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Join Alan's Army Today!!

Make a donation to help out disc golfer Alan "Bigs" Sweeton.
On May 6, 2008, Alan Sweeton was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. On May 12, 2008, Alan underwent successful surgery to remove the tumor. Alan is now home and recovering, but faces months of radiation and chemotherapy in order to completely eradicate the tumor and prevent recurrence.

The lone side effect thus far of the procedures is that Alan has a swollen optic nerve that has left him nearly blind, so he is unable to return to work. Fortunately, he has been accepted into some financial aid programs that will help offset what his health insurance won't cover, but every little bit helps. Please donate what you can to help our fellow brother in disc.

Minimum donation is $5. Use the option menu below to add up to $45 to that amount for a clean $50. If you'd like to donate more, simply add more than one of this "product" to your shopping basket until you reach the desired amount.

For all donations of $20 or more, the donor will receive a free "Alan's Army" wristband. The army-fatigue colored band features the text "Alan's Army" and "Armed & Awesome!" Join the army today and show your support.




Discussion Forum

Pasta Dinner to Benefit Alan Sweeton 5 Replies

Started by Dave Townsend. Last reply by Kre Aug 11, 2008.

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Comment by Dave Townsend on July 20, 2008 at 10:05pm
Update # 8 from 05/15/08
Well, Alan's "brain drain" is not coming out quite yet. The test showed a bit of pressure build-up so he is back on the drain and they will try again tomorrow. The Docs don't seem too worried about it, so we will try not to.

I counted his staples today for giggles and he only has 53, not 70, so 17 less to take out! I also mistyped in an earlier report - the incision ends above his ear, not below it.

Aunt Nancy reminded me I hadn't said anything in the reports about his eyesight. When the headaches started in earnest the week before the diagnosis, he was having trouble with his peripheral vision. So far that seems to have remained.

The case-worker was in to talk about Rehab. They are looking at JFK in Edison. Its supposed to be a really good facility and is both closer to home and very close to Ginny's work. Kessler and HUP in Philly are good too, but a long drive back and forth each day. Right now they think that Monday is a possible target for going to Rehab, but we shall see how that works out.

Still no word on the tumor pathology.

Alan had a small fall today while using the bathroom when his left leg gave way but he landed on his knee and no big deal for him as he didn't hit his head or anything, but they now have him on the "Fall Prevention Program" so he's not allowed to do anything without first calling the nurse. Besides the little orange sign on his door announcing his new status they also gave him a special orange wristband to which Alan immediately proclaimed meant he now gets free beer!

Alan continues to be his old witty sarcastic self in reasonable spirits considering the constant poking, prodding, injections, and the BP cuff going off every 20 minutes.

Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers!

Big Dog
Comment by Dave Townsend on July 20, 2008 at 10:04pm
Update #7 from 05/14/08
Well, on day 2 after the "big cut" Alan looks the worse for wear. The right side of his face is swollen and he has a black eye starting. His big complaint is that everything feels "tight."

They removed his football helmet bandage, removed the shallow blood drain tube in his head, removed an arterial tube in his arm, removed the catheter, and washed his hair. Alan then washed his face, brushed his teeth, and declared that things were better.

The "big cut" is fairly dramatic and runs from his hairline to the back of his head and then down around under his ear. The nurse says it's about 70 staples (we haven't counted them yet.)

The speech therapist notes that he is speaking fairly monotonic at the moment and that they will need to work on that in Rehab.

The movement of his left arm and leg is further improved and the therapists say they wouldn't normally have expected that much ability until at least several weeks after the operation, not two days.

The team reports that the doctor is very pleased with the results of the post-operative MRI.

The deep ventricular drain for brain/spinal fluid will be clamped at midnight tonight and a CT scan in the morning will determine if they need to unclamp it for further drainage or if they can remove it altogether. This is the last big hurdle to getting out of the NICU and eventually off to Rehab.

Alan's spirits are good, he's cracking jokes, and he's eating everything put in front of him. Aunt Nancy is driving Amber down soon to visit and he's really looking forward to that. He misses Angel but I can't figure a way to smuggle an 85 lb. German Shephard into his room (unless maybe John wore his uniform and we hung a DEA vest on Angel?)

Many thanks to everyone for the continued prayers, they are very much appreciated as his recovery continues and we await the pathology report.

God Bless,

Andrew
Comment by Dave Townsend on July 20, 2008 at 10:03pm
Update # 6 from 05/14/2008
Alan started eating solid food at about 3pm this afternoon when he had a turkey sandwich and fruit cup. At 6:30 he had some meatloaf and baked potato.

He is on morphine for the pain but is still very lucid and was even cracking jokes and making movie references.

One of his doctors came in to talk about rehab. They prefer that Alan go to a facility that specializes in neuro cases so they are looking to see if one exists closer to home than their usual ones in Philly.

No word yet on the MRI or tumor pathology. The doctor said Alan might be in rehab before the tumor pathology is complete.

That's it for today, thanks ever so much for all your emails, well wishes and prayers - please keep them coming!

Thanks again,

Andrew
Comment by Dave Townsend on July 20, 2008 at 10:02pm
Update # 5 From 05/13/2008
Update #5:

[I was typing this earlier and realized it was taking a while so I sent the quick update out.]

God is good all the time! Ginny and I are in the hospital cafeteria and Ginny is wolfing down a burger and fries like she hasn't eaten in a week - which she nearly hasn't.

