Saturday, January 07, 2006

Thankyou one and all...

It's been a while since I've been able to bring myself to look at this page, but I thought one final posting was in order to thank everyone.

To anyone and everyone that assisted us with Mom's care, ran errands, made phone calls, helped us manage logistics and affairs in general, and/or provided good ol' moral support -- through what was certainly our most difficult time -- I offer a sincere Thank You!

Please know that although we may have been too busy or two distressed to express it at the time, we appreciate everything that everyone did to help. More so than you can imagine.

I don't plan any additional postings to this page, but I'm going to leave it up for the time being. Let this page stand as a remembrance of what Mom went through -- what we all went through -- during the last month-and-a-half or so of her life.

This page may also be informational for anyone who knows a victim of this horrid disease. Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer, which strikes so few but strikes so viciously, subjected our mother to unbelievable pain and suffering in weeks leading up to her death. If this page can help others prepare for what they may well have to deal with, then leaving it up is worthwhile.

Once again, thank you to all who assisted in any way, shape or form. We can't even begin to express the difference that it made in getting us through this ordeal.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Services will be Thursday, Nov. 10th

The services for Mom will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, November 10th, at Daniel's Chapel of the Roses (1225 Sonoma Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95405). All are welcome to attend.

You are encouraged to contribute a story or favorite memory of your experiences with Mom as part of the service. If you would rather have your story read during the service rather than telling it yourself, simply click the "Comment" link at the bottom of this post and send us your story. We'll see to it that your story is included during the service. (This will also make your story part of our BLOG, for all to share.)

A reception will be held at Mom's house immediately following the service. Again, all are welcome to attend. Driving instructions to the reception will be available at the service. If you can't attend the service but would like to stop by the reception, contact Karen or myself for directions. You can also contact us by email at info at kibbish dot com.

As mentioned in the previous post, please don't send flowers. We would prefer that any money you would have spent on flowers be donated in Mom's name to one of the following groups instead;
Memorial Hospice of Santa Rosa

c/o Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital Foundation

The American Cancer Society

Click on the links above to be taken to pages that will give you information on how you can contribute.

Thanks go out to all that have kept Mom in their thoughts and prayers over these past few months. We simply can't express how much it has meant to all of us.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Mom has moved on

Mom passed away just minutes ago, at roughly 8:30 am PST this morning. Her passing was very calm -- she simply stopped breathing.

We'll post funeral arrangements here once we have them.

In the meantime, please do not send flowers. The family would prefer that you make donations to the American Cancer Society or Memorial Hospice of Santa Rosa. We'll provide details of how to donate to these organizations when we post funeral arrangements.

Family may visit Mom one last time at the Palliative Care Facility this morning. Her body will be moved to Daniel's Chapel of the Roses later today.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

New digs

The move happened a couple hours later than planned, but Mom is now settled in the Palliative Care Center at 151 Sotoyome Street (across from Memorial Hospital). We can happily report that the move went off without incident.

Mom is in room 30. Family can visit this facility 24 hours a day, and all visitors are welcome during the day. If you've been waiting to visit Mom until she moved into a fancier neighborhood, now's the time!

Why did the patient cross the road?

Apparently, to get to Palative Care.

Despite our concerns over the pain she may have to endure if moved, Mom is scheduled to be transferred to the Palliative Care Center across the street from Memorial Hospital (151 Sotoyome Street) at 1:30 PM today. The facility is owned and operated by the same people that run Memorial, so we have been assured that the care will be comparable if not better since this facility exists specifically to support patients like Mom.

We're told this is necessary because they have admitted additional patients into the Oncology ward, and would like to have Mom's bed available. Even if she stays she will gain a roommate, which would be inconvenient for Mom and us, and -- given Mom's condition -- possibly disturbing for the roommate and their family.

At the Palliative Care Center, every patient has their own room, and all rooms have 24 hour access for family members. I went over to the facility to check it out, and I admit I'm impressed. I think it will be a good place for Mom, provided we can get her there without incident.

