Be Still My Soul

Church was beautiful today. Lots of love and prayers for Bishop.  Evelyn sang her dad’s favorite song “Be Still My Soul” and he cried when he saw this practice video.

After church we brought Porter to the hospital so Bishop could set him apart as the new first counselor in the Teacher’s Quorum.

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Amos is healing.  His bruise has turned all kinds of shades of black and tripled in size.  His hemoglobin are still low but no longer decreasing.  They disconnected him from fluids and pain meds and the two meals he has eaten are passing through alright.  Oral pain meds must not work as well because he is in a lot more pain today.  He is looking forward to coming home tomorrow if all goes well. #teamamos

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One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

Some sad news this morning. A hematoma in his abdomen is causing a hemoglobin drop.  His count was 14 during surgery, 11 after surgery and then dropped to 8.5.  They were considering a blood transfusion but his blood pressure is stable so they will just keep an eye on it.

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They took him off of all meds that have a blood thinning effect.

I have come down with a cold so I am keeping my distance and sporting a duck mask today.

20160423_063705Amos made big progress with physical therapy making laps around the floor and even climbing stairs.

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He’s had lots of visitors today and got to see his cute kids for the first time since the surgery.  He took time to explain things to them in a way they could understand.  They were so happy to be with him even for just a little while.

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He also finally got cleared for food! Let’s hope it all comes out alright.

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Carry On

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Post OP is going as well as can be expected.  Last night was pretty rough with little sleep for either of us.  Sitting on the edge of the bed in the middle of the night was something Amos described as horrifying and the worst pain of his life. Ten minutes after that low moment, they gave him an orange Popsicle which he described as the best thing he had ever tasted.  Lots of extremes today.

The CT scan from Tuesday showed only a tiny spot in the lungs, but they don’t think it’s cancerous. They aren’t sure what it is. It’s good to know we probably aren’t going to have to battle it in the lungs as well although the effects of the surgery have partially collapsed his lungs and he is working to strengthen them.

They explained today that the cancer has spread past the main tumor to the outside of the colon wall and into the lymph nodes which carried it to the liver and omentum. They said that Chemotherapy is usually very effective on colon cancer and that once they got it to a manageable size , they could operate again, remove the main tumor, reconnect the intestines and then another surgery after that would probably be necessary to remove the remaining cancer from the liver.

I’m going to spare you all from a picture of the ostomy.  It’s not pleasant but we do have a really fun ostomy nurse with a thick Irish accent who will help us through this process.

This is a real battle friends and we appreciate not going it alone.  We have had an army of people on both sides of the veil supporting us.  WE LOVE YOU! Thank you for reading and caring about us.  Thank you for all the ways you reach out.  It’s time to carry on!

20160421_180540Officer Stoddard - Amos loves this guy. He is such an amazing person that has been put into our lives at this time for a purpose.

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Good night!

Colostomy

He made it out of surgery, but they were not successful in removing the tumor.  It was larger than expected.  They gave him a colostomy which means he will have a bag, but he can be put back together after we find another way to get rid of the cancer. The good news is that he will be able to have Chemotherapy sooner.  Thank you all for your love, service, thoughts, messages, fasting and prayers.  We love you.

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Last night was difficult.  The magnesium citrate didn’t start going all the way through his system until 5:30 am.  After that he started feeling much better but it was a restless night.

IMG_0405We started the day with a visit to Gilbert High where the staff welcomed us with open arms and hearts full of love.

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We picked up some #teamamos bracelets and headed over to Banner Gateway for check in.  Thankfully we only had to pay a small percentage of the estimated $52,000 bill for today. I am so grateful for the doctors, nurses and staff who have taken such good care of Amos so far.  They are worth every penny.

IMG_0409We checked in and said goodbye to Paije, Bridget and Brynley who had a flight to catch.

We then went for pre op and found another tender mercy.  My friend Dana Rodger’s daughter Breckyn was going to be Amos’s nurse for the operation.  She has such a comforting demeanor that instantly put my heart at ease.

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All day I have felt an extra layer of peace and comfort encircling me and I appreciated so much a scripture Paije left with us.  (Romans 8:28)

My angel sister, Phoebe, is home taking care of Porter who is sick and my baby girls.  She is already a second mom to them and they adore time with their auntie.  We will need to disinfect the house before Amos comes home next week.

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It took 3 hours to stablize his heart after the surgery with the meds but they finally got him a room in the evening.  He was pretty funny and unfiltered with his comments for a while.  He’s not happy that they didn’t take the tumor out and that he will have to do this again.  We are grateful that the doctor was careful since the tumor had spread near his legs.  No permanent damage has been done and the doctor is confident that we can get it next time after the chemo has had a chance to shrink it.

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The respiratory therapist visited him for some work on his lungs that were slightly collapsing.

Tomorrow I will post pictures of visitors and other earthly angels who have come to our rescue.

