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Please say a prayer for the Saatoff family


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They are friends of my best friend, Janet.



Background Story


Around 3 weeks ago, Dave noticed something was “off” and he put it on back burner as we were preparing for our daughter’s high school graduation and open house. He was able to hide it from me and Izzie, very well.


The day of her open house (Sat. June 2nd), it was apparent to some family and friends, that Dave was not himself and was having trouble speaking…finding the right words to say while talking. The right side of his mouth was “droopy”.


On Monday, June 4th, Dave went to visit his regular family doctor in Brainerd. He ran extensive blood work to rule out Lyme’s Disease and other scenarios. In our minds the other options it could be were Bells Palsey, a stroke or a tumor. On Tuesday morning Dave had a MRI, and late Tuesday afternoon he received the results, a 3.25 cm tumor on his brain, located on the left side, above his ear. It has a lot of swelling around it, causing the speech problems.


We met with Dave’s regular doc Wednesday morning, and upon arrival the nurse said she already had in motion a phone call down to Mpls to get us in asap with a Neurosurgeon. We were referred to Dr. Mahmoud Nagib, a Neurosurgeon at Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis. Within an hour we were on our way to Minneapolis to meet Dr. Nagib.


When we met Dr. Nagib, the first thing he said was “I have seen your pictures and report, I will take care of this for you”. The second thing he said to us was “I understand you’re friends with Cheryl’s son”. Already someone had contacted him to take special care of Dave. I knew we were in the right place.


Nagib’s first priority is to reduce the swelling and take the tumor out. Our list of questions will have to wait until after surgery. Patience is NOT my virtue at all…ask my husband.


Today (Fri. 6/8) Dave had another MRI at Abbott which lasted 1.5 hours. It was a “functional” MRI where Dave looked at photos, took commands to move his tongue, fingers and word associations. It was hard on Dave as he is not sleeping very well. Next Thursday is one more MRI before surgery. They will map out exact spots on Dave’s head and identify them with stickers that he’ll have to wear for 24 hours.

Surgery is scheduled for next Friday, June 15th at 9 a.m. to remove the tumor; Dr. Nagib wants to get it all. The hospital stay will be about 5 days, with about a 4-week recovery if all goes well. Surgery length is 8-10 hours long.


Needless to say, our lives have been turned upside down in a matter of 24 hours. We chose to wait a few days to share this news until we had a plan in place with the Neurosurgeon. We also needed some time for us to come to terms with what is in store for our family, while still trying to maintain a everyday normal life. It has been trying and exhausting, especially for Dave, who is our #1 priority!

I have established a CaringBridge site for us to keep up communication with family, friends and co-workers (link below). Please mark it, sign up for notifications, and check it for updates.



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No news is not always good news


September 13, 2012



“Why do Bad things happen to good people?” This was the question my dad asked this morning at breakfast.


Yesterday we met with Dr. Trusheim after Dave’s MRI and he informed us that a new tumor has grown despite all the radiation and chemotherapy over the last several months.

This new tumor is located above the one that was removed, and is inoperable due to location.


Dave will be starting an aggressive new chemotherapy treatment next week. I need more time to read up on the treatment plan and will post over the weekend some more information to share with you once I get it all down.


Last night Dave and I enjoyed a delicious dinner with my folks with great conversation and a trip to get Cup-N-Cone ice cream downtown White Bear. This morning after breakfast we Skyped with Izzie (tried to teach my parents about Skype so they can do that with her down the road). I'm so proud of her and how she is handling what has been thrown her way.


Dave is leaving this evening to spend the weekend at his parents’ house with his brother, nephew and his friend Steve. I’m sure they will enjoy some time in the woods together as they do every fall. I am supposed to be going on a scrapbook weekend with some dance mom friends as I do every September, but I think I’ll be staying home instead. It’s hard to scrapbook memories with what we’re facing right now.


Please keep our daughter Elizabeth in your prayers; it’s a lot for a young gal to comprehend right now while she should be enjoying her freshman year of college. Fortunately she was blessed with a wonderful roommate who has been there for her since the first day they met; they have truly become best friends for life. Izzie also has a cousin Kayla up at UND; who knew that would be so important.


Josh and his girlfriend Amy will be coming to Minnesota in about 2 weeks to spend the week with Dave up at Dave's parents for the annual Saatoff fall camping/hunting week. I am hoping to get Josh and Marcello back here for Dave's benefit on November 17th.


Dave and I have accepted and embraced what lies ahead. You have to or it will just beat you up more if you don't. We just have very heavy hearts when it comes to Izzie and Josh.

Thank you for your continued support!

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Omnipotent and eternal God, the everlasting Salvation of those who believe, hear us on behalf of Thy sick servant Dave for whom we beg the aid of Thy pitying mercy, that, with his bodily health restored, he may give thanks to Thee in Thy church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Dear Lord Jesus, please shine Thy Divine Light of healing and unending Love on Dave. Please also help Natalie, Izzie and Josh receive Thy Grace and be strengthened in their trust in Thee. Please grant Thy Mercy and Healing to them all, but most of all to Dave, that he may be restored in good health and to give testamony to Thy Great Gifts.


In the name of Our Lord Jesus, Amen.

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Night before new treatment...


Written 17 hours ago

Tuesday night, 8 p.m.


I'm at the Giant Wash laundromat washing our dog's pillows (yes, she has 3 and uses them all). Finally a little quiet time to update you on what's going on.

We leave tomorrow morning for the cities after Dave's speech therapy appointment. He will be admitted to Abbott hospital for a 2-night stay for his new chemotherapy treatment.


