Monday, June 30, 2008

And the password is.....

Here is how Sunday's visit went....

Dad: Mouthing a word

Me: Can I have? Do you want something?

Dad: Shakes head no - mouths words again

Me: Can I have? Are you saying "can i have?"

Dad: Shakes head no - tries again

Me: Are you sure it's not "can I have", cause it looks like "can i have?"

Dad: shakes head no - still not annoyed at me - or not showing it anyway
tries words again

Me: is it "can I have?"

Dad: Close eyes and fakes sleep.

And I thought I was going to be good at reading lips. I guess that's one game we didn't play at the dinner table.

Turns out he was trying to say "life", "Life is hard when you can't speak".
He did not add anything derogatory about people who continually guess the same word...or if he did I didn't understand. :)

So, you see, he is awake and communicating! Also moving his arms and legs and can even do a little dance. And, I got a kiss and a smile when I walked into his room!
The swelling in his hands and feet have gone down and he looks just like the handsome guy we all know and love. Even the doctors are smiling - we didn't see a lot of that before. Actually, we saw none of that until this week.

When he is off the ventilator he will be able to speak by covering a hole in the trach. This may be within a week or 2.

I believe we will be seeing lots of progress this week, so stop back for more good news. Emma and her healing hands are coming back this evening! Lay them on the trach, please!!

Cheers, everyone. You did good.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Still good...

It is really nice to be able to share the good news!

Dad is continuing to make daily progress. Yesterday, I heard that he was breathing on his own for 12 hours! Apparently more of his drains were taken out. I am assuming he is not "on fire" anymore and really is in recovery mode. Mike says we can't claim victory yet - who died and left him boss? NOBODY!!!!
I've been looking forward to using that line :)

Doctors and nurses are starting to talk about when they can move him to rehab. Actually, I just heard that he will go to a "slightly less" Intensive Care facility. A place equipped to do rehab as well as monitor his sugar etc. More news as that becomes reality.

We LOVE the staff at the hospital but will look forward to saying buh-bye! Still a few weeks away, but I'm going to practice my wave.

I am going to see him this weekend and will give him a kiss for you!

Cheers, Michelle

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Good day, sunshine....

Nothing but good news here....

Breathing for longer periods of time on his own

More alert

Nodding and winking - both good :)

Not "the same", Mom is happy!

Doctors are amazed and so pleased with his progress

Italians rule - Good stock coming out of Torricella Peligna!

Emma and her healing hands get some credit here! Come back soon :)

xo to all!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hump Day!

Which has taken on a whole new meaning...

However, it's always been a good thing, and today was no exception!

Dad was a lot more alert today than he has been in weeks. He had his eyes open for quite a while and was trying to focus and respond to questions and seemed like he had a few of his own. Unfortunately, he can't speak because of the trach. We'll get there.

I got a half a kiss - mom would have never married him on its merits but it was good none the less! He also raised his eyebrows to show expression - this is beautiful to see because it is so familiar (Raised eyebrows? Hmmm, he is skeptical but willing to consider you might be saying something intelligent...He'll crush you later after he's lulled you into believing you might be right. Ha!)

He was breathing on his own for at least an hour today and was at it again when I left this afternoon. Yesterday, they were able to drain 1300 cc's of fluid from "somewhere" in that belly. I stay away from any hard facts. I'm in charge of music and trying to get him to kiss us. When he is better I will add food and perhaps ambiance. I don't know anything about his BUN or his "peep". I swear.

In an effort to keep it real for you, here is the analogy they are handing out. The doctors compare him to a burn victim. They are working to keep him stable and they are succeeding, however, he is still "on fire". Lots of inflammation. Still burning...we get it. I think he must be down to ember stage by now?!

He will have a lot of work to do in recovery but the physical therapist was around today and chomping at the bit to get back to him. He'll be ready.

The fact that he is still with us is truly a miracle of faith and determination. I have no doubt the doctors and nurses will be talking about the miracle that is "Al Porreca", many years from now. And they will also speak about my mom(they love her), who has been there every day. Every day for 72 days. As many days as he is years young. Smiling and hopeful and waiting patiently for him to get the hell up!!!!!!!

