Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Little by little

Tomorrow the doctors are taking Rob back to surgery. However, this time they are planning on trying to close up his leg wounds on both legs!! From what I understand, they are also going to try to close the area on the side of his left thigh where they had to do a fasciotomy. They will do this by taking a thin layer of Rob's skin from a different area of his body (probably somewhere on his thigh), mesh it, and apply it to the area to make a skin graft. Like I mentioned before, it would be so great if they are able to close up the wounds because it would decrease infection and all the surgeries Rob has to go through. Also, the dr told us that for some "unknown reason" Rob's bilirubin count has come down (meaning his jaundice is getting better). Mom, Barb, and I all said at the same time: "We know why-the power of prayer!" We've all been praying for his liver to start working properly and it looks like it's starting to do that. Last week his bili count was 32 and today it was 20. The normal count is less than 2, but we're going in the right direction!!! Little by little, right? Let's just keep praying for this to continue!!! Today in the room with Rob, you can tell he is trying SO HARD. He's just so exhausted he can hardly keep his eyes open. But, if he starts to close his eyes and you say "Rob!", he'll open them again. Obviously I don't do this a lot b/c I want him to sleep, but sometimes it's good so that he can work on staying awake a little longer each time. The exciting thing is that today I was able to actually get him to track my finger. He was able to track it to one side before he fell asleep again. It just took a lot of work getting him to focus on my finger and then track it. But I was so happy that he did. Of course only Barb and I saw this. The staff is never around when Rob does things for us. But, we know Rob and we know he'll start doing this more in time. Again, little by little. On another note, my mom and Barb have decided they can take up new jobs here at the hospital. Barb as the head of housekeeping and mom as the cook. Barb runs around following all the workers making sure everything is "up to standard". The vacuum guy has even started finding her to show her that he is vacuuming. I'm sure for those who know Barb, this comes as no surprise. Rob definetly got his OCD with cleanliness from her!! My mom has been making her awesome cinnamon rolls and passing them around to all the hospital staff. Pan after pan. Once she gets going, there's no stopping her. For those who know my mom, this also comes as no surprise. There's nothing like having my mom here to make sure I'm eating and my mother in law to make sure my floors and clothes are clean!! Boy, I'm going to really miss them when they're gone! Rob and I are definetly getting the TLC we both need!!


brittneyjackson said...

Hey Dena,

That's so good that Rob is responding to you, it's very exciting. I bet it's going to be very hard when your mom and Barb leave. I keep praying and thinking of you all. I love you.

nate schott said...

Sounds great Dena. Hopefully all will go as planned in surgery tomorrow. I am sure it will be somewhat of a relief when they finally stop carting him off for surgery all the time. Glad to hear your mom and Aunt Barb are finding things to occupy their minds somewhat. We will continue our prayers.

Liz said...

Wow things sound so encouraging!! Rob knows the most important person to save his energy for...that's you :). He is going to surprise that staff one day real soon. Praise God on the bili!!! Lots of hugs and prayers.

The Gisslers said...

Dena, I am glad things are continuing to go in the right direction. We continue to keep all of you in our prayers and thoughts.

Love you
Shelly, Aaron, and Megan

Miss Em said...

Yee-Haw and more prayers on there way.
Lucky you **** two Mommies who enjoy the cooking and cleaning.

{sighs and thoughts of envy}

Kathy said...

We know both Barb and Bev are terrific women and a great comfort, as well as strength for you. Your blog is helping you cope and their cleaning and cooking is helping them. All three of you are helping so many others--thank you! We continue to pray for Rob's healing, your continued strength and good health and for the girls to see their mommy and daddy soon.
Kathy Jo and Dean Heine

Long-time RN said...

We'll keep praying for improvements each day. For as serious as Rob's wounds are, the stability of his condition is truly a blessing. His body is working so hard to heal. Good to read you're being well taken care of at this time as well, Dena! Prayers for a successful surgery and for his caregivers skill as well.

