Monday, June 4, 2012


Dad has never been happier!

ESPN3 doesn't come out on normal digital TV so we hooked up Ryan's big Apple computer screen for him to watch his U of A Wildcats play last night.
He was all smiles!  What a great series! GO CATS!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

1 Year Anniversary

Hello everyone!
It's been a long time since I last updated you.
Dad celebrated his 1 year anniversary on May 20 for being alive, strong and determined to get better. He's still going to his regular therapy sessions at St. Mary's and he's improving slowly but surely. We are slowly accepting the fact he may never be able to function his right side like before but that's okay. You may recall me writing about this last year after the first surgery (coil), the Dr. came out to tell us he couldn't save one small blood vessel near the aneurysm and he couldn't tell us what that particular vessel fed blood to. All he knew is that it would effect some part on his right side. We all have hopes of the brain repairing itself and who knows this may still happen. It may take just a little longer for the repair to occur.  The good news is that he is walking down the long hallways at St. Mary's. He's doing this with his walker and the assistance of Lisa and the therapist. Once he gets a rhythm going, it's hard to slow him down.
He's still learning how to breath out, using his diaphragm, when speaking. He still thinks people can hear him when he's whispering. He thinks he's speaking out loud so when he begins to whisper, we have to remind him to breath out  And of course my mother is yelling in the background, "Speak Louder Joel". We have to remind her to lower the volume on the TV when she wants to hear him. It's even harder when you have 2 parents hard of hearing to begin with.
We're now taking him out more often and he really looks forward to getting out the house and he loves to go out for lunch, to the mall, and to family functions. As a matter of fact, he's going to tonight's U of A, ASU baseball game with Lisa's family. He made sure we renewed his football season tickets because he's going this year.  There's nothing that will hold him back. And adding to this, mom is starting to go out with all of us as well. Still not quite sure why she prefers to stay home. Time mends all wounds I guess. Tomorrow we're going to a birthday party and he can't wait.
We've gone out to lunch with some close friends. However, it's difficult because restaurants can be soooo noisy making it hard to concentrate, listen and speak.
As mentioned above, 1 year has passed so I thought I'd get a couple of recent photos up for all of you to smile, reflect and continue to pray for a full recovery.
We love you and thank you for continued love, support and prayers.
Don't they look great?

PS I will upload additional photos soon!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday February 24, 2012

I would like to start by thanking everyone that has taken the time to login and read dad's blog. Many great things have happened since my last update.
Dad's mind is really starting to wake up and evidence of this can be seen since the last blog.  He can almost reach his mouth with his right hand. He can know cross his left leg with his right without any assistance. If any of you ever witnessed him during a meeting, he usually has his arms crossed with a pensive look on his face. Well, when now listening to his therapists, he assumes this position and character. He's standing in his stander for longer periods of time. And because of these exercises, he's now able to stand from his wheelchair by himself and pull up his pants. He's able to do this using his bed rail. Once up, he's able to move both legs taking small steps side to side all on his own.
Dad can now take his own shoes off by himself. He still thinks he can get out of bed on his own. Although a good sign of progress, we have to make sure we're always close to prevent him from doing so. 
He's getting out of the house more often than before. We took him to the Feb. 18th, U of A baseball game. He was greeted by Frank Acosta, who made it possible for our family to share the festivities at High Corbet with Coach Lopez and Athletic Dir. Greg Byrne. Dad received a special tour of the new facilities and stayed to watch the game. This weekend was special for dad because the U of A recognized the baseball lettermen alumni.  For those of you who don't know, dad pitched for the U of A while attending college way back when. The funny thing about this is that they never gave him his letter. When dad became VP for Business Affairs, someone realized this and officially gave him his letter many years after the fact. Although I didn't attend the game, because I was sick, Lisa told me that everyone was so happy to see him. We took many pictures. We would like to thank those who made this possible for him to cherish forever. We plan on going to many more games.
He now wants to go to a U of A basketball game, (woo hoo). We're now planing this and who knows, you might soon see him at McKale. Don't be shy, come by to say hello.
Have a great weekend and may God Bless all of you!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