Today we heard (AGAIN!) the word progress. Slow, but progress. He's like watching grass grow. On that note, a quote...

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dance, Dance, Dance

YAHOO!! BALLOONS AND STREAMERS !!! My goodness it's the small things that bring us joy. Although I do believe I've stubbed my toe from all the excitement. We love you Uncle Al, every single one of us. Bear Hugs and Kisses Moe

A wink's as good as a nod

Actually I didn't get a wink, but I did get the nod. It was slight but it was a very positive response. There were many positive signs today. Michelle said it earlier - today's a good day to dance. It is still a long road to recovery and while we're still traveling I choose to enjoy the ride. However I do look forward to picking up the pace.

Luv ya...michael

Hello from the big MT

Dear Uncle Al,

Let me just start by saying that it's been way too long. I miss you a ton, and i can't wait until the next time I see you. I hear nothing but good things about the progress you are making, and if you are anything like the Uncle Al I remember, you probably still have a smile on your face. I know that you can stick this out just like anything else.

Much love,



Dr. DeLeon says we are making progress!!!! He is the GI doc. They removed some drains - my dad don't need no stinkin' drains! Well, he still has some, I think.

He breathed on his own for 20 minutes and they want him to try again for 30 minutes and they believe he'll be up for it. Huge accomplishment.

When Mike walked into the room Dad opened his eyes and followed Mike's movement around the bed. Again, huge.

I'll bet my mom is racing up to the hospital as I write this. Mike just got off the phone with the good news.

The doctors actually said "progress".

Feel the need to dance?

Cheers, everyone.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Need your technical help

Hi Al,

Here I am as per usual needing some technical help from you. You'll need to be at your computer, of course, so whenever you're ready, just let me know. I hope it's soon!!!!! Love and Healing, Angie

A good day...

Today I was able to visit my dad. That's a good day!

He opened his eyes a little. Very nice to see. Apparently he was wiggling toes and performing "tricks" for the nurses after we left. Show-off.

Bobby Cuva was so right. My dad is not only a good guy, he is THE good guy. And the good guy always wins. Unless it involves road rage, then you could lose. Unless you have a good lawyer. My dad will give you the name of his :)

Anyway, no road rage here. Nobody here but us good guys.

More good stuff tomorrow. Cousins Emma and Rita are going to visit and lay some healing hands on that big old belly. You go girls!

We are playing music for him. If you have a song you want to play for him let me know and I'll include it on his next CD. Email me at

Keep up the good work everyone. You are all essential to this process!

Love you all, michelle, mom, and the whole Porreca clan xo
"Porreca Power" - believe in it.

Keep fighting Mr. P!!!

Mr. P.,

Not a day has gone by that I haven't thought about you and said a prayer. You are one of the good guys! I can't really define it, but there is something. I have known you for over 35 years and every time I am in your company you make me laugh, you always have a good joke and you are always positive. Even when the trucker cut you off on the road, your version of the incident was positively hilarious. Thanks for being a positive force in a negative world.

Keep up the fight! Your work is not complete. Your friends and family really care about you and the MOB is due for another MOB poker night. We will wait to schedule until you can play, but don't expect us to let you win. Also we have to get up to Rutger's to watch the team in the Fall. I am sure that Bob has some new RU gear waiting for you.

H and K,

Bob and the Cuva Family

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thank You Ann (Dad's nurse)

Today's news comes from Michael. He is under a lot of pressure to keep the good news coming. So far, so good, Mike. Keep it up.

We learned a great tip today – Thank You Ann! You probably know Dad’s breathing rate has been high lately (high 30’s, 40’s)

Ann was wiping his forehead and talking to him just now and his breathing went down to low 20’s. It’s pretty amazing.

Mom took over immediately and got his breathing to low teens. He doesn’t hold it for long – but she’s able to get it down. That’s a win for today.



Friday, June 20, 2008

If each day is a mountain

Dad just climbed another one. Good job, Dad.
We are with you every step.

