Monday, August 27, 2012

The Mecham's visit!

Sharlie posing after her Aunt Jenny gave her a mani/pedi 
Crew wouldn't get a picture with Rapunzel or Flynn Rider. He was too embarrassed. Flynn finally convinced him!!

and then Rapunzel jumped in a pic! So cute!!

Navy was definitely everyones favorite in the parade...she brought all the characters to us!

One of our favorites!

Waiting in line for the new Cars ride...our new favorite ride by far!!

Beegh, Cole, Randee and Sharlie...we miss them already!

Navy loves her Nana

The Mechams came over to visit us for a few days and we had a ball with them. We went to travel town, the splash pad, Disneyland, the beach and just got to hang out and catch up. We loved having them here and wish they lived closer to us. Thanks so much for everything Randee, Nana and Papa! We love you guys!!

Second Opinion

Today we met with Dr. Menedez at the Dr.'s of USC hospital in East LA for another opinion. Immediately when Wyatt and I sat down we both looked at each other and agreed that this place already felt so much better than Kaiser.

We filled out lots of paperwork and as we sat and waited to be called back into an exam room we both noticed a lady sitting by us with just one leg. Wyatt asked her, "How long have you been on crutches?" And she responded, "A long time." She had her full leg amputated all the way up to her hip. I immediately felt grateful that Wyatt's was a below the knee amputation and knew things could be way way worse.

They called Wyatt back and we already liked this place so much better. It was much more inviting and the exam room had a huge window in it unlike the dungeon at Kaiser. Once in the exam room the nurse went over all of Wyatt's paperwork, took his vitals and sent in a resident doctor to go over things with us as well before Dr. Menedez came in.

Dr. Menedez came in our room and was very professional and to the point with everything. He gave us three opitions:

1. "The gold standard" - Below the knee amputation. The reason why he likes this option is because it has a very low chance of reoccurrence. 00001% chance of reoccuring.
2. CyberknifeThe CyberKnife is a frameless robotic radiosurgery system used for treating benign tumors, malignant tumors. The CyberKnife system is a method of delivering radiotherapy, with the intention of targeting treatment more accurately than standard radiotherapy. The two main elements of the CyberKnife are (1) the radiation produced from a small linear particle accelerator and (2) a robotic arm which allows the energy to be directed at any part of the body from any direction. However, the reoccurrence rate is approximately 10%
3.Cryosurgery- is the application of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue.  Liquid nitrogen is usually used to freeze the tissues at the cellular level. The procedure is used often because of its efficacy and low rates of side effects.

We went over every option in detail with Dr. Menedez and felt good about now having some options. But we came out of the appointment feeling more confused and frustrated. Wyatt even asked the doctor what he would do. He told us he can't answer that. He just kept saying, "The gold standard is amputation and has the lowest reoccurrence rate." 

We both felt right about using Dr. Menedez for Wyatt's surgery. He is a very intelligent man and very very well known. Wyatt also liked the fact that If he does go with amputation that in surgery he will fit him with a temporary prosthetic and then just 6 weeks later he can get his permanent prosthetic. With Kaiser he wasn't going to have any temporary and would have to wait 3 whole months to be fitted for his prosthetic. 

Since Dr. Menedez is currently in the process of moving from USC to Cedars Sinai all of his scheduling is a little crazy right now and he is also no longer scheduling surgery at USC. So now we are just waiting, praying, fasting and praying some more to know what route Wyatt should take. 

Wyatt is meeting with another doctor on Monday at the City of Hope for a third opinion. Thanks again for all the sweet messages, texts, calls, cards, meals and prayers. Nothing goes un noticed! Sorry if we haven't returned everyones's been pretty crazy around here. Just know we appreciate it all!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kaiser Doctor Pre-Op

On Tuesday at 1pm Wyatt and I met with Dr. Helmstedter at Kaiser Permenente to discuss again what he already went over with Wyatt since I wasn't at the last appointment. I wanted to hear everything for myself out of the doctors mouth and wanted my huge list of questions answered on why my husbands leg had to be amputated.

On the drive to the hospital our car was pretty quiet. We were both nervous even though we already knew what the outcome was. I just don't think either of us wanted to hear it again. I think we just wanted his cancer to magically disappear and be the end of this. I couldn't help but keep asking Heavenly Father, "Why?" This isn't fair. We don't deserve this....As soon as we parked the pit in my stomach started again and I could see the fear in Wyatt's face. I felt awful for him. I wish I could take this pain he is going through away. He has so much on his plate right now with dental school, being a husband, father and provider. Just give him a break!

