Monday, July 29, 2013

Oncology Appointment

Dad met with Dr. Haque today at Columbia Basin Hematology and Oncology (CBHO).

Recommendation was to go in on Friday at Kadlec Hospital to get his port, a small medical appliance that is inserted under the skin just below the collar bone. Then he will start chemotherapy next week (Tuesday or Wednesday). And will begin a four week cycle of one day a week for three weeks and then one week off. After the week off he will start the cycle again and repeat it 4-6 times.

When that series is complete he will have a PET scan (produces a 3D image) to see if  there are any cancerous lymph nodes and then will begin radiation on the pancreas.

Gemzar is the type of chemotherapy he will be having. He fortunately won't be losing his hair - which he claims to be disappointed by. :)

We all felt encouraged that the oncologist felt that this treatment isn't just fight off the cancer temporarily but to cure it.

We hope you all feel encouraged as well!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Medical Update

A little medical update - Dad is still having a hard time digesting food and keeping it down. We are trying different forms of liquid slowly getting more and more clear. He's doing a little better with sleeping.

He has a consultation with the oncologist on monday in Tri-Cities to talk about his chemotherapy treatment.

Dad is feeling like there's some type of estrogen in his medicine with how often he gets emotional. He is very touched by all of visits, food, cards, texts, phone calls, gifts, daily front porch surprises (Jeanie and Sloane included as well), rides in cool cars, offers to do chores and it goes on and on...

Sloane and I are having a great time being with Gramie and Pops. Pops and Sloane have a lot of similarities.... liquid diet, don't like to take naps, and burping. So there is a lot of good bonding going on.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Glow Stick Love!

Thanks to the Andersons, Copelands, and Weavers! They must know my Dad's slight obsession with glow sticks.

My parents said it was it was a beautiful sight.

My Dad went to the Sunnyside Hospital today. He was having hard time keeping food down and became dehydrated. They put him on an IV and are changing his diet as well as giving him a new medicine to help keep his exciting liquid diet down. The doctor said that it's "trial and error" at this point so we are hopeful that this will work!

Thanks for all the support and love!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Thank You!

We wanted to send a big "Thank You!" to my Mom's sister Aunt Kathy and her husband Uncle Dick for opening up their home for my Dad's post-surgery recovery. They have provided food, transportation, a room and above everything - comfort, warmth, love and encouragement. Dad wants to thank them for the "five star hotel/home."

Thank you Aunt Kathy and Uncle Dick!

On a different note for anyone who would like to visit my parents - please contact my Mom.

As always thank you for all your support and love.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Welcome Home to Remember

Below is what my parents came home to yesterday. The sign on top said "We love you Bruce and Jeanie." The bottom sign read "Welcome Home," and was signed by over 50 people. Sadly, the heat didn't allow the tape to hold, but my parents were so surprised to come home to such a site!
Yellow ribbons were tied to shrubs and on my dad's car. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lots of Love!

Feeling lots of love and support! You  know who you are, even if you're not pictured below! It's all very much appreciated. My dad and our whole family has been incredibly touched by all of the reaching out, kind words, efforts, and prayers by everyone.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pathology Report

Friends and Family,

We received the results from my dad's pathology report. The report confirmed that the type of cancer he has is pancreatic cancer. His surgeon also took out a large number of lymph nodes to test for cancerous cells, and unfortunately after the tests, the cancer is still present in my dad's body. He plans on meeting with his oncologist and starting chemo as soon as his body has recovered enough to handle it.

Our family is disappointed (understatement of the year) with this news, as I'm sure are all of you.

Brucie is resting comfortably in Seattle until probably Friday, and then will head back to Sunnyside. We'll send more updates as we get them.