Don't you just wish we could pick him up and carry him up and over?! He must be tired. Soldier on, buddy. We're here. Do your thing.
See you soon.

Love you , michelle


A Patient walked into the Optometrist's office the other day....
(this is a true story, not a set up for a joke)
with an aire of confidence and strong ability...I was working on her intake information health history, meds and so forth. AND she states " I BEAT SEVERE PANCREATITIS was in the hospital for months worked my rehabilitation and here I am. People think it is from drinking, no, I am not a drinker..."

That was a gift yesterday, that I chose to receive, be thankful and to pass it on. (she was also the picture of health).

THEN the afternoon came, a patient walked in again similar attitude...and states regarding her health," I am living proof you can beat any health issue if you chose not to carry a gold card" (disability medicaid)she has a very longlist of serious health issues, her tenacity is what keeps her looking marvelous and continues to work as an ER nurse..but a brain hemmorage and optic nerve damage is among the list. She has a healthy mind, spirit and the attitude to stay strong...

Of course, these two patients sound like you, Uncle Al, whom I know will be sharing his story with people who need to stay strong, healthy and hopeful.

Love, Sandy and Sean

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Bear Climbed Over the Mountain...

The bear climbed over the mountain,

The bear climbed over the mountain,

The bear climbed over the mountain,

And what do you think he saw...

He saw another mountain.

That's where we are.

He looked so good the other day cause his bilirubin count is up. Apparently, that looks better than it is.

Pray, pray pray for him to get over each mountain. One at a time. They say when he starts to get better he will get better quickly. We're ready.

Come on, Dad. All my money's on you.

I love you, Michelle

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

One Step Closer

My dad looked positively handsome yesterday! I swear he looked like he could have gotten up and danced with us. While the doctors are using medicine we thought we'd try a little John Denver on him. His long road is a country road...and it's taking him home - to Cinnaminson! I promise.

He is busy healing one or two cells at a time. This is why it is taking so long. He's got a lot of cells to go.

The doctors said we would know if he was getting better by the way he looked. I'd say he's getting better.

He will have a CAT scan today and they may take out some of his drains. This is good. Still on trach and getting nutrition through the NG tube.

We are one step closer to putting this all behind us.

Peace, Michelle

Al Porreca,

Dear Mr. P,
I don't know if you remember me but I'm one of Danielle's friends and I met you at your son Michael's house and absolutely fell in love with you and the rest of your family. I've been getting informed on what has been going on and I've been making sure to pray for you at 9:33 (Danielle and I just did a few minutes ago) :). I always tell Danielle that you and your family are my second favorite family ... i laughed so much that night when i went with Danielle to meet all of you. Anyways, i keep you in my prayers and it's amazing to see how many people there are supporting you.
Love Always,

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mike and Lauri are right!

Hey Al! My dad taped the Monday game just for you! You are goin to be so excited! This is sooooo something you will enjoy! This game was phenominal! You'll enjoy it when you get home! We're all praying and thinking of you! At 9:33 on Saturday night at Andy and Amy's engagement party we held hands and said a prayer. We know when you see this you will smile, and maybe shed a tear. Just so you know, you were all of our hearts and all our prayers! Just keep waking up on the right side of the grass, right! Just a process! A Loooong process, like the looooong road. That's okay though, we're all up for it!

Michelle has done an absolutely phenominal job on this blog. I hope she knows how much it is appreciated and how much we love her for taking the time! We feel your pain, Michelle! So Al, you owe her a golf game, BIG TIME! Keep on truckin, things are getting better I FEEL IT!

We have a WEDDING to look forward to!

Love you to Pieces!

Tiger wins...

...and so will you. You have the heart of a champion. I know you will beat this thing. Hang in there and keep fighting. I hear pancreatitis is the Rocco Mediate of medical conditions. It puts up a good fight but always loses to a tougher competitor (You!)

