Australia

15/10/2014: Archived Front Page from October 2014

Original Post: 15 October 2014

Welcome to HealingTeddi.com

 

In October 2013, I launched this website in response to my wife Teddi’s cancer diagnosis, as way to tell our story and open pathways for you to support us through what was sure to be a challenging and incredible journey.  In September 2013, during the birth of our first child, Teddi was diagnosed with Appendix Cancer and associated cancer-like disease called Pseudomyxoma Peritonei, often referred to as PMP.

Since that time, Teddi underwent surgery, (a peritonectomy aka MOAS) and chemotherapy for her disease (March 2013), and now is in remission from the cancer.  For that, we are forever indebted to Professor David Morris and his peritonectomy team at St. George Hospital in Kogarah, NSW, Australia.  Teddi will be continually followed up via regular CT scans and bloodwork, and I’ll use this webpage to continue to update you on her.

Teddi – Skiing just 3 months after her big surgery. I hope that inspires all of you who have to go on this journey!

Teddi – Skiing just 3 months after her big surgery. I hope that inspires all of you who have to go on this journey!

There is life after a PMP/Appendix Cancer diagnosis! It is a long, tough road, but if you open yourself to the LOVE around you, it will be a journey that changes you for the better.

For now, I am going to make some small changes to the webpage, I’ll archive old pages via the blog, will discontinue all the donation links (we can’t thank you enough for your support), remove her medical data and tidy it up for its new role:  Telling her inspiring story to all of  you who are facing your own battles with cancer.

Know that with LOVE, you may know HEALing.  We can never guarantee it will come to your physical body, but through GIVEing life the freedom to be as it is, through surrender, you can truly know what it means to LIVE life.  This is accomplished by appreciating each precious moment as it comes, no matter how many or how few you have left.

Welcome to our story.

Nick with his ribbon and pin on Daffodil Day!

Nick with his ribbon and pin on Daffodil Day!

-Nick-

12/10/2014: One Year of #HealingTeddi

Original Post: 12 October 2014

One year of #HealingTeddi

 

A year ago, this month, I launched healingteddi.com

 In the year gone by, I have learned more about myself, my family, life and humanity than I could ever have anticipated.  I have been humbled, I have been helpless, I have cried harder and deeper than ever before.  But I’ve also felt the most amazing warmth in my heart, been blown away by the LOVE shown to us by people we hadn’t even met, and been showered with GIVEing, support and freezers full of food.

When someone in your family is diagnosed with a serious illness, it knocks the wind right out of you.  It is surreal, it is hard – life grabs you by the shoulders, shakes you, and screams in your face “You are not in control!” which is the opposite of what we all intend and work so hard for. But it is a reality.

But on the other side of it all – 6 months out from Teddi’s big surgery, with her follow up scans showing her HEALing well after her massive peritonectomy operation, I find myself continually being struck with a deep sense of contentment and gratitude.  Even now, as I sit outside in my backyard on a wonderful spring day, my one year old son plays happily, Teddi weeding dandelions out of the grass - I realise that this moment is so special and perfect just the way it is.  All of us healthy, alive, together and finding our happiness each day.

I find my heart is overflowing with this gratitude each time I take a backwards step, a deep breath, come back to the now, and open my eyes to exactly how wonderful this life is.  It’s something I’ve connected with on a much deeper level in this past year; mostly because life has forced me to learn to take it one step at a time – any more, at times, and I’d be completely overwhelmed.

So let me get straight to the point – our little family is doing extremely well.  Teddi has recovered and is living a strong and HEALthy life.  We are back to doing the things we LOVE, with her strength, stamina and overall well-being restored.  I am amazed by how quickly it has all changed, how recently we were in the hospital for five weeks, connected to hoses, tubes, and endlessly beeping machines.

We’ll continue to complete follow up scans and blood-work, and I’ll use this blog to keep you up to date on how she is progressing.  We’re moving ahead, living big, living for now and living it one day at a time.  We’re re-inspired to connect with what we LOVE and who we LOVE; and have come to see all of this as a strange, but useful lesson – don’t wait for someday; do what you LOVE now, without excuses, without anything holding you back, because we’re never guaranteed a tomorrow!

For now; this page will stay up, in its present form.  I’ve archived some of the pages; rebooted the homepage, and intend to occasionally still blog about this disease, our life and the lessons we’ve learned.

Over the course of the past few months, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting several people who’ve had to go through a journey similar to ours, who have found this webpage helpful and inspiring.  I am humbled and deeply grateful our story can contribute to yours, and I hope many more people benefit from HealingTeddi.com.

Over the past 12 months this webpage has had nearly 43,000 unique visits, with IP addresses from nearly 50 countries.  I’ll leave you with some of the stats, because I think it tells an inspiring tale.  Thanks for being a part of this – from the cards, to the donations, the meals, to the events you organised – you’ve left us in awe and inexpressibly grateful.  We have fond thoughts and a meaningful LOVE for each and every one of you that has reached out to us – thank you, seriously.

Much LOVE and gratitude, I hope this webpage can continue to inspire you to

LOVE. HEAL. GIVE. LIVE

-Nick-

 

29/06/2014: 3 Month Post-Surgery Update


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post 29 June 2014

3 Month Post-Surgery Update

Good Morning Everyone!

Winter is in full swing here in Canberra, with the trees bare, the winds howling and snow on the mountain ranges.  And though its cold and frosty outside, we have reason to feel warm of heart and greatly encouraged today, because we’ve just passed the three-month mark in Teddi’s recovery and she’s doing AMAZING.

The past three months were insane.  There’s no doubt it was the most challenging thing we’ve ever had to do, but we’re on the other side of it now and every day, Teddi’s a bit stronger.