Lodmell House said...

It sounds like things are getting better day by day. We will pray for a successful surgery tomorrow and continued progress.

lori said...

Rob sure is trying his best to get better for all of you! This man is incredible and I can't even imagine all that his poor body has been through.

Sure sounds like the Mom's are doing everything to help you handle this situation and help Rob regain his health. That's what Mom's are for!

Love, Aunt Lori Schott

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to read that Rob is improving! God bless you all!

Rossella (Shane's Aunt)

Heather said...

It's so good to hear that Rob and YOU are being taken good care of... what are mother's for :) Glad to hear good news and yes little by little! The power of prayer is truly amazing! God Bless you all!
Heather S

Anonymous said...

Great news... especially on Rob tracking with his eyes.


Stacy said...

Yeah!! I am so happy to hear that Rob is tracking your finger. That is such a great sign. i am glad to hear that you are getting some TLC and that you are being taken care of. You desire to have as little other stressors as you can. I look forward to coming to see you. What a great sign that the bili level has come down. Prayer is so powerful!!
I continue to pray for you both,

Mike from Topeka, KS said...


More great news.
The Biliruben count dropping is no surprise; I'm sure that since you mentioned his liver function problem, hundreds of people have been praying secifically for that liver to do it job.God is just showing the Dr who the real "Healer" is.
Try giving us specific things to pray for Rob and watch "The Power of Prayer" go to work.
I am involved in a Christian Ministry here in Topeka. It is called Point Man International. The ministry started with the goal to serve Viet Nam vets dealing with PTSD. It now includes Vets from the war on terror. Our state director actually walked point in Nam.
I would like to forward their newsletter to you if you will give me your e-mail address (mine is mmyers5@cox.net) If you aren't comfortable doing that, I can send it by snail mail to you at the hospital.
The reason I want you to see the newsletter is they feature an article on Eagle Summit Ranch in Colorado where recovering wounded can go for rehabilitation and can actually get college credit for the work they do there. The ranch is run by Dave Roevers who was critically burned by a White Phosphorus grenade (Rob would call it a Willie Pete Grenade) in Viet Nam and who now is a Christian motivational speaker.
Again, Praise the Lord for the small steps of the liver function improving and Rob Tracking your finger.
Many prayers a day go your way from me and will continue as long as needed.

pam said...

Hi Dena--
A quick note to let you know that there are 4 airline tickets ready and waiting to bring your family together, especially your two precious little miracle daughters,to share Thanksgiving with their Mom, Dad,the "cleaning and cooking" Grandmoms, Granddads and so many folks who will just be sending y'all lots of thoughts and prayers no matter where they may be. As I was running the tickets this afternoon I couldn't help but break into a big smile thinking about how special it will be for everyone there during this particular holiday when we do give thanks for so many reasons, big and small...
Hugs all around,

The Bender's said...

Awesome News!! Thanks so much for the updates! We will keep on praying strong, especially for his liver activity to keep improving!

And too cute about the Moms! Girl - tell Barb GREAT JOB with her son and am working hard to get my 18 month old boy down that same track! And to your Mom let her know I bought Zach his first baking apron for Christmas! Craig only said ok because it is blue with a red firetruck on it with his name!
I am hoping, like you, his wife someday will be very appreciative of her clean and cooking husband! :) And have to say that I hope Zach finds such an amazing wife like you are to Rob! And you know how much of a compliment that is from us Moms!

Love you,

Quinn and Melanie said...

Things sound so good today,yeah! Yes, the prayers for Rob's liver are working. Reading what you write about Rob's reactions to things makes me giggle because it does sound just like him. And are mom's not the greatest!!
Always in our thoughts and prayers,
Mel, Quinn, Lauren & Meghan

Anonymous said...

I am a huge believer in Cinnamon Roll therapy! It is therapy for the cook, and for those with whom they are shared. I also am one to indulge in OCD cleaning when the going gets tough. Also good therapy. Y'all keep doing what you are doing and I'll keep praying. I have no doubt that together, we can all pray Rob through this.
Hang in there.
Carol Dzurenko

Joyce Winfield said...


