Phil Leadbetter back in the hospital – medical fund online

We had posted late last month that bluegrass reso-guitar hero and friend to all grassers, Phil Leadbetter, had been hospitalized for a variety of complaints, including a fear that rising calcium levels might portend a return of his blood cancer.

While he was released to return home after a brief stay, he received the definitive diagnosis yesterday that the Hodgkins lymphoma had returned. And earlier today the doctors readmitted him to the hospital when they saw the numbers in his most recent blood work.

His daughter-in-law Ashley had posted this update yesterday for those concerned about his condition.

“Phil went to the cancer doc today where they confirmed it is hodgkins lymphoma. They know it is in his chest and arm pits, but unsure where else it has spread. They will do a scan monday to find this out. They did blood work today to check his calcium levels. They are beginning to elevate again and when they do he becomes confused and starts falling. They aren’t high enough yet for that, but they are going to give him fluids tomorrow to bring the calcium down again. The calcium keeps elevating because of the cancer, so until the cancer is cured the calcium will be a constant battle. They get it down, and in a few days it’s back up.

The doctor feels like he can treat the cancer again with the same meds as the last time he had it, but he can’t have the full dose this time because he is in kidney failure and it would completely ruin what’s left of his kidneys. They want to keep his kidneys as stable as possible, because once he has to start kidney dialysis, the dialysis treatment will cause the cancer meds to not work. Soooo… as you see this is a catch 22 situation. Cant have the full cancer meds because it can harm the kidneys. If the kidneys get worse he will have to start dialysis, and that will interfere with the cancer treatment. He is not able to have a kidney transplant, so once he starts dialysis he would be on it forever.

So where are we now…. Phil goes tomorrow for fluid to help with calcium levels. He goes Monday for a full body scan then they will start a treatment plan. He is being put on meds for shingles for the rest of his life. Because he had a stem cell transplant, he is prone to shingles so they will keep him on meds from here on out. Phil is tired and he is hurting. We will update next week once we know more.”

There are two medical funds that have been established for those who would like to contribute financially during this time of need. Phil is, of course, unable to work during treatment, and his wife, Lisa, is his primary caregiver. They have mounting medical bills that will include the cancer treatment that is coming up.

An account has been set up at a credit union in Knoxville where checks can be sent. Make sure the deposit has “Ashley Leadbetter for benefit of Phil Leadbetter” written in the memo line.

They can be sent by mail to:

Knoxville Employees TVA Credit Union
P.O. Box 15994
Knoxville TN 37901

There is also a Go Fund Me page that is collecting donations online. People have already been very generous, but it is likely that much more will be needed.

Prayers are always welcome as well. Phil is in a fight for his life.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.