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

Martin Luther King, Jr.



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

90 days later

It's been 91 days since Momma passed away.  This has been the most difficult and challenging time of our lives; yet I can speak for my siblings when I express that everyone is handling this extreme loss, tremendously well!  I could not be more proud and I know Mom would be too!  She raised us with her grace, strength and faith.  

It's hard to express all of the emotions and changes we are dealing with.  At times it doesn't seem real and it's so hard to grasp that her death actually came after fighting SO hard for SO long!  How can we not be proud of her fight!  How can we not be at peace and find comfort in the fact that she's no longer suffering!  We have faith and hope in the promise that we will get to see her again and this helps get us through each day.  Having our siblings and family close to us also helps us cope.  Having such amazing and beautiful memories of her bring us smiles during our tears.  There are so many wonderful memories and because we were all close and special to Mom; these memories and joys will last us a very long time.  

She will never fade from our hearts, from our lives.  Mom will live on through us each day.  We will be strong and Kerry On just as she showed and demonstrated.

Thank you for all of your love and support during our healing and sadness.
We have greatly appreciated our family and friends during this time.
I'll continue to keep the blog updated when I feel it's right to share our journey.

Love to all, Kerry On!

{by Jess}


Monday, October 19, 2015

Through My Eyes

When I booked my ticket home to see Mom; I knew things were getting worse and her treatment options were changing rapidly.  I tried to prepare mentally for the journey ahead.  My sisters were hesitant to tell me just how bad things had been for Mom, but soon confirmed what I already feared.  One afternoon on the phone discussing my long weekend travel plans Jen suggested that I extend my stay as long as I could.  She confirmed the reality approaching and didn't want me to be surprised at Mom's weak and fragile condition.  With the support of my co-workers and amazing boss I was able to change a weekend trip to 11 days.  No one had any idea my visit would turn into a month or the loss that lay ahead.  It was a hard time to leave work.  My stress level was extremely high especially leaving Cory with Bailey's medication regiment and the list goes on.  However daunting the encouragement received from everyone in Arizona made it feel a little easier to get on the plane.  

I arrived in St. Louis September 2nd and was greeted by 2 long-time amazing friends from our local congregation.  They drove me almost 2 hours and then I finally got to see Momma.  It was a relief finally arriving and seeing her beautiful face again.  We've been so fortunate lately to have seen each other on a regular basis since my brothers wedding and the Franke girls trips to Arizona.  I felt right at home again in the comfort of her sweet little house surrounded by my family and near the street I grew up on.  My sister was right, it was hard at first to see Mom thinner than ever and not quite herself.  I could tell she was trying to be strong but I could see the fear and pain in her eyes.  Jen stayed the first night with me to help groove me into the routine again.  We've all been through caregiving before but never to this degree.  By the next morning I was ready to give my family a caregiving break and felt driven to begin my mission.  It warmed my heart to support my siblings and was nice to have them come over for visits with Mom and I.  

Through a private Facebook page Aunt Margie setup, we created a "Caring for Kerry" network with a few family members and close friends.  There we kept up with medicine, exercises, visiting nurses, grocery list items and the diary of Mom's progress and care.  It was a great help and support.  Very quickly after my arrival the meals started arriving each day.  I can't even describe how much these hot meals warmed our hearts and helped reduce stress.  More family came to visit and help support Mom.  Sadly though her condition was quickly getting worse but she carried on with the routine like a champ!  The pill pile was a huge task for Mom and even making sure she ate or drank enough during the day was a constant adventure.  I started to wonder which pills were actually helping and necessary.  I started to question the strange feeling of doping her with the strong pain medication and then pepping her up with the stimulant.  It just felt wrong, but I realized how important it was in managing the severity of her pain.  If we missed the stimulant she wasn't up for much but sleeping and eating, drinking and the pills had to happen!  

