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

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hospital Update

I took mom to the emergency room this morning due to a fever and headache. She was advised by her Dr. to notify them immediately if such symptoms occurred due to a recent blood clot in her arm found last Sunday.

They took a blood draw to check her counts and culture samples to look for signs of infection. Blood results came back pretty low and they found some bacteria present. We don't have the culture samples back yet.

She's currently at Memorial Medical Center Room E258 but is NOT able to receive fresh flowers, fruit or veggies and is required to be on a Neutropenic Diet until instructed otherwise. We expect for her to be in the hospital for 7 days to receive the IV antibiotic, fluids and get her blood counts into the normal range. Any visitors are welcome but must not have any cold symptoms and need to use the antibacterial hand sanitizer upon entering the room.

Prior to this little bump in the road, Mom has been doing so wonderful! She's gained a few pounds, has been eating great and no longer has the stomach pain or heart palpitations. Today's recent blow is not a surprise and unfortunately is just the nature of the situation. As her body is trying to heal the chemo and radiation are doing the opposite. She looks fantastic and is just as beautiful as ever. This is just a lesson for us in realizing the sensitivity of the her current condition and how she needs to really take it easy so her body can heal.

We'll keep you posted!
Love you all!

What is a neutropenic diet?
A neutropenic (nu-tro-PEE-nik) diet is for people with weakened immune systems. This diet helps protect them from bacteria and other harmful organisms found in some food and drinks. If your immune system is not working well, your body may have a hard time protecting itself from these bacteria. Cooking foods (like beef, chicken, fish, and eggs) completely makes sure that all bacteria are destroyed.

Thank you, Thank you!

As we approach the big day today (Kerry Franke Cancer Benefit) we can't stop thinking about everyone's wonderful generosity and support! Mom is so thankful for the surprise gifts at the door, visits, phone calls, and for everyone's help and hard work in organizing the benefit, the donations, auction baskets and community support. We are extremely grateful and excited for this event! We love you all so much!

Thank you!

Kerry and The Franke Children!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Auction Online

M.T. Vann (the amazing auctioneer) has been hard at work putting all of the auction items (live and silent) online. This way anyone who cannot attend the benefit can still bid on an item in the auction. You will be able to do this up until the day of the benefit.

M.T. explains, "It is 'Ebay' or proxy style. Where they leave their maximum bid, and beside bidding against other internet bidders, we will take it 'live' and bid them against in house bidders. We only bid them up competitively as if they were there. For example, if someone leaves a 1000.00 bid on an item, but our highest "live" bid is 500.00, then they would get it for the next bid increment: 525.00."

The following is a link that will take you directly to the site where all of the outstanding items are posted for you to bid on or even just check them out!

Double click here to view Auction items or place your bid if you can't make it to the Auction!!!

Thank you all for your help!
Love Always, The Franke Children

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Diet and Nutrition

Cancer Prevention Diet and Nutrition

Specific foods that have the most powerful preventative effect
Certain foods have come to the forefront in the past few decades of cancer research as heavyweights in the battle against cancer. The National Institute for Cancer Research presents an all-star line up of foods known for their effective cancer-fighting properties:

Beans (or legumes), which include lentils and peas, are rich in fiber and contain several chemicals that boost immunity to cancer. Saponins have shown the ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in different tissues; protease inhibitors slow down cancer cells from multiplying and suppress proteases, potent cell destroyers; and phytic acid slows the growth of tumors. A study of 3,237 men of different ethnic backgrounds showed that the risk for prostate cancer was 38 percent lower in those who ate the most amount of beans, as compared to those who ate the least amount.

Berries are good sources of vitamin C and fiber, as well as a wonderful substance called ellagic acid, which has been found in laboratory studies to prevent cancers of the skin, bladder, lung, esophagus and breast. Strawberries and raspberries are particularly high in ellagic acid, and blueberries are loaded with a class of anti-oxidants as powerful as any seen. So splurge on berries in your morning cereal.

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, and bok choy. Substances in these vegetables have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells in laboratory studies, particularly by regulating a complex system of enzymes that provide a good line of cancer defense. High consumption of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a decreased risk for lung, stomach and colorectal cancers.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables like spinach, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuces, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, and Swiss chard all contain high amounts of fiber, folate and a wide range of anti-oxidants which attack and remove hazardous free radicals from the body. Researchers have found that carotenoids in dark green leafy vegetables are effective in inhibiting the formation of breast and skin cancer tumors, and preventing lung and stomach cancer. High folate levels in men who ate diets rich in green leafy vegetables have been correlated with a reduced risk of lung cancer, particularly among men who smoke. Results from the Iowa Women’s Health Study showed a 44%lower risk rate for breast cancer in women who ate the most green leafy vegetables, as compared to those who ate the least.

