Dr. Bobs Adventure

We've created this blog for several reasons. First is to keep family and friends(including Bobs' pts.)informed of Bobs' condition while he undergoes treatment for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia(AML) at HUP. You may also write to Bob by posting a comment, which I'll print for him to read. Please feel free to pass this blog site on to anyone you think may want to join us.Instructions to blog are listed under day 12, and bobs' address etc are under day 14. Click on April Archives to find both.

Friday, December 30, 2011


Dear family and friends,

Well, ring out the Handel!! We just got back from HUP and received the best New Years' gift. Bob is cancer-free and considered a cure! We knew the tumor was small(1.2 cm), but all the lymph nodes were negative too. So Bob won't need any further treatment, i.e. radiation or chemo. He will need to see our local oncologist and have Ct scans 2x/year, which we expected anyway. So, my heart is so light right now. We thank you all again for bearing with us, as well as shoring us up with your prayers and good wishes. I have to thank especially, our very good friends, the Aranos and Macys, for the meals and countless rides to HUP and other appts. Driving to Philly and Limerick is above and beyond the call of friendship!

 I'm off to the store to buy some nutritious, fattening food for Bob. He lost 10 pounds since his surgery, weighing in at his high school weight of 147 lbs today. Geez! Why is it that the people who need to gain, have no desire to eat?? The surgeon says that will come back eventually though. If only I could give him some of mine....but that's a whole other blog!

So, Bob and I wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday, and a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!!

With love and thanks,
Bob and Mo

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve, 2011

Wow! Can't believe it's a week since I've written. Bob is coming along swimmingly! Still on the O2, but takes it off occasionally to give his poor ears a rest, and he really does fine on room air. My Mom  has been with us since Thursday and Matthew slept over on Thursday night so we could have some Christmas fun together. We have missed our little ankle-biters soooooo much, and got to see Maggie yesterday for dinner. We are heading to Wynnewood this evening for the Mazzola/Imbesi Christmas Eve feast, and will spend Christmas day at my brothers. Bob and I wish all our family and friends a Blessed Christmas filled with love, peace and lots of loved ones to spend it with. Thank you all for your prayers and support. We cherish you all.
Bob and Mo

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December 17, 2011, 10 days post-op

Good morning everyone,

Sorry I've been derelict in the blogging department, but the days are passing in a blur. I seem to be spending lots of time on the phone trying to manage Bobs' and my Moms' care. My Mom was d/c'd from the hospital on Wed. and is currently staying at my brothers with visiting nurses and PT coming in. I hope to have her here with me next week, as Bob is improving daily. He stayed upstairs until yesterday, since the stairs did him in the first night home. Between his knees and SOB(shortness of breath), it would have been too much. But he came downstairs yesterday and it wasn't as bad as Monday, so I think he'll be back down today. He's also showered and shaved a couple times now, and his stamina is definitely improving. And his appetite is doing the same. My cousins stopped in last night with a smorgasbord of goodies(2 different soups, Chinese dishes, fried chicken etc.) that he really enjoyed, and gave me a break from kitchen duty, so a big thank you to John & Connie for that. Bobs' pain is well-controlled with percocet and a heating pad (the worst of the pain is muscular due to the positioning of his arm during surgery) and he is sleeping through the night now, so I am too! He wears the oxygen continuously, but just at 2lpm. I wish I had a pulse ox here to check his sat (you can take the nurse out of ICU etc.) after activity and on room air. But that will all be done in time. The fellow who set up the O2 said in his experience the O2 usually is needed for a month or so. Time will tell. In the meantime, I have cotton balls stuffed under the cannula since his skin started to break down on his ears already!! What do people do who wear O2 all the time? Oh, and he also had a little nosebleed from the dryness too. Small matters we can deal with, all things considered.

So before I write another cliche, I'll sign off. I hope you are all getting your holiday chores and errands ticked off your lists. In a way, it's kinda nice to have that pressure off and say "what gets done, gets done. Can't worry about it this year".  And, as has happened so often through Bobs' illnesses, it puts things in perspective. He is home and here with me, as will be my Mom, and that's all that matters. Try not to sweat the small stuff! Our thanks as always for the prayers and well-wishes. Keep 'em coming, please! Oh! and another big thank you to Mrs A., the cook and deliverer of the chicken livers. Bob was swooning....you are too good to us!