Love you...michael, lauri, christian, carly, and allie

Greetings from cousins Gabriella and Donato in Torricella

Dear Al,

We send our best wishes to you for a speedy recovery, and to Lee, Michelle and the boys for strength in the coming months until Al is on his feet again. All our love, Gabriella and Donato

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day Grandpop! It's time to get your butt out of bed and get better! Mommy says you're doing well but it's going to take a while. I think of you everyday and have my friends praying for you along with me.

I feel that I should remind you that you have AMAZING children and an even more amazing wife standing by your side. They are all so strong and optomistic. I have visited you a couple times and hope to get to see you again soon.

Anyway, it's time for me to get off the computer but I will make sure to write again soon. I will keep praying for you! I love you soo much Grandpop.

Love You More!,

Good News...

My dad promised me next year we'd do something different - together. You are all invited to join us. We'll let him pick what we do.

The bad news is that today he is no better than yesterday. Which means that I have to reset my daily expectations. My long term expectations remain the same. For one, he'll be keeping that promise above.

He needs to string together stable days. So, today we add another bead to the string. Look for one more tomorrow. And that will be good.



Dreams do come true...

Oh, the pressure to report some really good news today...or at least something funny?
If I could report my dream last night I'd have some great material, but when I woke up this morning my dad was not standing in my family room in his underwear doing knee exercises.
The truth will have to do.

And yesterday's news was good, so I'll use that for now. The CAT scan showed some shrinkage of the pancreas! This is the first time we have heard news like this.
The were also able to decrease his oxygen intake to 50%. We were also reminded it's a looooong road. Really?!

I won't expect him in my living room anytime soon, but I know he'll be here as soon as he can. He'll bring my mom. She'll make sure he's dressed more appropriately.

I'll report back later. Heading down to say Happy Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day to all of you!

More news later

Friday, June 13, 2008

We Saw the Whites of His Eyes!

White is a stretch, but they never looked so good to me!

He opened his eyes this afternoon and was looking at us. We asked him to blink and he managed to do that for us. A small but significant step in my mind. We tried to wait around for the GI doctor to come in on his rounds but we had to leave because they wanted to clean dad up. No problem, we'll get an update tomorrow. Dad did have a CAT scan, so I'll include those results in tomorrow's report.

We told him about all of you who are praying for him and sending him healing thoughts. He blinked - that means he loves you. We do, too.

More news when I get some.

Love, Michelle and family

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Same...

Tonight's update comes from my mom. He's the same.

She's a little down in the dumps today as you can imagine. She's trying sooo hard. We admire her more than ever and it breaks our hearts to see her struggle with the day to day absence of her best friend. She never complains and knows that this is the reality of life. He picked a gem. It is what it is and we remain grateful for all the good in our lives. He's just so close - and yet so far.

So, on the lighter side of the news....Dr. "James", the GI doc, says he is a better than last time he saw him, just not out of the woods. He is off the blood pressure meds and is able to take more nutrition through the NG tube. However, he did have a slight fever today which later came down.

It's hard to get the every day up and down news. The fact that he is not awake does not help either, but it's better for him to be asleep than to be awake and be aware of the mess he's in. We get it.

Don't get discouraged - the same is good. It's stable. Stable just isn't that attractive right now.

So, please just keep envisioning him walking out of there and I know he'll do it for us. There was a lesson to be learned in everything my dad did. Patience, appreciation, perseverance, honesty, humility, the importance of keeping your sense of humor....

Knock, knock

Who's there?


Dad, who?

Oh my gosh, it's dad. Let him in!

Stupid, I know, but it made ME smile. He'll like it, too but I guarantee my brothers will make fun of me for it. It's not always easy being the funny one. (That's gonna cost me, too)

Hi Al!!!!

I am resending this to you. I want to let you and your family know that I keep you in my prayers and send you all the energy, love, and light I can. I pass by you every morning to see you and check on you. I know you are going to pull through this and with each new day you will be stronger!! You are a fighter, I know that somehow!

I have to get going, but I just want to let you know that even though I may not be there physically, I am spiritually!

Always "sunny" in my heart!!!

Your friend in life,
Kelly Stevenson, PCU Virtua

Filling up his glass!

