"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yes or No?

Mom was supposed to start radiation today, according to her radiologist, but her oncologist had been telling us to wait 3 weeks after chemo! Since her oncologist is on vacation until Jan 5th, the doctor on call and the radiologist decided to wait and revisit the treatment plan next week with mom. I was hoping to be in town during her first week of the radiation since we don't know what to expect, but with all of the family and wonderful friends I know she'll be well taken care of.

I think it's going to be my poor husband we'll have to worry about as I'll be a nervous wreck sitting in AZ feeling helpless and worried. Cory is actually coming to visit tomorrow! It's been an undecided thing but after a few cancelled plans already; this time it's official. It's been a long time since he's been to little Springfield so I'm anxiously awaiting his arrival! We're just going to focus on relaxing, quality time with mom before the chaos begins.

Have a great new year tomorrow & goodnight!
Love Jess

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oncology: Day 5 Chemo

Friday, Day 5 of Chemo is complete! Mom did so great this week. We celebrated with some pizza tonight!
Today was also the first meeting with the radiologist to discuss the next plan of attack - radiation! We didn't expect it to start this soon but it could begin as early as Tuesday. Next battle... bring it on!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oncology: Day 1 Chemo

Mom had her first chemotherapy treatment today and did great!
It took around 3 hours and was a nice environment with friendly staff and fellow chemo-ees. After a few more visits I think she'll get into the routine and accept it as her plan of attack! It's been a hellish few weeks for sure! If I was sitting in that chair I couldn't imagine all that's on her mind. In the most serious moments we still have the ability to laugh and be silly! When the oncologist came in the room today, we told him that we were mom's entourage/traveling support group as we attempted to squeeze 2 Franke bottoms into the remaining chair, and with huge smiles on our faces I might add! Aside from the gut wrenching medical facts we had already heard from our friendly pathology report, today was a great day!!
Keep up the good work mom!
We're going to write history and show these doctors who they're dealing with.... No quitters round these parts now ya'hear!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thank you, to the Boss!

We'd like to give a huge thank you to our employers for working with us and allowing us to be with our family during these difficult times.

Warmest Regards to,

Paul of United States Electric Co./ Johnstone Supply from Kerry
Dr. Chamberlain of Chamberlain Orthodontics from Jessica
Bill & Jim of Young's Security Systems from Jaclyn
Kris & Pam of Wagner Portrait Group from Jenelle
Dr. Bob of Robert's Automotive from Joshua

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Benefit - Jan 31st

new flyer with entertainment coming soon!
{click on image to copy}
please email jessfranke@mac.com for a copy to distribute

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pathology Report Update

We met with the oncologist today and discussed the results of the pathology report, which was the biopsy taken during the scoping to determine if the cancer had spread. The cancer has spread to the underside of the diaphragm and surrounding lymph nodes. The diaphragm is a thin layer of muscle that separates the thoracic and abdominal cavities. However, some good news today is that the cancer has not spread to the liver or pancreas. The plan continues to start chemotherapy next week for 5 days straight. Then 3-4 weeks off before the 2nd cycle which will includes chemotherapy and radiation. This 2nd cycle will be the most difficult when Mom will desperately need help from family and friends.

The rumors can spread around small towns and we want to make it very clear that there IS HOPE and Mom IS staying strong and positive! She doesn't need sympathy, pity or your absence from her life. The things that will keep her going is your smiling face, making her laugh, your company and support. Right now she still looks like Kerry, like Mom, but radiation could be very hard on her and it might not be as comfortable for people to see her like that. However, the most important point I'm making is this is only temporary. There will be good days and bad days. Staying away is the worst thing anyone can do. So we truly can't thank you enough for everyone that is pulling through to help support Mom and will continue to!

We love you all!
The Franke Family

Monday, December 15, 2008

In Memory of Boppie

My grandpa passed away last night. Boppie was the name I gave my grandpa 29 years ago. My mother's father was the best grandfather anyone could have! The most important part of this life was his family. With 4 children of his own, 15 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and 1 more on the way, he was never bored of family celebrations and company. He's special to everyone of us and he will be missed.
May you rest in peace and love Boppie, until we meet again.

Loving you always and forever,
Your little Jess-e-ca!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Save the Date!

Mom's friends at work will be putting on a benefit!

