Tuesday, November 18, 2008

6 Months......

It's hard to believe that as of Sunday, it's been 6 months since mom passed away. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her and miss her. Some days are easier than others. I don't even want to think about Thanksgiving and Christmas without her. I wish we could just pass right by these Holidays. It just won't be the same. NOTHING will ever be the same.

I ran across this poem in a local newspapers commentary. Another person had written it about his/her mother. With their permission, I am posting it here. Thank you to the anonymous poster who managed to put into words what I feel everyday.

To Mom,

A million times I've needed you,
A million times I've cried.
If love alone could have saved you,
you never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place
that no one could ever fill.

It broke my heart to lose you,
but you did not go alone,
for apart of me went with you
the day god called you home.

Death will never break the ties
that bound our lives together,
I loved you then, I love you now
and I will love you forever!

God Speed mom. Until we get to see each other again.............. I LOVE YOU.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

May 29th - Mom's Stone.......

They finally got the stone up either last night or this morning. It's hard to believe it's already been a month and a half. I miss her more and more each and every day. The stone is a beautiful and I have added pictures so family/friends near & far away may see it. I would like to also recommend a wonderful website that I've been working with adding family. www.findagrave.com Hopefully the link will take you directly to mom's memorial page. There you can read her obituary and see the Memorial Stone pictures as well.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. It's been very difficult. I can't even begin to explain how it feels. I know that Roger is hurting as deeply as I am. God Bless. We Love you.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

May 16 - Mom's Battle is over.........

Mom passed away peacefully last night at approximately 9pm. Her battle was a short one. Only 9 months. The last two months were particularly difficult. I will spare you the details.

I just want to thank everyone who had kept up on mom's condition through this blog. I will probably discontinue blogging on this much.......however I am not planning on taking it down anytime soon.

Her funeral will be a Jenkins Funeral Home in Bloomfield, IN. Visitation is from 4-8pm on Monday, May 19th and Tuesday, May 20th one hour prior to services. Services will be on Tuesday at 1:00pm. Burial will be at Prairie Chapel Cemetery on hwy 57 between Bloomfield and Lyons. Her obituary can be read on the funeral homes website: Jenkins Funeral Home.

Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. We all greatly appreciate it during this difficult time. She suffers no more.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

May 3 - Updating for Tammi

Hello, I'm Tammi's cousin Angie. She asked me to update for her so here goes.......

Aunt Judy went to see her oncologist this past Tuesday after receiving chemo on the 24th of April. The chemo isn't working anymore and the thrush has flared up again. Together they decided to stop chemo and bring in hospice. Not an easy decision. Hospice came on Wednesday. Aunt Judy is very weak now, needing the help of Roger and family to get her out of bed, to the potty, to the chair, etc... and she hasn't eaten solid food for over a week now. She drinks small amounts all day. It's not been a good week at all. No one gets out of this alive but having to face your final days has got to be so difficult. We don't want to leave her by herself anymore so sister Sharon came over the end of this week and plans to return on Monday and Little Roger continues to check in frequently and stay until his dad gets home from work if necessary. I came over on Friday to stay the weekend and was able to enjoy good conversation and a few smiles with her for which I am grateful. So tonight when you say your prayers please pray for peace and comfort for Aunt Judy and strength for Roger and Tammi.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

April 15 - Dr's Appointment & a Sad Day.....

Hello. Mom went to the doctor this afternoon. After reviewing everything, he began discussing options. From the sounds of what Dr. Dayton said, there aren't too many other alternatives. Everything else he has to offer, the side-effects would most likely be worse than anything she's experienced so far. She asked Dr. Dayton about trying the Alimta again, since she wasn't so sure whether it was the Thrush or the Chemo that caused her all the problems. He agreed they could do so. So it looks like she will be giving Alimta another go round. Her next chemo treatment is April 23rd or 24th.

