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

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010


Last year Mom's friends put together a wonderful benefit which helped so much in covering medical bills, medication and doctor appointments. It's so heartwarming to see everyone come together and work so hard to raise this money to help Mom! I'm not sure if there will be another benefit this year, so I've added a new "DONATE" button to the blog. It's linked to the benefit fund we setup for Mom at the National Bank. We also have that information at the bottom of the blog.

So many people visit this site and if you feel moved to make a donation to help Mom please know that we greatly appreciate this!

Much Love,
Franke Family

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gracie Puppy

Dear Mommy,
I'm so sorry if I jump up on you and get excited around the house. I promise I'll try to be really really good. I think I need to be trained so I will be a better dog for you. I just love you so much and I'm so happy to play and be a part of the family. Things have been different and I'm confused and anxious about all of the changes. I can't wait to cuddle and go for walks with you again soon.
Please get better fast!
Love Gracie

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Celtic Band Videos

Here are the videos of the Celtic Band that came to play in Kerry's drive way on St. Patties Day!

{note: pause music player below before watching}

Friday, March 19, 2010

Leaving Illinois

It's been wonderful being here with Mom helping her to recover after everything she's been through. This visit was not for fun or vacation but to be support and assistance to my family. I'm so glad that I was able to come and it will be very hard to leave. I know that Mom is in the best of care and she will only continue to progress after I leave. The next time I see her she'll be back to her normal self and we'll be at the beach celebrating!

I am so thankful to Dr. Chamberlain and my office manger Sonia for allowing me to take time off. My entire office has been so loving and understanding during these times. I also wanted to thank my neighbor Michelle who works for United Airlines. She was so generous giving me her buddy pass to fly standby at an affordable rate during the dates I needed. Michelle has spent so much time in helping me find the very best flights and she's great about knowing how to get around the system. I feel like I have my own personal flight manager, plus she's an amazing neighbor on top of it all.

Unfortunately, the flights are extremely overbooked with too many standby passengers waiting in line for Phoenix during this spring break season. I'll have a few more days with Mom and have a long day of travel ahead on Monday.

Thank you everyone for being patient, understanding and loving during this time!

9 days

It's been 9 days since Mom came home from the hospital from her 2nd surgery. Life is very frustrating as she copes with the discomfort, weight loss and figuring out what foods to eat or what foods to avoid. She's supposed to be using Jevity through a feeding tube for extra nutrition and fluids during sleep but has a horrible time with it. There isn't much information out there for people without a stomach, preparing for more chemotherapy and trying to regain the weight lost. Of course we're keeping positive and Mom is very determined to recover as quickly as she can. In reality she really is doing great considering what she's been through.

If anyone knows of healthy alternatives to Jevity tube feeding or any helpful nutritional information related to Mom's situation please let us know. Until then we're researching and experimenting as we go along.

Information about Tube Feeding nutrition from Eco Nutirtion Revolution Blog

Tube Feeding
Tube feeding is not exactly what I had in mind when I decided to study nutrition, but here I am calculating tube feeding protocols for the critically ill. Don't get me wrong, I see the need for tube feeding and give much gratitude to the compassionate and dedicated dieticians who work in inpatient settings. I just recognize that this is not my passion because it seems so far removed from my philosophy of whole foods.

It's disheartening, and unfortunately not at all surprising, that hospitals--like other institutions--are feeding the crappiest food to the populations who need the most nourishing nutritional environments. The Nestle Corporation holds a monopoly on the enteral nutrition (tube feeding) formulas. These formulas contain such ingredients as corn syrup and hydrolyzed corn starch as carbohydrate sources; soy protein isolate as a protein source; and refined vegetable and seed oils for the necessary fat component. Undoubtedly these ingredients are products of our industrialized, subsidized and unsustainable food system and are most certainly coming from genetically modified plants. These are ingredients that I avoid when I am well; I can't imagine that this is the only option for calories when someone is so sick that they cannot eat.

A friend, who recently had her appendix removed, commented that hospitals are not a place for well people. She couldn't wait to get home so she could eat healthy again. Wouldn't it be nice if our hospitals were places dedicated to healing instead of the economic agenda of multinational corporations?

There are some strides being made within the local food movement as far as getting locally grown produce and organic meat into hospital cafeterias. These farm-to-hospital programs are starting to pop up across the country, with 227 hospitals signing the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge. Eight hospitals in Seattle have signed the pledge and have already started by hosting farmers markets and including local and organic options on cafeteria menus.