We’ve been home for close to two months, and in that time, a lot has happened.  In that time, Teddi has:

  1. Gotten back to eating whatever she wants!
  2. Become strong enough to pick up Wyatt
  3. Has enough energy to watch him all day – letting me get back to work
  4. Started working out twice a week
  5. Done many walks and hikes with me and Wyatt – some up to 10k and others up a few hundred meters of elevation gain!
  6. Returned to work at two days a week

In, summary, she’s been nothing short of amazing in her recovery.  She had a rough time in hospital with post-surgery complications, but she has done VERY well since we’ve come home.

All of this is an amazing feat, considering that just three months ago she had a surgery that opened her sternum to pubis and removed cancer that had spread all the way from her lower pelvis to her heart!  What Professor Morris’ team at St. George Hospital did to her is nothing short of amazing.

We have some follow-up scans and blood work coming up soon, along with a follow up visit with Prof. Morris in Sydney.  Once we’ve done all that – I’m hoping to change the “Teddi has Cancer” on the front page of this site to “Teddi HAD Cancer”.  We’ll have officially beaten this thing – what an amazing milestone that will be.

For now, consider yourselves updated!  And for all of you who have helped us along the way – it’s just starting to really sink in how amazing all of you were.  We intend to follow up each of you with our thanks – in the meantime, know that our gratitude for you is profound!

Take care everyone,

-Nick-

29/04/2014: And 5 Weeks Later: We’re Home


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 29 April 2014

And 5 Weeks Later: We’re Home

Wow.  What a journey.  I’m not gonna lie, it was really, REALLY tough.  But WE (all of us together ) did it – we’ve made it home!  We’ve made a HUGE step forward in the process of #HEALing Teddi.  We’re back in Canberra.  Back in our house, our kitchen, our bed and our comforts.  It is here that Teddi will heal best!  So we are so thankful to finally be here.

I realise that last I wrote, Teddi was re-admitted to hospital.  Thankfully, all the tests cleared her from needing any further surgery.  One of the tests, a barium swallow x-ray test, was able to show there was no reason for a surgery, while simultaneously giving Teddi’s digesting the kick-start it needed.  She’s on the mend now!  She’s eating more normal food each day.  We’re moving from soups to solid foods, and letting Teddi eat anything that sounds good to her.  Her appetite is back, so it’s all looking really positive!

Teddi’s surgical scars are healing up really well, with the exception of one of the chest drains needing some additional follow up.  Internally, she’s getting used to a whole new process of digesting food, with her stomach flopping every which way!  I guess losing a gallbladder and 1/3 of your colon is a bit of a shock to the whole eating thing – but Teddi is doing great with it.

Each day, Teddi gets a bit stronger.  She remains too week to do much more than a big walk and a few simple exercises, and she’s not able to pick up Wyatt yet – so I remain on full-time daddy duty.  Speaking of which, I’m going to need some help from our supporters with caring for Wyatt over the next few weeks, as I need to return to work (that’ll be my next post).

For now, let us leave you with a sense of encouragement:  the toughest of this is behind us! Teddi’s surgery and pathology results tell us she has the best long-term disease free survival chances she could possibly have.  She’s been able to keep her uterus and part of her left ovary, most of her digestive system remains intact and she is in good spirits about it all.

Teddi, 4 weeks post surgery, at the top of the Sydney Opera House stairs!

Teddi, 4 weeks post surgery, at the top of the Sydney Opera House stairs!

 

So, at this stage, I’m claiming victory for all of us, over the hardest part of all of this.  She hasn’t been officially declared ‘in remission’ as of yet, we have a three month follow up in July with Prof. Morris, but we’re feeling great about it all.

So once again, my deepest thanks to all of you!  I’ll continue to keep you up to date on her recovery and how you can continue to help out!

Soon we’ll have Teddi back to her vibrant, healthy self!

-Nick-

 

17/04/2014: Teddi’s Recovery: Discharged from Hospital!

Original Post: 17 April 2014

Teddi’s Recovery: Discharged from Hospital!

Ladies and Gents – Today is a GREAT day.  Because this morning, I woke up in bed next to my wonderful wife back ‘home’ at the Bezzina House Cancer Care Lodge.  All possible, because yesterday evening, Teddi was discharged from St. George Hospital!

Teddi was in tears of joy at the news, as she was sooooo ready to get the heck out of the endless noise, ceaseless prodding with needles and sharing a room with three other sick people!  It’s been SO hard on her to be there, and these last few days have left her feeling lonely and worn out.  This couldn’t have come at a better time.

So after a HUGE surgery, 5 days of torturous chemo, being filled with drains/ports/cannulas, subjected to CT scans/heart echoes/EKGs, countless tests and going 10 days without a shower and 17 days without drinking any water – she has emerged victorious from the most challenging experience of her life.  She’s out of the hospital folks – this is GREAT!

We will now spend a week here at the Cancer Lodge, before meeting with Prof. Morris next Wednesday for a final appointment.  If all goes well, we could be back HOME in Canberra by the end of next week!  So Awesome!

During the past few days, Teddi has had reflexology massages from Kate Reed and Jeff and Mandy! Thanks guys!  We believe those helped this day come sooner!

Thanks again for all of your support!  I’ll be in touch, as always!

Look at us go, we’re #HEALingTeddi

-Nick-

12/04/2014: Teddi’s Recovery: Day Seventeen


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 12 April 2014

Teddi’s Recovery: Day Seventeen

Yes, you all read that ridiculous number right. Seventeen days of recovery and eighteen days in hospital. You can see now why it is said that a peritonectomy is arguably the most demanding surgical procedure one can go through!

