Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Darts, anyone?

Kelly here, reporting from the front lines. All is reasonably calm and things have been largely uneventful. Nonetheless, I wanted to post a quick update to keep you all interested. Jeff really thrives on all of your comments and it gives him encouragement when he sees how many of you read these posts and respond (hint hint!). So, here's the latest . . .

Jeff continues to work very hard in therapy. He is strengthening his left arm and continues to work on his left leg, but the leg is still largely uncooperative and progress has been slow. Apparently, no one remembered to tell this to Jeff because despite having virtually NO use of his left leg, he has been going up and down full flights of stairs in the hospital stairwell; he has been taking long walks around the rehabilitation gym; he has practiced balancing on his knees while simultaneously playing balloon-volleyball with a fairly competitive 8 year-old daughter; he has even made attempts to walk without a cane! I keep thinking he might notice that his left leg is not functional; that one of his therapists might have tipped him off, ("Uh, yeah. Um, Jeff. About your left leg--it doesn't work), but it's like the Chinese proverb states: "He who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it." So, he's forging ahead and doing well despite his leg's current unresponsiveness. Besides, Jeff's therapists and doctors all believe the leg WILL recover--the questions are "how much use will he regain?" and "how long will it take?" Apparently, Jeff has decided he will regain full use now--the leg merely needs to get with the program and catch up. Jeff is motivated by the prospect of coming home and is trying to emphasize exercises that build strength and endurance so that the transition home is smooth.

The good news is that Jeff is reasonably close to being discharged and his therapists expect he will eventually walk without a cane. He got to come home for four hours on Saturday afternoon on a "Day Pass." The therapists encouraged him to try to maneuver around home to see where he might need to make special accommodations. He didn't use his wheelchair at all. He walked up the driveway and down two stairs into the kitchen with just his cane. He then walked into his office and sat at his desk for a while (I'll be annoyed if I find out he cranked-out a couple of articles while he was sitting there, but I wouldn't be surprised). He also sat in the kitchen for a while and even held Finny-pie. Then we had a big BBQ outside on the back porch where he sat at the patio table before walking back to the car and returning to the hospital. Based upon the successful Day Pass and upon his continued progress in physical therapy this week, his therapists hinted that he might be able to come home as early as this Friday! Woohoo!

The only downside to being discharged from the hospital, is that Dr. Legha wants to see him in Houston ASAP--as soon as he is discharged and before he starts Whole Brain Radiation. Dr. Legha wants to check Jeff's other tumors before deciding whether to put him on a chemotherapy drug during the Whole Brain Radiation. So, Jeff will not be able to relax and enjoy home much before jetting off to Houston for a couple of days.

In the meantime, we spent Regan's 8th birthday at the hospital last night with Jeff, Jeff's mom, Jeff's brother and sister-in-law and our family-friends, Tony and Cee and their sweet baby girls. We ate at the hospital cafeteria and brought a big chocolate chip cookie-cake. Regan opened her presents and the kids all played and visited with Jeff. Jeff even held Finn for a while--it's clear he's gaining more strength in his left arm every day.

And I have imposed one more little demand upon Jeff: he MUST dance with me a his brother's wedding in October. So, that's his deadline to get that leg working, or if it's not working, to figure out how to dance without it. (And, if he can't meet that deadline, I'll just move it back a little bit and a little bit more--I'm fickle like that. But he's not getting out of it). And although you probably assume I'm talking about a romantic slow dance, you're wrong. I'm talking full-on Running Man (M.C. Hammer style). (Tee hee!)

And one final note: Jeff played darts yesterday in recreational therapy. (I just thought it was funny that they let brain-injured people throw darts). Tomorrow is blind-folded skeet shooting while bungee jumping off the flight-for-life landing pad. I'll let you know how it goes.



Tim said...

Hey Jeff!!! I am always checking in on you and I am so happy that you are getting more and more function with you arm and sooner than later it will be your leg too. Just keep up the hard work. It'll pay off. Talk to you soon man and don't let things get you down.


kate said...

Hi Dodds! I love reading about Jeff's awesome progress. Terri calls or e-mails me & tells me the latest update & I always get to say, "Yeah, I read that, he's doing great!" I'm also amazed at how much your kids have grown. I see pictures of Aubrey & remember her barely being able to walk & loving Candy's blonde hair. She would try to yank it out, which I thought was funny. Anyhow, just wanted to let you know you're all in my (and my whole family's & friends') prayers. Keep posting!
-Kate M

Katie Clancy said...