Progress is progress, even if it's sooooo slow you almost can't see it. Patience is much easier to talk about than it is to live, don't you think?! What we need is some of my dad's trick photography. He's in bed - now he's out of bed!!

Well, he is certainly nowhere near out of bed, but he is taking those small behind the scenes steps to get there. Andy says he opened his eyes and was able to focus and looked like he was trying to comprehend what Andy was saying. More on that later. :)

Hassan, a doctor and our favorite cousin (sorry the rest of you - you should have gone to med school like your mother said. Don't feel too bad, all I have to offer is a library book with no fines attached), has been talking with dad's doctors and is feeling "moderately optimistic" about my dad's prognosis. I guess it doesn't sound like a resounding vote of confidence , but it is, and it's also a tiny bit further than where we were before. Progress, that's what that is. Hassan is impressed with all that the doctors are doing and is confident that dad is getting the best care possible. Can't ask for more than that.

So, my plan is to report a new baby step each day. Must remember to tell dad about this plan so I don't look like a liar. Cause if I do lie, I'm going to have to get the belt, not the skinny brown one either. Actually, most likely, I'd have to explain "why" I lied. Geez, I'd rather get the belt.
Which would hurt my dad more than it would hurt me, so let's not go there.

Thank you all for your lovely messages to myself, my dad and our family. It means so much to all of us. I promise to report each and every step for you.

More later, Michelle

Notice about the 2008 "Torricellan in the World" award

Dear All,
Last year Al was the worthy winner of this special award, for his contribution of forming the website that links so many around the world, both Torricellans and people who love Torricella - and gives us so much information, genealagy, news, etc and real pleasure. What an achievment! Well don Al.
This year, because Al cannot sort out the website for us at the moment, I have taken the unusual step of emailing all the people listed in the website who do not live in Italy (all friends of Torricella) to tell them about the search for new candidates for this year and to urge them to send in details to the Town Hall of Torricella Peligna of anyone they think is a suitable candidate.
In so doing I mentioned that Al is in hospital, so you may get an influx of people thinking about him or trying to contact him!
This is what I wrote:-

Dear Friends of Torricella,
I am taking the unusual step of writing this email directly to you all today, to be certain that you have the information about this year's award for "Torricellan in the World".
We are not able to put this item onto our own website at the moment, because that is normally the job of our "Editor-in-Chief", Al Porreca, who unfortunately is rather ill in hospital at the moment. (Which is why the site has not had any additions to it recently either.)
For your information, I have translated the Notice of the Competition (see here below) into English.
If you know of anyone who fits the bill, please let the Town Hall at Torricella know as soon as possible so that they can be considered for the award.
The full version of this notice, in Italian, together with the regulations, can be found on Torricella's own official website and for your convenience it is also attached here as a Word file. If anyone is interested in recommending a suitable candidate and needs the full rules to be translated please let me know and I shall try to do that for you.
As you will have read on our website, the joint winners of this award last year in 2007 were in fact the originators of the site, Al Porreca and Dan Aspromonte. Congratulations to them! Now it is up to you to try to find some worthy winner(s) for this year.
With kindest regards,
Marion Porreca (from England).

TRANSLATION of notice of competition:

Torricella Peligna Town Hall
Notice of Competition

“Torricellano Nel Mondo” (Torricellan in the World)
2008 Edition

The prize aims to recognise the merit of citizens born in Torricella Peligna or elsewhere, but descendents of Torricellans, who are distinguished in the fields of culture, arts, sports, or in their professional activities, in Italy or elsewhere in the world, whilst always cultivating links with their place of origin.

Full details are available at the official website

Proposals for candidates can be put forward by anyone and must include the name and address of the person proposing as well as that of the candidate, the curriculum and reasons for which the named citizen has distinguished him/herself in Italy or in the rest of the World. These details should be sent to the Town Hall either by Fax: Number (0039) 0872-969681 or by email to .

Proposals must reach the Town Hall by 30th June of this year.

The prize giving ceremony will take place on 13th August in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall of Torricella Peligna .