Over the past several days, Teddi has been on a rough ride. Her bowels were taking an unusually long time to re-start (they go to sleep after the intensive surgery and chemo). She is also running a fever, up to 38.9C/102.2F for an unknown reason, ongoing for the last week. And was growing weary of having no food or liquids (other than 30ml of ice chips/hour) for the past 17 days. She’s been full of uncomfortable tubes and holes, subjected to two CT scans with all that oh-so-yummy liquid contrast to drink, untold number of chest x-rays after two collapsed lungs and poked an prodded with all sorts of various needles/cannulas/tubes/syringes.

But today, things are looking up! “Today is a great day,” Teddi has just told me. Why? Well for one, she was told this morning that her nasal-gastric tube – the one that goes up her nose and into her stomach and has to be ‘aspirated’ (e.g. all the stomach contents (bile) pumped out) every few hours, the tube that has irritated her throat making it painful to talk, swallow, and turn her head – is gone! Hooray! Teddi says having this tube out is life changing! Now she can return to blowing her nose and Wyatt can actually come into close proximity to her with his hands unrestricted (little man loved to try to grab that thing).

And secondly, Teddi had her last drain removed from her abdomen! It was NOT a fun experience, but that leaves her with only the ‘picc’ line that is delivering her medicine, pain meds and liquid nutrition straight into her heart through her arm. But that could come out as soon as tomorrow! She may be disconnected from all forms of machinery!

Lastly, she was able to drink liquids today! She’s downed ice cold apple juice, some tea and bit of lemonade (errrrmm…’Sprite/7Up’ for all you Americans back home). She’s also allowed to drink ice water freely. Her bowel motions have started back up and things are moving along in her intestinal tract. A BIG improvement.

So the difference between yesterday and today is amazing. She feels like a whole new woman and is really feeling quite encouraged. Which is great, we both needed that! She says with that tube out of her throat she can take on anything!

A big thanks to Kate Reed, Celia Jones and Sara Sanders for the reflexology massages that Teddi received this week! We both believe they have helped get her body jump started!

More soon!

-Nick-

01/04/2014: A Letter to a Friend


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 1 April 2014

A Letter to a Friend

So I was sitting back at my apartment, replying to an email from a friend and I thought I would share (a slightly modified version) it with you.  A bit of background, my friend was telling me about a car accident his wife just had, and how after he found out she was OK, his thoughts turned immediately to my family.  He knew that I would have gladly traded my experience with his 1000x over, and sent sympathies my way.  He was also inspired to share a sermon from his pastor with me, which focused on how God uses suffering and miracles to reveal himself and grow our faith.  Here’s what I wrote:

Hey ——,

Thanks for both of these emails and your words of support. They mean a lot.  I know I didn’t actually follow up on your offer to talk with me during Teddi’s surgery, etc, but I want you to know that I deeply appreciate the offer. It mean so much to me to go into that knowing you had my back!

In short, you’re right. I wish Teddi rear ended somebody, but instead she got a rare cancer that has stolen 1/3 of her colon, her spleen, gallbladder, 1.5 ovaries and put a horrific scar all the way down her abdomen.  It’s put her through misery none of us can even being to imagine.  What. The. Hell.  Does a Big-12 elite athlete, vegan who starts off each day with a huge smile on her face deserve that?  No, maybe some fat, couch-bound, lethargic dude with an addiction to cool ranch doritos and mountain dew does – but not Teddi!  I mean, what the HELL is that about?

You can look at this situation and clearly see:  It would be so easy to be bitter, so easy to resist it, so easy to hold this against some imaginary force bigger than myself – but thankfully I know that doing so would only bring me, her, my son and everyone else more suffering.  So I’m not interested.  In fact, what I want to do, is the most powerful thing one can do – consciously transmute suffering into healing, inspiration/motivation, and a positive examples to others.  This is the most amazing thing we can do as humans. But it sure as hell ain’t easy!

I don’t know if I’ve told you or not, but her battle with cancer has gutted me on multiple occasions.  It’s taken me into places so dark, so agonising and so scary that I don’t even have words for the helplessness I’ve felt in those moments.  There have been three occasions in the past six months where I’ve cried harder than I’ve ever cried in my entire life.  1. The night Wyatt was born and Teddi’s cancer was discovered – once I had them both asleep in bed, I was in a ball on the bathroom floor.  2.  After we got back from Sydney, Wyatt was two weeks old, we had just met with Dr. Morris about Teddi’s surgery and they described what would happen. I watched a video of a peritonectomy the night we got home – that’s what my wife had to go through?? Again – gutted, destroyed.  3.  When Teddi was wheeled away from my sight off to the theatre for that surgery – there are no words for that experience.  As soon as I made it back to the car, I sobbed.

But what I’ve learned from it all, is to feel it 100% right then and there and get right back to taking it one day at a time, staying positive and looking for all the blessings hidden within it all.  Focusing on taking your suffering, your terrible experience, and turning it into something beautiful.  And that’s what I’ve done.  I’ve inspired thousands of people with Teddi’s blog, I’ve used it to teach my family life long lessons, and it’s become something much more than just my wife getting cancer.

And I think that is exactly what you’re trying to get at.  The Ultimate Benevolence that underlies all this chaos, that source of the goodness within us, uses what we see as suffering to point us to the true glory we are capable of experiencing, into a space of mercy and contentment.  I might use different words than your pastor does, but within myself I feel the same message.  I’ve always had a deep respect for what Jesus taught and I often reflect on it.  So thank you, for reminding me of that lesson and helping me fit it back into my own worldview.

Would love to chat more on this sometime, in the meantime, I hope to make time for listening to the sermon you shared.

