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Sues family has planned a memorial service to celebrate her life. It is our hope that many of those who have been a part of Sues life will be able to attend this service.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Shepherd of The Valley Lutheran Church
12659 Johnny Cake Ridge Road
Apple Valley, MN 55124
Phone number (952)432-6351
Visitation prior to service at the church 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Memorial Service 11:00 am
Luncheon following the service
Tonight family and friends gathered to celebrate Sue’s life. We had a family style dinner with a menu consisting of many of Sues favorite foods....Adults and kids together made the infamous wiener pizza and rice krispie bars, we had 7 layer salad, pickled beets, brats, hot dogs, Queen Anne chocolate covered cherries, brownies, cupcakes, chicken, steak, pineapple and more...sounds like an interesting combination....but it was fun! It seems strange not having Sue running around seeing who needed what on their plate, or not seeing her over at the kitchen sink rinsing out a dish or two...that was Sue, she was always helping and serving others, she new how to have a wonderful time, and how to make sure that everyone else did too. It was really nice to be able to celebrate and talk about all the "Sue memories" together...and to look through phots too and remember when......we sure were lucky to have Sue as part of our family, and know that all the special ways she impacted each one of our lives will live on in our heats forever!!
After a long hard battle, defeating lung cancer, yet batteling the other medical issues that arose, today at 10:47am my sister Sue was called to heaven. Bill, Justin, Lindsey, Emily, Ben, Bernie,Jim, Jerry,Bruce,Mom, Dad,Courtney, Dale and I were all at the hospital to say our last goodbyes. She looked ever so peaceful, now at last the pain is gone. We will so deeply miss her....a true legacy that is filled with goodness, hope and optimism is what she has left behind. She will forever live on in our hearts, and not a day will go by that we don't think of her.
We are planning the memorial service, and will let you know more details as they arise. Right now it looks like we will have the service on Wednesday, April 2 @ 11:00am, but will let you know when things are finalized.
Please keep the entire family in your prayers as we face this journey together. We will keep you, all of Sues friends in our hearts and prayers too. Your gift of friendship and caring meant more to Sue than you can possibily imagine.
Sue will be so proud to hear how her family and friends have come to support her. Bill and the kids have been with her around the clock, especially after last nights incident; they all want to be there as much as they can. Today we talked with the lead doctor from the hospital that is coordinating the care and instructions given by each of the specialists. They have determined that Sue has a fungal infection in her lung, so they have begun a broad spectrum antifungal medication while they continue to wait for the exact strain of fungus to be cultured. Her heart function is somewhat improved. She is still on the ventilator, and she is still heavily sedated. They did try to lower the amount of pain medication today, but she became very agitated, so they returned back to the higher level of medication. Her coughing is still a problem, but when sedated, it is less frequent, and can be calmed down much quicker. The nurses are able to help her get all the mucus out of her throat, and she does not have to struggle.
Today the family was introduced to the coordinator of TLC team. The TLC team offers counselors, clergy, social workers, pain management personnel, and many other support staff, all available to the family at any time during this process. The staff at Ridges has been amazing; they have given Sue great care, and have also been very supportive of the family.
We are hopeful that tomorrow will be a good day and Sue will begin to respond a bit. The nurses say that even though she does not show any reaction, they are sure she can hear all tha we are saying, and what goes on. We told her today that she really needs to recover.... it is only 3 days until the Twins home opener…you know how she loves the Minnesota Twins….she actually has tickets for that game! Sue really had to put the family to work to get the tickets for that game…Bill tried to get them from Bachman’s, but they were sold out, so Justin went on Craig’s list to buy them for his mom….and they were no bargain, if you know what I mean!! So if she is awake, we will at least have the game on so she can listen, and Lindsey and Emily will go to the game in her place. Last year we went to the Twins opener in Fort Meyers, and this year we thought it would be cool to go to Seattle to see a game…if she is able, it may be a good fall trip to take….we can only hope…and pray….
Sue has always said throughout this whole journey that God has put the right people in the right places at the right time to carry her. We have witnessed that time and time again. She has also said that she knows people all over the world are praying for her, and she can feel that deep inside….so please keep your prayers coming.
ANOTHER BUMP IN THE ROAD......BEGINNING 3/25/2008
On Tuesday night around 7:30 pm Bill found Sue lying on the couch unresponsive. She had worked all day, and at around 2:00 she started to feel sick. She stayed at work until around 4:00, and then headed home. When she got home, she told Bill she didn’t feel good, needed to lie down. So Sue lay down on the couch, turned on the fireplace and snuggled under a blanket to take a rest. Bill took the dog for a walk, and when he returned Sue was having another one of her coughing spells. She waved her hand at Bill, a signal that she was okay. About 15 minutes later, Bill went to ask Sue if she wanted something to eat, and found her in a fetal position on the couch, unresponsive to his voice and touch. Bill called 911 and waited for help to arrive. The emergency response teams arrived within 5 minutes, and began to get Sue ready to transport to the closest emergency room/hospital. They took Sue to Ridges Hospital in Burnsville. For the next 4 hours they worked on Sue trying to figure out what was going on. The initial indicators were that she had fluid in her lung, the chest x-ray they took was substantially more cloudy than the chest x-ray they had done just two weeks ago, so there was a possibly of pneumonia and they also found out that her heart was very weak. They did rule out the possibility of a stroke. They placed Sue on a ventilator to enable her to breath. They started her on antibiotics to fight infection. Her blood pressure was very low, and her heart was beating very fast. She had a temperature of 102+. After the preliminary exam in the emergency room, she was moved to intensive care. She has been monitored around the clock, and her family has been there with her.