I'm not sure what it would take to get local food into the tube food itself, but this shift in food economy to favor local producers who care for the land has to start somewhere. I think being able to order organic green beans from a hospital bed is a good start.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Celtic Band Plays for Mom

Thank you to Kim and her Celtic Band for coming to play in Mom's driveway today!
Mom and Kim have been best buds since high school and Mom always goes to watch them play. Since she couldn't make it out this time - they came to her!
Thank you so much, it was totally awesome music!

Progress Report

One day at a time, getting better each day, that's what we say, every day!
My poor Momma she feels like she's been hit by a truck and says this is worse than any chemo or radiation but she's so happy that cancer tummy is out of there. I don't even want to think about her going through more chemo right now. She needs to gain weight and get super healthy first. She will, she's so strong and really quick at healing. Maybe it has something to do with having 4 kids eh!? Hahah!
Well I'm so glad that I'm home to help in any way that I can and also give everyone else a little break hopefully. I wish I could stay longer but hope to come back very soon! Good night!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Guest Book Thank You

I wanted to thank you all so much for signing the Guest Book! I always read them to Mom and every time I get a little choked up. You're all such wonderful friends and family, and even strangers!
Thank you for your support.
Much Love, Jess


We're learning that it's much better to be safe than sorry. After a few symptom concerns, phone calls to nurses and doctors they decided to have Mom pop into ER Sunday morning so the surgeon could have a look and make sure everything was working properly. They took an xray later followed by a CT scan which traced the trail of liquids taken in and no blockage or adhesions were found! Of course it will take time for Mom's body to get used to this new network and also recover from everything she's been through.
We have to make sure she's drinking tiny sips every 5 minutes between meals and waiting 30min between eating & drinking while also consuming 5-6 small meals. Sound confusing?! It's been interesting learing how to prepare and start the feeding tube at night. We also try to encourage her often to get up and walk around the house and she's doing great. We appreciate the little accompliments each day! She truly has such a strong desire to recover and get back to her life again. I have no doubts that she will accomplish this as quickly as she can!
A+ Mommy!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Home Recovering

It's Mom's 4th day back home. She's still pretty wiped out and getting into her new eating, drinking and exercise routine. Not quite ready for visitors yet. Close friends and family are okay but let us know before stopping by. She's been through a lot and is honestly not quite back to her cheery self yet. However, I know that she will be soon! I keep telling her that we have to take it one day at a time and this is only temporary. She's getting better each day! I'm happy to be here with her.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Mom's out of the hospital! Yeah!
I'm on my way Momma, see you Friday!
Love Jess

Monday, March 8, 2010

What a difference a day makes!

Kerry is back! The change from yesterday to today was amazing! She talked and smiled and even watched some TV. Slowly but surely they are removing the tubes and even talking discharge planning. She is back on a stage 4 diet and doing well with it. As long as she tolerates her drain tube being capped off and is maintaining her diet and fluids, she is just a step away from home! She is ready!! Keep those positive thoughts coming --- they are working! :)


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Information About

This is a very informative website that explains the following about Stomach Cancer:

How it spreads
What causes it
Diagnostic evaluation
Staging and treatment
Supportive Care
Important questions


Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Room

On Friday, Kerry moved from ICU!! The next move in her steps to recovery! She is now in the bariatric wing of the hospital where the nurses are familiar with her type of surgery and will be able to give her the best of care. She is a fighter and I admire her strength! Kerry is still pretty tired and needs rest, so be sure to check with family before coming up. She appreciates all the cards and prayers.


Friday, March 5, 2010


We are so grateful and appreciate everyone's concern and love for Mom. I setup this blog so that it would be easy for everyone to stay informed and receive updates. Sometimes it's difficult for us to return phone calls or get back everyone. Please continue to check in here on the blog in the mean time.
Thank you!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Post Surgery Day 4

Good news! Kerry is still in the ICU, but has been downgraded to IMC status - from intensive care to intermediate care. They have not made plans to move her yet and she would rather just stay there! She is receiving really good care there! They have started her tube feedings to help build her strength and everything is going good there, functioning well. They are weaning her off of the pain pump and giving her longer acting medicine through her tube. She still has the drainage tubes in, but they don't want to pull them too soon so everything that needs to gets drained out. They have given her vitamins and nutrients to help build up her body. She is still on antibiotics for the pneumonia and doing breathing treatments several times a day and the doctor says she is doing great. She is working with physical therapy to start moving around again, getting up to the chair, etc. Most of all, she is resting a lot, just what her body needs to heal. The family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers - keep them coming! Every day she is getting better!