David's Family

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Our cousin Dennis did a slide show last year for my Grandma and Grandpa's wedding aniversary and he sent me some of the old pics of Dad! When he's little you can see the shit-eating grin he had and still does sometimes and I always like seeing the ones from Vietnam, he looks so handsome to me as a soldier! Dad's doing better today, his mouth is still pretty sore, but I think skipping the chemo last week was a good idea so he can heal up a little bit. After next week, he'll be more than half way done with radiation, and we can all enjoy some Sooner football!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another appt today with the Oncologist. Chemo was held d/t dad's blood counts being too low. Dr. says he's going to lower the dose of the medication so hopefully we wont have to hold the chemo anymore. Today was day 15 of radiation, 20 more to go, he is getting so excited for it all to be over. Nothing tastes good to him right now, but he is maintaining his weight with the protein shakes through his feeding tube, so that helps. His mouth is getting really sore now and he is getting some blisters from the radiation which makes it hard to eat anything when it does taste good. He's making a list of restuarants he wants to go to when this is all over, I'm sure it will be the whole family going out to celebrate and all of us are excited for that day! Hopefully it's coming soon and will go by fast for his sake right now.

My parents have had so much help from our friends and family. People have brought over food and helped take my dad to and from his radiation treatments. No one truely understands how much help that is to him and my mom and they tell me and my sisters everyday how lucky they feel to have such awesome people in their lives.
Thank you to all of you,
it is much appreciated,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We had an appt with Dad's oncologist yesterday, to follow up since his hospitalization. Since his surgery, my dad has lost over 50lbs and another 10 within the last week. The chemo and radiation decrease his appetite and also make everything either taste the same or metallic, so he isn't eating very well. My mom tries to make him anything that sounds good, but he doesn't eat very much of it. We went to Juice it Up after the appt and he got a peach mango smoothie and I had them add a Protein, Fiber and Multivitamin boost to it. Don't know if it really works, but it was worth a try. My mom and dad have an appt with the dietician today so hopefully they will get some more ideas on what to feed my dad and how to help him gain weight or at least maintain it. We are very happy with his new oncologist and feel he is really there for his patients and cares about them. As of yesterday, my dad started back on his radiation and he will have chemo on Thursday. Depending on how he tolerates this treatment, there are medications that they can start him on to prevent his counts from dropping that low again and hopefully prevent any more hospitalizations. As long as treatment continues as planned my dad is happy and ready to fight. Keep up the good thoughts and I will keep you all updated as often as I can!
Love Ashleigh

Friday, August 14, 2009

Oh Crap!

Dad's been having some issues with weakness, fatigue and dizzyness. The first 3 days after his chemo last week, were pretty bad. He is getting 2 different chemo's, one he got before, but one is a new one and as he said it "kicked his ass pretty good". Even after he started to feel better from the chemo, he was still really dizzy and light headed. Yesterday we ended up in the ER again and his hemoglobin is extremely low! The doctor was surprised he was doing as well as he was, with it that low. He was admitted and got 2 units of blood. There have been a couple of set backs and in the process he has had a CT scan of chest and abdomen, an MRI of the head, US of both legs and Xray of his knees, so he's pretty confident that if the cancer is there, the only place it could be is his arms :) They did find out that his thyroid is low, so they put him on a thyroid pill to help that, the thyroid could be the reason he's been dehydrated alot and also may explain the dizzyness and blurred vision. A neurologist looked at all of his test and cleared him for any neuro problems. They are referring him to an opthamologis for the blurred vision, but the thyriod and blood transfusions should take care of the weakness, fatigue and hopefully dizzyness. He did have to miss 2 radiation treatments and chemo this week, but his blood counts were too low to do either, so it was for his safety. Everything will resume next week and hopefully this weekend he can rest and get his strength up, so the chemo can knock it down again next week:) Until then, thanks again for all of the kind words and prayers.


And so it begins....