Where: Sherman Athletic Club

When: January 31st at 1:00pm

Who: Contact Ron or Shawn
Office (217) 522-3347
Ron's Home (217) 624-2943
or email Ron at ronncoorme@hotmail.com

More Details Coming Soon!

Please contact Ron or Shawn if you can help in any way with ideas, donations etc.
We are so excited and grateful to hear this news and will be helping out also.

Visitors Welcome

Friends & Family,

We've been busy taking care of Mom and don't have much time to call people. Please know that we're thinking of you and welcome anyone to stop by and visit! She's at home doing great and looks forward to seeing you all soon!

Hugs, The J's

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Welcome Home Mom

Mom came home today and has been eating well. I'm excited to fatten her up and take good care of her. She's doing great considering the scoping that was done and her recent port insertion. It will be a long and difficult road with good days and bad days but today, we're celebrating a very good day!
Thank you so much everyone for the yummy food, beautiful flowers, plants, sweet cards, gifts, company, hugs, oh my gosh Mom is so lucky to have such amazing friends (and family!). We love you guys!

The J's ;)

Some Good News

Today Mom woke me with the sound of her beautiful voice. She is doing better after the operation yesterday and slept very well last night. Dr. Icaza came today to speak to us. He had very good news when he told us that the acidic fluid found in her pelvic area came back negative!!! All of your prayers are making a difference. Thank you so much. We are still waiting to hear about the other testing that was done to the spots on the liver and lymphnodes surrounding the areas.

Love Jenelle

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fill An Empty Tree

At the hospital tonight we saw the neatest idea!
People have been giving inspirational ornaments to brighten a christmas tree.
So we thought it would be neat to brighten up Kerry's Christmas by bringing over an ornament to place on her tree. This would be something special or unique from you to Kerry!

Love Debby & Ron

Praying for Toby

Terri's doggie Toby had to go to the hospital today.
Isn't he so adorable! Hang in there Toby so you can come cuddle with Aunt Kerry soon!
Stay strong Terri, I know how important our pups are!
Lots of love!

Type of Food

Friends and family are wanting to bring meals by for us! This is a list of foods from her doctors that will be beneficial for Mom.

Potatoes, Corn, Avocado, Pinto beans, Kidney beans, Canned Fruits (organic or non), Whole Milk, Eggs, Cheese, Tuna, Poultry (no red meat), Protein powders (whey protein, not soy) meal replacement shakes and bars (Ensure/Boost)

(Other Misc/Food Groups)

Nuts/Seeds: pecans, macadamia nuts, peanuts/peanut butter, walnuts, shelled sunflower seeds, almonds
Milk Group: evaporated milk for cooking instead of water, yogurt, ice cream, creamed cottage cheese, cream cheese sour cream
Fats: butter, margarine, oil or mayonnaise, gravy
Sweets: (we have organic honey and sugar) jam, jelly or chocolate syrup

Friday's Update

Mom had a small surgery today, Dr. Icaza placed a small port in her upper left chest which is connected to a major vein for easy IV access to her bloodstream. This will be used for chemotherapy. The plan is to begin chemo as soon as possible, followed by some radiation to shrink the tumor and plan for removal within a few months. We are still waiting on the biopsy of the surrounding areas to see if the cancer has spread elsewhere. Our main focus right now is to get Mom back to health. She needs to gain weight and get her nutrition back to keep her strong during chemo. I'll be in charge of making sure she's eating a high protein (ie: whole milk, eggs, cheese, chicken, beans, fish), high calorie diet with 6 small meals per day around 2,000-2,200 calories per day. This morning we met with all 4 doctors, the surgeon, oncologist, resident doctor at the hospital, and her primary care physicians so it's been a pretty busy day. Mom is going great! She slept well for 8 hours last night and is ready for the games to begin. Her surgery this morning went well and we're going to get her back on full foods by tonight - Dr. Icaza said she might be able to leave tonight! We'll keep you posted!

Love the J's

Don't know what to say?

I know this whole thing has come as such a shock to everyone. You might not know what to say or do. The important thing is that Mom needs you - all of her friends, family, co-workers, friends of friends, whoever cares about our Mom or wants to wish her well.

A good friend of mine said "I don't know what I can say or do but just be here for you!" Some of Mom's friends came right over to the hospital today just to hug her and say they love her. I want you to know that you are all welcome to show your love and support in anyway you can, or feel comfortable doing.