Don't you just love hearing doctors refer to those "unknown reasons." Of course, it's the power of prayer! Thank you, Lord!! We will continue to pray for the bili count to come down. (This Ph.D. doctor is really absorbing the terminology of the M.D. doctor. I'm like 'what is a fasciotomy'???) I read your entry out loud to Uncle Doug and when I got to the part about Bev making her awesome cinnamon rolls, I think he almost started drooling. Doug loves your mom's cinnamon rolls. They were one of his best birthday gifts one year. Thanks Bev! Dena, we knew you would be getting overdoses of TLC from your Mom and Barb. Keep it up gals. We also will pray that Rob continues to focus and track. One of these times a doctor or nurse will be present when Rob tracks your finger, Dena. Once again, the power of prayer.

Much love,
Aunt Joyce and Uncle Doug

Anonymous said...

Jody Kerr said, I have such admiration for you and your family. I have heard so much about you from Melanie Eddy, my daughter. I firmly believe in the power of prayer as it has always helped me when times were tough. I pray for you daily and please stay strong. God Bless you both.

Kim Decker said...

Sweet! Another day of healing down and another day of overall improvements. I am very encouraged to hear this. Dena, I can definitely identify with Barb...the world is always a little less chaotic with a good vacuum job. Dusting is also highly soothing. My hats off to your Mom...I usually mess up cinnamon rolls. It is probably good for her to keep those docs and nurses happy. They work better on a full tummy!

You and Rob continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Any more updates on your family in Kansas City?

mary and doug reid said...

We continue to marvel at how hard Rob is working to communicate with you, Barb, and your Mom! He will be so proud of your devotion and faith.
What a true Thanksgiving for all of you reuniting with your little girls. Please tell Barb we miss her-know she and your Mom are the best. Love, Mary and Doug Reid

JoAnne Bartek said...

Wow, what a positive day. And yes, that "unknown reason" is DEFINITELY the power of prayer!!! And, the prayers keep coming. I know that Barb and your mom have been a blessing to you and Rob during this time and now we know that they are also a blessing to the hospital staff! All that positive energy is a good thing.

Aunt Jo, Uncle Steve, Brooke & Ashley

Rosie said...

WE will all be THANKFUL when Rob counts are back to normal, when he's surgeries are done and he's back with his favorite girls. SEEMS the #'s are getting greater Dena FOR FAVORITE GIRLS!:) KEEP SMILING, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

Theresa O. said...


That is awesome news... The bili count coming down that quick is so totally awesome. It's actually brought tears to my eyes. I'm so to hear about them closing up the leg wounds. That's just a huge bonus. Continued prayers sent your way..

Theresa O.
Pleasanton, NE

Kelly said...

It sounds like very encouraging news for Rob. Every little step matters. I am glad you are surrounded by family right now, sounds like they are taking good care of you. Your family continues to be in my prayers.


Anonymous said...

You've heard this so many times, I'm sure...
You don't know me, but I am another Army wife that has been following your blog. I pray for you both everyday. I pray for Rob to heal, for your strength, and your sweet children. It's rare to find a woman stronger than an Army wife and one who has been through multiple deployments, but you are demostrating amazing strength and optimism. I admire you and am proud to call someone like you my Army wife sister. God bless you all!

Maggie45 said...

Dena, you are one heck of a woman!! As are Barb and your Mom. And yep, the awesome power of prayer...and you've got your Army of Spiritual Warriors out here. The news certainly sounds encouraging, and I'm not letting up..

Carol said...

Hi Dena that is so great. It seems like each day is a little better. I can't wait to get on and read what has happen today. I pray each time before I open that you guys would have a good day. God is so Great. Love Carol

Love from Mn said...

