Teddy Rodd's Journal
Written Feb 2, 2010 10:08pm
This is Teddy’s Aunt Shari. Teddy loves playing Empire Earth on my computer and talking with friends and family on Skype. It’s rare that I have access to my laptop to give you an update! I thought you might like to hear about what Teddy does all day here in the hospital. It’s a pretty happening place around here. Sometimes our biggest concern is that we don’t wear Teddy out with too much activity.
So, what sorts of things occupy his days?
Lots of laughter. Lots of tears of frustration. Wild and crazy wheelchair road trips outside in the sunshine. Frozen yogurt. M&M gifts from his friend down the hall. PT sessions with his new walker. This is a huge milestone that Teddy has graduated from the parallel bars to the walker, but he doesn’t like the walker because he says “it’s for old people”. The Game (a slapping card game) with Aunt Shari and Mommy. Visits from his physical therapists, occupational therapists, doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, hospital mailmen, catering services, cleaning ladies, six different dogs and wonderful friends and family who bring us dinner. Reading Hardy Boys. Listening to music. Air hockey games where Teddy ALWAYS beats Aunt Shari. Trips to the candy machine as a reward after a hard therapy session. Receiving lots of cards and packages that make him (and the other kids on the floor) smile. Drawing thank you cards for you!
Please continue to pray that Teddy would walk again. Could you also add one more thing? Teddy is struggling a bit with his motivation these days. Therapy is just plain old hard work. He doesn’t see the kind of daily progress that he would like to see. Please pray for all his caregivers to know how to motivate and encourage him, but most of all that Teddy would continue to take personal responsibility to work hard and re-learn how to walk.
Written Jan 30, 2010 1:39pm
Yeah, I’ve been lax with the blog. It’s just been tough putting into words the past three days now that we’re out of the initial crisis. We continue to daily read Teddy your entries though. This has been so key to his emotional, physical and occupational recovery. Here goes.
Teddy’s off the heavy narcotics.
His doctors brought in the big gun, Toradol, for a two day run to break the real and anticipated pain cycle that the previous cocktail of heavy-hitting meds couldn’t do. This powerful drug cannot be administered for more than two days in a little guy like Teddy, otherwise it can do serious damage to the kidneys. It did the job. The bone, muscle and skin seem to be healing beautifully. Coming out of this two week surge of agonizing pain from the surgery allows Teddy to focus on his physical and occupational therapy.
It also permits Teddy to ponder on all that’s happened these past two weeks as well as what the next two years may look like. As a dad, I’m not sure what’s harder. Holding Teddy’s hand through excruciating pain from the surgery over the short term or watching Teddy pace the hospital room in his wheelchair for an hour sobbing in anger, frustration and sadness after attempting to put one foot in front of the other suspended by a harness over a treadmill in one of his physical therapy sessions. On one hand the doctors are very encouraged by his progress especially from the waist up, yet it’s becoming clear that we could be looking at a two year long recovery process from the hips down. Keep in mind that the strength Teddy will need to recover will be slowly and methodically broken down over 14 months of chemo. The chemo will not only attack the growing tumor, it’ll also attack his healthy bone marrow.
So we ordered Teddy’s wheelchair today.
He mused that one doesn’t see many wheelchairs in the corridors of his school or down on Main Street in Durango. Ordering his custom fit chair feels like we’re giving up on his legs. We’re not. For Teddy this can feel permanent like he’ll never walk again. We remain hopeful.
Teddy’s biggest concern remains, “I’ll never be able to walk again.” After that it’s, “I just want to go home.”
Speaking of going home, I personally braved the 1950’s bus with attached wings and propellers from Denver to Durango to be with Allie, Nano and the Gersts for Allie’s 13th birthday. I came home to a frozen cabin in a winter wonder land. The propane company accidentally deleted our account from their files and let the propane tank go empty. I also came home to a missing dog. Not just any dog. Henri, the pug. The official mascot of Team Teddy. We scoured the ranch for an hour to no avail, until we got word that the 500 pound gorilla (a.k.a. Robert Gerst) and Allie discovered that Henri had fallen into a three foot snow hole just next to the house. He’s not a barker and he’s black. Both elements made it difficult to find him in the night. They heard the whimpering and shone the flashlight down the hole. In pug fashion, Henri, snorting snot in delight held his bulging eyeballs in with great effort as his rescuers pulled him from the pit.
The cabin’s now warm again (tank filled up), Henri’s safe inside and today promises to be fun filled with family and friends sledding on a killer snow run just behind the house, some really great food and a lot of laughter. Nano already gave Allie her birthday present in typical Nano style. He just can’t wait until her birthday. It’s a hermit crab that Allie just dubbed, Phil. Just another critter to add to the Gerst Rodd menagerie of horses, goats, dogs, cats, fish and a hamster.
We just need Laurel and Teddy here to make it feel normal...
Steve, Teddy’s Dad
Written Jan 26, 2010 6:31pm
Dear Mr. Goring’s Class & Florida Mesa Elementary School,
I just finished the book called Small Steps today, the one we are reading in class. The one about Peggy who fought against polio at the age of 12. I recently found out that I got cancer, but don’t worry cuz it’s the good kind of cancer. I got one that I’ll be able to heal from. Don’t worry cuz it’s not contagious. I had to get surgery. They put me to sleep. It all weakened my legs. I can’t walk now. My arms are almost as strong as they should be. When I come back to school I might still be in a wheelchair, I might have sticks or I might be walking.
The PT people really make me work hard. They make me lift weights and go up and down a ramp in my wheelchair. I took 20 steps today by holding myself up on the parallel bars in the gym. The PT people are also really cool cuz they bought me a mango that I’ve been craving for about a year.
My stitches feel really weird. They feel like bones sticking out of my back, but my daddy says that even though it feels this way there are no bones sticking out. It’s just that the stitches feel kind of hard.
I hope that I can come back to school soon because I miss all you. Thanx for helping me to get a wheelchair through the Waffles For Teddy breakfast.
They sure got a whole lot of waffles here at the hospital.
From Teddy with the Gnarly Scar
P.S. Teddy's joke for today: Why did Tigger stick his head in the toilet? Because he was looking for Pooh. By the way, Teddy got this joke this morning from Julia, his PT therapist! Steve, Teddy's Dad the Scribe