The Valdez family had a very happy holiday season! It was extremely special because we had dad to share it with. We tried, to the best of his ability, to keep the traditions going throughout the Christmas and New Year's festivities. Our family, on mom's side, always comes to their home to celebrate Christmas Eve. Dad wanted to keep the tradition alive so everyone came over like usual. He stayed up from 3:00 until 10:30 pm which surprised all of us. He had never stayed up so many hours without a cat nap. I put ear plugs in his ears which I think helped him drown out the noise and help him concentrate a little better. We just don't realize how loud it can get when we're all having a good time.
Before our party, one of dad's Christmas Eve's rituals is to visit with Julius and Dorothy Parker with his grand kids. Well this time was no exception. We loaded him up and drove him to visit. They were so happy to see him because they didn't think he'd show up. He talked a little, laughed, smiled for pictures; he even had a small glass of red wine. It was a great holiday season and we're all thankful to GOD for having him here!
On a better note, he's making great progress. His outpatient therapy sessions at St. Mary's have really been helping out a lot. His left eye is fully open and his pupil is still slowly moving back to it's original position. He still has to eat with his eye patch on or else he grabs for things that are not there (double vision). 
Lisa and I took him to visit the bookstore at the U of A last week after a doctor's appointment. We wanted to see how he'd react to a trip in his wheelchair. It was funny when we took him up to see Frank and Debbie. We asked the receptionist to call either one and when they were told who was there to visit, they didn't believe it was him. They were so happy and surprised to see him in the bookstore. Dad took it very well so I think we're going to start taking more trips to the U and other places as well. He can handle it!!!
I would like to share a very funny moment before I end this blog. I built an exercise table for him and placed it in the back room which has a beamed ceiling. Well Lisa decided to use the table last week and got dad on his back to begin his exercises. Well she notice that he was studying the ceiling very closely so she asked him, what are you looking at. He told her, "you know... I have a ceiling just like this in my house!"  She reminded him that it was his house and he started laughing with her.
Who knows, you just might see him soon in the hallway, on the grounds, at the store, at a game, where ever it is, don't be shy, come and give him a big hug and kiss to show how much you've missed him.
Thanks for all of your continued thoughts and prayers!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday December 9th

It's been forever since I last wrote in dad's blog. As I mentioned a while back, no news is great news.
He's no longer receiving any therapy sessions at home. He graduated last week to begin attending St. Mary's out patient therapy. This week was his first with assessments and therapy. We're so happy that he's leaving the house for exercise and therapy. All of his therapists are fantastic and we're so blessed he lives so close to the hospital. As I wrote in the last post, his eyes is now completely open and his pupil is almost in the correct position. He still sees double but at least we are certain the aneurysm is shrinking and releasing pressure on his optic nerve. He's now able to lift his right leg pretty good as well as his right arm. Still not walking on his own but slowly walking with his walker and the assistance of Lisa and his therapists. We had a fantastic Thanksgiving with his brother George and his family come down from Phoenix to be with us. We had a wonderful time all together. Dad is looking forward to having the annual Christmas Eve party here this year and we can't be more pleased with his progress. There definitely has been a noticeable change in the improvement and acceleration of improved motor skills since his surgery. It's too bad we didn't clamp him in the first place. We just didn't know the coil wasn't going to hold.  Nevertheless, he's doing much better, exercising very hard and very determine to get back to the life he once had. Thanks again for all of your continued thoughts and prayers.

Mom is starting to get out of the house a little more often and if any of you would like to take her out for lunch or a movie, Lisa and I are encouraging her to do so. She really needs a little time away from the house.

Until I write again, be safe, stay healthy and as dad would say, "be cool".

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday November 18th

Good Morning everyone.
I do have some good news to report. First of all, dad is really starting to move his right arm and leg so much more than the last post. He's now able to move his hand up to his face. He uses it to scratch his nose or cheek and sometimes tries to reach his ear. He's also able to lift his right leg up about 6 inches off of the floor. This is enough room to get his pants on from a sitting position. All of these movements take some time to perform. However, we see this as great improvement. We believe the reason for this significant improvement is because the aneurysm is shrinking. We know this is happening because the best news of all is that his left eye is starting to open. It's about 1/4 inch open and he can see out of the eye. We were told that should the clipping on the aneurysm hold and the swelling shrink, his eye may regain control. So far, so good. Keep in mind, his eyeball is positioned to the left and down somewhat which causes him to see double. This is a okay because he's starting to regain control. The leg that has the clot swells when he really works at standing and exercising. We're going to have to just keep an eye on the swelling and make sure the swelling below the knee doesn't get out of hand. When swelling starts, we just pull back on the exercising and elevate the leg. We're going to have to decide if he'll have surgery to repair the clot or not. He will be seen again in December and we have until then to decide what we're going to do. He's also talking a little louder. This is also an indication the swelling is shrinking.
Well, I had mentioned that I'd have him out on the golf course by the end of November. That's not going to happen. I'm now going to leave that up to God and your prayers to get him out on the course.
He's still fighting more than ever and hasn't given up.
Keep on praying and sending your messages. He loves to read and hear them.
Have a great weekend and Go Cats!

Friday, November 4, 2011

November 4

Time sure does fly by.
Here's a short update to dad's progress. Allow me to begin by telling everyone, he's doing just great. We had a small set back because his right leg began to swell. This is due to the clot that was found way back in August. We went to see a vascular surgeon this week and he gave us some options. First of all, it's normal for legs to swell with his condition. The doctor told us this is due to too much activity to the leg and not enough leg rest and inactivity. The good news is that the swelling has gone way down.  We can either do nothing but try to keep the swelling down by using compression socks and elevation, put him on blood thinners or take him in to have his vein cleaned out. We have 6 weeks to decide which path we'll go. In the meantime, he's really doing well with his exercises, appetite, right side mobility. He's moving his right side more and more each week.  Still far from normal but we know he'll get there with hard work and time. Anyone that would like to communicate with him via Skype, please let me know. This will be very therapeutic for him because he'll have to use his voice to communicate. I can be reached at:
We hope you all have a great and safe weekend. Stay warm. It's suppose to get cold and wet.