John Paul Flanagan: update

Hi there, it’s tanner ready to finally give some info.

It is May second 2011, there has been much going on since my last update. I have assumed the role of the primary caregiver for my father. This means that i’m the one with him the most and i do most of everything he requires daily. This was not a role I am ready for, in fact I could say I will never be ready for this, but I will do this, and this will be hard. The two absolute truths, this is hard and this will continue to be hard.

My father and I went on a southwest tour, starting in New Mexico then on to and through Arizona untill we reached the beach in Carlsbad California. He has a sister in L.A. and we were not one hour from her so she came to visit. Mary is her name but we know her as Dee. Me and my father spent three days in Carlsbad and then moved north to San Clemente, and set up camp on the bluffs for two more days. We then decided to head east back to Arizona, spending nights at lake Havisu and Sedona, before making our way back to Colorado through New Mexico. Our trip took a total of fourteen days and he was maintaining the whole trip untill the end, where he was vomiting and unable to ingest anything for two days. Needless to say we returned to salida and went straight to the hospital.

In the hospital we found out that he was severly dehydrated. The doctors flooded him with I.V. fluids and started the array of blood tests, x-rays, and other tests to help determine his condition. He was is bad shape, sodium levels way off and a system that was stressed to the maximum and also “out of wack”. It took five days to get his levels balanced and him rehydrated. Passing stools and urinating he was released from the hospital on a friday afternoon, March 28th. While in the hospital I talked to many doctors, nurses, and seemingly every other person employed by the hospital. The oncologist Dr. Myers informed me that this is an incurable disease and my father would most likely not survive Chemotherapy. Together me and my father made the decision to not start Chemo untill he had enough strength to survive this low level dose of chemo. We were approved and had a start date for the 30th. Also during this visit we secured a primary physician by the name of Dr. Stack. This is to help us set up a support team for me and him, and to help communicate with other doctors.

During our SouthWest tour my mother had set up a rental house for us to stay in while he was going through Chemo treatment. the house is located near Salida in Nathrop. We live right above the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs at the base of the Chalk cliffs (The Base of Mt. Princeton, about 8,650ft.) We have spent a lot of time in this area as a family when I was growing up, in fact I learned how to swim at the springs down the road, so this place is special to us indeed. Up the road are ghost towns and 14,000ft. peaks. Unfortunatily we only have the place rented untill May 24th and are not sure of what we will do after that.

Me, my father and mother, and his two brothers went to a Natropathic doctor on wed, april 27th. We as a family under john’s direction decided to give alternative therapies a chance. This doctor in Crestone was able to point me, most of all in a direction to help achieve a higher quality of life for John untill his eventuall demise. He by no means gave us a cure, but he gave us a goal and some tools to help us reach it. The goal being a full summer of life for John.

My father has been on mostly a liquid diet since this all started, so it made sense to buy a juicer and start a nutrition therapy in order to get him strong. Originally the juicer was the help him regain his stamina enough to withsatnd Chemotherapy, now it serves him as a therapy. Nutritional therapy is a very necessary thing for my dad because he suffers from a condition common in advanced cancers known as ,cachexia. Basically, invoulentary weight loss. Due to many factors this condition is killing my dad! His loss of appitite, nausia and vomiting, and inabilaty to ingest or use nutrients has been responsible for massive weight loss up to eighty pounds. He now weighs 140lbs. and now his cancer is still advancing and prolonging symptoms. Through Nutritional thearpy we have been able to slow this condition and it seems to have stalled, (his weight seems steady.) He has been folowing the recomendations from Dr. Terres, the Natropathic doctor, which have included the use of suppositories for certain nutritional benefits. This is,by the family and the cancer team considered to be a form of cancer treatment.

With the help of natural remedies, and traditional western medecine we have managed to controll his pain. With this conbination we have also slowed the affects of cachexia and have started to adequetly manage his nutritional needs. So here we are… just trying to maintain his quality of life and not doing a bad job either. We last visited the hospital on April, 30th and while there I was informed that his levels were not that far off and he was only a tiny bit dehydrated. He was released later that night and we have been keeping up ever since.

We are both trying as hard as humanly possible to win this battle, I have even started a juice diet along with my dad. Most of all just to keep up with the ammount of veggies brought in, but also to lead by example and show that we are a team, and that I am willing to do anything to help him, and always will be.

One Comment Add yours

  1. John Michael Halstead says:

    hang in there Tanner. We’ve never met but I’m proud of you for what you’re doing. I’m JP’s first cousin, we spent a lot of time together as kids. Please let me know if there’s ANYTHING I can do. jmh

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