Richard Simon

First post: Sep 9, 2016 Latest post: Dec 24, 2016
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Richard G. Simon, a Brooklyn native, is an alumnus of Syracuse Univeristy and Brooklyn Law School. An Attorney-CPA in San Bernardino, he is an American champion powerlifter for his age and weight. He was married to Joan Virshup Simon until 1990, when she died. They had 3 children: Leslie Simon Wagner (Phil – husband, Noah and Evan – children); Dr. Ken Simon (Sophia – fiancé, Brenna, Jonah and Sarah – children); Amy Simon Grabine (Scott – husband; Karina and Jordan – children) On December 24, 2015, after being together for 19 years, he and Bonnie Konowitch married in Redlands, California. He loves Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers and HATES the Los Angeles team that stole “Da Bums” from him. He also hates salad dressing, mayonnaise and broccoli.

September 9, 2016
Here is a basic outline of what happened. We are fuzzy on some of the details at this point. The story starts in December 2014 when Dick was found to have a mass in his kidney.  Due to the fact that his renal function was poor, a biopsy could not be done without risk of destroying the kidney. Instead the mass was treated as cancer with an innovative technique called cryosurgery. Basically the mass was frozen. Normally this procedure is only done on masses of 3.5 cm or less and his was 5 cm, but they agreed to do it anyway since it was the only option. The procedure appeared to be successful and no further growth of the mass has  been detected.

Late 2015 Dick started to have back pain. It got worse over the next few months and walking became more and more difficult for him. He saw his primary care doctor about the pain and was told it was muscular. By July the pain was so bad that he was checked into a rehab facility. An X-ray revealed a compression fracture. The report also indicated possibility of a metastatic tumor at the location of the fracture. A biopsy performed on Aug. 9th came back negative. After 2 weeks at rehab Dick was sent home, but the pain continued to get worse. In early August he was given a back brace and told to wait for the fracture to heal. After a week or so the pain increased so much that he couldn't get out of bed. He had a hospital bed installed in the house to make him more comfortable and an appointment made with an orthopedist. He met with the orthopedist on Aug. 17th and was scheduled for an MRI on Aug. 30th. The MRI revealed a large mass at the location of the fracture and severe impingement of the spinal cord. Within the next week the broken vertebrae collapsed and Dick was in excruciating pain. Surgery to stabilize the fracture and remove the mass was scheduled for Sept. 7th.  The plan was to install a metal cage to support the spine and remove whatever bone fragments and tumor was impinging on the spinal cord. 

Surgery took place 2 days ago at Redlands Community Hospital. During the surgery things seemed to be going well. The surgeon spoke to us several times during and after the surgery, and even gave us images of the cage and spine. He considered it to have gone perfectly. However, in the recovery room, Dick was in excruciating pain, which is normal, but was unable to move his legs or feet at all, which is not normal. We hoped that it would improve but it did not. We requested an immediate neurological consult but they were unable to produce a neurologist to do the exam. We were very concerned because we were told that with spinal cord injury time is of the essence but our concerns went unheeded. MRI studies of Dick's back and brain were done to see if a reason for the inability to move could be identified, but nothing was seen. At this point it was almost midnight and we were told Dick would be brought to ICU. 

By Thursday morning there was no change to Dick's mobility and he had still not been seen by a neurologist. It was not until Thursday evening that he was seen by Dr. Ken Jordan, who was highly recommended to us and is a personal friend of Dick and Bonnie's. Dr. Jordan is affiliated with Redlands Community Hospital but he graciously agreed to get emergency privileges here and examine Dick. He determined that damage to the spinal cord was likely to be permanent. It had probably begun weeks before, and due to movement during surgery, or perhaps the surgery itself, a final insult to the spinal cord occurred resulting in irreversible damage. 

We are now still in the ICU at RCH,  trying to prevent additional injury or complications, as Dick has poor renal function, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, as well as the stress caused by major surgery. We have decided, upon the recommendation of Dr. Jordan and others, that Dick should be transferred to Loma Linda University Hospital in order to receive a higher level of care than can be provided by a community hospital. We are currently awaiting the transfer. We will update this page as we learn more.

CaringBridge is a nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health journey. Learn more about CaringBridge.

To interact with Richard’s website, sign in or register today.

By registering with CaringBridge, you will join over 300,000 people a day who are supporting friends and family members.

Sign In Or Register