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hospital Release & Love

My dad got released from the hospital last night. They are staying with my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Dick who have graciously opened there home to my parents. My parents are very grateful for a warm comfortable home to stay in as my dad recovers. He is still very weak and trying to get his strength back. Some of the pain meds knock him out, so he dozes in and out of sleep through out the day and night. Luckily the nausea is under control and he is able to keep small amounts of food down. The Dr. said yesterday that so far there is no infection which is a good sign and the incisions are healing properly. They have an appointment on Friday and are hoping we get the "OK" to head home. We are grateful for the continued prayers, support and love! Speaking of support and love.. Today gift boxes from Jim & Rosalie Stevens & Kristen and Sean Koshkinen families arrived to lift my dad's spirits. Our family truly feels so blessed and loved by those around us!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chin Up

Hi everyone. My dad has ran into a couple set backs. The complications he has experienced from the removal of one of his tubes has made his recovery difficult. He was supposed to leave the hospital yesterday, and now it is uncertain when he will be discharged. His pain meds make him very nauseous and his energy levels are pretty low. He slept almost all day yesterday, and we're waiting to see how today goes.

He did get a wonderful surprise visit from Dr. P, who brought his two children in to meet my dad on Saturday. I think Dr. P has really grown an attachment to my dad and his winning attitude. Although things have grown a little more complicated, we're trying to keep our chins up.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Blowing this Joint (tomorrow!)

Coming to you from a room full of flowers, cards, balloons, and care packages. My dad feels so lucky to have so many people rooting for him. 

Yesterday there was a mishap with the removal of one of his tubes that caused an enormous amount of pain for him. It was traumatic and resulted in me having to yell at a room full of nurses (believe me, they deserved it). He spent the rest of the day resting and trying to get back on track. And boy did he ever! He woke up this morning and did nine laps around the hall with no support! They also promoted him from ice chips to solid foods (happy man) and we found out today that they're discharging him tomorrow!!

His progress and speedy recovery has shocked the entire hospital staff. When he leaves tomorrow he and my mom are under strict instructions not to be more than 45 minutes away from the hospital for seven full days. At that point he will be heading back home to Sunnyside. 

We have been amazed at his recovery from the surgery so far, and know we've got everyone's prayers and support to attribute to it. We are so grateful. It's definitely been a testimony builder of how powerful prayer can be. 

Brucie is in good spirits (as always...well, except for yesterday) and is looking forward to blowing this joint. 

We will be sure to keep you all in the loop when we get the pathology results back. Shouldn't be too long now. 

We love you all,


Friday, July 12, 2013

Today is not a good day for visitors..

We have had a little set back.. (nothing to alarm anyone.) But best if no visitors for today. We will keep you posted! Thanks again for all the support, love & prayers.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ice Chips and Dr. P's Prank

Hey everyone. Sitting here with my dad as he goes through all the messages he's received from everyone. He's so touched by the outpouring of love. Yesterday was a very. long. day. His surgery started at 8:30am and lasted about 9 hours. We were encouraged that once they opened him up they decided he was in good enough shape to continue on with the surgery. We were also encouraged that they were able to remove the entire tumor from his pancreas with good margins. The jaundice should slowly start to go away as his body gets back up and running. During the surgery they removed the part of the pancreas with the tumor in it, part of the stomach, the gallbladder, and the duodenum. We will get the pathology report back in about a week (two weeks at most). The results will tell us exactly what type of cancer we are dealing. Chemo will start in about a month, after his body has had time to somewhat recuperate. (Side note- when my dad was told he would need chemo, he turned to my mom and said "you okay with that?" ...Always thinking of anyone but himself. That's my dad.)

Dad hasn't been allowed to eat anything at all, so has developed a loving relationship with ice chips, but only five chips at a time! So far this morning he has sat up completely straight, stood up, and is now sitting in a chair next to his bed- looking very much forward to walking these halls like a good little patient. 

He has developed a very great relationship with his surgeon, Dr. P. So much so, that for the surgery, Dr. P made about a 5-6 inch incision, but had the nurses give him a huge dressing across his entire abdomen. So Dad thought he was going to have a 20 inch scar across his stomach, and was very excited to show it off. When Dr. P came by this morning, my dad asked him if the large incision helped him during the surgery to see and maneuver around. Dr. P finally came clean and told my dad he would unfortunately only have a 5-6 inch scar. Congrats to you Dr. P for successfully punking my dad. He's still a bit shocked he got "got" but is grateful that the small incision will help him heal faster. 

My mom has been on a bit of a roller coaster of emotions, but is hanging in there and has been such a strength to my dad. 

Still a long, hard road ahead of us, but we are grateful for the victories we've had so far. 

Love to all,


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Surgery Went Well!