All the best,

-Nick-

01/04/2014: Teddi's Recovery: Days 5 & 6


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 1 April 2014

Teddi’s Recovery: Days 5 & 6

 

I am pleased to let you know that Teddi has made a huge turn-around today (Day 6). She is doing so much better, she even told a joke! She has now walked twice – once for about 4m on Day 5. And then today – she walked around the whole HDU block! Chemo and lung ports, IV drips and medication pumps and all – what a woman! Today has been a great day!

And it gets even better! Not only is Teddi on her last chemo treatment (infusing it right now), her histopathology came back with excellent results – all of the tumour material tested is low grade material. This is fantastic news.

In fact, with this pathology result and when the most recent research is consulted, Teddi’s long term survival looks great and her recurrence risk is as low as it can be. Professor Morris says “We don’t make promises, but after the cytoreductive surgery, HIPEC and EPIC with favourable pathology – that’s as good as it gets”. I’m feeling quite encouraged!

Teddi’s spirits are quite good and she is set to be out of the HDU in the next few days. She will then move to a hospital ward where she will finish off the rest of her time in hospital. About 1-2 more weeks.

I’m also conjuring up some surprises for Teddi to make being bed-bound suck a little less. I’ve located a holistic healing centre who will come in and give Teddi massages for $75/hr. So if you’ve been looking for something nice to give to Teddi that would really make a difference – why not donate part of a massage session? I’ve added a way to do this via the GIVE page. My family has already signed up to give the first one!

Bye for now! We are ever closing to #HEALingTeddi!

-Nick-

30/03/2014: Teddi's Recovery: Days 3 & 4


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 30 March 2014

Teddi’s Recovery: Days 3 & 4

As I write this, Teddi is receiving her third infusion of chemo into her abdomen. She texted me earlier “Cold chemo 3 more to go..” – which is surprisingly grammatical given the narcotic load she is under.

Over the past two days we have had many encouraging things happen. Teddi has made it through 2 rounds of abdominal chemo, she has stood up several times, she has done some marching in place and spent many hours sitting upright. All very good signs. The doctors say that she is doing very well with respect to the procedure she underwent. So thumbs up there.

But we have also had some struggles. Teddi has not enjoyed being so drowsy and has had a hard time speaking. She was really apprehensive about doing the next three rounds of chemo, and has been feeling flushed and nauseated as a result of it. Her pain level is still fairly high and she is growing uncomfortable laying in bed. All of this exacerbated by being unable to explain herself fully.

Looking ahead – she is almost half done with the chemo and her bowels are beginning to make noises again (they shut down completely after the procedure). She is getting intravenous nutrition and all her levels are getting more favorable. We know she is headed in the right direction, but she is struggling to cope with all of this trauma – this whole experience is taking its toll on her emotionally. So prayer for her spirits would be appreciated at this time.

On a lighter note – Wyatt is currently with a wonderful woman named Natalie who is the sister of a friend of Teddi’s. She has heaps of childcare experience and volunteered to help us out with the little guy in the weekends while I care for Teddi during visiting hours. How awesome is that? And she is not even the only person to offer! I am continually amazed by all of you! As if that weren’t enough – I just received an entire freezer full of food from the Weston Creek Mother’s Group! I feel so loved

So, yes this is rough, but I know Teddi will be so happy to know how well you have all take care of us while she was incapacitated

More updates soon!

-Nick-

27/03/2014: Teddi's Recovery: Day One

Original Post: 27 March 2014

Teddi’s Recovery: Day One

 I have been able to visit very briefly with Teddi just now (8:45AM). At 10AM we will return for visiting hours. She was very alert and couldn’t wait to give Wyatt a big kiss! She was happy to see us, and we were able to drop off some contraband (iPad, iPhone) and give her poor chapped lips some chapstick!

12:00PM – Just back from a visit with Teddi.  She had good energy and was wide awake.  She struggled a bit with pain last night, and currently with a bit of nausea – so send prayers of comfort to her.  I read her many of your loving messages/emails and they lifted her spirits.  They are prepping her for her second chemo treatment now, which will happen this afternoon.  As will her first steps/sitting up with the physical therapist later this arvo.  I will visit her again after 4PM and update you then.

2:00PM – Teddi will spend another day in the ICU, as her blood is not clotting well enough for the next round of chemo to start.  So cool chemo starts tomorrow.  Looking forward to seeing her at 4PM!

6:00PM – Teddi is even more awake (well right now she is passed out) than before and totally cognizant of what’s going on. She is talking but her voice is weak and her throat dries out. She has a “pain button” at her disposal that is really helping and she has some drugs to help with the nausea. She also has a breathing exercise machine now to practice building up her lung/diaphragm strength. All is good on her road to recovery and she is is likely to be out of the ICU tomorrow. Wyatt is not at all bothered by seeing his mommy hooked up to machines – in fact he wants to grab just about every line/tube/wire and put it into his mouth

That’s all for now – not much else to report.

Much Love,

-Nick-

 

26/03/2014: Teddi's Surgery: As it Happens


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 26 March 2014

Teddi’s Surgery: As it Happens

Hello everyone. The day has arrived!

I will use this post to give you the “play by play”. Updating it as the day goes by.

7:30AM – Teddi is prepped for surgery, looking hot in her compression stocking and gown. We are waiting for a pre-surgery visit from Dr. Morris.

7:50AM – Dr. Morris visits us. He is calm and confident. He has a team of ~10 people with him.

8:00AM – Teddi is wheeled off for theatre. Wyatt and I kiss her goodbye. Seeing her round the corner out of my sight breaks my heart, but I stay strong for her.

