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.


  1. Reading this made me loose it. My heart is breaking for you Jenny. I can't imagine how hard it is for both of you to be strong. I wish I had some like great advice or something, but you know all that. You have such a strong family. I love you and you two are in our prayers.

  2. Man. I hate that this is happening to your family :( I also keep thinking there's GOT to be another option! This is LA, there has to be some doctor who is special and talented enough to surgically remove the darn thing. I hope hope hope that the USC doctor will give you a better second opinion. Sending lots of prayers your way! And even if he does have to get his foot amputated, I know that your family will be blessed beyond measure and you'll all come out so much stronger. Hugs.

  3. Jenny, My prayers are with you and your sweet family. I'm really into researching everyone, so I did a quick one on the Kaiser doctor, and he's got good reviews (for what that is worth). Here's the link Here's what I found with the USC doc Dr. Helmstedter did get his training at USC. I'm so glad you're getting a second opinion. Even if the decision is an amputation, you'll know that it was what needed to happen. Love to you all! Mary Lambeth

  4. Oh my goodness Jenny! I have been in UT for the last 2 weeks and haven't been on my computer since and on my phone very little! I am in shock! I can't believe all of this. I think getting a 2nd opinion is a good idea, just to be sure. You guys will get through this, you are both so strong and have the ability to see the positive, I am sure right now that might seem crazy, but I know that you guys will get through this and find the good in it all. I love you Jenny!

  5. I am very late finding all this out! I know you have lots of friends but please let me know if you need someone to take the kids so you can go to an appointment or something. We will pray for your family and for the Doctors to make the right decisions.