Ozzie turns 60 tomorrow (4/28). As is the case with many men his age, a recent colonoscopy had doctors a bit concerned. He had colon surgery a few weeks ago, and by all accounts, it was a rather uneventful procedure that went well. His recovery was progressing nicely. The biopsy of the removed polyps and lymph-nods was largely positive, however they did find some cancer cells. Doctors recommended some low dosage chemotherapy, in effort to totally eradicate the cancer cells and provide Bill with some peace of mind. Ozzie was in the midst of his second chemotherapy regiment, which largely consisted of oral pills, when he got sick with what turned out to be the Norovirus. In a healthy person the Norovirus typically results in flu like symptoms for a short period of time, but the chemotherapy proved to be a sinister variable. Apparently, even a low dosage of chemo can totally wipe out one's immune system and this was particularly true with my dad. Long story short, Bill's wiped out immune system simply could not fight the virus, and what ensued was a two week battle. Bill was admitted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul last Friday due to dehydration and stomach pain. During the hospital stay, his health began to deteriorate as his body struggled to fight off the virus, which seemed to just linger day after day. On Tuesday evening, Bill fainted a few times and doctors began to express some serious, albeit puzzled, concern. On Wednesday morning, my dad had what doctors are now calling a heart attack. His care team heroically revived him. My dad's heart stopped beating again a few hours later. No less than 20 medical professionals descended upon his room, methodically establishing a pulse and stabilized his condition. Doctors began to frantically assess his condition and review his medical records to make sure nothing had been overlooked. One by one, doctors and surgeons proceeded to rule out all their ancillary hypothesizes as to what caused this rapid deterioration and eventually returned to the conclusion that his chemotherapy depleted immune system had allowed an otherwise garden variety virus to push him to the brink of death. We frantically began reaching out to family members and friends so that they could say goodbye to Bill. His doctors were unable to find any reason to suggest that his condition would improve. At a certain point it became apparent that our only option was to increase his cardiac life support. In what appeared to be the last step before increasing cardiac support, doctors introduced a drug designed to slow his heart rate. What ensued was nothing short of remarkable. Over the course of the evening and throughout the night, Bill's cardiac health began to improve to the point where measures could be taken to improve his lung health, and doctors could undertake some kidney dialysis.
Ozzie's condition still remains delicate, and the reality is that each measured improvement is accompanied by terrifying risks. Ozzie is a man of tremendous faith in God, and his faith gave him a profound sense of peace throughout this colon surgery/chemotherapy/norovirus saga. My dad has been flooded with prayers from all corners of the world, and the miraculous improvements he has experienced are a tangible testament to a faithful and loving God. We continue to pray, and we continue to be hopeful. Please join us in rallying around our beloved Ozzie.