The biggest concern with mom is her strength. She is so weak and really needs to gain strength so her body will take the chemo ok. She barely eats enough to feed a bird (a bird eats more.) She's been complaining about shaking, which Dr. Dayton said could very well be a result of her not eating. How do you get someone to eat, who doesn't want to?? She told Roger and I today that when she tries to eat, everything tastes like chalk. (So, in jest, I suggested we get some chalk. LOL) I wish I could make her realize how much better she would probably feel if she actually ate something everyday and not just a bite. It's no wonder she feels so down.....

On another sad note, My uncle Fred passed away Sunday. From what I understand he peacefully went to sleep Sunday morning with Aunt Donna by his side. I know this is going to be extremely difficult for mom. The funeral is tomorrow and with her being so sick, I don't know how she'll make it through. I know it has to be eating at her too, knowing that Uncle Fred died of Cancer. Granted his wasn't the same type, but it was cancer none-the-less.

Please keep my family in your prayers during this difficult time. It seems that Cancer has spread it's ugly arms around my family and is pulling us in one by one.

Monday, April 7, 2008

April 07 - Mom is very weak......

Mom went to the doctor last Thursday. Her throat was hurting her badly, so they asked her to come in. Apparently the Thrush has gone down her throat too. They ended up giving her two bags of fluids while she was there. Dr. Dayton reviewed her last scan too. According to mom, it's about the same as it was the last time. Not any better, not worse. Roger says it's worse. This is the news I get when I cannot be at her appointments. I started getting sick last week and was off work Thursday.

I did go ahead over Friday night and spend the night at mom & Roger's. Roger had to work the REMC meeting at the school Saturday, so they had asked me to come over and stay with her while he was working. I figured it would just be easier to spend the night, so I could also spend more time with her.

They finally broke down and purchased a medical lift chair for her Friday. That helps her get up out of her chair in the living room, however Mom is very weak. It takes what little strength she has to walk between the Bedroom/Living Room, Bathroom/Living Room. The thrush has made it so she can barely eat......not that she's felt like eating much at all either. She's lost her appetite too, even the medicine they've given her isn't helping her appetite. She was complaining of her heart pounding hard Saturday. (Her INR was up to 6.1 on Thursday.) She slept from about 8:30 pm to 7:30 am Friday/Saturday night, then she went back and laid back down at 10:30 and slept til 12:00.

She's at the doctor's office this morning. I tried calling and Roger told me to call back in a few minutes. I'll let you know what I find out in another post.

Uncle Fred is not doing good at all. Apparently they are going to take him off his respirator. I spoke to Angie this morning and she said, "he's holding his own." However she nor Aunt Mary have been able to get ahold of Aunt Donna or Uncle Steve.

Please pray for my family......this has got to be one of the most difficult periods we've gone through in a Long, Long time...... To have not one, but two going through a struggle with life. It's ripping our hearts open. I'll post more later. Love you all.......

Thursday, March 27, 2008

March 27 - Pray for Uncle Fred.....

In my last blog, I forgot to mention that Dr. Dayton had arranged for Home Health to come out to Mom & Roger's to give mom Physical Therapy. The nurse was over on Tuesday to evaluate her and the Physical Therapist came today to evaluate her. I guess he gave her a few exercises to do on her own, but he won't actually be back to work with her until next Wednesday.

Mom and Roger is in the other trailer now. (Their phone number has not changed, so if you try to call them there is no need to worry. They had it moved over.) Devin is on Spring Break this week and spending the week with his Grandpa Breneman in Terre Haute, so I went over to Mom's on Tuesday and Wednesday night after work. She's still pretty fatigued, but that's all part of it. She can get herself up from the chairs and potty and walks with a walker. She seems pretty happy with the move, however Mom is really good with hiding how she really feels when she wants to. I personally think this place is better for them and for her. They have a little bit more room and it seems easier for her to navigate around.

Aunt Sharon came down Wednesday to help around the house. She and I went to Wal-Mart and I shopped for mom and Aunt Sharon bought some stuff for them too. I guess she spent today cleaning. I need to get over there this weekend and hang pictures. I hope they leave that for me. Sometimes I feel so useless when I go over to help and they've already done it all.