8:10AM – Wyatt and I get back to the car. I sob my eyes out, letting all the angst go. I now feel calm and centered. Off to get brekkie with Wyatt.

9:40AM – A call from the peritonectomy nurse, Helen.  Teddi has been opened up and there is significant amounts of disease present.  When Teddi first met with Dr. Morris, he estimated a PCI (Peritoneal Cancer Index) score of 9.  After exposing Teddi’s abdomen, she has a PCI score of 24 (out of a maximum of 39 - read more here).  Not the best news.  Keep the prayers coming.  Looks like we’re in for a long day.

11:15AM – I’m overcome with an unsettled feeling.  Many thanks to Sara Sanders for talking me through it.

1:00PM – Wyatt and I go on a walk to work off some nervous energy.

2:00PM – Walk helps us, but still nervous, so I call into the Hospital, but can’t get any further updates at this time.

3:40PM MAJOR UPDATE:  The phone call I’ve been waiting for all day has finally come.  Professor (Dr.) Morris and I just spoke on the phone.  First off – Teddi is being closed up now. She is OK! Praise the Lord/Thank the Universe/Amitoufuo!

She had more disease than they thought, with excessive disease in her pelvis and upper abdomen.  As a consequence her gallbladder and spleen had to be removed (this is not a surprise, we expected this could happen).  She had the right half of her colon removed (hemicolectomy), which is unfortunate, but will not greatly affect her quality of life.

And the best news of all:  Teddi did not lose her uterus or her left ovary!  HOORAY! *does and ecstatic but quiet jumping around the room (Wyatt is sleeping, after all)*.

Dr. Morris is still very confident that her long term survival is very good.  All of the tumour material looked to be pseudomyxoma, as expected, which is great news.

She is likely to be on a breathing machine overnight.  They will now do the hot chemotherapy (HIPEC), which lasts for 1-2 hours.  Then I should be able to see my sweet, amazingly strong, beautiful wonder wife.  I will update you then!

*HUGE sigh of relief*

5:15PM – Teddi’s surgery and heated chemotherapy is complete.  She is doing well (all things considered) and traveling to the ICU in the next 15 minutes.  I should be able to go visit her in an hour or so.  But that’s it. Her surgery is complete! A total of 9 hours – what a marathon.  But she made it!

 

-Nick-

25/03/2014: Quick Update: Teddi's Surgery Time


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 25 March 2016

Quick Update: Teddi’s Surgery Time 

Hello All,

Here is a quick from-the-phone update on Teddi.

We are currently at St. George Hospital in Kogarah meeting with all the people from the peritonectomy team.

We now know that Teddi will go into surgery tomorrow at 8AM Australian Eastern Daylight Time (5PM U.S. Eastern on 25th March). Her surgery will last for 8-10 hours and I will be able to visit her in the evening in the ICU.

I will be updating all of you via this webpage. Be sure to enter your email at the “subscribe” box on the right hand side of the homepage.

Don’t worry, you won’t get spam and no one else sees your email.

More soon!

-Nick-

19/03/2014: Teddi’s Surgery Date Announced: 26 March


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 19 March 2014

Teddi’s Surgery Date Announced: 26 March

 

Warm greetings to all of our awesome supporters and followers!

Today I have some great news:  We have a surgery date set for Teddi!

 

hooray!

hooray!

So after 6 months of anxious anticipation and a bit of rabble-rousing, Teddi will now be receiving the life-saving peritonectomy surgery she needs.  We are so relieved to finally have an end to the uncertainty and confusion of it all.

On March 26th, Teddi will be taken into theatre by Prof. David Morris’ peritonectomy team, where she will undergo a 10-12 hour surgery to remove all traces of cancer from her peritoneal cavity.

This involves an incision from the sternum to pubic bone.  The surgical team will then remove the primary tumour (her appendix) and surrounding omentum.

They will then inspect all of the remaining organs and tissue for any evidence of tumour material.  Any that is found will be removed, leaving the organ intact if possible.  She is at risk of losing her gallbladder, spleen, remaining ovary and her uterus.

The nature of the disease is such that it is very hard to identify on CT scans, so we don’t know what to expect.  What we do know is that Dr. Morris believes they can get all of the disease.

After they are confident they’ve removed all the tumour they can, Teddi will be closed up and ports will be installed in her abdomen to allow for the infusion of heated chemotherapy into her peritoneal cavity.  This will last for 1-2 hours, and be done in order to kill all the remaining cancer cells.  She’ll then receive cool chemotherapy for the first five days following the surgery.

With the heated chemo treatment complete, Teddi will then be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit for 24-48 hours.  I am very much hoping to go visit her at this time as I will be desperate to tell her how much I love her, even if she won’t remember it!

After her time in the ICU, she’ll move to the High Dependency Unit (HDU) where she’ll remain until she’s clearly on the mend.  Then we’ll actually move to another building for a minimum of 1-2 weeks stay.

oh boy… here we go

oh boy… here we go

The length of her recovery after the surgery is highly dependent on the involvement of her intestines – if they have to resect them, she’ll have a longer recovery period.  So let’s hope and pray for the best on that front!

I will inform all of you via this webpage of the exact surgery time, as I am hoping many of you will mark that time period with prayer/positive energy.  I am specifically, hoping for you all to pray for her to feel calm and confident during the scary days ahead.

I will also be in touch regarding things you can do to help, where to send cards etc in the coming days.

 

For now, let’s all celebrate in our hearts that this day has arrived.

