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Welcome Readers!

Welcome to my blog: Today's Lady Virtue. This site is for women--wives, mothers, singles, widows, family, friends, etc.! My heart is to share loving encouragement coupled with timeless truths from God's Word, the Bible, to enlighten, uplift, and empower women of today. At Today's Lady Virtue we're about "Reclaiming Virtuous Womanhood today the Time-tested Way!" Here you will find a variety of posts from poems, to "Put into Practice" principles, to pictures and more! I invite you to voyage with me on the quest to become Today's Lady Virtue.







Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tribute to My Daddy, Part II



Just When Life Seemed So Normal...So Predictable...So Self-scripted...Almost Magical...or even Enchanted like our Fun Family Outing to Enchanted Rock...

Part I of My Dad's Story: 
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED 
ON THE WAY TO CLOSING

Many of you have heard bits and pieces of my situation and some of you are hearing from me for the first time. This may be more info than you want to hear but I thought I would do a good synopsis for a broad group of family, friends, and coworkers, and cover the bases. First of all, thank you for all your thoughts and prayers and support. It means a lot to me. For example, I was told last night that everybody in my FBC Sunday School stopped wherever they were and prayed for me at 5:30 PM. That was very nice.

After many months of negotiations, legal wrangling and due diligence, I was off to Houston to close on the sale of our company to SCF Partners. We were to spend all day Thursday and most of Friday finalizing the paperwork and wiring money. The closing had been postponed four times and was to finally take place on January 26. As it turned out, my annual physical at the world-renowned Cooper Clinic in Dallas was to take place on Thursday, January 24th. So I went to Dallas on the way to closing.

My normal doctor had just retired (to go on a 15 yr assignment with his church) so I was assigned a new doctor, Dr. Tyler Cooper, the founder's son. I wasn't scheduled for a EBT (catscan) of my heart, but Dr. Cooper thought it wise to do so because he wanted to start fresh with new data points concerning my health. When he took a picture of my heart, the radiologist noticed some fluid just below my heart that just so happened to be in the picture. He then ordered a complete scan of my torso. There he found more fluid. He then suspected that I had Ascites (a symptom of some pretty scary things, e.g., some organ failing, cancer, etc.) They immediately wanted me to stay in Dallas and go straight to a specialist. I said I have to get to Houston on Thursday and Friday to close a big deal for me and our 153 employees. He said okay but come back Monday.

On Monday the 29th, I went to a specialist that Dr. Cooper recommended, Dr. Rajeev Jain. He was a Digestive Disease Specialist. (Turns out he married Dr. Kwandewal's daughter, who is a Midland doctor.). He looked at the scan and examined me and said he would need more data points to begin to solve the puzzle. We ran 13 more blood tests and then was sent to Dr. Dittman and Dr. Koker to do a sonogram and extract fluid from inside my stomach lining to get more clues.

Dr, Koker ran the sonogram and saw the fluid on the liver and elsewhere but thought the pool near the cecum ( just below the belt on the right side) was a good place to stick me. I was already very sore there, but the test hurt quite a bit. Part of the problem was that he did not extract a clear, white liquid, as expected but a yellow-green viscous, gelatinous gel. It was hard to flow through the tube. He immediately consulted with two more doctors. I was sent immediately to another doctor, Dr. Tom Shires, Surgeon. He was very knowledgeable, listened to all the facts and then said let's do a catscan (CT) to gather more information, then we will schedule emergency surgery for in the morning and cut out that mass. "Mass, what mass, no one has said anything about a mass!", I said. He said I had a fist-sized mass on my small intestine and then proceeded to show me on the Cooper scan where it was. There it was.

So, I went to do the new CT, this time with contrast and dye ( I had to drink stuff to highlight the organs, etc.). Shires said its late, go to dinner, I will come back and read the results and give you a call.

Teri and I went to a restaurant and our food had just arrived when the call came. He said he had some bad news and some good news. He said I have a very rare tumor on my appendix. There have only been 200 cases in the world. It is always malignant and it always comes back, even if you cut it out. It is really bad if the tumor leaks to other places. Mine had obviously leaked because it is on my liver (that was the supposed ascites spotted under my heart), my colon, because that was where we extracted the sample from, and the small intestines, because the fist-sized mass was a ball of that gel. Apparently, the "liquid ascites" we started out looking for was the gel from the leaking tumor.

Teri and I sat there in shock, trying to get our mind around the death sentence I had just been handed. We tried to talk, look for hope, prayed and broke down into tears. It was so sad to see poor Teri, my best friend for 36 years, try to digest what this all meant. The waiter came by try to console us, boxed up our uneaten food and comped us. We went back to Teri's dad's house, where we were staying, and tried to get our minds around it and make a plan in the 7 hours we had before dawn and the emergency surgery Dr. Shires assumed we would be having the next day.

The good news Dr. Shires spoke about in the restaurant call was that there are only two men in the world that have successfully operated on this type tumor, and that one is a personal friend of his and he operates in Dallas, and that he had already called him and set up an appointment for me for 9:00 AM tomorrow, the 31st.