I’m Gonna Love You

My good friend Carene sent me this message today:

I was reading about HOPE and I thought of you. “Hope is an Abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting that something will occur. When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good. Hope helps you conquer discouragement.”
I think you exhibit great hope and I have hope for you also. Thank you for your example. I Love your family!

This is a true reflection of our feelings going into the surgery tomorrow.  The Song “I’m Gonna Love You (Like I’m Gonna Lose You)” is special not because we believe we will lose Amos, but a reminder not to take each other for granted and to realize how fragile life can be.  This performance was raw and unpracticed and the filming was on the lowest quality setting but I think you can still feel her sweet expression of love for her daddy. #teamamos

Bag or No Bag?

IMG_0404We went to the hospital today for a CT scan of the chest.  We don’t have results on that yet but are hopeful that the cancer will not be found above the liver.  We also had a wound care class and a preoperative marking which all ended up being ostomy training.  There is a chance that Amos will have to have part of his intestines brought through his abdomen to the outside of his body and surgically attached there which means he would have to temporarily live with a bag for his waste until they could safely reattach his intestines.  We are hoping this will not be necessary but are now prepared for that option.  Tonight we had Pinewood Derby, which was a blast, but it’s been a long day and Amos was dragging by the time we got home.  Hopefully he can make it through his last day of work tomorrow.  The best news of the day is that they moved his surgery up a few hours so he has less time to starve Thursday morning. That morning, we plan to stop by Gilbert High to pick up some Team Amos #cancersucks bracelets they made for the students.  We also ordered our “tap out cancer” t – shirts.  Amazing things are happening and I know we will all come out of this stronger.

Where Can I Turn For Peace?

Not too much pain or discomfort today and we are grateful for good days.  We are also thankful to be surrounded with family having a Family Home Evening taught by our fun Kirra.  Evelyn sang her own arrangement of the hymn “Where Can I Turn for Peace?” We will be at the hospital tomorrow for more tests and prep for Thursday’s surgery.  Thank you for continued prayers.

We Love Our Bishop

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It is so inspiring to see Bishop Abplanalp fulfilling his calling as bishop (local church leader) each Sunday, even when days are hard.  He is up early and home late serving the members of our ward (congregation of about 400 members)  most week days before and after work but Sunday he has the most responsibilities.  He loves to serve and has felt strength to continue in these past couple weeks.  His faith in and love for the Lord is stronger than anything that could keep him from serving.  Even over the next few weeks while he recovers I know his prayers and concern will still be for their welfare.  I love this man and his great example. #teamamos

 

 

 

 

Playing through the Pain

IMG_0403Today was supposed to be the family fun day but it was a pretty difficult one for Amos.  Amos realized too late that he forgot to take his MiraLAX last night and it made for a pretty painful day but he did his best to enjoy it despite the discomfort.  He won’t forget it again.  We went to see Jungle Book which was AMAZING #fivestars !  We went out to lunch and the pool, made beef jerky with Grandpa Dean and had tons of fun with out-of-town family.   Grandma and Grandpa Dance made some delicious dinner and the teenagers are going to a dance tonight.

IMG_20160416_181715Amos is pretty excited that he lost 10 lbs this week.  Sadly, I gained 10 lbs.  Both of these changes are unacceptable and will hopefully be remedied soon.   He thinks he will loose another 10 lbs during the surgery.  I will need to make some effort to stay lighter than him.   It’s getting too close.

Several people have asked me if we are going to do a benefit concert for Amos.  We most likely will since that happens to be our specialty.  Our daughter has performed in concerts for others with critical illnesses and different causes.  We didn’t expect to need one ourselves but it seems natural for us.  I may reach out soon to some of our high profile friends to see what we can come up with.

IMG950057As we begin to thank those who continue to reach out, we want to introduce you to Adeline.  She is a family friend who had an ice skating competition today.  She skated to Army of Angels, written by our niece, and dedicated her performance to Amos.  Thank you Adeline! Family members have been designing T-shirts and friends and students have been having #teamamos bracelets made and distributed on the school campus where he used to teach to support Amos’s fight. So many of you have donated through the website and we are truly humbled by your generosity.  I am at peace believing that he will make it through and I feel so much strength from you all.

 

 

Dear Mr. Abplanalp

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Each child in our daughter’s 3rd grade class wrote a get well card for Amos today.  We laughed and cried at these adorable sentiments.  I am continuously amazed at the kindness of people around us.

Amos is doing better with some nutrition in his system.  His doctor said he needed to stay on the soft diet (no fruits, veggies or whole wheat, seeds etc) but he needs to use protien drinks to get as much protein as possible before the surgery.  He is still doing Dr Hoy’s Longevity shakes and started Ensure shakes as well as the surgeon recommended.

We love having so many family members here.  Such a blast.  I’m so glad they can be here before the surgery.  Amos has just Monday and Wednesday left at work until his 30 day medical leave.  Tuesday is his day off and he will be spending it at the hospital getting marked for the surgery, taking a class on wound care and getting a CT scan of his chest to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread there.

P.S.  We found out our smoke detector works.  Thanks Paije. 🙂