All our love,
Bob and Mo

Monday, December 12, 2011

He's Home!!! December 12, 2011

Hey everyone,

Just a quick note to say that Bob is home. On oxygen as suspected, and according to the resp. therapist, maybe for about a month, give or take. Getting out of Penn was a bit of an ordeal as usual, but I knew the real Bob was still inside this one, when he called the PA an incompetent boob(not to his face, thank God), told his nurse not to lie to us anymore...."I'll have your orders in 10 minutes, I swear", and threatened to sign out AMA. Phew! We're really going to have to work on the conserving energy thing a bit harder, lol. 

At least the home oxygen was delivered and set up w/o a problem. Bob has a 50 ft. leash w/ more extensions if needed, so he can be up or downstairs. We'll see how the stairs go tonight. He has the PC up and the laptop down, so he can play all the WOW his little heart desires, though I don't think he's up to any just yet.

We got home at 2:30p and he's been dozing more or less since then. I've made a pharmacy run and dinner's in the oven. It seems that the comfort food, meal of choice for this family is meatloaf, scalloped potatoes and broccoli, since that was our first meal after the fire and also before his last admission to Penn.

I ask that you include my Mom in your prayers as well now. She is in the hospital in Scranton with dehydration and atrial fib. My brother Tom is taking care of business up there. I hope you are all well and enjoying the holiday season. I managed to get our tree up, but the ornaments may not find their way to the branches for some time...we shall see. Oh how our priorities do change as we get older, n'est ce pas? Now that I've shown off all the HS French I remember I'll sign off w/ a great big hug and bigger thank you to all!

All our love,
Bob and Mo

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December 10, 2011, 3rd Post-op Day

Hi everyone,

   I spent the afternoon w/ Bob, after getting some errands done in the morning. He continues to improve, though he is finally back down to earth now that the fentanyl(pain med) epideural drip has been d/c'd. The oral pain med is controlling his discomfort well, and he's able to cough and deep breathe and do his incentive spirometry, though he hasn't been able to be weaned from the O2 yet. They will try tomorrow, but I think the more likely scenario will be that he comes home on oxygen. Hopefully that will be temporary, until  his body adjusts to his decreased lung capacity.

His appetite is just so-so, but seems to be improving with each meal, though he has pretty much stuck to ordering sandwiches and soup. He did in fact receive lasix(diuretic) yesterday and today to help with his breathing, but it also served to make his mouth more dry, which is an everyday problem to begin with. I took him some fresh brewed coffee today and he really enjoyed that. 

It's looking like discharge will be Monday, if no complications arise. I took a list today of everyone who's written so as not to forget anyone and he was quite moved. I heard a lot of "aw, how is he/she doing". He says to tell you all that he remembers you in his prayers daily. Bob is so unassuming, I think he is always surprised that he would be remembered by so many people. So that about wraps it up, except to say we are so blessed to have you all in our lives.

All our love,
Bob and Mo 

Friday, December 09, 2011

December 9, 2011 Post-op Day 2

Dear friends and family,

  Thought I'd try to get into the Christmas spirit w/ a little color. Bob is doing well...all tubes are out!! I just spoke to him and he still sounds a little loopy, but more alert than before. He will not be coming home tomorrow, and truth be told, I'm happy about that. I may be "old school"(old being the operative word there), but in my mind- Chest tube out today, discharge tomorrow- just isn't right. Plus, I wouldn't mind the extra day or 2 to recuperate myself. This creeping crud has worn me down, or more likely I was worn down already and that's why I got it. Anywho, discharge will probly be Sun/Mon. And he may be on O2 at home for awhile. His sats were dropping today on room air, and he has some pleural effusions and a little fluid overload. They didn't give him a diuretic, but he is starting to get rid of a lot of fluid on his own now(naturally, since the foley's out, right?). He had a decent lunch, but the usual Friday fish dinner....ah yes, the famous Penn cuisine we remember so well...so in true Mazzola fashion, he skipped the entree and went right to the lemon meringue pie. He's walking up a storm and will have PT coming in tomorrow.

All in all, Bob's doing great. Thank goodness, cuz he certainly deserves something to go his way for a change!! I'm going down tomorrow and will probably wear a mask to be on the safe side. I have shared all your e-mails, blog and FB prayers and well-wishes and he sends his love and gratitude back to you. Shouting out a hello and thanks to our Tri-Valley family tonight as they celebrate the holidays at their Christmas party. Wish we were there with you.

Please continue to remember us, especially Bob in your prayers.

Love and thanks to all,
Bob and Mo

Thursday, December 08, 2011

December 8, 2011, 1st Day Post-op

Bob is doing very well today. His arterial line was d/c'd and his IV's are capped. He's up to a regular diet and had taken 3 walks as of 5pm. His chest tube and foley catheter are due to come out tomorrow. If all goes according to Hoyle, he will be discharged Saturday. The surgeon is quite impressed with how well he is doing.