Soon the idea of having the physical therapist and occupational therapist come was the opposite direction of where Mom was headed.  This all became clear without a word between us.  Then one day during a nurses visit she asked what the treatment plan was and if Mom was going to have any radiation or chemotherapy.  Mom sweetly and softly told the nurse that she was done with those options.  Not necessarily by choice.  Anyone who knows Mom and her journey knows that she would have done more, if she could.  The clinical trial wasn't an option and the cancer spread beyond our control.  Since her initial diagnosis in 2008 Mom had been preparing us for this day.  She taught us that each day was a special gift.  She told us that her cancer was a monster and one day it would catch up with her no matter how hard she tried to run.  I know everyone can agree that Mom's fight with cancer has been the equivalent of a true Olympic Champion!  As Mom was talking to the nurse, I smiled and our eyes met as if we were in complete agreement.  This was no surprise.  I told the nurse that Mom's "new treatment plan" was fighting to get up each day and this was true.  I felt so extremely proud of her that feeling sad seemed selfish.  She has fought so hard for so long that it was clear she was going to finish her fight with "Grace and Tenacity!"  

It was after this eye opening visit we had our special talks.  Mom started to open up and share more about her wishes and we talked about life without her.  We cried and held each other; it was the most amazing yet difficult conversation in my life.  Days following I had many deep discussions with my siblings and family about Mom's choice and the reality that lay ahead.  Tears poured down my face when I called my boss to explain how I needed to stay longer and couldn't get on the plane yet.  He was so supportive and helped redirect my focus on being with Mom her final days. Hospice came quickly after and was a great help providing clarity with our goals and new treatment plan.  We reduced the medication only using the most important for pain and nerve control; but made sure the amount was just perfect for her to remain aware and conscious of her surroundings.  Mom's wishes were to control the pain, stay in her home, and go before winter.  She hated winter.  Among many other wishes such as the Celebration of Life and cremation.  Her most important goal was to make this as easy on her babies as possible.  She told us how proud she was of us and felt confident about our lives; "My chicks are all in a row!"  She knew that there was so need to worry too much but of course she knew we would miss her every single day of our lives.  Her love and legacy far outweigh the pain of seeing her suffer any longer.  There are no words to explain the loss we are feeling.  There's only comfort knowing that we will see her again!  The rest of my story will come later in pieces as we heal our hearts.  Perhaps it will help others one day; but it's also a way to share our love and express our sorrow.  Until the next time...

One day at a time and "Kerry On"
Love Jess

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bumble Bee

The Bumble Bee
Cannot Fly


According to laws
of aerodynamics
the bumble bee cannot fly;
Its body is too
heavy for its wings
and that's the simple
reason why.

But the bumble bee
doesn't know this fact,
and so it flies anyway
for all to see.
Remember this when you're
losing faith or hope
God's proof that the
impossible can be.

A.S. Waldrop

Friday, October 2, 2015

Thank you!

Mom's Celebration of Life truly was the most amazing memorial! Many many familiar faces brought happiness & good memories! Thank you so much to everyone who attended and to all who wish they could have joined us. We love & appreciate you all so much and couldn't have made it through this without you! What a beautiful testament to our Mom!

The venue at "The Farm" was absolutely fitting for Mom's style.  From the lace to the wild flowers every loving detail held a special touch from all who helped recreate the Kerry-fied vision!  My cousin Emily made the bookmarks from a quoted scripture framed in Mom's kitchen and customized with her photo and signature on the back.  My cousin Rachel took the fabric and buttons from Mom's sewing room to recreate the fabric flowers she taught us to make.  Uncle Todd worked hours on the video slideshow with all of our special music choices and spliced in some home videos!  Many of our family and dearest friends took part in helping.  We are extremely grateful to Gail at "The Farm" for hosting this event and allowing space for everyone to attend comfortably.  She mentioned never seeing so many people there before!  Leave it to Kerry to keep breaking records!  HyVee catered such a beautiful fruit waterfall spread and the cheese & crackers with veggies and dip were a hit.

We wish that we could have spent more time talking with everyone who attended but sadly didn't even get around to everyone!  We're looking forward to reading the Memory Guest Book and the cards together.  If you didn't get a chance to sign it please let us know or you can share a memory below here and we can put it in the book for you!

The J's are doing good and being strong like our Momma.  We're taking it one day at a time and realize some days will be better than others.  I'm honestly not sure how we would be without all of your love, positivity, encouragement, hugs and even food!  Mom would be so proud of us but all of you as well!