The Mayor
Tiziano Antonio Teti.

indice_concorso_2008_e_regolamenti_.doc (230k) Scan and Save to Computer

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Our Lifeline


I also eagerly check for your messages every day, as I'm sure all of us do. It's our lifeline to know how your Dad is progressing. That article was indeed very comforting, and I'm so glad you sent it.

Love, Angie (Di Berardino)

Note to Michelle

Dear Michelle,

My father (who was a surgeon) always told me the reason sick people are called patients is because it is their job to be "patient and wait till they are better". This also applies to their families - as you are very much aware.

It is certainly not selfish to be looking for more knowledge to help your Dad and your family to deal with all this. It also helps us cousins and please believe me when I tell you I check this blog 3 times a day for another word about our patient. All scraps and bits of information are most welcome; it's almost (almost) like being there.

I think it's time for me to step up the praying a notch by going to mass every day. It's a big sacrifice to haul this lazy body out of bed in the morning but I think Al's worth it.

Love to you, your Mom, Michael, Jeffrey and Andrew,
Cousin Camille
Michelle, Lee and Family,

That was an encouraging article and I hope it gives you all more peace and understanding. In today's world - PATIENCE - is not something we always practice or receive.

All my thoughts and prays are with AL.

Much Love to All,


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Some information that I found comforting...

My dad has necrotizing pancreatitis and I just found this post which made me feel better...last paragraph especially. I swear I keep searching the internet for some answer, or the future, actaully I really just want info about my dad, selfish as I am, the closest thing I found was this blog from a surgeon.

The part I liked the case you dont; have time to read the whole thing...

"Hospital stays are long, complications are frequent, and the one thing required above all else in the patient with necrotizing pancreatitis is found in very short supply in our pharmacy: patience. But it is with a hefty dose of patience on the part of the surgeon, patient, and family that we manage to get the majority of these folks back on their feet. And then, it's Hammer time for all!"

Information is always good - unless it's bad - but this is good. We are on the right path...patience.

Is it hammer time yet?

Sorry I posted a lot in the last 2 days with not a lot of info, but I feel better :) You?

I forgot to tell you the name of that loooong road -

Mike and Mom named it - it's Beeeeeeebeeeeeeeeee Towwwwwn Roooooaaaad. Inside joke. Dad will get it and explain it to you. :) Suffice it to say - it's long.

Those of you who have been in Dad's car on the way to the shore might remember it. One of many wonderful memories. Looking forward to making some more.

Dad had a stable day. Oh, Tennessseeeeeeeeeeee!


Monday, June 9, 2008

The long road...

Dad had the cyst drained today - 1350 cc's of yucky fluid. Supposedly good yucky, though. If there is such a thing. We may have more info in the morning, but I believe this is just a step in managing the process of healing (Donna and Hassan told me that, thank God for the 2 of them who are helping us to stay reasonable educated and on top of this!) He is still not awake. That will be our next big milestone.

There is no magic cure for this. Time, patience, prayers and some luck.

Hunker down for a long trip back to good health. Dad has to do it, so we will too.
My mom has been amazing. Behind every great man, there is a great woman. Believe it. I've seen it.
She'll be easy to spot from now on cause my dad is going to be one skinny dude!



Sunday, June 8, 2008

Keep it up!

Yeah, Al! Keep up the good work! A little reduction every day keeps the doctor away!!! Angie

My prayer for Sunday, June 8th

"Protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope..."

Okay, so this is out of context from mass this morning, but I'm taking it for family and friends all over the world!

Dad had a CAT Scan yesterday that showed a slight reduction in his inflammation.
Forze, Dad! You can do this. We wait in joyful hope.

Love, Michelle

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Half a Glass

Good morning,

The news on my dad depends on how you choose to look at it.
We talked to 2 doctors yesterday who were "cautiously optimistic". Unfortunately, the last doctor we spoke to, one of the GI docs, was "brutally pessimistic". What a jerk.