On another note, I want to ask everyone to please pray for my mom's little brother, Fred. Fred was diagnosed awhile back with Bone Cancer. (Cancer has not been kind to my family.) I guess he's in pretty bad shape and is in the hospital down in Evansville.

Thank you for all your kind words and prayers. You all prove what a wonderful community we live in and just how many great people we know. Thank you so much. We Love you all.


Monday, March 24, 2008

March 24 - Each Day is a Blessing **LONG**

Hello. I apologize to those who have used this as a way to keep up with what is going on with Mom. It is an ever increasing struggle to talk/think about what mom is going through. I find myself fighting my own fears and depression about a situation I can do nothing about. It's difficult to keep my hopes high and fears low.....but I realize more and more, that each additional day mom is here is a blessing.

So much has happened since I last blogged. Back in early February, Mom developed a severe Nose Bleed. Sounds simple enough, huh? But with Mom, nothing is simple. Most people who know mom, know she had a valve replaced awhile back. (Mom had rheumatic fever as a child which left scarring on her heart, and is thus the main cause of most of her heart problems.) Well, because of mom's heart valve, her blood has to be closely monitored. It cannot get too thin, nor too thick. Needless to say, this "Nose Bleed" reeked havoc on her body.

I was not there when it occurred, so I cannot comment on exactly HOW severe it was, but it not your typical nose bleed. The first time (yes, I said first) she called an ambulance. They transported her to Greene County Hospital, simply because they feared the amount of blood she may have lost that she may not make it to Bloomington. There a TOTALLY INCOMPETENT and RUDE ER "Doctor" stuffed her nose and sent her home.

Mom and Roger hadn't made it back to the house but maybe 10 minutes or so, when the packing broke and the Nose began bleeding profusely again. This time, Roger took her back to the hospital (GCGH) in the car. Once again, the same INCOMPETENT and RUDE ER "Doctor" Repacked her nose, this time with something that looked like a prosthetic you would use in Boob Implants. (He was a little nicer the second time, but I think that was simply because he realized he SCREWED up.) Once they got the nose bleeding stopped again and got mom stable enough...they had her transferred to Bloomington Hospital by Ambulance. (Mind you, this was the same day the F1 tornado ripped through Bloomfield (see video here), so getting an ambulance to the Hospital, then to Bloomington, I guess was a real trip.)

The hospital stay is pretty much a blur now. Not nearly as eventful as what Greene County put mom through. What I can tell you is.....She had a WONDERFUL doctor check her in through the ER (Dr. Bannec) I'm sure it is partly because mom is a patient at IMA, however DR. Bannec Checked on mom EVERYDAY she was in the Hospital.....even after they moved her to the Oncology Unit. She ended up being in the hospital for 10 days total. She had lost quite a bit of blood. (I forget the total number of units of blood they ended up giving her.) It took a good 3-4 days before her nose stopped completely. After that they were worried about her levels related to her heart. Another doctor I should mention is Dr. Johnson. He was the ENT that came in and took care of her and her nose. He was as wonderful as Dr. Bannec. These two men deserve awards. Their bedside manor was unlike any I had ever experienced in a Hospital or by ANY doctor.

Because of the Severe Nose Bleed, Dr. Dayton changed her Chemotherapy. Apparently the bleeding is a side effect of the Avastin she was on. This time he decided to try her on Navelbine. With this Drug, She would be on two weeks off one week, however this Drug has caused mom many more negative side effects than any she has been on thus far.

Mom's fatique increased dramatically. She had severe Neuropathy, so much that she couldn't stand to have her feet and hands hardly touched. Pain shot up through her feet. She lost any appetite she had most of the time and she's so weak, she's to the point that she can't get up out of the bed or chair without assistance.

Fast Forward to today..........

Mom was supposed to have Chemo today and a Dr's Appointment. Because her INR was up to 5.3 and her hemoglobin was low, they refused to give it to her. This is actually a GOOD thing, because I think Mom was going to refuse it anyway. The Neuropathy, pain and fatique has gotten to be too much for her. They went ahead and gave her fluids while she waited to see Dr. Dayton.

