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Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

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Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby DrAwkward on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:35 pm

As some of you may be aware, my father has been battling a re-emergence of cancer in his jaw as a result of nonstop smoking from about 1974 to 2000. He initially was diagnosed in 2000 and had pieces of his jaw, tongue and the roof of his mouth removed. Ever since he's battled health issues related to his cancer, smoking, and excessive drinking; he's been hospitalized many times over the last decade and the radiation treatments ended up in his teeth rotting out of his head (which caused several infections that led to more hospital stays).

In August, while we were on tour, i got a call that my dad was in the hospital for yet another infection. This time the doctors discovered that the cancer had returned to his jaw, and thus began the discussion regarding what to do about it. He began chemo while his doctor discussed with my parents the idea of removal and reconstruction of his entire jaw.

In October, my parents went to Madison to consult with a reconstructive surgeon at the UW hospital. I wrote the following on Facebook about that trip, during which my dad collapsed in the waiting room and nearly died:

On Wednesday my dad went down to Madison with my mom and my sister, Tracy, to have his consultation with a jaw surgeon at the UW clinic/hospital to see about reconstructive surgery for his jaw once the cancer is removed. While waiting for their appointment, which was delayed, my dad fell asleep in the waiting room. When my parents were told the doctor was ready for them, my mom nudged Dad to wake him up.

He didn't wake up.

Don't worry, he's not dead. However, he was not breathing and barely had a pulse. Fortunately, this happened to him in a hospital, and he was taken to the emergency room where they attempted to revive him and get a breathing tube down his throat. He resisted the breathing tube and struggled, but was not conscious. It was unclear whether he had suffered a stroke, or if it was something else.

Mom called me, and i was out the door on my way to Madison with the band van.

When i got to Madison, i was updated by my brother Kris. My dad's corrotted arteries in his neck are nearly completely blocked - something like 90% in one and nearly 100% in the other. However, when Mom and i finally got to see him in the ICU, we were told that doing surgery to clean them out was the least of our worries.

His blood was not properly oxegenated in the first place, so what *was* getting to his brain wasn't even all that rich in O2. So with him unconscious in the ICU, and not having any idea how long he was actually in this state and how much was regular naptime, we had no idea how long his brain had been without oxygen. It was decided by the doctors that they would take him off his sedatives immediately and try to revive him and see if he would respond, recognize us, etc.

At this point, Mom and i went out to the ICU waiting room to talk to my siblings, who were all there, along with Ben, Cassandra, and Eleighanara. This was when we got to have the always exciting "DNR or no DNR?" discussion. One of the doctors had asked us in the ICU and Mom and i looked at each other, completely unable to even wrap our brains around the question. After some talk and a lot of tears, we decided that, while we remembered Dad's DNR wishes from 11 years ago during his last operation, we couldn't go ahead with that recomendation until we knew what sort of potential brain issues we were dealing with. We decided to go back into the ICU, tell them that for now, they should attempt CPR if his heart fails (although with his arteries blocked, what good it would do was up for debate), and then go to Kris' apartment or Kelly/Ben/Cassandra's for the night.

When we went back to the ICU they had revived Dad, and his eyes were open. He was gagging on and struggling with his breathing tube while one of the technicians kept his arm from grabbing at the tube. Mom looked him point blank in the eyes and asked, "do you see me?" He nodded. The doctors and techs asked him to squeeze their hands. He did. Mom took his hand and he squeezed it as hard as he could.

Whatever deity there is out there, i thank it a million times over for letting us dodge this bullet. We still have our dad, but had he been sitting in that waiting room chair 5 minutes longer without anyone trying to wake him, we would have lost him.

I'm staying at Kris' tonight along with Mom, and we will be heading back to the hospital tomorrow to see how he's doing. There are still a lot of questions. He's still critical. His blood pressure is dangerously low and he was only just barely breathing on his own when we left. If you worship a god, please talk to it tonight for us, and if you don't, please send whatever positive vibes you can toward my family and me. It feels like we definitely got lucky this time, but we're not out of the woods yet.


That was followed up with this update:

Dad's resting in a regular hospital room now--no more ICU. He has a feeding tube as he cannot swallow very well; however, the breathing tube has been gone for a couple days now. One thing that was learned today is that Dad's heart was weakened, perhaps by the stress of his collapse on Wednesday. The doctors think he has stress-induced cardiomyopathy, also known as Broken Heart Syndrome. Fortunately it's a rapidly curable, easily reversible condition and he's apparently getting meds for it.

Unfortunately:

1) This is a side effect of what has happened to him, not the cause, so they're still trying to figure out why he collapsed, as he didn't have a heart attack or stroke or anything else resulting from the blockage in his carotid arteries.