Pretty soon, we will have eradicated all of the cancer from Teddi’s body and will be on our road to #HEALing Teddi

Much Love to You All

-Nick-

#healingteddi

17/03/2014: Successful IVF Treatment: YOU Made It Happen


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 17 March 2014

Successful IVF Treatment: YOU Made It Happen

 A quick update from the world of #HEALing Teddi.  We have been able to successfully harvest and fertilise five eggs from the remaining portion of Teddi’s left ovary!  We are THRILLED to have been able to fit this in before Teddi’s surgery date.

As you know from previous posts, Teddi’s left ovary is at high risk of being removed during her peritonectomy surgery.  In fact, an unofficial poll of PMP survivors shows that most women undergo a full hysterectomy in the treatment of this cancer.  So please send up plenty of prayers for Teddi that she is an exception to such experiences.

This process involved two weeks of a hormonal roller coaster filled with lovely daily injections, all ending in a general anaesthesia procedure where they harvest matured eggs from the ovarian follicles.  Teddi was amazing through it all, and I am so thankful for her making it possible for us to have future children!

Now I have one more group of people to thank: ALL OF YOU!

 At a cost of over $10,000, none of which our insurance covers (makes me wish I had Australian Medicare!), we certainly would have had to take out a loan to pay for the procedure. But since you all ran, cricketed, ate, raffled, sang, punted and #LOVEd on Teddi – we had the support we needed to make sure cancer doesn’t steal our dreams of growing our family or send us into crippling debt

Consider GIVE-ing to the Fertility Cause

Consider GIVE-ing to the Fertility Cause

From the deepest, most sincere part of my soul – Thank you.

We would also like to show our gratitude to the Canberra Fertility Centre and to Dr. Bronwyn Devine for making this happen for us! You came highly recommended and did not disappoint.

-Nick-

 

Coming Tomorrow:

A Surgery Date Announcement

15/02/2014: The #HealingTeddi 5K - A HUGE Success: Thank You!


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


 Original Post: 15 February 2014

So the #HealingTeddi 5K Walk/Run was a HUGE success!

THANK YOU so much to the Centurion/Diamonds American Gridiron Football Club for putting on this event, and for all of you that attended. Here is a video of my personal gratitude to all of you:

The event raised over $1400 for Teddi’s medical treatments and has renewed our drive to beat this disease!

 

Thank you for helping me #HEAL and #LOVE Teddi!

-Nick-

27/01/2014: The #HealingTeddi 5k Charity Walk/Run – 2 February 2014


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 27 January 2014

The #HealingTeddi 5k Charity Walk/Run – 2 February 2014

 

If you’re ready to show your support for Teddi – here’s your chance!

9AM Sunday 2 February 2014 – 5K Charity Walk/Run

This coming Sunday, 2 February 2014, there will be a Bridge-to-Bridge 5K walk/run to support Teddi in her battle with #cancer and raise awareness about this rare and complicated disease. For those of you unfamiliar with Canberra, this involves a circuit around Lake Burley Griffin between the Commonwealth and Kings Avenue Bridges.  It starts at the “The Flags” on Queen Elizabeth Terrace and takes you on an awesome, scenic route around the lake.

At 9AM this coming Sunday (2 February 2014), we’ll meet there to complete a 5 kilometre walk/run around this circuit as a show of #HEALing #LOVE and support for Teddi.  All while promoting exercise and healthy #LIVE-ing – something Teddi has always believed in.

This event has been organised by a great guy from an American Football team (Gridiron as they call it Down Under) called the Centurions, and they have opened registration for the event on their webpage at www.centurionsgridiron.com

It’s $20 to register and participate in this event, with all proceeds going to the #HealingTeddi cause!  (an alternate donation link is available here).  And it is a cause of great importance, one that is more than just about Teddi, Wyatt and I.

This is a cause of great importance, one that is more than just about Teddi

What do I mean by that?  Well, I’ve talked briefly about this issue before on this webpage and will continue to step up the rhetoric in the near future.  As you may be aware, the complicated, highly skills intensive peritonectomy surgery that Teddi needs has become a focal point for some vigorous discussion in Australia over the past several months.  With some healthy debate at various political levels and in the media.  And it is a conversation that we cannot afford to let go silent.

There is a campaign underway through an inspiring woman named Sara Bowers, who is a disease survivor and former peritonectomy patient to petition and demand the Federal and State parliaments in Australia do more to provide adequate treatment for people suffering from diseases that require peritonectomy surgeries.  She’s gathered over 15k original signatures so far and is focusing on getting us a federally funded, national peritonectomy centre to deal with this disease.

Why all the fuss?  At this time, all people who need this disease are wait-listed and forced to undergo great uncertainty on when they will get the life saving treatment they need. It’s a real tragedy that such an advanced, wealthy country is in this situation – with new people joining this uncertainty every day.

There is another wonderful soul named Stacey Jaundrell who has set up her own webpage at www.helpsaveaustralianlives.com to tell the story of her own fight, as well as many others.  She has the unfortunate problem of living outside of New South Wales – which means she cannot go to Sydney for treatment from the world renowned expert in this surgery – Dr. David Morris.  This is crazy!  And of course, we know the success story of Nicole Perko and the #saveNicole campaign from a few months ago – she has recently had her surgery and is now an advocate for of the rest of us facing pseudomyxoma pertionei and appendiceal cancer.

Teddi continues to wait anxiously to hear back on her own surgery date

So, as Teddi continues to wait anxiously to hear back on her own surgery date, we are quickly becoming another family in a long line of Australian residents to undergo the stress and frustration of being on the ‘wait-list’.  It’s a situation that doesn’t have to stay this way – all we need is enough awareness and political pressure to make some changes to the way things work.

What can you do?

Attend the 5K and bring your friends!!