Before my dad starts his treatment regimen, there were a couple of loose ends that needed to be tied. Through my experience with head and neck radiation, it becomes very hard for the patient to eat. Most patient have feeding tube placed so that if the burn to the throat and mouth area becomes too bad, the tube can be used to supplement protein shakes. The Radiation Oncologist told me that it wasn't mandatory, but if we wanted to be pro-active, he would put the referral through. So that process was taken care of and he had his tube placed last week. It was a same day procedure and he did just fine. He is currently supplementing the shakes about 3 times a day, but he is still able to eat and drink whatever he likes. I'm sure if it got down to it, he would figure out some way to get his Margarita down the tube also! You know life and death situations:) We had decided after this recurrence that we wanted to see a different Oncologist, since none of us were too thrilled with his last one. Another referral had to be sent out and of course authorization from the insurance. After that was all taken care of we got an appt to see the Oncologists at Loma Linda. I went with my dad to his appt and we both really liked this doctor. He and his nurse were awesome. I talked to them about a PICC line, which will be where my dad can get his chemo through. The nurses can also draw blood out of it and since he will have to have his blood drawn once a week and chemo also, the PICC line saves him from 2 pokes a week.
My dad started his treatment regimen last monday 8/3/09. He does the radiation everyday, mon-fri for about 30 minutes a day. I will let him tell you all about that, because he's as amazed by it as I am. His chemotherapy is once a week at Loma Linda Chemo Suite and he loves it there. My mom and I were with him on his first day, and everytime someone called to check on him he was at a different 4 star hotel. He said he was at the Four Seasons, Bellagio or the Hilton. He has his own little cubical, with a comfy recliner, flat screen TV and DVD player. He can't wait to take movies to watch. There also were some volunteers that brought a snack cart by the chairs and offer goodies to the patients AND the families! It's really nice and much better than where we were before. One week down!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our Fight Thus Far

(Not so) Quick recap, for those who may not know. My dad was diagnosed with Parotid Gland Cancer in December of 2007. He had 2 different surgeries in January of 2008 to remove the gland, tumors and lymph nodes involved in the cancer. Once he was healed from the surgeries and the doctors felt he was clear to begin treatment, he did so with IV chemotherapy every 3 weeks and also oral chemo therapy for about 2 weeks out of every month. While this was hard on him, he continued to fight through and stay positive through out. He continued that for about a year and with each PET scan showing more and more regression of the cancer. With his first diagnosis, we also discovered that the cancer had spread to a couple of spots on his spine and so during a chemo break after that year of treatment he had radiation to the back area for about 4 weeks. Again he got through that like a champ with the help of all of his family and friends. When all of this was finished, the doctors continued to monitor him and when he started having some ear and neck pain another CT scan was done, which showed 2 massess that were highly suspicous for cancer. His ENT doctor was recomending surgery and informed us some of the dangers, because one of the tumors was very close to the Carotid artery, which made the surgery very difficult. My dad had his most recent surgery in the beginning of this past June. We had the waiting area filled with all of our family and it was a long day, but we recieved great news at the end. He made it through surgery fine and the doctors were confident they got all of the cancer and with any damage to the carotid artery. There was a neurosurgeon and ENT surgeon on the case and both were insistant on starting radiation ASAP and possibly chemotherapy concurrently. We knew it was going to be a long hard fight ahead of us, but if he was willing to fight, we were going to be there every step of the way to support him and so we have.

And so his story goes....

Hello all,
My dad and all of our family know how many people out there are concerned about him and are continually asking for updates and current status reports on his health. We do greatly appreciate all of your kind words and thoughts, and though we may not always be able to talk to all of you, everyone is in our thoughts as well. Our family recently lost a very close friend and an amazing man Bob Freeman. After seeing his blog during his fight with cancer and also the one I have for my son, my dad liked the idea and I told him I would do it for him. We will try to keep this updated and as current as possible and also to hopefully get the word out that this blog exists so others can get involved. Any help that you all can provide in passing this website along would be greatly appreciated. Again thank you all so much for the love and support, my Dad wants to keep you all informed and he told me today that he would also like to post some blogs here and there so that he can keep in touch with all of you, even when he may not get to see you all the time.

All of our love,
Ashleigh and the whole Duggins Family.


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