With that in mind, we have been assured that all preparations and precautions will be taken in moving her. In addition, Dr. Johanson -- who is the Director of the Palliative Care Center, the head of the local Hospice organization, and a consulting physician on Mom's case -- has agreed to be there to personally oversee the transfer. He has promised to stop the transfer in its tracks if Mom appears to be in any discomfort.

We'll try to update this page again later this afternoon or this evening with the details of how all this goes...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Status quo, more or less

There have been only minor changes in Mom's condition over the last 72 hours. She remains unconcious, with the only facial expressions occuring if someone tries to move her suddenly: it's amazing, but she apparently still feels pain even in her current condition. In order to minimize such pain, the nurses give her a little extra dose of pain medication (referred to as a "bolus") about 10 minutes before moving her. That seems to do the trick.

There is also evidence that her body is gradually shutting down. Her digestive tract has ceased to function, and there's less bloodflow to her extremities (which is probably her body's attempt to keep her primary organs functional despite her low blood supply). Her skin is showing signs of necrosis as well, especially on her back.

And, as you might expect, the tumor is continuing to spread. There is now evidence of it on the roof of her mouth (of all places!). Fortunately, she doesn't seem to notice.

Mom had a couple unexpected -- but very welcome -- visitors yesterday. Steve Dixon, long time friend of the family and my fellow band member, stopped by for a while. We were very happy to see him, and we suspect that Mom was happy he stopped by too. Thanks, Steve.

And Mom's nephew Jeff came by as well. It was nice to chat with our cousin for a while, and I'm sure Mom got a kick out of the comparison that we were doing between our grandparents, our parents and ourselves. Some family traits can really give you a chuckle.

As always, feel free to stop by. We figure that if Mom reacts to pain, she likely has other capabilities as well, including the ability to hear what's going on around her. With that in mind, we try to provide her with as much amusing conversation as possible.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

And now we wait...

We know a lot of people are checking this page for updates. We apologize for not having updated it in a couple days, but we haven't had the time (or the energy) because a lot has happened.

Mom had a severe coughing episode on Saturday, so much so that we thought we would lose her during the event. During that episode, she lost another significant amount of blood, and began to cough up other... well, "stuff". (The details aren't important, but it was quite gruesome.) But being the tenacious (OK, stubborn) bird that she is, she managed to survive through what even the nurses thought would be her demise.

Since that time, she has lapsed into what is effectively, if not actually, a coma. She hasn't responded to anyone in over 24 hours now. Not even turning her to change the bedding -- which up until now had to be done very carefully to limit the pain that it caused -- has aroused so much as a snicker.

She has had no appetite since before her last episode. The only fluids she is receiving are those necessary to deliver her pain medications. We continue to watch Mom very closely (the family is continuing our 24 hour vigil), but we are in full "comfort care" mode as we wait for Mom to be ready to move on.

Visitors are still welcome: she has expressed a desire to be around as many people as possible from the very beginning. And even though you'll have to settle for chatting with whovever is currently on "Mom Watch", she would probably welcome some new voices to listen to for a while. Hearing is the last sense to go, so we suspect she's listening in on at least some of the conversation.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A tough night

Mom had a pretty difficult night. She is, however, resting comfortably at the time that this is being written.

She had a coughing episode that resulted in a lot of blood loss last night around 1:30 am. The loss has slowed since then, and she was able to start resting as of about 2:30 am.

Her coughing returned for a bit this morning, but not as severely as what she went through last night. She is now resting again. Amazingly, she is alert and coherent, still recognizes everyone, and appreciates seeing familiar faces.

She is on a continous anti-anxiety medication to help her deal with the stress and fear, and she has limited control of her own pain medication. Her pain actually remains fairly low over the last 36 hours, but since she can only communicate by hand signals and our ever-improving ability to read lips (she can't talk at all anymore), we thought it best to give her the ability to determine when she needs a little extra dilaudid.

If you would like to come by, please do so. As I mentioned, she can't talk, but she is happy to listen to those in the room, and likes having the company.