If you haven’t yet signed these petitions, please do so:

SignOn.org

LivesAtRisk.com.au

I’ll be back soon with more on this front.  I‘m speaking at the Canberra Rotary club later this week on this topic and will upload what I present on this webpage.  I am going to record some more youtube videos and will be trying to get the local media to cover this 5k event.  So please help make it a big success!

See you there!

Nick-

08/01/2014: 2014: The Year of Healing Teddi!


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 8 January 2014

2014: The Year of Healing Teddi!

Hello everyone!  Long time, no update!

Yes, it has been quite silent on this end of things.  Leaving many of you wondering what is going on in the world of HealingTeddi!  I’ve had many emails, texts and casual inquiries about how Teddi’s been over the past several weeks and it’s time to get in touch with all of you again.

We decided to make December a month of taking a break from our struggle with cancer and focusing on regenerating our energy.  The past few months have been such a whirlwind of craziness, I’m not quite sure how we maintained our sanity through it all.   But in the name of relaxation, I’ve stayed away from HealingTeddi.com, kept quiet on the social media front and let the ongoing politics surrounding peritonectomy surgeries in Australia drift out of my mind for a few weeks. 

Instead, we focused our energy on friends and family and LIVE-ing life to the fullest!!  We spent the last several weeks with some friends visiting from the U.S. in the name of HEALing Teddi!  Which GREATLY lifted our family’s spirits!  Thanks so much to Chelsea, Lindsey, Kayla, Terry and Sarah for your much needed support!  Your love, smiles, laughs and time here in Australia with our little family was such a bright spot in the past few stormy months and has left us feeling refreshed for a BIG 2014.  

2014.  Why is it a BIG one?  Because it’s a new year and time for a new evolution of the mantra of HealingTeddi.com. It’s the year where we LOVE Teddi more than ever.  It’s the year where we GIVE her all the support she needs as she seeks out the peritonectomy surgery we need her to receive so she can be HEALed of her cancer and go on to LIVE a beautiful, long, healthy life.  Can I get a Hell Yeah!/Amen! (pick your flavour  )?

So What’s Been Happening?

Good stuff my friends.  We’re on a well-established alkaline diet plan (posting info soon!).  Teddi has been getting oncology massages, visiting with a well established naturopath (all curtesy of Wellness of Woden!) and getting caught up on all the immunisations she needs prior to her surgery.  She’s been working out at strollerobics several times a week and spending time in mother’s yoga classes.  She had a greatly encouraging colonoscopy in November and a just had a follow-up CT scan in mid-December (medical data page updated).  With things getting started back up in St. George Hospital after Christmas – we hope to have some word back from Dr. Morris in Sydney about how the latest scan looks very soon (fingers crossed!).

We have been continually blown away

And we have been continually blown away by the amazing, beautiful acts of LOVE from our fellow humans.  Seriously, You guys are unbelievably amazing.  Teddi’s ante(pre) natal women’s yoga course ran a raffle event to raise several hundred dollars for Teddi’s medical costs.  Canberra’s Women in Action held a fundraiser for us raising nearly $300!!  $300 was donated from a collection taken up by the varsity rowing team at the University of Oklahoma.  Over $2k was raised by Teddi’s co-workers at the Canberra Hospital.  And a local American football club is planning a 5k walk/run to raise awareness about this disease and help with our medical expenses (more on that soon!).  Finally, we have continued to see the donations, cards and LOVE continue to pour into our mailbox/inbox (keep those letters coming!!).

Guys, you rock.  Seriously you are crazy awesome.  What an inspiring journey you have taken us on.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2014 brings.

In closing, I know one thing it will bring for sure!  The HEALing of Teddi (Dwyer) Engerer!  Let us continue to LOVE her, GIVE her our support and help her onto a better life that she can LIVE free of this disease!

Teddi, Wyatt and Nick for Christmas 2013

Teddi, Wyatt and Nick for Christmas 2013

New Year’s blessings to you all!

-Nick-

15/11/2013: A HUGE Thank You


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 15 November 2013

A HUGE Thank You

Hey everyone, remember us? Sorry it’s been awhile!  The teaching semester has just drawn to a close, I have students finishing their theses, final grades to tally, a PhD to work on – phew, I’m gonna cut that out right now

Let’s get down to it.  We have some serious gratitude to express – some love to send back out to the world!  So many of you have done so much for us already, and I want to acknowledge a few of the most inspiring, people powered events that have been done in support of HealingTeddi.com!

1. OU Women’s Rowing

Teddi rowed with the OU Women’s Crew for four years.  She was voted MVP her senior year and her team of four won their heat at the Big-12 Championship in 2009 – one of Teddi’s favourite memories (they beat their arch-rivals – University of Texas).  She then spent the next two years as a coach for the novice squad.  Needless to say, Teddi’s positive energy and leadership inspired all the girls on her team.  And this past October the OU Sooners Women’s Alumni Crew rowed with Teddi’s initials on their oars, rallied for her in the above photo sending her much needed LOVE, and posted a high-profile article on soonersports.com to draw attention to her battle with cancer (a choice that drew nearly a hundred unique visits to this webpage).

A HUGE thank you to OU Women’s Crew!

 

2. The Fenner School – End of Semester BBQ & Cricket Match

A car load of food for fundraising!

A car load of food for fundraising!

As I mentioned at the start of this post, it is the end of the semester here in Australia and students are about to head off on summer break.  The Fenner School of Environment of Society, where I am finishing my PhD and where I work as an Associate Lecturer, is a pretty social place – they like to have a party whenever they can (my kinda place!).  But this time around, my good friend Wal decided to dedicate an end of semester BBQ (that’s a grill-out for all you Americans) to raising money towards the fundraising for HealingTeddi.com!  What an awesome thing to GIVE!