If you have any questions or want to know a good time to visit please contact me and feel free to pass this blog along!

(480) 296-8530
(please leave a message, as I might not be able to answer right away, but you're all so very important to us!)

Love Jess

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Photography by Jen

Mom and Trin

(black and white film developed in darkroom by Jenelle)

Poems by Jen & Mom

(For Jenelle, By Mom)

since the day you came into this world-
fifteen minute delivery – left us in a whirl
a shinning star we have been blessed.
home to jessie and jacie – a baby sis was their quest!

at three months old you stole the show
in your cute little dress and pink bow
always laughter and entertainment for all.
your big sisters were at your beck and call.

at two you became big sissy to lil’ bub
we would cuddle, read books and his peachy head you’d rub.
from the day he came home- he was your buddy.
when i was too busy – you’d just watch “cinderelle”

all to soon it was your first day of school
dance classes, girl scouts, youth club, it was so cool.
you loved it all – never wanted to rest.
best of all - made a promise to mom to always do your best

jess and jacie grew up and moved away.
but your smiles, laughter and caring ways brightened the days.
it was hard for us all – now just bub and nin
we all keep close in our hearts – looking forward to them flying in!

the family grew by one more
you’ve been a second mom since they walked through the door.
precious baby trin – we were so excited to meet
a special bond you two will always keep.

then on to high school – you kept your word to do your best
your achievements have excelled the rest.
from high honors, volleyball, to art awards.
now plans for college – time to loosen the cords!

homework, late night projects, and poetry books,
i was ever so happy to be in on the works.
fieldtrips, dances, decorating for prom -
it’s been so rewarding to be your mom!

the years have passed so quickly – its all a blur.
but you never lost track of who you were.
from pre-school to porta high -
i’m so proud of you – that’s just why!

i wrote this poem just for you jen,
only the beginning of a lifetime as daughter and friend.
in memory of our priceless times together.
a special place in my heart for ever!


(For Mom, By Jenelle)

you were the first to hold me in your arms
the first to feel your precious charm
the first to look into my eyes
the first to hear your baby girl cry

from the day i was born our bond has been strong
today i know it’s never been wrong
you know what i’m always feeling
and there when i need a little healing

you are the toughest woman i’ve ever seen
working on houses and raising four like a queen
doing things that most moms had never heard
then appearing like they had never occurred

no one is lying when you hear what they say
50 and four kids there is just no way
all you can do is smile
as you go on explaining for a while

your kind heart and love keeps you youthful
now you know why the ones you meet are so truthful
now everyday I see more of you in myself
you are apart of me that that will never be placed away on a shelf

the lessons you taught me will me passed on
when I have my own children to lay them upon
I will teach them exactly what I learned
how about sewing another pillow for a gift that can’t be returned ;)

there are many memories to be made after all of this mess
we will leave this horrible experience leaving others impressed
like jess said nothing keeps us frankes from smiling
no cancer is going to make us keep crying

i wrote this poem just for you mom
only the beginning of a lifetime as mother and friend
in memory of our priceless times together
a special place in my heart for ever



Hospital Update - Thursday

The surgeon was in before sunrise this morning to talk with Mom about her current status and explained why the surgery was not completed yesterday. It's heavy news to take in when you're expecting something to happen and it doesn't. The good news is that the doctors want what's best for mom and they wanted to verify for sure before taking drastic steps. She's hanging in there, staying strong. We're waiting for the pathology report to come back by tomorrow and we'll know more then.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hospital Update 8:00pm

Mom's awake and in a little pain from the incisions of the scoping. She's eating some graham crackers and just took some pain medication. They'll be transferring her to a room for tonight. I'm spending the night at the hospital with her. The doctor has not yet briefed her about the details of the situation but I shared a very brief and simple summary with her to help ease her concerns as to why they did not complete the gastrectomy. After some rest and the anesthesia wears off the doctor will be talking with her in the morning.