Flaxseed is the best known dietary source for a substance called lignans, which appear to replicate the action of estrogen in the body. Flax oil does not contain lignans, though they are often added by the manufacturers. In some short-term human studies, flaxseed consumption modified estrogen metabolism such that there appeared to be a possible protective effect against breast cancer. It has also been shown to inhibit the formation of colon, breast, skin and lung tumors in more than one laboratory study. Flaxseed is also high in omega-3 fats essential fatty acids.

Garlic is a natural antibiotic and immune system enhancer, a free radical attacker, and it increases the enzymes that break down carcinogens in the body. Ample research has shown garlic to be one of the best foods to eat for cancer prevention, linking its consumption with slowing or stopping the growth of tumors in prostate, bladder, and stomach tissue, and preventing cancers of the skin and lung. The evidence is particularly compelling for garlic as a preventative agent against prostate and stomach cancers. The Iowa Women’s Health Study found that women who regularly ate garlic had a lower risk for colon cancer. Eat as much of this mighty food as you can stand!

Grapes, especially red and purple varieties, contain high levels of resveratrol, which belongs to a classification of plant chemicals called polyphenols. Resveratrol has been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells and inhibit the formation of tumors in lymph, liver, stomach and breast cells.

Green Tea is the best source of catechins in the human diet, containing about three times as many catechins as there are in black tea. The catechins found in tea selectively inhibit specific enzyme activities that lead to cancer and may also repair cellular damage caused by free radicals. Green tea has been shown to inhibit or block cancer development in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells. Studies done in Asia show that frequent use of green tea lowers the risk for bladder, colon, stomach, pancreatic, and esophageal cancers. It has also been shown to aid in preventing recurrence of stage 1 breast cancer.

Soy foods, which include tofu, soymilk, soybeans, soynuts, miso (soy paste), tempeh, and soy burgers, are particularly relevant in their effects on hormone-related cancer. Soy contains phytoestrogens, a plant-derived, weaker form of estrogen that some scientists believe replaces the body’s stronger form of estrogen at estrogen receptor sites in the breast, thereby reducing the probability of developing cancer. Several human and laboratory studies have suggested that soy consumption early in life may help protect against breast cancer later in life. However, according to breastcancer.org, many doctors worry that phytoestrogens in soy may increase the risk of women who have already had breast cancer. In another human study, men who said they drank soymilk more than once per day for 20 years were found to have 70% lower prostate cancer risk than men who never drank soymilk.

Tomatoes contain the phytochemical lycopene, which is also found to a lesser extent in watermelon, papaya, and pink grapefruit. More than 35 studies have confirmed a lower risk of cancer as a result of high lycopene and tomato intake, especially cancers of the prostate, stomach, and lung. Lycopene compounds tend to concentrate in tissues of the prostate, so its protective agency there has received the most attention. Tomatoes have the highest anti-cancer potential when taken in a processed form such as tomato sauce, tomato paste, and tomato juice, because of easier absorption. The PDR website reported a study that found that people with the lowest levels of lycopene are three times more likely to get lung cancer than those with the highest levels. African Americans in the same study were found to have eight times the risk of developing cancer when lycopene levels were lowest.

Turmeric is the spice most often used in curry powder. It has an active ingredient called curcumin that has shown resistance to colon, breast,liver, oral, skin, and stomach tumors in laboratory testing on animals. (probably poor Beagles - you bastards!)

Yogurt consumed in high quantities has been linked in some population studies to reduced risks of cancer, particularly of the breast and colon.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Radiology: Week 2

Mom started her 2nd week of radiation this week, this time without chemo. She's doing well. Over the weekend she had some painful swelling in her hands & feet with a few mouth sores and fatigue. We've expected these symptoms but remain relieved she's able to keep eat well and maintain her weight.