So once again your prayers, good vibes and well wishes have worked. Bob sends his best to everyone. I'll keep in touch tomorrow.

All our love and thanks,
Bob and Mo

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

December 7th, 2011 (Our own personal D-Day)

Hi everyone,

Well, Bob is fine. We arrived at HUP at 5:25am and Bob was in the pre-op holding area, changed and admitted by 6am. After surgical resident, surgeon and anesthesiologist saw Bob, he got an IV and was taken to OR by 7:15. He had an epideural catheter placed for pain management, then was given general anesthesia, had his bronchoscopy and finally the operation started at 9am. He went into recovery(PACU) at 1133am, and was immediately awake, c/o headache and wanted coffee for his "caffeine withdrawal". Those of you who have taken care of Bob in the past may recall that this is how he comes out of anesthesia, not sleepy like most people, but loud and verbose!! He dropped his blood pressure in PACU, probly from the epideural, so they gave him IV fluids and put him on a neosynephrine drip, which he is still on. He has a chest tube, an arterial line, a foley, O2, the epideural catheter(getting continuous fentanyl w/ a control to give himself extra when he has pain) and 2 IV's. Before I left he told me to put his cane w/in reach in case he had to get up...Yikes!!! I very calmly told him there was no way that was happening and his cane was staying in the closet. Sheesh! I'm glad he's not my pt.!
The surgery went very well. He had his right lower lung removed and the tumor was encapsulated. His lymph node biopsies will take a little longer than usual b/c they have to differentiate between the cancer, the leukemia and the gvhd(changes caused by the bone marrow transplant). Sorry about all the medical jargon, but I like to give our colleagues details.So we won't know about those results til next week. We expect a 3-5 day stay, barring complications. He is in Ravdin Bldg, room 639. And when I left he was a little ticked off b/c the admitting nurse had given him ice chips, which were taken away by the PA when he found out about it. When I told him he has to be NPO in case he would have to go back to the OR, he said "they can put an NG tube in if I have to go back".....UH-HUH, he's got an answer for everything!

I'd also like to tell my sis(in-law) Santa, how much I appreciate her coming down to Penn on such a foul day, to give me support and company. It's much more comforting than waiting on your own. Also thanks to my brother(in-law) Bill for being there this afternoon to take over when Santa and I left.
And a HUGE THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to Nicole H. the PACU clinical nurse specialist and dtr. of my good friend, Holly S. Nicole treated us like she would have her own family, keeping me informed of Bob's status and making sure we got to see him in Pacu as soon as was possible. She's a sweetie and madethis day much less stressful than I imagined it could be.

On that note I will finish. I just got home at 5:15. The Schulykil was a flippin' mess and I had 2 hours of restless sleep last night. Never did find that recliner either! Hope to get a good night's rest tonight. Thank you for your concern, the comments, e-mails and FB messages. Your prayers are lifting us up as always.

All our love,
Bob and Mo

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

December 6, 2011

Dear family and friends,
Wow! It's been so long since I posted, I forgot my password and had to reset it. I'm coming on to let you all know that Bob is going into HUP tomorrow for surgery. On his routine annual CT scan, a cancerous tumor was discovered in his lung. It is small and per his PET scan and MRI, there is no metastasis. So, this is a stage 1a cancer. Bob will have a lung resection and they will also do a bronchoscopy, prior to the operation to double-check the lymph nodes. We are told that if everything is clean, the surgery will be a cure and he will not need chemo or radiation. We expect him to be in for 4-5 days. So, once again, I will use the blog to keep everyone apprised of his condition.
Bob is his usual, pragmatic self and says "it is what it is and we will get through it together one day at a time". Maybe trite, but true, and certainly it has worked for us so far. I'm trying to be strong and take my cues from him. Truth be told, I think Bobs' calm demeanor(yes he can be calm-stop laughing!!) is helping me stay calm too.
So even though this is a hard pill to swallow, we were blessed that he's been having these CT's and the tumor was found quite early.
Now, I'm off to get Bob a bag to pack. Thank the good Lord that we aren't going to take up residence this time. Bob's only taking some paperbacks, as he was told not to bring any electronic equipment this time around. So his favorite new toy, the Kindle will stay at home.
We have to be at HUP tomorrow at 6am, as Bob is his surgeons' only case of the day. Right now all I know is that we will be in Silverstein. More details to follow.
Thank you for all your love support and prayers in the past. I've said it before, but it bears repeating, since that is what got us through and gave us a miracle. Please remember us again, especially Bob, early tomorrow am.
Love and thanks,
Bob and Mo