Oct 31, 2007

MRI done and Published!

The MRI went fine this afternoon. I spoke to my Rad/Onc, Dr. Duelge, right before and we agreed that he would take a look at the scan tomorrow and if it looks fine, he wouldn’t need to give me a call. I’ll see him on Nov 6 anyway. He’ll only call me if there’s a problem, but we don’t think that will happen. And I’m going to get a copy of the scan tomorrow so I can see for myself.

I covered a story last week involving Miss Utah 2007 and her visit to the hospital to visit injured soldiers. She is an Army combat medic and really wanted to visit with them. We found out today that the story was picked up by the Army News Service and appeared as a press release and on the Army webpage. The article gives all the details about her, so be sure to read it. I wasn’t too sure about the picture because it seemed kind of dark, but I turned off the flash and just used the ambient light in the room. It gave a bit of a dramatic effect and lit up their faces quite nicely. Apparently the paper here sent them several pictures, but they liked the one on the page the best. It’s nice to see my work published elsewhere! Here’s the story: Miss Utah Visits Wounded Warriors.

Oct 30, 2007

MRI Oct 31 and BUSH!

First off… I have another follow-up MRI on Wed, Oct 31 at 4:15pm ET. Please pray that the cancer/tumor is still gone and that it never comes back. I’ll give you the results in a few days after I hear back from my Radiation/Oncologist.

Speaking of Rad/Onc, I was in the shoppette PX in the main hospital today after Aquatic Therapy and I saw one of the residents that helped treat me during my radiation at Bethesda, Dr. Smart. It was so good to see her again. She was so happy to see the progress I have made since she first met me back in May 2006. She remembers a guy with a bad limp and a cane. We walked and talked back to her office, which I pass almost every day, but I have never seen her even though she’s been here since January! I guess they don’t get out much – she said they don’t.

It’s been a pretty busy few weeks since I got back from leave. Let’s see… this week I met my new case manager. I was handed off to a temp case manager for a few weeks after my old one left. It turns out that my former case manager didn’t do as much as she could have done for me. I met with my temp case manager a few weeks ago and she had a lot of questions regarding why things in my case had not been initiated. Anyway, I’ll explain more later, but my temp took care of me and now I’m moving to a new one. He has ideas of his own. I know it sounds confusing, but I’ll sort it out here in a few days.

I’ve had five photo assignments since I got back and have been staying busy with that. Some weeks are busier than others. This week has been slow. I’ll eventually post pics of my work.

GCC Softball 2007 Week 1Before I went on leave I took pictures of our church’s softball team in action. We have two teams – one is good, one not so good. I've gotten lots of compliments on them. I'm really trying to learn different types of shooting. Sports is one of my favorites, but it is challenging and can get you dirty since you have to lay on the ground and stuff sometimes to get good shots. U usually end up shooting about 300 pics but only a few turn out to be usable. These are the best from this day. A lot of the pictures were also blurry, but I think blowing dirt and sand fro the infield was messing with the autofocus. Live and learn!

GCC Softball 2007Then when I got back, Amanda took pictures of me when I finally got the clearance to play after my finger fracture was healed! It sure was fun to play a competitive game again. Running at full speed was weird and it was hard to slow down. And we lost big time, but it was fun. I had two at bats and had two singles. I did score once from first and was left at first at the end of an inning. I played second base and was two for two at making outs at second base. It was quite fun! Click the picture to see more. Thanks to Amanda for the pictures.

Last week, 20 injured soldiers were invited to visit the White House. The President was in CA dealing with the wildfires, and the First Lady was in the Middle East, so we didn’t expect to see them there. The staff at the White House was so very kind to us. They allowed our bus drive into the south lawn and right up to the south entrance where the President comes and goes. After we got off the bus, the First Dogs, Barney and Miss Beazley were scampering about. They were both cute and very friendly. We got the typical tour that most people get: The great room, the blue, green and red rooms, the dining room and the library and sitting rooms. The Secret Service tour guides took their time and allowed us to move gingerly from room to room. They invited us to sit in the furniture and touch the fabrics. We had soldiers in wheelchairs so we couldn’t move at lightning speed anyway. They let us ask all the questions we wanted and then they took us back down into the receiving room while we waited for our bus to return. There was a room off to the left that held many examples of each President’s choices for china over the years – it was very interesting. I didn’t bring my camera since I was tired and didn’t want to lug it around. Boy, I wish I had by the end of the day…