In the first 24 hours, she was visited by her oncologist, pulmonary specialist, cardiologist and care coordinator physician. The oncologist feels that this episode is not related to her cancer. The pulmonary physician performed a bronchial exploratory procedure to examine and draw fluid to culture to see what the fluid around the lung is. The cardiologist did some initial tests on her heart.
Today is Thursday. They still do not have any definite answers on what is going on with Sue. They are continuing their process of discovery and elimination. Sue has made some improvement in terms of her overall status. Her blood pressure is improving, her heat beats per minute is slowing down a bit, her fever is decreasing, and she is beginning to have a bit more color in her skin. She is still on the ventilator, and is still hooked up to many different monitors, medication bags and is still unresponsive. The plan for tomorrow is to continue to explore what is going on, but the medical team is encouraged by her progress.
Please keep Sue in your prayers. Also keep the medical staff that is working with Sue in your prayers, that they may have the insight and determination to find out how they can help Sue back to the recovery mode. We know that she is strong, and we know that she still has fight left in her, so keep praying for her strength! Also please keep Bill, Justin, Lindsey and Emily in your prayers. This is so hard for them to see Sue like this. In the past she has been able to prepare them for what is going to happen, and this time there was just the element of uncertainty, and quite frankly, it is overwhelming.
I will try to keep this updated as we know more.
So it is Good Friday, and all is well. Or getting better I guess I should say. I knew this last chemo was not going to be very nice to me, and it has not disappointed me at all. It has been a long week. I have actually been in & out of the office. I am so grateful I am able to work from home as I need to. And I generally accomplish a lot at home. I did take a couple hours as sick time, I just could not do anymore, and that is ok too. We are all looking so forward to being done with this, but I don’t think anyone is in the same way I am. We all look at things differently, man I have my own view on this one. I bet Bill really does too. I think he would just like part of our old life back, nothing exciting, but it was our life, and we enjoyed it. So I have been achy, nauseated, sore mouth, numb tongue, coughing, tired, tingly fingers & toes. All is starting to get better, so the corner is being turned as speak. Next week will be significantly better.
Emily is out of the brace for a wk now, and doing wonderful. She has been putting the brace back on now and then, just because it feels pretty good yet. We saw the regular dr. yesterday, he is pleased with her progress, but feels she has a few more wks of PT before she is ready to conquer world yet.
Justin & Ben are going to
We got a ton of snow today, I bet at least 8 inches on my deck, I did not go out with a ruler, so it may be more, I just know it is a lot. It comes up to Sammy’s belly as he is running around out there. I hope everyone has a happy safe Easter. Drive slow, doesn’t matter when you get there, just get there.
It is another cloudy Wednesday, but it is warmer than the last week, yesterday was great. Emily’s car is now home, we were going to take it to my folks until she can drive it, then it will only be about 7 minutes away when she is ready to hit the road, but the rear view mirror fell off, so it is in our garage waiting for a day it gets to be at least 50 degrees in the garage so we can put a new one on. And yes we did have to buy a new one, the old one was fine, except we could not get that darn little plate off to glue to the window, I even took it to Checkers Auto to have the guy get it off—girls can do that stuff and usually get away with it. The guys were really nice and really tried hard, it was like the spring that sprung when it was put together was stuck, or rusted or what ever, it was not going to move, so after they tried for about 15 minutes, I thought this is nuts, a new one does not cost to much money, so I bought one, and left the old one for the guys to fool around with, by then it was a total mission for one of the guys, and I was not going to take that away from him, it would do me no good anymore anyways. So now they make the mirrors with a little lock screw, no more messing around with springs etc. Hopefully tomorrow will be nice, it only takes about 15 minutes for it to set, but it is still March, so we just don’t know. It needs to be done before Friday, that is coming quickly.