We know many are willing and able to help but don't know when or how. If you are able to help with meals, visits, groceries or appointments please email or call Jaclyn at (217) 741-3819, jaclynfranke@hotmail.com to coordinate the best available day & time. We appreciate you and welcome your help!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Radiology: Week 1

Today Mom finished her first week of radiation and her 2nd round of chemo with flying colors! Aside from some expected side effects, we're glad they are keeping nausea at bay and her weight steady. I'm sure she's looking forward to a nice weekend without appointments! I'm trying to get a flight home for the benefit and will look forward to seeing everyone soon. Lv Jess

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Radiology: Day 2

Mom completed Day 2 of her radiation today along with the 2nd round of chemo. She's doing great!!!
We can't thank you enough for all of your support and encouragement! Love you all!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Message from Kerry

I just wanted to thank you all for the cards, the thoughts and prayers, the visits, the food, the list goes on and on! You are so wonderful! The girls have done such a good job in keeping the blog updated to keep everyone informed about how I am doing, as some days it is just nice for me to not have to talk about it, but feel free to call anytime and if I don't feel up to it, I would love to get a message. So far, so good, I made it through the first round of chemo pretty darn good. This week I started my radiation therapy as well as another round of chemo, so things might be a little rougher for a while. I have received so many beautiful cards and notes. I have them saved in a keepsake box. I pull one out each day and think about the person who sent it and how special that person is in my life and say a special prayer of thanks for having such wonderful family and friends to support me through this hard time. Everyone is working so hard in getting plans together for the benefit. It is so amazing how there are so many good people out there that are willing to put such an effort towards making all this happen. I am truly blessed. I hope to see you all at the benefit, the only part that I get to know about is that it is going to be a lot of fun - bands, music, good food, family and friend and lots of love!!

Much love,

Donation Info

It has been brought to our attention that there are some that will not be able to attend the benefit but still want to donate. This can be done by sending a check to the National Bank of Petersburg with a note saying "please place in Kerry Franke's benefit account".

National Bank of Petersburg Address: 321 North Sixth Street P.O. Box 470 Petersburg, IL 62675
If you have any questions for the bank you can call them at 217-632-3241

Thank you all so much. We are very grateful to have friends, family, and even generous strangers like you!

Love Always, The Franke children

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Miss You

missing you so much mom, i can't sleep. i know words are not necessary when you look at this picture. it means so much for us. a reminder of our beach trip and next one to come, how every rainbow i see reminds me of you, hope and strength, god's beauty that is still on this earth, and a piece of paradise just for you.

so smile because it looks good on you, and be strong because you do it so well, and i will continue to follow in those beautiful footsteps of yours and send you some arizona sunshine to smile back at you!

see you soon mom, love you!

Support System

{ from www.Chemotherapy.com }

Caregivers' Support is Critical

A diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming, stressful and frightening. Many people with cancer turn to spouses, family members and friends for support. The role of the caregiver can range from providing emotional support to researching treatment options to helping your loved one stay on their treatment plan.

A survey of 150 cancer patients, conducted in May 2002, showed that virtually all (99 percent) patients said their support network of people was extremely or very important in helping them get through chemotherapy. The same amount agreed strongly or somewhat strongly that having people who care about them made them more motivated to get through chemotherapy and 95 percent said their support network was instrumental in helping them get through the serious side effects of chemotherapy.1

If you are reading this, it is likely that someone you care deeply about has been diagnosed with cancer. You might be trying to determine your appropriate role. This information is intended to provide insight into some of the feelings, needs, questions and worries you might have as you move forward in your role as a caregiver in your loved one’s fight against cancer.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Quote for Mom

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

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oncologist Appointment

Today I finally got to meet mom's oncologist along with Jacie, Aunt Barb, and mom. She was glad to hear that mom did very well through her first round of chemo. She was very confident in the recipe of chemo and radiation that is planned for mom and explained to us why she picked the more aggressive approach. Mom will begin chemo and radiation on Monday. Chemo will run until Friday, but radiation continues for 6 weeks. During that time, mom will need as much encouragement and positive attitudes she can get :-)

Also today, Rachel (Todd's Daughter) and I went to Canham Graphics to print some of our photography for the benefit. Everything looks perfect and we are so excited. Thank you so much Bill!

Lots of Love,

Goodbye Jess

Jess woke me at 5:30 this morning with a huge smile on her face and said goodbye. That's about all I remember ;-) Having Jess home to help was amazing and it would not have been the same without her. That was the most time we had all spend together since she moved to Arizona when she was 18. I love when we're all together talking, laughing, and sharing old memories. It is weird not having her here with us today but we look forward to her next visit. Thank you for everything Jess! WE LOVE YOU!

Back to AZ

I'm sitting on a plane waiting to leave Chicago for Dallas then Phoenix. I'm excited to see Cory, our beagles, friends and co-workers. I know I'll be back soon. I know Mom has lots of help and support but it doesn't change the fact that my life is miles away and I feel helpless. I might be far away but I'm right there with you all, working behind the scene until see you again soon.....

Miss you all, thank you for everything!
We're so lucky to have such amazing family and friends!

Lots of love & hugs,