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

Martin Luther King, Jr.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Surgery Day Success


Surgery is done! The 2nd kidney stent was placed. They were able to remove the gallbladder laparoscopically. The surgeon did find several adhesions but got it removed with success. The nodules were also removed but will not have pathology back for a week. She should be able to go home today unless she is in too much pain. The surgeon felt good about everything!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Surgery {N28} Nov28


Rise and Shine! Tomorrow is the big day! The surgeons are ready and Mom's been ready for a while. Surgery begins at 8am and is expected to take a few hours.

We are hopeful for laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder
second kidney stent placement
removal and cleared margins for 2 lumps

We'll be keeping you updated and appreciate your love, support and prayers!
Thank you so much for being with us through all we've faced!

Much Love Always,
Franke Kids & CO.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Forgiveness

During my flight back to Phoenix I found an article that I love so much I had to share one of my favorite parts. It's an amazing story about forgiveness. The story is featured in Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine called The Heart of Darkness.


Forgiveness has, for centuries, been preached by prophets and inspirational leaders. Nelson Mandela popularized one of Khamisa’s favorite quotes: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

As it turns out, equating resentment with poison isn’t a stretch. Nursing a grudge means holding onto anger, and prolonged anger spikes heart rate, lowers immune response, and floods the brain with neuro-transmitters that impede problem solving and stir depression. In multiple studies, forgiveness has been shown to provide benefits such as lowered blood pressure and increased optimism, says Dr. Frederic Luskin, director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, an ongoing series of workshops and research projects at Stanford University. Having developed ways to teach forgiveness in various places, including war-ravaged countries such as Sierra Leone, Luskin asserts that anyone—from jilted spouses to widows who have lost husbands to terrorism—can heal.

“When you don’t forgive, you release all the chemicals of the stress response,” Luskin says. “Each time you react, adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine enter the body. When it’s a chronic grudge, you could think about it 20 times a day, and those chemicals limit creativity; they limit problem solving. Cortisol and norepinephrine cause your brain to enter what we call ‘the no-thinking zone,’ and over time, they lead you to feel helpless and like a victim. When you forgive, you wipe all of that clean.”

Click here for link to article

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mom's Song



This time of year brings back so many memories of our journey. Filled with love and encouragement we fight on! Love you with all of my heart Mom!

Rescheduled Surgery: Multi-issue Update


There are many different issues in development. We are trying to funnel and coordinate into one surgery; one surgery with multiple procedures. We want to unravel the mystery of Mom's symptoms and address the issues at hand. Doing it all at the same time can be a daunting task but what choice do we have? I thought it would be helpful to write this out and organize my own thoughts while explaining Mom's current situation as best as I can.

* Gallbladder Removal
* Kidney Stents/Infections
* Bloating/unusual weight gain
* Spots/Lumps

Surgery has been rescheduled to the 28th with Dr. Icaza (Mom's main surgeon) for removal of the gallbladder. Previous abdominal scan from October 2nd looked good but did show some mild issue with right kidney recently confirmed during changing of left kidney stent by Dr. Severino (Mom's urologist). The 2nd Kidney stent (right side) will be placed on the 28th if Dr. Severino still feels this is necessary. I'm sure they will coordinate with Dr. Icaza.

Mom is bloated and somewhat extended in her lower abdomen area and feels pressure up under her rib cage mostly on right side where the gallbladder is. Let's hope removal of the gallbladder will solve most of these issues. We just don't know.

Last but not least are a few spots or lumps that will also be removed and margins cleared during her gallbladder and stent surgery. These lumps will be sent out to pathology and their results determine if the cancer is back. If cancer has returned it might determine additional chemotherapy. The doctors plan thus far seem to first remove it, clear the margins, scan and then determine if they really need more chemo. The trick in chemo is catching cancer while it's in an active stage. Otherwise chemo is pointless, especially if you've already removed the bad cells.