Friends and family are here with us, there's no shortage of love, support and food. We'll check back with you again soon!
Love Jess, Jacie, Jen & Josh

Surgery Update 3:30pm

We just met with the surgeons. They completed the scope and after a very difficult decision, they chose to wait on the resection until receiving results of the biopsies. This will avoid completing a very serious operation to only make things worse. At this point it is unclear if the cancer has spread, however they were very honest and upfront in letting us know that the surrounding areas look highly suspicious and we are dealing with a very aggressive cancer. If the cancer has not spread, and can be contained, the plan will be to proceed with radiation and chemotherapy to shrink the tumor for resection. The tumor has taken over 60% of her stomach. Two spots on her liver and her lymph node(s) were biopsied, they also took some ascitic fluid (peroitoneal fluid) was taken from her pelvic area for testing as well. She will stay overnight for observation as we await the biopsy results. We need your support and prayers more than ever.

Surgery Update 2:00pm

They took Mom back for surgery an hour ago at 1pm.
We're here with Aunt Barb, Uncle Terry & Aunt Judy.
It will be a few hours until we hear something from the doctors. We're at Memorial Hospital, Regional Cancer Center. Her surgeon is Dr. Icaza with co-surgeon Dr. Hammer. They will be scoping all organs prior to the gastrectomy. If the cancer is not as high as suspected they will do a partial gastrectomy. Check back for further updates.
Love Jess

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thank you message from Kerry

You all are so awesome! I don't know what to say. All of the love and support has been so comforting. I face uncertainty tomorrow and it helps to have such a wonderful support system keeping me positive.

Love you all! Thank you so much for everything!

Jess Arrives

"Life began with waking up and loving my mother's face."
- George Eliot

I made it to Springfield today. It's strange coming home in December - it's been 3 or 4 years since I've seen Illinois during winter. So far it's not so bad. I referred to my quick walk from the airport to the car as brisk! Mom's new house is super cute and cozy which counteracts any feelings of bitter cold. I'm grateful sitting here tonight, even though it's 2:30am and I'm wide-eyed and worried. I probably nagged Mom too much about all of the things she needs to do or not do. From making sure she's getting in the proper amount of fluids to the anxiety of what lies ahead after the surgery, I feel this overwhelming sense of fear and responsibility to help in any way I can. I'm not upset, no tears have been shed today. We're strong and positive. Nothing we can do until Wednesday and nothing we'll really truly know until after the surgery. Before I left Phoenix my husband told me not to drive myself crazy with ideas until I got the facts in. I'm trying!

Love & Goodnight,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Acai Berry & Cancer

The popularity of the acai berry is growing every day. As a result, more and more nutritionists and scientists are researching its unique nutritional qualities and healing abilities. It was only a matter of time before someone ran experiments regarding the acai berry’s ability to fight cancer.
The exciting results of that experiment are below, but first let’s cover a few things that may help you understand the acai berry’s cancer fighting abilities a little better.
Free Radicals & Antioxidants
Free radicals are nasty little molecules that come from pollutants, pesticides, cigarette smoke, etc. They attack the cells in the body and can even damage DNA. Free radical damage within cells has been linked to a range of disorders including cancer, arthritis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes.
Your body, of course, has a way to fight back. It does so in the form of antioxidants, which strengthen cells and fight off free radicals.
ORAC Attack
The USDA has a method of measuring the levels of these antioxidants in foods. It’s called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity score (ORAC for short). Where does the Acai berry measure up on this score? Well, it pretty much blows away the competition.

Acai Berry Studies

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

High School Mom

Mom, you're so beautiful. You were then and you are now. I'm so proud to be your daughter and to look so much like you.
There's no one else I'd rather look like! Love you Mom! Jess

Word of the Day (by Jen)

"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they go right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart, so that better things can fall together."
-Marilyn Monroe

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sweet Distractions

So I was having a pretty bad few days after the initial shock of everything and look who came into my life... a very sweet distraction!

This little guy is SO ADORABLE! My neighborhood found him on Thanksgiving Day. After staying a few nights with 2 different neighbors I heard the news and came to the rescue. He's an amazing dog, super calm and sweet, Cory says he has a soft heart. He loves to go on long walks, well trained, loves car rides, kids, chasing birds and lots of cuddles!

If we can't find his owners we're determined to find him a good home and are working with the beagle rescue group. If this was my dog I would be heartbroken if he'd gone missing.

(Wish I could bring him to Illinois for you Mom!)
Lv Jess

(UPDATE: Friday, after being lost for over 1 week, the Beagle's family found him! (with the help of the postman connecting their Lost Beagle flyer with our Found Beagle flyer! - which Cory spent an entire day posting around the area! He was 5 miles from home!)