On the 14th, mom had had another Head CT done. Dr. Dayton was pleased to inform us that she does INDEED HAVE A BRAIN. (LOL.....it was quite humorous and humor is much needed. It helps to keep us sane.) Other than that, the "Brain Scan" showed nothing out of the ordinary. (Apparently, it was as good as the last one.) He agreed that the Navelbine was not working for her, since the side effects outweighed the positive effects of the chemo. It is afterall as much about increasing the "quality" of life.....or in mom's case.....that is the main objective. Navelbine was not doing this.

The next step in mom's Chemotherapy journey is Altima. With this drug, mom will have to get B-12 shots (which...I wouldn't mind getting myself) and increase her Folic Acid intake. Apparently her regimen with this will be Every third week (One week on, Two weeks off). She has to go Friday for some more CT Scans. I'm assuming that is to check the cancer cells and their sizes prior to starting the Altima, so they can see how it works.)

Roger asked the question that is on everyone's mind...... "how long." Dr. Dayton was very good at not answering that directly. He basically said the treatments were to increase her "quality" of life..... To me, it didn't sound promising as for the "Quantity", but both Mom & Roger left this appointment with increased hope, as they felt they accomplished quite a bit this time. They got the application for mom's disability parking tag. Mom FINALLY asked Dr. Dayton for some medicine to help with her depression. (I know depression, and rightfully so, she needs the help. I have watched my mother, a strong willed woman both physically and mentally, wilt to a frail and depressed woman. It breaks my heart and increases my own depression.) They got the treatments changed, so hopefully mom will start to feel better. I must note that with this visit, her weight was down to 159. Mind you, BEFORE she was diagnosed, she was in the 220's. That's ALOT of weight to lose in 7 months!

After leaving the office, we headed to the hospital. Because mom's Hemoglobin was low, she had to get two units of blood and apparently they only do that at the hospital. It was done as an outpatient on the oncology unit. They got there a little before noon and finally left around 6pm.

As if mom and Roger aren't going through enough....They are now having to move into Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy's old trailer next door. Apparently last week during all the rainstorms, water leaked into the breaker box, killing all the power to half of their trailer. To phrase it as mom did, "The House is falling down around them." They have most everything moved. They now have to just get the phone company to move the phone and the satellite company to come out and move the satellite before they will complete the move.

Grandma and Grandpa's old Trailer is in MUCH better shape then Mom and Roger's. But moving is still stressful none the less, and it is somewhat sad as Mom and Roger have lived in that trailer since 1985.

Well, I apologize for the long Blog. I had alot to catch you up on. I promise to try and fight through my own tears and keep this thing up a little more often. It sure is tiring to try and catch everyone up on two months worth of activity. Please keep in touch and feel free to call mom or send her a card. I know she appreciates the kind thoughts greatly.

In case you need it, her address is: Judy Kennedy, RR2 Box 82, Bloomfield, IN 47424.

Thank you. God Bless you. We love you all for your continued support and prayers.......


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jan. 27th - It's been awhile.

Sorry. I know it's been awhile since I posted anything on this blog about mom. Not much has really changed. I guess can be good or bad depending on how you want to look at it.

She finally got over all that crap at Christmas and is back to eating "good" if you want to call it that. I still don't think she eats enough, but I know it's also tough to eat when you just don't feel hungry. (Oh, I just realized, I forgot to blog about that. We ended up taking mom to the ER on December 30th I believe. She had gotten dehydrated. She got to the point where she could keep anything in her stomach and had diarrhea really bad. They ended up giving her fluids and sending her back home.)

Mom will be going for the third set of chemo in this series/round (hey it's late) on Thursday. Then the following week she will go for another CT Scan and follow that up the next day with a doctor's appointment. We'll just keep praying that things are going the right direction. Last scan showed some improvement. Let's pray the same happens next week.