Alan is off having a post-operative MRI, and rumor has it that the doctor will be stopping by sometime soon.

My apologies for the short update last night. It literally took me an hour to write it as I kept falling asleep and despite knowing that it was poorly written I finally realized I needed to at least get some news out and just sent it.

Yesterday was a long dark day. Ginny, Amber, and I drove Alan to Philly at 5am in a monsoon and then waited (many thanks to my sister Dari, John McGinley, BOB Graham, and Kit Basset for hanging with us all day or we might not have made it) for nearly 9 hours to see him again and when we did he was just laying there and couldn't move his left side. We finally drove home in the rain, glad the operation was over, but not so reassured about the future.

I got up this morning and saw Amber off on the school bus and watched the Sun come up and make it a much nicer day than yesterday. A call to the nurses station who said Alan was awake and doing well (and that they'd let us sneak in early to see him) buoyed our spirits as we made the much nicer sunny drive down to Philly. But, walking into his room to see him sitting up in a chair and have him say hi to us, was quite simply stunning and made our hearts soar! He told us how the physical therapists were just in and how he can lift his left arm and leg and move his left foot around and move his fingers a little. Still some ways to go there, but the therapists said they were very surprised at his amazingly quick progress. Those of us who know how many people are praying for Alan are not surprised at all - God is good and we thank you all for those prayers!

Hopefully we will see the Dr soon and then I will send another update.

Thanks again to everyone, please keep Alan in your prayers as we move on to the next mando in his recovery. (Sorry - a disc golf term for an obstacle to be negotiated on the course - thanks to Chris and Bear for the great analogy!)

Tim - we told Alan how Marie has you smoking a cigar a day until he is better in his honor and he said he doesn't want you developing a bad habit due to him. He said he likes rootbeer floats a whole lot too and maybe you'd prefer one of those a day instead!

BTW - are there any Eric Clapton fans out there? Alan is probably one of his biggest fans and the Sweeton family had planned on going to his concert at the PNC Bank Arts Center on May 22nd at 7:30pm but unfortunately will now need to miss it. We have four tickets for Terrace Left Section 405 Row K Seats 9,11,13,15. We paid $603.55 for them but will let them go to a good home for $500. Let me know if interested.
Comment by Dave Townsend on July 20, 2008 at 10:00pm
Update # 4 from 05/13/2008
Update:

Alan is alert and talking to us and is even moving his left side a little bit!

Longer update to follow. Keep those prayers coming, thanks!
Comment by Dave Townsend on July 20, 2008 at 10:00pm
Update # 3 from 05/13/2008
Update from Andrew:

Alan is in the neurological ICU unit. Although he is sleeping, he did open his eyes a few times and said a few words but is pretty much still out of it. He has a good grip with his right hand but his left side is currently non-responsive. Everyone seems very positive about how he is doing.

We shall see how he is in the morning, thanks for your continued prayers and support!
Comment by Dave Townsend on July 20, 2008 at 9:59pm
Update # 2 from 05/12/2008

All,

The Dr. just called us in the waiting room. After 3 hours and 45 minutes they are now starting to close up. He believes they got all the tumor out but won't know for sure until another MRI. They left a ventricular drain in for now as the tumor reached into a space that normally has fluid and this will also allow them to easily monitor his pressure. He reiterated that Alan will likely have weakness on his left side that will hopefully be transitory. Hopefully within a few hours he will be in ICU and we will be able to see him.

Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Andrew
Comment by Dave Townsend on July 20, 2008 at 9:58pm
Update #1 from 05/12/2008

All,
I hope this first update email on Alan finds each of you well.
Including the Bucks County Disc Golf Alliance member distribution
lists this is going out to over 200 people so I'm sending this as a
Blind Copy to protect everyone from someone mistakenly clicking
on "Reply to All."

Apologies to the few people whose addresses I added to this list that
I thought would want to know what was going on, but may not yet have
been notified. On Tuesday Alan was diagnosed with a large tumor in
his right frontal lobe. At 8:30am Monday morning (about 8 hours from
now) he will be operated on at Univ. of Penn Hospital to remove the
tumor. Within a week the pathology of the tumor will be determined
and we will know if he will need radiation or chemo. Dr's expect a
week in the hospital and then time in a Rehabilitation facility.

If you would like to send a note of encouragement, a joke, or
anything at all to Alan, please send it to: bigs@bcdga.com and if he
can't read them, we will read them to him.

Alan got to see the crew at work on Thursday, last night a bunch of
his friends from High School and College spent the evening with him
at our house, and tonight we had a prayer meeting at the Tyler State
Park Disc Golf Course with a wonderful group from our Disc Golf
family. Thanks very much to all of you for the many notes of well
wishes, prayers and support. It has certainly been uplifting to
Alan, Ginny, Amber and I during this very trying time of the
diagnosis and waiting for the operation.

More updates to follow, if you prefer not to receive them, please
simply drop me a note by replying to this message. Likewise, let me
know if I have missed someone who should be on these. Again, notes
to Alan himself should be sent to bigs@bcdga.com
Comment by Dave Townsend on July 20, 2008 at 9:54pm
I will move all of the updates sent by Big Dog onto here within the next day or so so that those of you not fully in the loop can know what has transpired from the outset.

~Dave
Comment by Kre on July 17, 2008 at 8:13pm
 

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