I did my “final chemo” today, that is what the dr. called it. I did tell him I did not really want to do this last chemo, since I have the cough, feel crummy, am tired (of the whole darn thing) and all, and I would like to get a CT done sooner to make sure my right lung is ok, I know there is always the chance of the cancer being else where. I told him about the visit to the ENT and the x-ray that the surgeon looked at and felt it was wonderful. He told me, after he listened to my lungs that he thinks I still have some bronchitis, He does not think cancer is an issue right now, made me feel better right there, he has been up front on it all, and would tell me if he was thinking I was in any kind of trouble. And he gave me a Z-pack since the Amox is done. The Azithromycin is a whole lot easier to swallow than the horse pill, Amoxicillin-man they were big buggers. My labs are just way too good, my white count is up to 7.9, hemoglobin is 13.0, and platelets are a whopping 325. I am not sure how they are so good, but I am happy to see them. It must have been the Carbo affecting them at the end of the cycle, and not it is starting to come back up before my 3 wks are up. I still think all those years of giving blood every 2 months was a good thing, not only for the people who needed some good blood, but also for me, my body just keeps on thinking, we need to make more, over and over, so I bounce back quickly. I am weak in the knees, a bit shaky, but know what is coming the next few days, so I am ready for ONE last time. I sure hope this is it. I have an appt to have a CT scan on 5/5, and will see the oncologist again on 5/7. That will give me about 6 weeks to get past this, I think that is perfect, hopefully all scar tissue will lay down and behave, and all cancer will have been zapped one way or another from my body, or a new plan will be developed. But the best thing will be I will have 6 weeks off. I should be feeling good by then. That is what I am looking for at this point in time-I just want to feel good for awhile. Patience, patience, patience. I have to keep reminding my self, this has been a long haul,
Friday is Emily’s big day, I will try to post after that, good thoughts are needed to come her way. She has been a trooper through out this whole ordeal. She has now had 2 physical therapy sessions, both have been good, she has become a beautiful, responsible, respectful woman, so she really has taken a lot from this long winter. Even though it does not always seem like it to her.
Have a good evening.
Long week and a long time since I posted, I have been having technical difficulties on top of everything else, so computer moments have been limited. Hopefully all is straightened out now.
So my cough has continued, and continued, and continued. Does it sound as if I have had enough, if I could only think of the words to describe how much past enough coughing I have done. So I saw my family doc last Thursday, got an antibiotic, hasn’t really helped. I had an appointment with the ENT, that I should have cancelled a long time ago, but for some reason hung onto, so I kept it, on Wednesday. I called the thoracic surgeon, and oncologist on Monday. I wanted a chest x-ray done while I was at the U, and wanted the oncologist to know what was going on—I really am still thinking why in the world would I even think about doing 1 more chemo when these last 3 have started sucking my core energy right out of me, it just makes no sense.
So my vocal cords look good, we saw them on TV again, they are going to think they are famous pretty soon for as much as they have been on TV. But it was kind of cool, all the residual collagen shows up white, so you could see all the white in my vocal cords, and around them, so it makes sense I have a raspy voice, I still don’t have to like the raspy voice, but it makes sense, and if that was the only problem, it would be a piece of cake, who really cares if my voice is raspy. The inside of my nose was pretty irritated (& gross looking) from all the nose blowing I have been doing, and from my nose to my throat was extremely dry looking. Other than that, he did not know why I was coughing. I did ask him about the huge amount of clear liquid I get up from time to time, and where in the heck it comes from, he said your body makes all this fluid to help clear out your lungs, and when the lung is not there it still makes the fluid to do that, I asked where it is from, he said it is like pockets in your trachea, something I never heard of, but I sure can verify the large amount of clear liquid that seems to come out of now where. I just keep on learning more and more. The body is a wonderful amazing thing when it all works like it is suppose to.
I heard from the surgeons office yesterday, his nurse said he was pretty cute when he saw it was my x-ray, he got all excited. I have not seen him since before Christmas, I would think those specialty surgeons don’t get to follow up with people once the big surgery is done and the recovery is underway, so it is kind of nice to every now and then see where things have progressed to. But my x-ray was great, so I still don’t know why I am coughing. But I have ruled out 2 big things in my eyes, my vocal cords are not as raw and sandy as they feel, and my chest hurts from coughing so much, I did not blow that graft or anything like that and if my surgeon, who I consider to be the best of the best, is happy with how the x-ray looks, I am happy. Maybe I just have the viral crud that 95% of the people have and just have to wait my 7-10 days for it to start to get better, man it seems longer than that already, I am getting tired.
So this is my low blood count weekend from the Taxol, so I will be a stay at home kind of person once again. It is going to be cold outside anyways, I never knew how much I appreciated being home until these last couple years, I am glad I like my house, I sure would hate it if I had to spend so much time being somewhere I did not want to be.
Emily went for her first physical therapy session on Wednesday, again thank goodness for Justin who sat with her during the session, I was working, I guess he is going to be well rounded to by the time all of this is over for our family, he should know the ins & outs of much of the medical community. It was a good session for her, lots of positives. She is going to have to do the hard work to get back to where she wants to be, but she will, I have total confidence in her. Bill & Lindsey are going to pick up Emily’s car this weekend so it will be here. The therapist told her she should be able to drive right away. She sees the neurosurgeon on 3/14, countdown………7 days to go, maybe that would be considered 6 days to go………oh well, it will be here when it gets here. She will have 2 more sessions prior to getting out of the brace, then some after also, she will get there.
Think that is it, long one, sorry. It was a really long week.