Phil Leadbetter hospitalized again

Phil Leadbetter, award-winning bluegrass reso-guitarist and everybody’s favorite Uncle Phil, has been hospitalized in Knoxville following some fairly baffling symptoms this week. Doctors have been keeping a close eye on Phil of late as he is in stage 4 kidney failure, and he is undergoing a new round of tests now to rule out a second form of cancer.

We had chronicled his fairly public battle with lymphoma starting with the diagnosis in 2011, through multiple rounds of treatment, concluding with successful stem cell therapy four years later. His body took quite a beating from all the chemo, and while the cancer has been kept at bay, a number of other health issues have popped up in its wake. Though not certain, it is quite possible that the chemo and radiation prior to the stem cell replacement he underwent may have led to the kidney disease, and he has also gone through a successful hip transplant in the past year.

Earlier this week Phil began experiencing a combination of fatigue and memory loss that alarmed his family, who brought him to his renal physician at the University of Tennessee after he had become dizzy and fallen at home. They discovered that he was low on blood, with an elevated calcium level as well. The previous cancer had been Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a blood disease, and they now want to make sure he hasn’t fallen victim to a multiple myeloma.

That cancer can cause spiked calcium levels in the blood, and is not uncommon among those who have had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the past.

Phil’s son Matt, also a fine reso-guitar man, was with him earlier this afternoon and says that his dad is in a great deal of pain from having to lie in the bed. He also has problems with sciatic nerve pain, so he is having a rough go.

A scan is scheduled for later today to look for signs of multiple myeloma.

Uncle Phil definitely goes on the prayer list. It seems horribly unfair that anyone should suffer such an extended run of bad health news.

Best wishes, Phil, and get well soon!

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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.