I hate the feeling of hospitals. It was cold, quiet and lonesome feeling. I  sat down with Navy while Wyatt checked himself in with the Secretary. He came over to sit down with us after he was all checked in and wanted us to move over in the corner. These days whatever Wyatt wants, Wyatt gets. So we moved and waited for his name to be called by a nurse. When Wyatt's nervous he has to be he was on his phone, taking pics of Navy and playing with her like crazy to keep his mind off things for the moment.

Finally, what seemed like eternity we heard "Wyatt Dannels" and walked back to one of the rooms. The rooms at Kaiser are the worst! So cold and uninviting, tiny, silent and no windows. What better place to tell you that you have cancer and need a below the knee amputation i guess. The nurse first took Wyatt's vitals and then shortly after Dr. Helmstedter came in our room. He looks and talks exactly like Woody Harrison. Very nice doctor but I had a hard time liking him just because of the bad news he had delivered to my husband the week before. He pretty much went over everything again about Wyatt's best options to get rid of his cancer, Chondrosarcoma. The best option is a below the knee amputation and i kept trying to get him to give us any other options and there was nothing. I sat there in shock because at this point it became really really real to me. I had been in denial that my husband was going to have to get his leg amputated. Why? Why him? He is totally healthy and now this...

We came into the appointment with a list of questions....
1. Recovery after Surgery? 2-3 days in the hospital and 1-2 weeks home from school.
2. How soon can he get his prosthetic? 3 months after surgery
3. When does his therapy start? Right away
4. How long is the surgery? 1-2 hours
5. Will he be in a wheelchair or crutches? wheelchair

After all of our questions were answered Wyatt told the doctor to set his surgery date for amputation on September 12. I was sick to my stomach and couldn't believe all of this was really happening. I was trying to hold my composure through our whole meeting but the tears were still flowing. Why is this all happening? It's just not fair.

The doctor sent us up to meet with the Anesthesiologist for pre-op for his surgery and as we were waiting in line to check in I looked down at the papers in Wyatt's hands and saw "below the knee amputation" in the doctors handwriting and I lost it. I had to walk away from Wyatt to try to pull myself together. I didn't want him to see me so sad when he has been so positive and strong through this whole situation.  I just didn't want my husband to have to go through this. No one should have to loose their leg to cancer.

We decided not to wait to talk to the Anesthesiologist since they informed us it was going to be over an hour and Wyatt re-scheduled closer to his surgery date. We left the hospital for Disneyland where Wyatt's parents, sister Randee and her family and Crew and Hudson were to meet up with them for the rest of the evening.

Our next appointment is on Thursday at 10 am with Dr. Menendez at USC for a second opinion.

Thanks again for all the heart felt phone calls, texts, messages and cards. We appreciate all the love and support we continue to feel during this very hard time in our family's life. We continue to lean on the spirit to guide us in the right direction.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Day of School 2012

Crew. 5 years old. Don Benito Elementary. Kindergarten. Mrs. Davis. 

Hudson. 3 years old. Sierra Madre. Pre-K. Ms. Bush. 

Crew was so excited to finally start Kindergarten. He had been asking me non stop when he was going to start and go to the "bobcat" school. He couldn't wait. We scored with Mrs. Davis! She is such a phenomenal teacher and I think the best one! (at least that's what I've heard) Crew goes all day from 8:45-3:10 and comes home exhausted! It's so sad to see my baby growing up and turning into a little boy. He is becoming more and more independent and smarter each day. I love you Crewbug!

Hudson started his second year of Pre-K with Ms. Bush at Sierra Madre Elementary. He is excited to be the bigger kid this year and I'm enjoying more one on one time with him in the mornings before he leaves for school. Hudson loves school and makes sure to always tell me what he ate for lunch everyday on the way home. I love this little boy so much!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Update on Wyatt...

Wednesday August 15 at 2 pm, Wyatt met with the Orthopedic Oncologist at Kaiser. I asked Wyatt if I could go with him to his appointment and I would get a babysitter for the kids but he insisted that he go alone. 

Around 2pm I had my phone glued to me awaiting Wyatt's phone call to see if the cancer had spread and what the next step may be. I couldn't hold still...the anticipation was killing me. At 2:23 my phone rings and it is Wyatt. 

"They want to do a lower leg amputation." I responded, ""WHAT? You are serious Wyatt." And he said, "No I wish I was but another doctor is coming in the room now to give me his opinion too so I'll call you back." 

I was sick. The tears started flowing. I don't think I have ever been this sick to my stomach before. What is happening? This isn't fair! Can't they do Chemo or Radiation to just cut the mass out? There has to be other options. I don't think this had even crossed my mind at this point. Amputation is a complete life changer. No...this isn't happening.