The surgery is finally over and it went well! Everything went according to plan, the doctors said. The tumor wasn't attached to any vessels, and the margins were clean, which is all really positive.

The doctors said the mass on his tumor was hard and "almost definitely" cancer. The pathology report will be back in around a week.

It's estimated that the recovery will take around a month.

He's in good spirits and cracking jokes as usual. Still coming off the pain medication he mumbled "Days of Thunder, I don't like Tom Cruise but I like the movie."

Thank you all for your support.

He's located at:

University of Washington Medical Center
1959 N.E. Pacific St.
Seattle, WA 98195
Room #4362

If you want to send mail:

UW Medical Center
4 Southeast
Bruce Ricks
1959 NE Pacific Street
Box: 356086
Seattle, WA 98195-6086

Update from the Nurse

Surgery seems to be going well. The nurse said his vitals look good and they just removed the gallbladder. Probably about 4-5 more hours until the surgery is done. The nurse said she would check in again in a few hours.

Going to Battle

Prepped and ready. Procedure starts at 8:30.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Whipple details and Hope

Hi all. Jamie here. Sitting in Denver right now, waiting to board my Seattle flight. Anxious to get home to be with my parents and give both of them big hugs. Brucie goes in for the whipple procedure tomorrow at 6:15am. He and my mom seem to be in good spirits and ready to tackle this thing. 

For those of you who would like more information about the whipple procedure, click here. The surgery is somewhat exploratory - the doctors will have a loose plan, but will change things if needed once they get in there depending on what they see. 

I've started reading the book, The Anatomy of Hope (given to me by my sweet Jordan). I'm only a few pages in, but I can tell this book is going to be a comfort to me right now. One line I love in particular so far is "During the course of an illness, hope can be imagined as a domino effect, a chain reaction in which each link makes improvements more likely. It changes us profoundly in spirit and in body." I have hope that tomorrow will go well, and now I'm waiting for that domino effect! I hope you're all hopeful too. I know Brucie is. 

More soon. Love to all,


Surgery Time & Hospital Address

Bruce's surgery is scheduled for 6:15 AM tomorrow morning. We have also included the contact information below for those that have asked for it. We will keep the updates coming! University of Washington Medical Center 1959 NE Pacific ST Seattle WA 98195 Phone (206) 598-3000

Monday, July 8, 2013

CT Scan clear for Chest!

Just got word that the results of Bruce's CT scan (chest/lungs)are back and everything looks good! This is great news!! As my dad says (way too much ;)..."Let's rock and roll!"

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Coming Soon..

The Hospital information for Bruce's stay. As soon as we have it, we will post it here! If you would like instant updates you can request to follow this blog by submitting your email address to the link on the left (Follow by email). Below is a picture of the banner my mom made for the hospital room. Pops says it is the best medicine! ;-)

What we know so far..

Bruce is scheduled for the "whipple procedure" Wednesday June 10th. We feel very blessed that he qualified for the surgery and have high hopes for the future prognosis. The surgery is pretty complicated and he will be in the hospital for several days. All prayers and well wishes are greatly appreciated. The doctors are very optimistic that they will be able to remove the tumor in his Pancreas. We will not know until then whether the mass is cancerous or benign. We will know much more once the surgery is over, but we anticipate that there will be future treatment in the form of chemo/radiation to ensure the cancer does not spread. The doctors are wonderful and he could not be in better care, we are very uplifted by this. Bruce had some routine blood work done with his primary care physician. Dr Weaver noted a spike in his enzyme count and had Bruce scheduled for an epidural. At the time it appeared to be an issue with his Gallbladder. The ultra sound tech was very thorough and found the tumor on his pancreas. Bruce was then scheduled for an immediate CT Scan. Within days he was ushered to Seattle to meet with a new team of doctors. (Of note: His team of specialists were all in town and available to meet with him the Friday directly following a holiday.) 7 days after being diagnosed Bruce will be in surgery. We have been so encouraged by the urgency his doctors and others have shown in making sure Bruce is getting the best care possible. We hope this blog will serve as an easy way to distribute updates and allow Bruce and Jeanie to focus on getting Bruce well. Please feel free to leave comments and questions we can pass along! Thanks to all for the prayers, love and support! It has been overwhelming and so very much appreciated! Love, The Bruce Ricks Family