Good news is, it's almost February. Mom should finally start getting her disability checks and the back pay for the last 6 months. I know they really need it. It's been tight around there and they are blessed enough to have insurance. I can't imagine what people without insurance do. We are also blessed in that it's been 6 months now since her diagnosis. Alot of people out there with Lung Cancer don't make it that long.

Roger seems to be holding up well, but I know deep down inside he's dying too. I can see it in his face every time I'm over there. You wanna see true love. Look at him and how he takes care of my mother. I just hope he realizes how much I love him too. The Lord blessed me and was watching out for us when he put Roger in our lives.

Little Roger has been great too. That gives me great peace of mind knowing that as soon as he gets off work, he goes over and checks on mom. When he's going to town, he always asks if she needs anything. I'm so proud of him. He's come a long way.

Devin doesn't really say too much. He went over there last weekend and stayed so Darin and I could go to Indy to the woodworking expo. He always has and always will be Papaw's buddy, but he's still pretty close to mom too and I know that it tears him up inside. More so when he's around her.

Myself, well......it's just another day. I hate being so far away from her. I know 30 miles isn't that far, but when gas is $3.00/gal, it might as well be 100 miles. I do call her everyday on my way home from work though. I know she probably thinks I'm crazy, but I need that. I need that connection....to hear her voice, because I know one day, it's not going to be there.

Sometimes I feel like I'm sinking further into my own depression by just avoiding everything I can. My house is a mess, but I just don't have the motivation to clean. Financially I'm a mess. Heck...my whole life is a mess right now. I just don't know how to get it all back together anymore. I think another reason I don't like to sit here and blog about it, well.....right now I'm sitting here crying. When I get to thinking about the cancer, it just kills me. I'm sorry to go on about myself. I know that's not who you came to read about.

Please just continue to keep us in your prayers, but most of all.....Keep mom at the top above us. Don't forget Uncle Fred too. As soon as we find something out next week, I'll be sure to get on here and blog. We love you. Please keep in touch. If you need our phone numbers...please contact me through here and I'll get back to you. Lots of Hugs and Kisses........ Tammi

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January 1st - Happy New Year......

A Happy and Healthy New Year is what I pray for everyone, but most of all my mother. 2007 was a challenging year and one I'm more than happy to put behind me. 2008 doesn't look to be much more promising, however we have to take it just one day at a time.

I spoke to her over the phone briefly today. She's still not feeling to hot. She said she was able to eat a little more and keep some liquids down. The diarrhea had gone away for about 6 hours, but then later it hit her again. She's still really horse too. It's hard to see her this way.

I often wonder...."What If".....what if that doctor hadn't told us about her cancer. Would or wouldn't she be much better off? It seems the Chemotherapy is what makes a person go downhill much faster, even when that is what is supposed to help them. Wouldn't it make more since to live a full happy life, even if it were cut a little short, than to live slightly longer being miserable those last few years? I know mom is a fighter and she will continue to fight with everything she has. It just doesn't seem right.

She has Chemo and a Dr's appointment Friday. I'm anxiously awaiting this appointment because of what she's been going through the last week. I'm anxious to see what he has to say. It's amazing how one simple cold can reek so much havoc on someone.....I never understood that until now. As a "healthy" person, it's nothing, but for a person with cancer....it's fighting for your life.

Well, I must prepare to go back to work tomorrow. I'm kinda looking forward to that, but at the same time kinda dreading it too. It's nice having the time off, but it will be nice getting back into the routine. If only I could work this job at night...that would be perfect, as I'm much more of a night owl, even at my age.

As we head into this New Year, I pray the Lord will watch over and protect my family and friends, each and every single person. We all have our own battles, some which we share with the family and others we battle alone without anyone's knowledge. Anyone except the Lord that is. He knows our struggles and our weakness and now more than ever I have needed him as has my mom. Please continue to pray for her and we will keep you all in our prayers as well. Have an Healthy and Happy New Year....may the Lord Bless and protect you as you go along Life's path.

Songs for Mom