Wyatt doesn't deserve this. He is one of the most amazing people I know. He would do anything for anyone and truly this shouldn't be happening to him. How can such an amazing person be faced with this huge trial? It just doesn't seem right. How is he going to swim with our kids? Do back flips with the boys on the tramp? Navy will never know her Dad without a prosthetic. Many many scenarios just kept playing in my head. Why? Why is this happening to our family?

We are going through so many mixed emotions right now and Wyatt is being so strong through everything. He is using his sense of humor to get by. I just know that his life isn't going to be easy these next few months. It's actually going to be hell. But if anyone can get through this, I know Wyatt can. He is a rock. And I think he knows he has to be to hold our family together through this rough time. 

Wyatt is in his last year of dental school and only has 9 months left. He is so optimistic about the whole situation and insists that he will be able to finish school on time and hopefully will only have to take one week off after his foot is amputated. 

As of now his surgery for amputation is scheduled for September 12, 2012 unless things happen to change. We have decided to meet with two other doctors to get their opinion. I will update everyone with any news. 

I guess this is our mountain to climb in life. And I know it's going to be hard but I know as a family if we rely on the Lord we can and will get through this. Please keep your prayers coming. We can feel the love around us. I know that if we have faith in Christ that the hardest times and even the easiest times can be a blessing. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

the unexpected...

This last November I noticed a large, unfamiliar bump on Wyatt's ankle. I knew it didn't look right but Wyatt just sort of brushed it off and thought it was from spraining his ankle playing basketball or football. A few months went by and the bump was still there. We both knew something was wrong and Wyatt decided to make a doctors appointment. 

Wyatt's first appointment was with a general doctor who looked at it and then referred him to a Podiatrist. When the Podiatrist looked at it he said it looked like a ganglion cyst and scheduled a surgery date to have the "cyst" removed. Before the surgery Wyatt had to meet with the Podiatrist one last time to talk about what is going to happen during surgery...etc and then thought he should probably do an MRI before operating on him. (Shouldn't anyone get an MRI before getting cut open?) This should have been ordered first thing! 

About a week later Wyatt went in for his MRI and two weeks later his Podiatrist called him and told him that he needs to go see an oncologist because his MRI didn't look good. He thought Wyatt may have Synovial Sarcoma. This was the start of something very bad.

After Wyatt ended his phone call with the Podiatrist he called me immediately and I could sense the fear in his voice. He was devastated, I was devastated. The thought of him having cancer and this type of cancer was a huge shock to us both. No one ever wants to hear the "C" word. I didn't even want to type in "synovial sarcoma" into the google search for fear of the prognosis. 

From getting the phone call of his MRI results (Monday July 23) until the appointment with the oncologist (Friday July 27) it seemed like eternity. Of course in situations like this you always assume the worst to prepare yourself. 

I have never seen Wyatt like he was this last week, ever. He was very scared. Scared for his life, scared for his family, scared for his kids that they might not ever see him again, scared that his time on this earth may be cut short. 

Friday July 27th we met with Dr. Hiatt, the oncologist, and he went over the MRI with us and read us the notes from the Radiologist, which read that he thought it was Synovial Sarcoma as well. The oncologist thought it was a ganglion cyst as well so he asked Wyatt if he could try to aspirate it and if nothing came out then he would take a biopsy. No fluid came out while he was trying to aspirate it so he took a biopsy and it was more waiting for us. We were told we would hear back from the biopsy within 2-3 business days. 

Tuesday July 31 around 6pm Wyatt received a phone call from Dr. Hiatt with his MRI results. The pathology came back and it is ChondroSarcoma. 

Definition of Chondrosarcoma: Chondrosarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in cartilage cells. Cartilage is the specialized, gristly connective tissue that is present in adults and the tissue from which most bones develop. Cartilage plays an important role in the growth process. There are many different types of cartilage that are present throughout the body. Chondrosarcoma is a malignant type of bone cancer that primarily affects the cartilage cells of the femur (thighbone), arm, pelvis, knee, and spine. Although less frequent, other areas (such as the ribs) may be affected.

After weeks of thinking Wyatt has synovial sarcoma getting the news that it was Chondrosarcoma was considered pretty good news to us. It was still malignant cancer but was better than having Synovial Sarcoma. 

Next step for Wyatt is his CT scan on Tuesday August 7th to make sure the cancer hasn't moved anywhere else in his body. His orthopdic oncologist is out of town for a few weeks, so as soon as he gets back he will be in there talking about the next steps, surgery. 

We are taking one day at a time and have been overwhelmed by the love and prayers we have felt from our family, friends and ward members. This has been a vey hard time for our family but also a very spiritual time as well. I don't feel like we have ever had to rely on the Lord as much as we have these last few weeks. Through our fasting and prayers we feel at peace with everything. It still may be a long road ahead but we know that the Lord will not give us anything we can't handle. I'll try to update you as we know more...