What they are worried about is the inflammation of his abdomen. His lungs are squished and it seems so are his intestines and the "food" can't pass through like they would like it to. He needs to get the nutrition they are trying to give him. Bottom line, the inflammation must subside for him to continue healing. He needs to get off breathing tube (which is now a trachiostomy?) and get his bowels working.

What they are optimistic about is his kidney function, his white blood cell count which is low, no fevers, and the fact that he has come this far. He also has strong lungs, a strong heart and a girlfriend who really, really wants him to come home. Whenever he's ready.

So, Dad, you're a half a glass. Half-full, of the finest ingredients. That's enough for now.
The anniversary party was a bust without you. You owe us a dinner. You don't even have to pay - just be there.

Love you, Michelle

Friday, June 6, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

49 years today! Dad's gonna have to make up for missing this one...I'm sure he'll be happy to do so. We'll be taking my mom out tonight to celebrate many more to come!

The tracheotomy went well. The test showed no damage and the procedure for the trach happened this morning around 8 am. No fevers last night or today. All good.

Mike spoke to his primary today and I will try and paraphrase what the doctor said...

"I have worked in this hospital for long time and people here are working on and pulling for this guy like never before. He was eating pizza and watching a baseball game and now he's here? It's not right. We are doing everything we possibly can to get him the heck out of here. It's just a loooooong road."

Not new information but it's nice to hear.

So sit back, relax and send your encouragement and prayers knowing that everyone is doing everything they can to help my dad - including all of you. Thank you.

We'll toast my parents for you this evening with "Cent Anni"! (It means 100 years in Italian. It is most commonly used as a toast as if to say "may we have 100 years of life, love, health and happiness")

He has 27 left and he better get up and make the most of them!

Michelle and family xo

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Get Well Mr. P!!!

Hi there, this is Amy's sister Jessica...I just wanted to let you know that we're all thinking of you and that you're in my prayers everyday at 9:33!!

Jessica Miller

Latest News

Hi, all,

Thursday afternoon here in NJ and Dad must have just finished up a test they were doing on his lungs and esophagus. A bronchiostomy (sp?) to see how everything is holding up. He has had the breathing tube in for almost 2 weeks and they need to get him off of it.

Since his lungs are still being crowded by his big old belly, they still need to assist him with breathing. So, they will be doing a tracheotomy tomorrow. This sounds awful, but it is actually a good thing. It is cleaner, more natural breathing and easier to wean him from. This is the real goal. They will also be able to get him off the sedative, so hopefully he can chat with us a little this weekend. That would be so nice. We have not spoken to him since before surgery and can't wait to see him smile. We will certainly tell him how many of you are thinking of and praying for him. He will be amazed and thankful. Hugs and kisses to all of you from him. He is worried about you too, so be strong and you can chat with him yourselves over the next few months.

Please pray for lungs, esophagus, reduced swelling and infections "go away"...and that he has a really good attitude about all this recovery he has ahead of him. Yikes.

No worries.....Michelle

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

To Al the OA

Dear Sonny,

You are strong, optimistic, smart, kind and funny. To know you is to love you! Now live up to all that crap or we'll beat you up.

camille and joe
Hi Al!

Just letting you know we're still thinking and praying! 9:33, 9:33!!! Things are sounding better every day! Every one of us who knows you, knows that if anybody can beat this it's you! You've shown us all a very valuable lesson in strength and prayer...I don't think anybody can argue that it doesn't help! You are LIVING proof! And we're also all appreciating every day of the week that we ALL wake up on the right side of the grass!!! We love you! Kim and Ryan

Thinking of you

Just a quick post Dad. Still a way to go - but you will get there. We're all in it for as long as it takes. Talk to you soon.

Love ya...michael

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Power of Prayer! "Al" - elluia!

The news from dad's "sugar" doctor, Dr Skobie... "He will walk out of here. He has a strong heart and lungs and a lot of other things going for him". My mom hugged him. My dad's okay with that.

Undoubtedly all the prayers and his friends and family rank right up there with those "other things".

Do we need more news than that? Ok, his "numbers" are good and they were able to reduce his oxygen input by 5%. This is a small but significant step.