Thank you dearly! With love,
The J's & family




Monday, September 28, 2015

Share Some Wine {not Whine}

In preparation for our Celebration of Life tomorrow, I had a feeling that something was missing...

Mom wouldn't want us to Whine, but she'd want a little Wine!

Bring a bottle of your favorite wine to share
We look forward to seeing you there!

Love The J's

{please share this post}

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Invitation

Please join us in the Celebration of Life Memorial
in honor of our Mother, Kerry Franke


Tuesday, September 29th
{open house from 5:00pm to 8:00pm}

The Farm
21648 Old Farm Ave
Petersburg, IL 62675

click here for directions

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Celebration of Life


The Celebration of Life:

Kerry Franke passed away with grace and dignity in her home embraced by the love and support of her family on September 21, 2015 at 57 years old.  Kerry’s infectious smile, energy, and passion for life and goodness touched many throughout her entire lifetime.  Her kind spirit embraced all who were fortunate enough to cross paths with her.  Her light shone brightly even more so over the past seven years.  Kerry defied the odds, turning a bleak cancer diagnosis into an amazing journey of life and joy.    

Kerry was born in Springfield where she grew and thrived with her parents and three siblings.  She felt blessed to have grown up in a neighborhood full of families and children who would eventually become lifelong friends.  After graduating Springfield High School in 1976, Kerry began her life as wife and mother.  She was married to Larry Franke from September of 1977 until 2006.  Living in Springfield as well as Petersburg, she embraced her role as mother, teacher, artist, and quilter.  Her creative vision and talented skills made turning everything she touched into a “Kerry-fied masterpiece” best described by comforts, beauty and her amazing style.  Kerry’s passion and deepest love was for her children and during this journey she also felt extremely blessed to embrace the love of her grandchildren and closest friends.  Her boyfriend Shawn McKinney of 5 years also brought adventure, creative accomplishments and fulfilled a comfort and joy during her most difficult years.

Kerry worked as an Early Childhood Aide in the PORTA School District.  She was a member of United Methodist Church, Springfield Rotary Club, The Springfield Historical Society, as well as many volunteer efforts with Petersburg Historical Society, New Salem and Clayville. She attended Lincoln Land Community College and retired in 2015 from her position as Credit Manager at US Electric.  Kerry fulfilled a 20 year dream remodeling a storefront in downtown Petersburg to open a quilt shop, offering sewing lessons and custom quilting services while supporting local artists.

Kerry was preceded in death by her grandparents Carl and Caroline Ahrens of Springfield and Albert and Cora Johnson of Indian Point and Athens, Illinois.  She was most recently preceded in death by her beloved parents, Allen and Lois Ahrens.  She is survived by daughter Jessica Skaaren (Cory) of Phoenix, AZ., Jaclyn Franke (daughter Trinity) of Springfield, Jenelle Collins (Chris) of Ashland, and Joshua Franke (Katie) of Chatham (sons Myles and Nolan). Kerry was the sister of Terry Ahrens (Judy), Todd Ahrens (Margaret), and Barb Brewer (Brian).   She was passionate about her family and kept contact with her own cousins, aunts and uncles, embracing her role as Aunt Kerry to many nieces and nephews, as well as great nieces and nephews.  She was a good steward to her family and faith, as well as her friends and community.  Kerry encouraged all to embrace those you love, celebrate life, and believe there is good in the world.  


With deepest love and respect,
{The J's} Jessica, Jaclyn, Jenelle and Josh

Kerry's children, Jessica, Jaclyn, Jenelle and Josh will be hosting a Celebration of Life in honor of their Mother's wishes on Tuesday, September 29th at The Farm open house from 5:00pm - 8:00pm. 


21648 Old Farm Avenue
Peterburg, IL 62675

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Love that Kerry built


THE LOVE THAT KERRY BUILT

It seems that Kerry spent a good portion of her adult life making someone else’s tired, broken-down house into a home for her family. The transformation of each of those homes radiated the love and heart of this sweet and talented woman. As we expected, Kerry’s wish was to finish her journey on earth here, here in her final, perfect little house on earth.  I don’t know who built this house so many years ago, but I know who scooped this place up, put her tender hand and heart to the bricks and boards, and transformed this weary imperfect place into a happy, loving home.