Kudos to the moms for their busy work...I know Barb loves to clean. May the blog bring comfort to you Dena as you type Rob's updates. We are all pulling for Rob. Our prayers will focus on his liver....and the surgery for closing up his leg wounds. We love you Rob and know you have the determination and will to survive.

May god bless all of you!!
Love Aunt Julie(Schott)Davidson

Anonymous said...


You and Rob have prayers coming from more directions than you know.

Like many others, we have been following your progress daily - with both joy at each bit of progress, and sometimes tears. Your strength is amazing, and a lesson for those of us who spend far too much time worrying about the little things.

Your notes about the Moms are great! I had to chuckle, visualizing the cooking and cleaning crew, doing what Moms the world over do when the going gets a little tough. You and Rob are truly blessed.

Please carry with you the certain knowledge that folks who had never even heard of Rob or Dena Yllescas until a few weeks ago are in your corner, pulling for you every step of the way. When Rob's Aunt Julia e-mailed me the link, I started following immediately, and my wife and kids have since joined in the vigil. Looks to me like you folks have a pretty big fan club!

God bless.

Rob, Cherie, Samantha and Matt Maki
from the frozen tundra of Minnesota

andrea e isabella said...

Dena Im so happy Rob is responding to stimulus, and so happy too that his " ictericia" is getting lower. Its so good for you, that your mom and barb are with you, i hope this can be till you really need them, because i think you really need " compaƱia in these times"
As Always, you and rob still in my prayers, God Bless you Dane you Are a wonderfull person.

Anonymous said...

As another Military wife I am so proud of you. You are doing a such a wonderful and perfect job serving your husband....who so graciously served his country. Hang in sister......the prayers are coming and victory will be Rob and yours...........God would have it no other way!!!!!

Paige Tyler said...


I need Barb and Bev here with me! Bev to help my sewing skills and Barb to pick off all the thread that got stuck to me. I sewed patches on those bags today and about peed my pants when I realized I sewed one shut!!!! OMG...you would have died (laughing)!!! But they are all done and look pretty FINALLY!

It sounds like Rob is doing phenomenal...I see many miracles in your future!

Jaime Pachta said...

Great news!!! :-) I find that at Thanksgiving time, we have a lot to be thankful for. I am so glad that he is making steps in the right direction. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. It will be great to have the girls there for Rob. I'm sure just hearing their voices will be music to his ears. It's great that both moms are there for the two of you. (I'm sure the cinnamon rolls are yummy.) :-) Take Care of you...love, Dan, Jaime, Ashley, Nicolas, & Mitchell

Chaotic Mom said...

Man, I can just smell the rolls. Never had the pleasure of eating any myself, but I can smell them from here. ;)

We're praying for you guys. For your health (all of you), but also for your upcoming reunion.

I saw SFC D tonight, and he was excited to share about Rob tracking your finger. We are all thinking about you guys all the time. Praying, too. All the time. ;)

Aunt Nancy said...

I want a CINNAMON ROLL!!!!:)) I am going to have trouble all night sleeping just thinking about Bev's rolls!MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm...
It was GREAT to hear that Robs bilirubin count is Going DOWN DoWn down! And, ABSOLUTELY we know that it is the POWER of PRAYER...and, along with prayers for it to continue to go down we are going to be praying for a successful surgery tomorrow with closing up his leg wounds and guiding the hands of the surgeons!! God is GOOD all the time...and ALL the time GOD IS GOOD! And, he is the master healer!
xoxoxoLove, Aunt Nancy

amber pocrnich said...

Hey Dena!
Prayers still coming to you from Iraq!! LOTS of them!! Don't forget, "Slow and Steady Wins The Race!" I was sooooo happy to hear of Rob's "Baby Steps." Just think of how far he has come! Hang in there and keep the faith. MAJ P

P.S. Our mouths are watering over here in Iraq, with all the talk of homemade cinnamon rolls!!!! Keep those nurses happy!!!!

Jenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

God is great - all the time! We are praising the Lord for Rob's improvement and for all those keeping him in prayer and caring for him.

Anonymous said...

God is great - all the time! We are praising the Lord for Rob's improvement and for all those keeping him in prayer and caring for him.

Philip Davis said...

I remember your mom's cinomon rolls from when I lived in Osceola and they really are great. That is one reson for Rob to get better too. He can small them and wants to be able to eat one himself. i am glad that things are going well. I hope the Dr and able to close his leg wounds today his recovery continues.
God Bless you and many prayers your way.

Philip Davis

About The Caddo Tribe said...

Good news! We'll keep praying.

Shani and Mike Ginani

Michael & Hanna Crowder said...

We're so excited that Rob is tracking you and that his bili levels are going down! We're continuing to pray (even Caroline and Ben say prayers for "CPT Rob" during their bedtime prayers)! I'm glad that you have both your mom and your mother-in-law there with you. I'm sure it helps keep things normal to have them around!
Michael and Hanna

Woody Woodson said...

Just wanted you to know I'm praying - along with familia Woodson - for Rob & you & all your family. Of course, we knew him as Bert in Guatemala - having a fondness for setting off fireworks in our house. Please give Barb & Otto my regards & love. "Be strong...in the strentgh of His might." (Eph.6:10) - Woody Woodson

Julie. Soldiers Angels said...

Great news Dena! I'll be praying for the Surgery to go well and the leg and his thigh to get their work done. Also for that liver to keep on working in the right direction and for Rob's continued strong recovery. The finger tracking is a huge 'baby step' ..it really is. Rob is fighting his way back..you can feel it. I think your moms are really something! God Bless them and you Dena. You all have a great strength, love, faith and positive attitude!! Hugs to you all.

julie morelli
soldiers' Angels

Carla Gamblin, said...

Prayers your way that the surgery is a huge success. It is great that you have your loved ones there to help and offer that "TLC", for it is much deserved. Rob, you are in my prayers daily for a speedy, complete recovery. Angel Hugs to all of you. I could never say "Thank You" enough for the sacraficies You and your family have made for Me and Mine.

As we approach that time of year to give THANKS, I know there will be many going out from me to ALL the young men and woman who are (have) fighting for my ability to do so.

Annaka and Aaron said...

YUMMM!!! My mouth was watering as I read about those cinnamon rolls!!! I was super excited to hear that Rob's liver is starting to do its job!!! We have to remember that doctors are just doctors... they are not God...and the power of prayer is the most powerful tool in that hospital. And from the 30,000 visitors you can see that there are more prayers going up for Rob, you and the girls, than we can even imagine. We'll continue to do all we can and keep praying like crazy! Hang in there!!!

Love ya,

Annaka, Aaron, Aizlynn and Amarae

kkazor said...

Hi Dena,
Its Katie Kazor your old L&D buddy! I just found out about all this from Erin Peterfeso. Please know that you, Rob and your whole family will be in our thoughts and prayers everyday. I'm glad things are looking up "little by little". We are now stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD less than an hour from Walter Reed. If you need ANYTHING, don't hesitate to ask!!! Even if its just to get out for a little bit with an old friend or you need a extra bed for someone visiting or some friends for the girls to play with when they're here just let me know. My email is kkazor29@yahoo.com
Love and Prayer,

Anonymous said...

Dena and Rob,
I was crying tears of joy and giggling at the same time as I read your lastest update. I have, in my lifetime, had the opportunity to pray for two people's livers. Such a critically vital organ, but yet it made me smile to think about just how specific we are to be with our prayers! Sounds like your mom and Barb are doing their own missionary work! Wonderful outreach for everyone. Can't wait to read your next update.
Love and hugs,
Jane & Charles Roberts

Trisha said...

Great news, and I have to laugh about the family helping out. Each visitor has their own traits to add. Now you know why Nancy labels everything... I put away laundry and it took months for them to find everything :) Stay strong, keep focusing on the positive, exercise and eat well!