So the good news is that Mom's been under the care of some really great doctors and she has a very positive outlook even during her disappointments. We just take one day at a time! Keep Calm and Kerry On!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kidney Update


During the most recent stent changing on Mom's left kidney Dr. Severino (Urologist) noticed an issue with the right kidney as well. It will most likely need to have a stent placed to avoid failure. Mom woke up to this news and was extremely disappointed. One more thing to deal with, but she's taking it one step at a time. If dual kidney failure happens there is always dialysis. Mom needs those kidney's to function and filter her body especially through any additional chemo needed etc. Does anyone know of alternative treatment (in addition to the stent) that can help her kidneys recover or function better? We welcome your experiences, comments and suggestions!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Song: Carry On

Mom likes this song
Fun.: Carry On


Carry on
Well I woke up to the sound of silence
The cars were cutting like knives in a fist fight
And I found you with a bottle of wine
Your head in the curtains
And heart like the fourth of July

You swore and said
We are not
We are not shining stars
This I know
I never said we are

Though I've never been through hell like that
I've closed enough windows
To know you can never look back

If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

Carry on, carry on

So I met up with some friends
At the edge of the night
At a bar off 75
And we talked and talked
About how our parents will die
All our neighbors and wives

But I like to think
I can cheat it all
To make up for the times I've been cheated on
And it's nice to know
When I was left for dead
I was found and now I don't roam these streets
I am not the ghost you want of me

If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

Woah
My head is on fire
But my legs are fine
Cause after all they are mine
Lay your clothes down on the floor
Close the door
Hold the phone
Show me how
No one's ever gonna stop us now

Cause we are
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we're miles away
So we'll come
We will find our way home

If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

Monday, November 12, 2012

Safe & Snuggled


Mom's home tonight after a very long and somewhat disappointing day. Her kidney stent has been changed. There will be a follow up with this surgeon in a few weeks. The other part of the surgery has been scheduled for 2 weeks (for the gallbladder & spotted friends) and it was the earliest she could make the appointment. Additional updates to come.

Thank you for all of your kind love, caring thoughts and prayers today!

Uh-Oh!


Oh-No! After all of this preparation and emotion we had to cancel a major part of the surgery today. Unfortunately Mom's surgeon has been injured. We hope that he is ok! The kidney stent change will still take place today but the gallbladder removal and lump/spot removal will be rescheduled for 2 weeks. In preparation for today Mom's been getting a daily IV dose of antibiotics to hold off infection from the kidney stent. This absolutely has to be changed ASAP regardless of the gallbladder issues. We're very anxious to get results back from removal of the suspect lumps/spots but will now have to wait. We also hoped the gallbladder removal would help with the constant pain and infections Mom's been dealing with.

Stay tuned and thank you so much for all of your love, prayers and support!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stomach Cancer Awareness: 1 Survivor's Story

This is a long quote taken from Fox 10 News interview that broke my heart.  It's something we need to remember.


Nicole realized after her diagnosis that stomach cancer research doesn't receive nearly enough attention or funding, so she helped organize a walk on November 3rd.

She wants that blue ribbon to stand out and stand for something important.

When somebody wears a pink ribbon, there's no question it's to benefit breast cancer research, but not so much with periwinkle.  That shade of blue is actually the color of stomach cancer awareness.  The disease kills more people than almost any other cancer, so the folks behind this movement hope the periwinkle gets as much push as its pink counterparts.

"I would hope that someday, that we can donate for all cancers instead of just one.  I think that would be great.  It doesn't have to be just one cancer, I think there should be a rainbow ribbon that stands for all the cancers," said Nicole.


Stomach cancer awareness: 1 survivor's story - FOX 10 News - Phoenix, AZ | KSAZ-TV

Statistics


You are not just a number. You are not a statistic. I think the absolute worst thing you can do is start reading about statistics because in all honesty, statistics are not encouraging and everyone responds differently. Your body may respond favorably to a treatment while someone else may not. As you search for information please be careful and cautious not to pay too much attention to numbers.

Stay strong and keep hanging in there!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Anticipation


Anticipation of Mom's upcoming surgery hangs close to hearts this weekend. It's on the horizon. If you looked into our eyes you might see fear, sadness, anger, blank expressions and possibly doubt. It's just something we are honestly not ready to face or deal with; I suppose you are never ready. I hate to be melancholy about it and I know we're supposed to be positive. Why worry about something we don't have all the facts on yet? We will have to deal with it as the upcoming events unfold. We'll figure it out and go from there.

This time of year always reminds me of life before we got the news about Mom's cancer. It was 4 years ago this November. I've been blogging every month since. It's been a journey of so many emotions. We're grateful and thankful for every day and for every moment. Everyone of us have your own ways of dealing, fighting and surviving. Keep doing all that you can to hold it together; keep searching for whatever gives you comfort, hope and strength. If you have found it, hold on tight and keep your chin up! It's ok to feel anger, fear, sadness and doubt. In the morning it's a new day and you just never know how things will turn out.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Song to Inspire

Thank you to our sister Jenelle who put together this beautiful and inspiring slideshow with music.

{Click here for video link}

Artist: Mindy Smith
Song: "Fighting for It All"