This little home is full, full of the people she loves.  It’s amazing how Kerry’s refuge has transformed and expanded itself into a welcoming haven for so many of us.  Her children, their spouses, grandchildren and helpers all have their little spaces here.  We have all found our own  bit of home in a corner, behind a chair, next to the toy box.  There was no plan, the love that brought us here spread us around to find our spots to sleep, refresh, escape, to laugh and to cry.  We instantaneously discovered that delicate balance between needing our own space and needing each other.  The house has opened and expanded to allow each of us to hear those faint sniffles or sense the falling tears, that signal someone needs a hug.  It has become so large and comfortable, we eagerly share the occasional LOL moment. Our throats are tired from whispering and “whisper laughing”. We have exhausted our quest to move around this sacred place avoiding the particularly squeaky floorboard, remembering to stop the microwave before the beeping starts, and staying on top of the endless stream of laundry for so many of us.  

As we continue our  vigil, we have gathered in the light of this home.  There is no darkness here, that’s not how Kerry built this home. All those things Kerry taught her children, to be kind to each other, listen to each other,  help each other, were lessons well-learned and shine through during our own journey; this journey to help their momma reach that next house, the only house that matters.

{written by Aunt Margie}

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Final Days

Thanks to the immense love and compassion of my siblings & family; Mom is able to remain at home as she wishes to spend her final days in peace and comfort. Due to her fragile condition Mom would want you to keep your memory of her as you remember. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts & prayers.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Nobody Like Your Mother

7 Reasons There’s Nobody In This World Like Your Mother

1. Because her love for you will always be unconditional.
2. Because she will ALWAYS have your back.
3. Because she gave you life.
4. Because she will always forgive you.
5. Because she is the glue that keeps your family together.
6. Because she is your safe haven.
7. Because she has made MANY sacrifices for you.

She has sacrificed her life to make yours better.

A sad, lonely, heartbroken you walk into the arms of your mother and nothing can seem anymore uplifting. All of your stress will wash away and you are at peace in her arms. You only get one mother, one chance to love her, to cherish her and to make memories with her. Don’t ever take that for granted. 

Time after Time

If you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you I'll be waiting
Time after time...



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Changes

by Aunt Margie

Kerry was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer and was given 6 months to live.  That was 7 years ago.  She is an amazing example of the human spirit and its power to overcome incredible obstacles.  She has exhausted her treatment options, having covered years of chemotherapy, radiation oncology, and surgical treatments, most profoundly - having had a complete gastrectomy years ago (complete stomach removal).  She has never languished in a hospital bed longer than it took to recover from a surgical procedure nor has she resorted to tube-feeding.  Her spirit and drive moved her forward to planning and attending the weddings of two of her four children, witnesing the birth of two more grandchildren, remodeling a historic store front (turning it into a quilt shop offering sewing lessons as well as custom quilting services), and remodeling two homes.  Most importantly, she made time and spent time with her beautiful children.  She is an inspiration to all who come in contact with her.  She has checked many, many things off her "Bucket List" and the time has come for her to rest.  We set up her home hospice services today.  Between her children, sister Barb, and myself we will honor her wishes to leave her tattered body with dignity and rest in the home she created and dearly loves.  Please remember Kerry in your prayers as she moves along her final journey. Thank You. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Moving Fast

Things have been moving so fast and changing each day. Mom's strength and courage brings us all comfort and hope but reality quickly sets in when we're faced with constant battles we can not control.

After trips to Indiana and Chicago we've learned that Mom is not a candidate for the clinical trial because she doesn't have a certain type of tissue match they are looking for. We also discovered that she may have 2 types of cancer; breast and the gastric cancer. As you can imagine this was very shocking and mind blowing. If the genetic specialist could figure out exactly what cancers she has, this would open doors for more types of treatments.  The challenge however is that each day she's getting weaker and the cancer is growing stronger.

Family and friends have been an amazing support. Mom requires full time care in all aspects. Our aunts have arranged caregiver schedule along with medication and food lists and have been extremely helpful with doctors visits and summarizing the details of this information.