Anonymous said...

Dena and the "Moms":
Great job of channeling your energies and giving your mind and spirit a much needed "break" in order to rejuvenate and get ready for the next battles that you will wage.
The updates sound so much better that I can finally believe that Rob has turned a corner in his recovery. I will continue to pray and think positive thoughts.

Wendell said...

Dena, sounds awesome!!! Power of prayer! Love all of you very much!!
-Uncle Wendell

Anonymous said...

I was pointed to your site by Jaywalkers' recent Xanga post and wanted to offer my sympathies and prayers to you and your family. I am a Marine officer currently deployed with the 26th MEU, with a wife and son of my own at home. Your optimism and faith through what every ground combat servicemember fears most is absolutely remarkable. God offers strength through the most difficult of times, and without that none of us could persevere. Thank you for YOUR service and for sharing this experience. I hope for the quick recovery of your husband and all of our other wounded warriors.
Semper Fi,
Jake W.

JihadGene said...

More prayers heading your way!!!

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 11/19/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Anonymous said...


Another good day. One day at a time. Tell Barb to keep those people on their toes and as we nurses know, food is always appreciated. Just hearing about those home made cinamon rolls made my mouth water.

Always in my thoughts and prayers


Mitch and Vicki Coffin said...

Wowzer!!! Great news on Rob's bilirubin. Thank you to God and all of the people caring for Rob!
Even those we don't normally think about - those cooking and cleaning in the hospital - are so instrumental in helping with the healing process. Good work Barb and Bev! Being able to do the things you are doing is helpful to the mind and spirit isn't it? Wishing you all well Rob, Dena, "the moms," Otto, and who ever else is close by. Know Alan and the girls' arrival will be good medicine for all of you.
Hugs and prayers,
Mitch and Vicki :-)

cassie in tennessee said...

What a great report!! Praise God for the lower bili levels and the news he is tracking you. I just know he is in there and waiting for just the right moment to come back as the Rob you know and love. I had to laugh at the idea of Barb being the head of housekeeping. I remember so well how she would have all 4 kids lined up doing their chores in Xela in that gorgeous house. I'd help out when I was there so we could get out of the house faster. lol! Give (((Hugs))) to Barb and many prayers for you all as you continue this journey!

Much Love,
Cassie & family from Tennessee

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy things continue to progress. I had a call from Rob's mom, Barb on Friday. Was so nice to hear from her, and get all the latest. She sounds great and positive for all that you are going through. I told her that her classes all ask after her and how Rob and his family is doing. Just keep doing all the things you are doing, and you will all be home before you know it. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Christine Palermo and family

marybeth said...

I'm just one more person praying for Rob and his continued recovery and for you Dena for continued strength. I'm a friend of your Aunt Nancy's. Stay strong, Mary Beth Pfeifer

Kathy Catalanotto said...

Hello Rob,
Praise God you are healing a little more each day. "One day at a time". Keep on getting better and know that you are in our daily thoughts and prayers. God Bless you and your family.
Hello Dena,
I am glad your mom and Barb are there, they must be such wonderful support and company and getting the extra help that is allowing you to get better rest and nourishment as well is a double bonus. You have to take care of yourself to be able to care for Rob, so be sure to be good to yourself. -smile-
I am excited for you to be able to see the girls soon, I know you have missed each other more then words can say, but as you stated, it is for the best now. Enjoy them and enjoy your Thanksgiving, we have so much to be Thankful for.
Take care and thanks for keeping such good blogs, so we can keep up with Robs progress.
God is good, we are praying daily for a complete recovery.
Take care.
With our love, thoughts & prayers,
Kathy & Chris Catalanotto & family

Kerry said...

I don't know you folks and you don't know me, but since I heard of this the Lord has frequently moved me to remember you in prayer. I thank CPT Yllescas for his service and huge sacrifice, and it will not be forgotten. God always has a plan for our lives, hard as it may be.
May He bless and keep you.