Phil Koppelman

First post: Jun 28, 2018 Latest post: Jan 9, 2022
Welcome to Phil's CaringBridge website. We will use it to help keep family and friends updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement.

It all began on Tuesday, June 12th, 2018. That day Phil and Sharon were continuing with home remodeling projects on their house that they bought a year ago in Albert Lea, MN. They were working on the family room that had to be redone structurally due to mold and they were finishing up some painting. Phil started to have a really hard time breathing, having chest pain and couldn't catch his breath so they went to the ER in nearby Owatonna, MN. After several hours in the ER and tests showing fluid on the lung, the Doctor ordered more tests for the next day and they went home.  The Dr. was looking to see if Phil had congestive heart failure. However, for the next 2 days they continued with more tests, took 1  1/2 liters of fluid off his right lung and were finally referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN on that Friday. They met with a Pulmonary Specialist and got a chest CT scan. That weekend they enjoyed family time for Father's Day and enjoyed Phil's favorite homemade tomato soup cake. 

On Monday, June 18th the results of the CT scan showed tumors or nodules on and in the lungs. They were told this was stage 4 cancer. Then, the Pulmonary Dr. ordered a PET scan in order to see the whole body looking for cancer.  They took another 3 1/2 liters of fluid off the right lung as it 
became so difficult to breath again.  A couple days later the PET scan results showed that there was a large mass on the right kidney, more nodules on both lungs, and spots on the prostate and pelvic bones. They believe this to be a primary Kidney Cancer that has metastasized to the lungs, pelvic bones and prostate.  They did a procedure on the following Monday, June 26th to biopsy the outside of the lung as well as putting a permanent tube in the Pleural space between the lung and the chest wall where the fluid builds up. It is there to drain, or suction fluid out daily at home for more 
comfortable breathing. This will take the place of repeated thoracentisis procedure in the clinic. A big highlight over the weekend of June 23-24 was that Carl and Phil drive his '55 chevy to the Back to the 50's Car show in Minneapolis. It was his 20th year there and he was so happy to meet up with friends from Breckenridge and Abercrombie. He has been going every year since 1998.

So, the first 14 days of this journey have been very stressful and emotional as one would understand or expect. We do not have a lot of answers yet, 
other than we were told by the doctors that this is advanced and is stage 4 cancer. We have contacted family and friends far and near and plan to use Caring Bridge to help people stay updated with appointments, procedures, as well as the daily comings and goings on.  It is hard for Phil to comprehend all this news about this cancer and what it means for his life story. It is hard for him to realize that it may mean he is not able to complete all his projects and visions for the house and garage that he and Sharon had planned. We are planning to honor his wishes and help him spend anytime that he can at home working on those projects for him.  This summer we plan to do the best we can to complete the house/garage...while still enjoying quality time together as a family, and getting him to his treatment that will hopefully start soon.