Hi Dodds.. great to hear things are going strong. We're looking forward to seeing you guys tomorrow..keep your fingers crossed for an on time flight.
Until then - wear helmets around the patients who are throwing darts....Love Katie

lisa said...

Hi Dodds,

I got used to seeing Jeff walking up and down the Hawthorn hill towards the end of school year and then fell off the "check daily" wagon on the blog after Finn was born. I just got caught up and have to tell you that I am simply in awe of your family's love, strengh and humor(and extended family). Whenever people ask me how I manage with a large family, I think of you and Kelly every single time and think that what we go through is absolutely nothing compared to the mountains that other people like you climb. Now I have to admit to you that we recently converted to Catholicism so it took a great deal of effort to seek out the appropriate prayers and such in an effort not to screw this up! I think we are all on track but ended up a bit confused because your link to the prayer on the doddfamilyfund "how you can help" page was broken. This resulted in an emergency telephone call to Fr. Len at St. John Vianney to figure out exactly how this works. After much remedial help, I think we are now on track! In this regard, everyone in our family is thinking of your family and praying every single day that we see you walking up and down that hill any day now. In the meantime, I hope you already know this, but please, please, please don't hestiate to ask us for help - especially babysitting or "entertaining" the kids (we have LOTS of experience in that area!).

-- Lisa, Michael, Cassandra, Rachael, Benjamin, Nathan, Matthew and Kevin Brzycki (and the four cats Tigger, Snowball, Scamper and Dusty, and the saltwater eel Mo) :)

Kara Smith said...

Jeff, Kelly, and all the rest of the gang,
I guess I get so enthralled in reading what you have to say that I forget to send some sort of response. I keep several people updated on your condition. They are all so amazed by your strength, faith, and wit.

I hope you can continue to improve your mobility so you can get home all the sooner. I bet recovery at home is much faster.

Keep up all of your hard work. It sounds like it is paying off!

Kara Smith

Terri said...

I am amazed at your faith, commitment and determination to get your leg up to par with where you want it. Just like kelly said, you are thinking your leg should try and keep up with you. Well, keep up all the hard work it will pay off. I too check this thing everyday and I love to hear all the great progress and funthings you and the family are up to. keep on truckin' as the famous words Kelly.
Love terri

michelle wait said...

Hey Everybody! First of all, Jeff and I had such a great time seeing all of you this past weekend. Jeff, watching you do therapy was quite a learning experience. Thank you so much for letting us crash the therapy party. It was neat to watch you make progress right before our eyes. You're totally gonna be bench pressing 3 lbs. anyday now. You probably already have! Love you all! I can't wait to see you all at Michael's wedding.
Much love,

colin said...

I think your "dancing" deadline should be this Saturday so you can do the victory jig at the end of the ND game.

katie.elsener said...

Hi Dodds,
Jeff, you are amazing. Keep up the hard work and it will pay off. Keep up the good work.
You remain in our daily prayers.
Mark and Katie

Annette said...

Hi Jeff,
you do not know me personally. I met Kelly a couple of weeks ago at Katie's bachelorette party. I was very touched by what you and your family are going through and how much love and strengh you are sharing.
I send you all my best wishes!

mka said...

I read this:"When I was a kid in the ghetto, a gang started going around harassing people, so some of the toughest kids formed a gang called The Sharks to stop them. The other gang was called The Jehovah's Witnesses." That made me laugh, because when the kids were young and Jehovah's Witnesses came to our house, Jim and John would start singing "Happy Birthday" to get rid of them. (Because Jehovahs don't celebrate birthdays.) Glad to hear you're all doing well. Love, Myrna (Mom)

TheRamFam said...


Read the blog faithfully and pray for you daily. Your battle is an inspiration to us all.

I'll be returning to campus this weekend, and will be sure to light a candle for you at the Grotto.

Hope you get a chance to relax and watch the Irish take on Georgia Tech Saturday.

Heal like a Champion Today,


Patrick and Tracy said...

Jeff and Kelly,
Good, good, good. Good. Good. Good, good, good. Gooooooooood. Oh, good. Good. Good. One more thing, good.
Patrick and Tracy