We had a few days of no improvement, but these were also days of no steps backwards. We were okay with that, but today's news is infinitely more satisfying!

My dad has taken my level of admiration for him to a new level. We believe he is healing himself with that amazing brain of his. The fact that he is a work horse doesn't hurt either. Go, Dad!
Jeff's visit no doubt gave him a second (fifth?) wind.

Meet you all in prayer and thanksgiving at 9:33!

Much love, Michelle and Family

To dear friend SAM (Sanctus Albertus Magnus)

Sending you love and light and healing energy. SA (Saint Angela)

The Feast of the Madonna delle Rose in Torricella

Dear Al,
I do hope you are making better progress since your operation. To cheer you on your way, here is the latest translation (which hopefully someone will read to you) about the festivities in Torricella yesterday at the Feast of the Madonna delle Rose - a place which I know you loved - think how pretty it must be now, garlanded with all those flowers! Let them help to cheer you too!!
Love from England, from
Marion Porreca

Festa of the Madonna delle Rose

As promised, here is a brief account of the festa of the Madonna delle Rose, which took place yesterday. As every year, this time too it was very positive. People from Torricella and others too showed great enthusiasm ain taking part.
It opened at eight o’clock with fireworks and soon after, the musical band from Gessopalena marched around all the village streets, led by our dear friend, Silvio Di Marino.
Mass was celebrated at eleven o’clock at the Sanctuary and in the early afternoon, as has been happening for the past four years, there were games for the children, which has become a tradition of this festa. This joyful time, always is a great success, especially on the part of the smallest. Treasure hunt, hit the target, “pentolaccia”[1] And tug of war held our children’s attention all afternoon and as well as enjoying themselves playing together and socialising, in moments such as this, they were able to rediscover the beauties of nature and the advantages of being able to enjoy the freedom it offers. There was also a large crowd of parents and it is lovely to be able to tell you that I saw young mothers playing and competing together with their children. It was a marvellous scene, I assure you!
The presence of our little villagers was fundamental also to the procession: in fact, all the children, having finished playing their games, took [art in the procession carrying roses to the Madonna, thus further sweetening the already precious moment.
The evening concluded with orchestral music and a firework display.
Positive confirmation also for the selling of blessed roses, which was as if they were giving them away (selling like hot cakes)!
In conclusion, we were all very satisfied, especially for the love and dedication that people show each time towards our Sanctuary that really must be special, and we hope that this tradition will continue for a long time to come.

P.S. May I remind you that on Sunday 8th June there is the Ecologic Stroll, do please come in large numbers!!! I am certain that this will be an unforgettable day!
Greetings to everyone, Francesca.

Translator’s Note:
[1] Pentolaccia – is the same as piñata – it is a brightly-colored container made from paper or cardboard filled with sweets and/or toys. It is generally suspended on a rope from a tree branch or ceiling and is used during celebrations. A succession of blindfolded, stick-wielding children try to break the piñata in order to collect the sweets and/or toys inside of it. It has been used for hundreds of years in Spain and Mexico to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and Easter – and is now becoming popular in America and the UK too as a children’s party game.

LOVE & SUNSHINE from St. Petersburg, FL

Hello Everyone!

Sean and I travelled to the Northeast over Memorial Day weekend to visit Dad, Liz and siblings. Unfortunately, we were unable to visit you, Uncle Al, since visitors were at a minimum. We were kept informed via phone calls and text messages.

On our way home the message came across to pray, well at the same moment the Franciscan Nuns were saying the rosary, so we joined in for over an hour. Sending healing and blessings to you, the Docs and our family. It was quite powerful.

Almost as powerful as my Uncle Al telling me not to park in his driveway (as a teenager)...or the Uncle that drew a smiley face with braces when mine first appeared...or the Uncle that showed us kids card tricks...and the Uncle that told me to "come here, sit and talk with me, it has been awhile" at Donna's birthday party 2 years ago.

So now, Oh powerful one, when are you planning on getting out of that stupid bed?

We all of course, love you, Aunt Lee and all of our cousins.

Peace and Love, Sandy and Sean :)