I'm going home in 3 days but it feels like it's 3 months away. Hang on Momma... I'm coming home!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Update: Difficult Times

Just when you fear the worst times have arrived, there is a glimmer of hope and you realize that another day has passed.  You wish each day would improve over time, but perhaps things stay the same.  You search for something to look forward to and you search for good news to come.  Difficult times have arrived and difficult times have also been conquered in the past.  Our famous words are "One Day at A Time" "Just Keep Swimming "Hang in There" "A Bad Day is Only 24 Hours" and probably many more that I can't recall at this moment.  It's an amazing bond that's formed during difficult times but it's even harder to keep calm and not let stress overtake your words and actions.  I have confidence that our family bond is strong and that our communication and love will help us continue to survive these hard times. Unfortunately love and attention for others do not get the attention we wish to provide.  We know you all understand and can not thank you enough for this.

Mom is hanging in there like an olympic champion and continues to amaze us every single day.  She completed radiation shortly after Josh's wedding and then the hard times started.  Horrible symptoms of severe pain, nausea and throwing up prevented Mom from being able to eat or drink much.  She was very weak and in so much pain that she requested an ER visit for fluids and pain meds.  After several days they were able to work on the pain and help her keep food and drink down.  Once she was released from the hospital she required full-time care as we tried to figure out the balance between hitting the pain meds before the nausea set in so she could eat and drink.  Because of this condition Mom was not able to receive chemotherapy following the radiation treatment.

A glimmer of hope arrived during her oncology visit when he doctor informed us that a Stage 2 Clinical trial was being performed in Indiana for her type of cancer.  Immunotherapy will teach her body how to identify and start to fight off the cancer.  Mom eagerly accepted the invitation and made plans for the trip.  After arriving in Indiana she had a brief hospital visit but was able to pull through and attend her appointment the following day.

We received good news about the same study being done in Chicago, which is much closer.  The doctors also put us in contact with a genetic specialist who works with this type of cancer.  My sisters and Aunt Barb have been extremely helpful in working through all of these challenges this past month.  Our family and friends have been amazing with their love and support, we are truly blessed and appreciate you all!

The journey continues and we are taking "One Day at A Time"...

With Love Always,
The Franke Kids

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Radiation vibe


Mom loves the sunshine... but it's that time for some other type of radiation.
Compared to the chemo she seems to handle it pretty well.  The most painful and uncomfortable part is the location of the cancer on her tailbone area sitting right at the nerve endings of her spine.  This has also caused some numb tingling feelings in her legs and feet.  We aren't comfortable with her driving and it's best for her to keep active; but not as much as she's usually does.  The last radiation treatment is scheduled for Wednesday next week.  Of course it takes time but we expect to see symptoms subside as the radiation begins to work on the cells.  Remember Mom's cancer is diffused so it likes to pop up and surprise us in tiny areas throughout her body.  The best time to treat it with chemo is when the cells are active so we assume the doctors will be discussing the next steps very soon.  We'll keep you posted on her progress.  She needs support and encouragement - it's been a very difficult time to endure this recent news.  I keep assuring her that it's not her fault,  that she's not a burden and how each day is a precious gift.  Mom wants to be happy and positive, but somedays I know she simply can't do it.  It's impossible to "be in her shoes" and I know she's trying to protect us from her own pain.  She's trying to stay positive and pumped up for the next battle ahead.  We need all the prayers, loving hugs, and support available!

Thank you for all that you do!
Love & Hugs

Friday, June 19, 2015

Stage is just a Number

Recently we celebrated good news of another 3 month chemo vacation. Unfortunately the news took a shocking turn with discussion of possible metastasis to the brain or spinal fluid.  Mom immediately started several tests which included a MRI of the brain, PET scan and even spinal tap.  She was keeping as busy as possible while waiting for results to come in.  Test after test I can not imagine what all was going through her mind and heart. Finally on Wednesday, Mom with her support team piled into the consultation room ready to hear anything.

The news was better than expected.  They did not find cancer cells in the spinal fluid that could be detected!  There is still cancer of the spine surrounding the nerve roots, but showing no spread to fluid or brain at this point!  A few other spots have been identified and are being treated next week with radiation followed by more chemotherapy.  Treatment plans will be established with the oncologist around the middle of July; but radiation will happen very soon to help alleviate some of the pain she's experiencing.  You wouldn't know she's in this situation or even in pain because Mom's always great at staying busy and keeping her positive outlook as best as she can!