2) The news about the broken heart (how poetic) was badgered out of an intern, because the docs and nurses have been awfully reluctant to share information. I saw a bit of this on Thursday; we were told that he'd have his bronchoscopy at 3 PM that day and didn't hear anything about it until almost two hours after it was completed. "No one told us that there was family waiting." never mind the two people in the ICU who said that they'd make sure someone came out to talk to us after the test.

Kris told me that Mom hit a breaking point today with all the hush hush, so he's going to have some communication with the staff tomorrow. Assertively and not aggressively, of course. I guess i don't understand why doctors don't understand that most people aren't going to go apeshit at every little development; it's just less stressful to have less mystery. This probably sounds like the same bitching about doctors that everyone has done at some point in their lives, but for what they get paid a little bedside manner for the family members wouldn't kill them.

Also, i'm sure this 7-2 St. Louis lead isn't doing my dad any favors either. WTF, Brewers.


...which was followed up by something else i wrote on my blog.

So here's where we are: after a checkup on his circulatory system, his heart and surrounding arteries were declared at full strength and blockage-free (the arteries in his neck are still clogged), and he was declared healthy enough to go under the knife for 10 hours tomorrow. So tomorrow, in Madison, a surgeon will attempt to remove and rebuild my dad's jaw.

I saw Dad on Thanksgiving and he was in positive spirits--he's been unable to not joke about his situation. He's also sporting a cute chemo fauxhawk; the hair on his sides has thinned and he or Mom's been brushing the hair on top toward the center, so he actually looks hipper than he has since the 70s, hilariously. The family is optimistic, although we've been advised that this surgery is going to be very tricky for the surgeon, as Dad's skin has been tightened thanks to past radiation treatments. But he's the best in the state, apparently, so if anyone's gonna finally get rid of my dad's jaw cancer, it's this guy.

So, my PRF pals, if you have some extra vibeage, please throw some positive thoughts toward my family tomorrow. After a job interview i'll be heading out there around 2 in the afternoon, at which point he should be in the home stretch of the procedure.

2011's been a bitch and a half for the Hostettler family, i tell you what. Let's hope we close out on a positive note with me finding a job and my dad finding a jaw.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby numberthirty on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:43 pm

Image
154 wrote:Are you in Voivod or something?
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby seanurban on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:44 pm

I hope your dad feels better soon.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby noise&light on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:50 pm

DJ, I had no idea that you've been going through this. But it sounds like your dad is in the best possible frame of mind to go through this process.

You and your family are in my thoughts.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby Model Citizen on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:52 pm

Best wishes to you and yours sir.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby Speedie on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:55 pm

Best wishes and vibeage your way pal.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby Mister Grabski on Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:08 pm

Son of a!!

Cancer - leave my friends alone! Please!
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby Ptommydski on Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:12 pm

All the best to you and yours, DJ.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby night_tools on Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:33 pm

Good luck and strength to you and your family Deej. Your old man has my best wishes for fighting this thing.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby Maurice on Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:43 pm

Best wishes, DJ!
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby whoisalhedges on Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:22 pm

Best to your pa and the rest of the family, Deej.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby Dovey on Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:04 pm

That was some moving shit you wrote on your blog there, DJ. Why no one is paying you for that stuff is beyond me. Best of luck to your whole clan.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby turnbullac on Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:12 pm

I will say some hail marys and our fathers
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby el capitan danjou on Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:19 pm

DJ - good luck to your father - I'm wishing him all the best for tomorrow. Be well!

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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby hench on Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:25 am

what a shit year for you, dj. i'm beaming good vibes and power ballads your way...
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby DrAwkward on Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:12 am

hench wrote:what a shit year for you, dj. i'm beaming good vibes and power ballads your way...


It's been a mixed bag, to be sure. On one hand, there's my dad's health problems and my layoff, but on the upside, i'm dating one of my best friends and an all-around amazing, supportive and strong woman, moved in with her and adopted a new baby kitty, so i've had a lot of help staying positive. Thanks for the vibes, y'all; i'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby Colonel Panic on Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:41 am

Dude, hang in there and stay strong. Best wishes to you and your dad.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby FuzzBob on Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:59 am

Nothing but the very best wishes to you, your dad and your family. I'm glad there are people in your life helping you through this. Hope he pulls through.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby Luzwei on Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:48 am

Best of luck and health to him. DJ. Stay strong.
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Re: Continuing Adventures in Asking Cancer to Fuck Itself

Postby emmanuelle cunt on Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:17 am

Fuck cancer. Positive vibes are and will continue to be sent to your dad. Stay strong.
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