The first day will be blood/lab work, and getting him hydrated with IV fluids. Day 2 will be the actual treatment, and day 3 will be more IV fluids, and a 2nd treatment called Avistan, then released in the afternoon. Hopefully Dave will be feeling up for the car-ride...if not we'll stay over at my folks for a good nights rest then home on Saturday. My mom has always been very good at spoiling him and my dad is not far behind.


I will hold off on detailed treatment info until after it is administered and I can tell you the correct information.


I do know that this 3-day treatment is supposed to happen every 30 days at Abbott. Two weeks after this treatment, he will do the Avistan treatment in Brainerd. Week #3 will be another MRI (not sure yet if it has to be at Abbott, hopefully Brainerd). Week #4 will be the 3-day treatment again. And the cycle will continue as long as the MRI is showing no growth, and hopefully reduction.


Dave did enjoy some time with his brother, nephew and friend Steve this past weekend up north. Great-Grandma who is 95 made the boys roast beef dinner on Saturday night. I stayed home and my mom came up and and helped me organize our garage, and clean the upstairs of our house. It's been hard to get anything done in the evenings. I feel so guilty ignoring Dave at night after he's been home all day alone, so we watch TV together, visit, or go for a drive and he runs a errand or two with me. So the housework has been ignored instead.


Last night I got home from work around 6. I've started going to hot YOGA at the YMCA and love it. I'll continue to go afterwork as long as I can a few days a week. After dinner I had to run back to the YMCA to do a couple things and Dave came with to walk on the new running track...he walked a mile while I was in my office. His efforts were rewarded with a oreo mcflurry!


It's been a rough couple days of emotions for both of us as things are starting to sink in. Time is so precious now and it's so important to keep Dave feeling good as long as he can and to make the most of this time to spend with family and friends. We will spend next week keeping Dave as healthy as we can so he can enjoy the Saatoff fall camping/hunting week with his family. Josh is scheduled to be coming that week for a visit, and it is family/parent weekend at UND so lots to look forward to.


As the date starts to draw closer and more planning is being done, Dave is becoming more and more emotional about the benefit for our family on November 17th; he can't express enough his appreciation and support from everyone working on it, people who are donating, and to everyone who is planning on coming. His question to me this morning was "How do I thank everyone?". I told him this is how it works, it's time for him to sit back and accept it, it's a payback for what he has done for others through his friends, work, church, gun safety, etc..


Izzie decided to participate in Rush weekend at UND and is now a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority and is super excited about it. We are really happy that she found something at school to connect with where she will make some good friends, memories, and learn a lot at the same time.

I will try to do a quick update on Thursday night on how Dave is doing.



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Thank you for letting us know, @Rheo! Natalie is right to ignore the housework and to spend time with Dave.


Dear Lord Jesus, like the parable of the neighbor who calls out for help in the middle of the night until his friend gets up to help him, please let us follow Thy Lesson and continue to ask for Special Healing and Help for Dave, and for Special Help for Natalie, Izzy and Josh. Please help us to be transformed in our prayers to Thee, asking help for the Saatoff family and please, like the friend woken in the middle of the night, please grant our prayers of healing, good health and blessings to them.


Thanks be to Thee, Lord Jesus for hearing our prayers! Praise and Honor to Thee, O Holy Spirit for interceding, and making them perfect!


In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.



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  • 1 month later...

It's 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning. I just returned from the airport picking up Izzie. Josh will be arriving at Noon from Seattle. Thank-you to our dear friend Tammy who helped get them here so quick. I can't tell you the peace of mind that we have that both of Dave's kids got here so quick.


Dave has chosen not to continue with any procedures or treatments to prolong his life. Our job is now to keep him as comfortable and pain free as possible. He hasn't eaten in several days.


Yesterday was a very tough day. Dave's breathing became more difficult as the day went on. I met first with the Internal Medicine Dr. in charge and he showed me the Cat-Scan of the lungs, they are both fully infected with a bacteria. In a normal case, they would do a procedure to go down through a tube and collect some of the bacteria to analyze what it is and how best to treat it.


Due to Dave's health status, he would not be able to be put under and would be awake during the procedure causing alot of discomfort and pain. The chances of him having to be put on life support during the procedure are high. This was all explained by a Pulmologist (sp?). A person under a normal health condition could take up to 2 months to fight this infection, and be hospitalized most of that time. We also met with Dr. Trusheim's nurse practioner Patti, and a infectious disease Dr.


I called Margaret Dr. Trusheim's social worker who we have known since Dave's surgery back in June. She came over to our room with the copy of Dave's Health Care Directive and a Palliative Care Dr. who works with families/patients. Dr. Varns spoke with us (me and Dave's parents), then spoke with Dave directly and had him answer yes and no questions. Dave made his wishes well known and is at peace.


I stayed here all night with him, and my mom stayed here to be with me so I had support. Dave's brothers, our pastor, and Dave's friend from CTC are all on their way down here this morning. Dave's friend Chris from Brainerd drove down late last night to spend some time with him. Dave's "2nd wife", my dear friend Kristi was down on Monday and we all watched Dancing With The Stars together. The first time all 3 of us have ever watched that show.


We will meet with the Dr.'s this afternoon after Josh is here to hear what we can expect over the next day or two.


Please keep all of Dave's family in your prayers, especially Izzie and Josh. This has happened way sooner then we expected. Thank you for your continued love and support for Dave and our family.

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They have taken him off the oxygen and his passing could be today or tomorrow.


Thank you for the prayers for this family. wub.png


edited to add:


Dave passed away at 4:05 p.m. today. He was surrounded by his children, parents, brothers, my parents, his childhood friend Steve, and me. It was peaceful and comforting for all.

Thank you for your prayers and words of support for Dave and our family.

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