Since Mom's initial diagnosis she's been celebrating years alive.  If "Age is just a Number" her "Stage of Cancer" is also "Just a Number" and she's breaking records every day! We're so proud of her faith, hope, strength and endurance!  Her fight has truly been the biggest compliment to her loved ones and extremely encouraging for many people.

Stay strong and keep hanging on!
Just keep swimming!
Stay'n alive!
It ain't over!
Momma is ONE TOUGH CHICK!
So stay tuned for more updates and thank you for all of your support through this journey!

Love & Hugs, Always!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Helpful Data

I often find myself reading this document from Cancer.org and know we've been through much of it's contents over the past 6 years. I highly recommend keeping it on file for anyone fighting cancer. Helpful information to be knowledgeable about. For some reason when I'm worried or stressed I seek out knowledge and research to provide me with some education and solutions for the battles ahead.

Cancer.org Article

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Be Strong

We wanted to let you know some things have changed since our last post. There are a few things the doctors are looking into. Test results come on Monday 15th. Please keep Momma in your prayers for lots of strength & courage!

Love & Hugs!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Late Update

I'm so sorry it's been months since I've given you an update! We have the best news to share! Mom had a recent 3 month scan done and was given the okay to take another 3 month chemo vacation! This means she'll be chemo free for a total of 6 months. This is such amazing news because her last treatments were extremely unbearable and had to quit sooner than we expected. We are afraid that doing more treatments with 5-Fu is not going to happen. However, the good news is that it worked really well. Life is an emotional roller coaster but it's worth the ride! Every day, phone call, smile and hug we can share with Mom is a blessing.

Thanks for stopping by, sending love, hugs and many thanks for your support!

Love, Jess

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How Long? How Much?

As I read a post from the Facebook Stomach Cancer Group we follow, I reminded of the beginning of our journey. I could feel the heartache and desperation in her words. She wanted to ask the oncologist "How long does my Mom have to live?" and "How much chemo will she have to go through?" and all of her questions used to be my questions. Looking back 6 years ago we have learned to appreciate each day. We have learned there are not always easy answers and at everyone's journey is different. You take one day at a time and do the best you can with a positive attitude and grateful heart to survive each day.

Some people may find peace and comfort in the believe that it's all in God's hands. Some people may find hope knowing they will see their loved ones again under better conditions being heaven or a paradise earth. Sickness and death were never God's plan; yet we have to endure the trials and troubles each day brings until a real change comes our way. Leaving you with a Sunday thought:


The Bible’s answer
Yes. God cares about his servants who are sick. Regarding a faithful servant, the Bible says: “Jehovah himself will sustain him upon a divan of illness.” (Psalm 41:3) If you are living with chronic illness, the following three steps can help you to cope:

Pray for strength to endure. You can receive “the peace of God that excels all thought,” which can reduce your anxiety and sustain you.—Philippians 4:6, 7.

Be positive. The Bible says: “Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.” (Proverbs 17:22, Good News Translation) Cultivate your sense of humor, since this not only can lighten dark times but also can benefit your health.

Build your hope in the future. A sound hope can help you have joy despite chronic ailments. (Romans 12:12) The Bible foretells a time when “no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’” (Isaiah 33:24) God will then cure chronic illnesses that are beyond the power of modern science to solve. For example, the Bible describes the reversal of the aging process this way: “Let his flesh become fresher than in youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor.”—Job 33:25.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fantastic Feb



This has been the most challenging month in quite a while. It's taken me some time to sit down and blog, but you all deserve an update about Mom's progress. As you know we don't mind sharing and the blog has been the best way to share with those who care. We appreciate your love and concern so much!

Mom's last chemo of the 5-FU was January 21st. She decided it was time for a break as she couldn't take much more of the full day infusion followed by the 48 hour take-home pump. It was very difficult, but she completed 6 treatments which is pretty fantastic. After the most recent treatment Mom had a post-chemo baseline CT scan and found things remained stable showing no new growth. Yay! This means her treatment was a success! Now what? Honestly, we want to help get her health and weight back up to fighting condition before anymore treatments. So we wait. They will probably scan again in another 3 months and then decide what's next.

