arranged for late checkout, so I was able to take a much needed shower before traveling to the airport with two other people involved in the project.

Pat tells me that they expect snow in Evergreen tonight, so it will be a bit of thermal shock. It also snowed on Thursday at our house, so I missed that as well. At this point in the game, our drought is so bad that we will gladly take moisture in any form. There have been at least three small forest fires within 25-30 miles of the house, so we are concerned.

Well, as I was writing this, they called me to the podium and asked if I minded if they switched me to stretched seating so that they could accommodate a family. I told them that I would sacrifice {grin}.

That is all for this trip.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Old Knees -Fixed-Update

Old Knees -Fixed-Update

Tuesday Afternoon April 19 2011 (third post in this series).

I wanted to do a quick follow-up on my knee surgery. When I last posted, it was the day of the surgery. At that time I had almost no pain. I should have known that I was still loaded with the surgical pain killer {grin}. The second and third day were a bit harder in terms of pain However, I was able to avoid using the darn crutches for all but the first part of the second day - instead gingerly putting my weight on the leg.

The pain, all things considered, was not all that bad. I only took a 3 or 4 pain pills and found out that the side affects were worse than the pain. After that, Advil took care of most of it. After just a few days, I was able to do almost everything, including stairs.

Yesterday, I had the stitches removed, and the doctor reviewed what he had done. As best as I understand it, they had to repair tears in two ligaments, remove a bunch of junk and smooth out the bone in a couple of places. Sounds like he found a bit more damage than expected. All seems well now.

He cleared me to fly (they want you to wait for two weeks – possible blood clot issues). That is good since I leave for California tomorrow.

Changing subjects, we continue to be overwhelmed by the response to Kelly's situation. Thank you all for your kind responses!!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Breast Cancer, The Journey Continued

Breast Cancer, The Journey Continued

Monday  Morning  April, 18  2011   (seventh post in this series).

Pat and I have been aware of the process that Kelly (and Damon) have been going through in terms of what surgery option they will select.  We have waited for them to formally present their decision.  The following is their email post:

Hello Family and Friends!

It’s been a while since we wrote – we’ve been enjoying a bit of a lull between appointments.

We had a wonderful trip to Durango and Glenwood – nice family time to swim, read, play games, and spend time together.  It was a great time to escape from reality for a while.  Damon did work while we were gone so it wasn’t quite as relaxing for him, but it was fun for us all to be together.

While we were gone, we received word that my breast cancer gene test came back negative; this means that I don’t carry the gene for breast cancer.  What great news for all of the women in our family, especially Madison and Molly!

After taking in as much information as we could handle, we have decided to move forward with a double mastectomy.  There were numerous pieces of information that influenced our decision including:
·    I still have two spots that need to be biopsied.  By choosing mastectomy, we avoid the biopsies and the results that may or may not come with them.  Any of you who have had a biopsy will probably understand this decision.

·     If I were to do a lumpectomy, I would have to have 6 weeks of radiation and 5 years of Tamoxifen.  If I had radiation and the cancer came back, I would not be able to have reconstruction so this is my chance to do that.  Also, the side effects of Tamoxifen in women my age can include premature menopause and osteoporosis. 
·     The chances of the cancer returning with lumpectomy are somewhere between 8% and 20% in 10 years.  The chances are less than 1% in my lifetime with mastectomy.
·     I can spend the 6 weeks after surgery focusing on recovery rather than radiation.

We have ultimate confidence in the surgeon and plastic surgeon that we’ve chosen.  The initial surgery is scheduled for May 6th and that will include the mastectomies and the beginning stages of the reconstruction.  It’s amazing to me that all of this is done in one surgery. 

The surgery will also include a sentinel node biopsy.  We’ve been fascinated about this modern medicine procedure.  Rather than taking several nodes for biopsy, they will inject dye into my body about an hour before surgery and the dye will travel to the “hot” node which we understand is the node that the cancer would go to first if it was going to travel.  That way they remove just that one node rather than several.

The entire process will include three surgeries, the first major one, then two outpatient surgeries and should take somewhere between 8 and 10 months.   If the pathology remains as is, I won’t need radiation or chemotherapy and the remaining steps of the reconstruction will be all I have left after the initial surgery.  We will meet with an oncologist about two weeks after surgery to confirm the pathology results.

We’re all doing pretty well, trying to get things done before surgery.  Damon has spent the last three weeks traveling so he can be home for a couple months after surgery.  Madison seems to be holding up well, but has her occasional moments of anxiousness.  Molly seems to be showing the most signs of anxiety and we’ll start seeing a counselor this week to help with that.  I am focusing on maintaining a positive attitude and being thankful that this is the best case scenario when all things are considered. 

We will try to be in touch one more time before surgery to give you a bit more information as we get it.

We are so thankful that you are part of our support system!  We continue to be amazed at the people who have reached out to us!


Kelly and Damon

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Old Knees -Fixed

Old Knees -Fixed

Wednesday Evening April 6 2011 (Second post in this series).

Today I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee. As I write this, it has been about 7 hours since the surgery was completed. With the exception of “pain” of not having my morning coffee, the surgery was a non-event {grin}.

I had the surgery done at what was called a Surgery Center. I was not aware of this type of facility. They specialize in outpatient surgeries that do not require a full service hospital. They make a point of differentiation between the two by pointing out that a hospital surgical facility must be staffed and equipped for every type of surgery.

My procedure was done at the Lowry Surgery Center ( It happens to be in the same medical building as Dr. Gersoff's office.

As a patient, there is no noticeable difference as compared to a formal hospital facility. The staff was very professional and I was attended to by several nurses. The anesthesiologist interviewed me and was very thorough in describing his function in the procedure. Dr. Gersoff gave Pat and I a good description of the procedure before the surgery and then talked to her afterward to make sure she felt comfortable with results of the surgery and the details of the recovery process.

As noted in the first post, the surgery was done to repair a fairly significant longitudinal tear in one of the ligaments and remove a bunch of “junk”.

I have been amazed at the fact that there is not a great deal of pain. I waited for 6 hours after I took to first pain medication to see if the pain was being masked by the medication. I told Pat that I wonder if they even did a procedure {grin}. Hopefully the pain will continue to be minimal.

They indicated that I would need to use crutches for the first couple of days, but that I could bear weight on the leg to a level of acceptable pain. Well, I have basically put full weight on it a few times and did not experience a great deal of pain. I am now using one crutch – only because they suggested that I would need crutches.

So, in a few days, I should be able to dance a jig – well maybe not dance a jig, but I should have full use of the leg without experiencing a bunch of pain.

Many of you have asked about the status of Kelly's breast cancer journey. There is not much to report. She has an appointment with a plastic surgeon next week. That will be about the last piece of the puzzle that will allow their family to make a decision what the level of surgery will be. We will keep you posted.

That is all for now.