The Fenner School ALSO organised a Staff-Student Cricket Match (no, I still have no idea how to play…) this year (big thanks to Keith Sue!) and is donating the proceeds from the match to the HealingTeddi fund!  Wow!

A HUGE thank you to the Fenner School!

3.  NICTA Melbourne Cup Day Fundraiser

At the beginning of November each year, there is a really important horse race in Australia - The Melbourne Cup!  It’s really more about getting together, ending work early and having  “drinks and nibbles” in the early afternoon than about horse races.  Most Aussies also like to bet on the race - buying into ‘sweeps’ that are usually something like $2, $5, or $10 a bet.  It’s really a lot of fun and a very unique Australian experience – this year, my friends and colleagues at NICTA (National ICT Australiadedicated the event to raising money in support of Teddi!

A HUGE thank you to NICTA!

4. Our LOVE Senders!

I can’t even keep track of how much LOVE all of you have sent us.  There have been so many emails, comments on this webpage and, of course, the BEST – lots of LOVE cards!  We have multiple places in our home where we have set up stands of cards for Teddi to see each and every day.  AND she even has a backlog of unopened letters to make sure she has some LOVE to start off each day.  That means so much to her, and I am so very grateful for your support.

A HUGE thank you to all of you supporters!

So to reiterate – we have overwhelming amounts of LOVE and support coming our way and it is HEALing our hearts and souls on a deep level – in a way we couldn’t do on our own.  And I’ve not even had the chance to mention all that has been done – there’s no way I could!  So once again, here’s a HUGE thank you to all of you who have supported us so far. Please, keep it up – Teddi needs it!  And it’s working – more on that tomorrow

For now, I leave you with this message from Teddi:

“I’m extremely overwhelmed by all of the love and support that I’ve received since my diagnosis.  I never could have guessed how much and how many people care about me.  I don’t even know how to begin to thank everyone for the emails and cards and thoughts and prayers and donations that have been sent my way.  Words fail me, but it has meant more to me than you could know.  Thank you so very much for helping me along this journey of healing.”

Much LOVE,

-Nick-

19/10/2013: The First Two Weeks of #HealingTeddi


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 19 October 2013

The First Two Weeks of #HealingTeddi

HealingTeddi.com has now been live for two weeks as of today!  And what a ride it has already been!

Thanks to all of YOU, Teddi’s cancer diagnosis, at first a tremendous horror,  has become an amazing period in both of our lives.  We feel so bountifully blessed to have the support of so many amazing people!

Teddi has felt more LOVE than she ever could have expected.  Each morning, we read at least one LOVE item that was sent our way (email, card, Facebook comment) and they really mean SO MUCH to her.  You have been great so far in lifting her spirits – showing her the LOVE I have asked you to (Psssst, have you signed up for the LOVE calendar – it’s looking pretty empty  ).  I truly believe this is one of the most potent HEALing medicines we can give her – please KEEP IT COMING! (need an idea?)

LOVE

Together, we have left more than 100 comments on this webpage and sent us nearly 75 emails of LOVE and support.

HEAL

Together, we helped overturn a poor Healthcare policy in New South Wales, Australia that would have left Teddi waiting too long for her surgery - now we can HEAL her with the miracles of modern medicine.

GIVE

Together, you have GIVEn over $10k to help cover the mountain of medical expenses that we are already accumulating.

LIVE

Together, we have been able to inspire Teddi to LIVE each day knowing that she is surrounded by a bigger family than she could have ever imagined.  You have no idea how badly she needed that.

Moving forward, together, I know we will all continue the amazing work we have already started, so that we can HEAL Teddi!  #healingteddi

Your support is absolutely invaluable and is actively re-shaping my view of humanity. Inspiring in me a true realization of what we are collectively capable of.

Blessings to each and everyone one of you

-Nick-

17/10/2013: We Did It! NSW Health Minister Allows for More Peritonectomy Surgeries!


This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer


Original Post: 17 October 2013

We Did It! NSW Health Minister Allows for More Peritonectomy Surgeries!

Remember my last post, where I asked you all to help make a difference?  Well through your support and the persistence of many people fighting for a change to be made, the NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner has worked out a deal with Dr. David Morris and Prince Wales hospital!  This will allow the backlog of nearly 40 patients to be caught up!

The news has just broken on ABC.

Ms. Skinner and Dr. Morris can be heard discussing the issue here.

Nearly 300 of you responded to my request to sign the Change.org petition and the petition has surged past 75k signatures!

This caught the attention of several high profile people (including actor Russel Crowe) and the Shadow Health Minister Andrew McDonald.  The Shadow Minister called me yesterday to discuss Teddi’s case and for permission to petition Jillian Skinner on our behalf.

In New South Wales Parliament yesterday, there were a few key players who questioned Ms. Skinner very vigorously (a few to the point of nearly being thrown out!  ).  You can read the excerpts at this link (I’ve pulled them out of the larger transript at this link).

From what I can tell, the key players working on our behalf during this session were:

1Mr. John Robertson

2Mr. Nathan Rees

3Ms Linda Burney

4Dr. Andrew McDonald

5Ms Cherie Burton

To each of you, we here at healingteddi.com offer you our deepest gratitude!

Another very important set of people to thank is Sara Bowers, a lawyer and former peritonectomy patient who has organised a petition of more than 15,000 original signatures – enough to force the issue to a floor debate in NSW.  Thank you Sara!  Check out her webpage at:  http://livesatrisk.com.au

Next, we need to Anna Patty, a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald, for calling attention to this issue and being willing to talk to Teddi and I about our own case.

And lastly, thank you so much Ms. Jillian Skinner for hearing our pleas and responding to us!

 

-Nick-

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