Another fantastic occasion to mention is Mom's official retirement. She's been working for the past 11 years with this company and finally qualified for disability. It's been such a difficult struggle to maintain full time or even part time employment during this fight. If anyone deserves to retire - it's Mom! We certainly won't let her starve or freeze and her support system of friends and family is truly amazing! Even her team of doctors are so impressed by Mom's strength - but also the hope and encouragement she receives from everyone!

February is a month to celebrate!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Facebook Vacation



Dear Family, Friends & Acquaintances,

I've decided to take a Facebook vacation. I know those who love and care about me are just a phone call away. I prefer a more personal approach to communication through phone calls, text messages, emails and spending time together! You'll still be able to reach me and I hope to hear from you soon. The blog updates will continue as many find it helpful to keep updated on my fight with cancer.

Thank you for all of your love and support. I couldn't get through these difficult days without you!

Much Love, Kerry

Sunday, January 4, 2015

How's Mom?

I know you are all patiently waiting for Mom's health update. We truly appreciate it when people ask how she's doing! Someone asked me if she's going to be ok the other day; I responded that every day is a gift! No one knows what the next day will bring so we try to take it one day at a time. I know it's easier said than done for the one fighting each day! Mom really is amazing and she's doing a great job getting through her treatments!

She's completed 4 chemo treatments so far and it's been very challenging with a few unexpected bumps recently. Her chemo schedule is every-other week (on Wednesday) and she spends almost 8 hours in the infusion room hooked up through her port (upper chest) which is a direct line to the main artery. She's then sent home with a pump for the next 48 hours with additional take-home chemo to finish up. It's very hard for her 3-5 days following treatments. Mom's tired and pukey feeling, but she slowly regains energy and feels up to getting things done. Recently she had a blood clot in her arm so we had to give her blood thinning shots every 12 hours. This happened a few years ago so it's just like riding a bike but I felt bad for the patient receiving the shots more than I felt bad about giving them. She just finished those today! Yay Mom! Another bump has been with some difficulty swallowing and drinking so she had endoscopy done last Monday with light sedation and they were able to stretch her esophagus which should help. The doctor also took biopsy of the area that came back normal - super yay! Things look good down the hatch which really put Mom at ease. Now she just has to gear up for treatment to begin this coming Wednesday!

I keep reminding Mom how quickly she bounces back after chemo and that she's been down this road many times before. She's so strong and healthy despite all that she's been through. Even so mentally and emotionally strong that it's hard to tell when she needs help. It's a fine balance of assisting her yet keeping her motivated and encouraging her to get up and do things on her own also. When she is up it's hard to stop her!

Please continue to keep her in your heart, thoughts and prayers for strength and comfort! Thank you so much!

December to Remember



There's a sad pain in my heart as I say goodbye to my family today, especially felt with my parents.  As a child I've been fortunate to personally witness my parents unconditional love, sacrifices, and deep concern for my life and my siblings.  I know that our parents would do anything for us within their means.  Life is difficult; as circumstances change it molds and shapes us.  Now we worry about our parents, make sacrifices and become saddened when life's difficulties weigh on them.  Their health, financial well being and happiness become part of our concern.  As a loving daughter it's only natural to feel this way without seeming codependent.  

Mom's cancer is truly the icing on the cake regrading challenges for her personally and for all that love her.  Our lives have forever changed over the past 6 years.  I still have a hard time accepting that it's true and that her pain and suffering are actually happening.  I spend every November and December in deep thought over the subject.  It was November 2008 when she was diagnosed and December 2008 when her father (our Boppie) passed away.  I spent the whole month worried we would loose our Mom too.  It was the worst pain and fear I've ever experienced.  

I know that we are all so grateful for each day that Mom continues her flight and each moment we're able to share with her is cherished.  I know that we've become stronger people and learned to focus on the more important things in life.  We've become positive and brave yet realistic about the hardships each day.  I can truly say that I have the very BEST family and I'm so proud to be a part of their lives.  I know we will KERRY ON in 2015 keeping positive and helping Mom through her fight one day at a time.  Please remember to show appreciation for all that you have.  Be grateful for each day and reach out to show love and compassion as much as possible.  Everyone is fighting a battle and everyone needs love!