We were at Dr. Joseph Kuhn's office from 8:45 until 12:00. He was very impressive. He was very knowledgeable, attentive, and calming. Apparently, he is the leading expert and innovator in the Mucous Tumor field. There have been 200 cases worldwide and 100 have been at Baylor Hospital in Dallas. Ninety of those have been done by him, personally. He said the tumors are rare, slow-growing, and usually NOT malignant (HELLO!). He said since the cancer cells are not in the bloodstream, they cannot be spotted by blood tests, colonoscopies (of which I have had). People usually don't figure it out until the tumor and the secreting gel has a few years head start. That is not good. As far as treatment goes, he said even if the doctors find it and remove it, it always comes back. The thing that everybody misses, is that the tumor has already leaked microscopic cells all over the place and they just grow back until they get you. So, he invented a procedure called Intra Peritoneal Hyperthermic Chemotherapy (IPHC).

IPHC is a radical procedure where he removes the tumor, scoops out all visible gels attached to the surface of the various internal organs, and closes the wound with two catheters on top and two on bottom of the abdomen. Through the catheters, he injects massive quantities of Mita Miacin C (Chemotherapy) into the body cavity and then a team of doctors manipulate the patient for two hours, thus agitating and washing all one's insides with chemical, and then drains it out. He has added heat to the process with a machine to make the juice really active (kind of like our Reef Chemical versus Brand X). Obviously, this is not going to make the other organs very happy, but they get over it.

In my case, it will take five hours of cutting and swishing. He will remove my appendix, the tumor, the fist from my small intestines and part of my colon already damaged by the gel. The cut will be from the sternum down to the pubic bone ( the Big Zipper). He said it is very disruptive to my body and is painful. Therefore, I will be on a feeding tube and morphine for five days and then on liquids for five days, all in the hospital. Then I will be in pain, weak and nauseous for a month. As tough as that is going to be, I am going to remember that sleepless night last Tuesday, when I was told there was no chance, and count my blessings for this chance.

Dr. Kuhn could not get five hours, the team and the equipment until next Thursday. So, I will go to Dallas on the 7th, check into the hotel at the hospital, and do all the prep for surgery on the 8th. I am suppose to go the Roberts Hospital (at the Baylor Complex) at 5:30AM for a 7:30 AM operation. It is supposed to take five hours. They will run the tests on the gel to see if it is malignant. If it is, I will have to under go Chemo on my whole body or decide to forego Chemo treatment to deal with quality of remaining life issues.

Dr. Kuhn is the undisputed expert in these type tumors and treatment. His approach, though cutting edge, is still considered experimental. For insurance purposes, it is called Partial Collectomy, with a possible IPHC. The approach is 4 1/2 yrs old. Of the 90 patients he has done, 80% have had no occurrence in 4 1/2 yrs and 20% have had the cancer return. Every day that passes adds to the time-elapsed record. After last Tuesday night, I'll take at least another 4-5 years.

SIDEBAR: All the work I needed to do to finalize the deal and get all the proceeds split, will have to be postponed, but Lord-willing, I can still.get it done before the March 31, 2007 goal set earlier to get all the proceeds of the sale out to your rollovers, etc. Sorry for the inconvenience. Even if I'm not involved, the Board will see that it gets done, basically on time.

I watch my diet, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, exercise daily, and try to be mindful of my health, but that does not guarantee anything. I do believe, however, it greatly enhances one's chances. I hope all of you take a chance to go back and re-read your New Year's resolutions to do better healthwise, and add it to your lifestyle. I know it is especially hard for all you Reefers out there, because you work so hard. Please add better health priorities to your To Do List. Your families and your Company need you to be around a long time.

There will be lessons learned and truths remembered through all of this. Some obvious, some subtle. God said all things work together for good. God is in control, not us... we just think we are.

Many of you know I always say for successful results, "Plan your work, then work your plan." I believe that, and it is basically true. However, I know, like the song says, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." Our plans are not always His plans. He promised He is with us always and that nothing is impossible for Him. We have to claim his strength when we have none left of our own.

Thanks again for your prayers and support. It looks like we are going to need them a bit longer, as well. Please keep Clay in your prayers, too. He has so much responsibility already, and my petering out for a while, is only going to add to it. Also, please continue to work hard and work smart. Keep those EBITDA's coming in. I don't want our new financial partners thinking they bought a pig in a poke, run by some broken down old man. They don't, of course, but you know what I mean.

Don't worry, I'm almost through. Just one subtle lesson that came to me this morning.

I was thinking about an appendix, especially one with a mucous-leaking tumor on it. Look how much trouble it has caused. An appendix is not even needed by the human body. It is not important, it is not essential, it is not constructive. It is excess baggage. Hanging around it can only lead to trouble (like a tumor). That could be a metaphor for our lives. So many times, if we add excess baggage, the non essential, the unimportant, and/or the non-constructive stuff to our lives and our jobs and our relationships, we pay a heavy price. Why even go there . On the contrary, if we focus on the important, the essential, the constructive, think how much more fruitful our health, our careers and our relationships would be. Why dwell in the badlands of the bowels, like the appendix, when you could live happily ever after, up high, in the healthy region of the heart and the mind.

Sincerely yours,



Kevin

...the Abnormal, Unexpected, Unscripted, and even Haunted Happened...

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