We milled around the room for quite a while and they handed each of us gift bags containing some souvenirs. I made small talk with one of the guides and then another agent announced that we may have been wondering why they were delaying us. At this point I thought we were just waiting for the bus. He continued to say that there was someone here that wanted to meet us all. I couldn’t figure out who it was. He continued to tell us that former President Bush wanted to greet us. At that point we were all a bit frazzled. What?!? Now? The room fell silent and we looked toward the door. I was at the far end of the room and was certain to be left out as I’m sure he couldn’t stay long and would have to move on. We could see him out under the awning shaking hands and talking to every staff member he met. He finally came into the room and said hello to everyone and immediately turned to the first soldier and asked his name, hometown, injury, how he was feeling, and then another question if he felt so inclined. He also allowed the person to take a picture with him. He also greeted every family member that was there. He did this again and again to every single person in the room along the carpet. He moved from his left to his right and back to his left, but he made it a point to meet with each and every one of us, including me. He was taller than I had imagined. He gave me a firm handshake and asked me the same questions. I was a bit distracted by a photographer that had appeared to my left who shot off several pictures in rapid succession. The President asked me what my injury was and I told him I had a brain tumor. I remember that he froze for a second and looked me right in the eye. Then he asked how I was doing. I explained to him all the circumstances that I have battled through and he smiled and shook my hand again and asked if we could take a picture. The person I asked to take a picture of us was out of sight, so I struggled to find someone else while I stood there with my arm around him and his around mine. The White House photographer said he would get me a copy, but I know how they work. A print would be sent to me in the future. I wanted digital gratification! I found someone to take the picture and then I thanked him for his time.

Presidential MeetingWe were all quite awestruck and impressed that he wanted to meet every single one of us. When I got back to my room, I had an email from the Lance Armstrong Foundation that said Former President Bush had the Lance Armstrong Foundation in Urging Texans to Vote for a new Cancer-Fighting Measure two days before. I wish I knew that – I would have liked to thank him personally for doing that. Read the full press release here: LAF Presidential Meeting.

And, I wish I had brought my camera. I’m still waiting for the pic of us to me emailed to me, if ever. I’ll post it as soon as I get it. Well, that’s it for this installment. Remember my MRI Wednesday!

Oct 27, 2007

Komen Race Goal Met 100%!!

You did it! The River Pink Patrol has met it's goal. With my good friend Stephanie's donation, we're actually over the goal. Awesome!! In less than one week, you have met and exceeded my expectations. And to think I wasn't going to do the fundraising part of it at all. I am so glad I did. Up to 75% of the donations received stay in the local area, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties to fund breast cancer screening, education and treatment. The remaining supports the Komen for the Cure Award and Research Grant Program, which funds groundbreaking breast cancer research, meritorious awards and educational and scientific programs around the world.

I just wanted to say thanks to the following people for donating: Amy Wise, Ira Goodsaid, Landon Russell, Janine Slee & Aaron Moeller, Marie Han, Nancy Sirivanakarn, Kristian Earle & family, Erica Jin, Anne Doll & family, and Stephanie Gage.

To let you know a little bit about a few of the folks that have given: Marie walked 30 miles in Atlanta in September! with her team the Sunny Side Ups in the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, Anne lost her mother when she was ten years old to breast cancer and her husband Jamie's mother Jackie is currently battling breast cancer. And I'm sure others are touched by cancer in one way or another through family & friends. Please pray for Jackie and her family and for my friend Matt and his family who lost their mother September 30th to breast cancer.

If you are a woman with no insurance, is under-insured or can’t afford the co-pays of your insurance company, Komen Austin has providers that you can see to get a free or low cost mammogram, clinical exam or both. They also have information about financial assitance during treatment and support groups. Please, if you're a woman of any age, perform monthly breast self examinations. Early detection is our best weapon in the fight against breast cancer.

There's still time to donate, but please don't feel obligated. I'm super happy with what you've given already. But you know I'll take more if you want to give. Click the link below and click on "Support Holly!"

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

Oct 25, 2007

Absolutely Amazing!

This morning on my drive to class, I heard Heather on the River 102.3FM, the Pink Patrol's fearless leader, discussing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event and she mentioned that our team was only $5 short of our goal. I was like, what, awesome! I hadn't checked the website since Tuesday morning so I wasn't aware of the progress. That's amazing progress in only four days. Then she mentioned that one member, Holly, had basically collected all of it. I was like, oh, that's me. That actually means you! Your donations have brought our team to it's goal. I want you to know how much I greatly appreciate all of the donations. Your donation is used for breast cancer education, screening, treatment programs and research. For example, screening programs include providing mammograms to women who otherwise couldn't afford them. This is a major part in the fight against this disease since early detection is the best weapon against breast cancer!

Heather's partner in crime, Gary, added maybe the team should increase its goal to $1000. That would be awesome. I just want all of you to know how deeply I feel your love and compassion for those affected by this horrible disease. So many of us are touched by cancer through family and friends.

Thank you so much.

Oct 22, 2007

Holy cow!

Since I published the last post below, my good ole buddy Ira, from GCC donated, completely meeting my goal. Whew-hoo! Now I really have to increase it. Isn't that awesome! Thanks so much for the support. I'll keep the blog updated with my goal progress.

At first I felt really ambitious and increased it to $500. But of course, that scared me and I thought I can't put the same amount as the team goal. So I lowered it to $300 thinking if it gets up near the team's goal, then I'll increase it. Then I thought, you know, that sounds like lukewarm faith to me. So I am going back and changing it to $500.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and
certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11: 1

I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it!

I'm not about to lose control, but I think I like it, like it. Okay, I'm the world's biggest dork. That's okay and I'm on my way! Alright, enough silliness. I sound like an ad for anti-depression medication. I do have a few things to be joyful about. Okay, to be honest, I have many things to be joyful about but a few in particular this morning are...

Fall is here! Okay, at least for a week. Texas weather is so unpredictable. This is probably short lived and it'll be back in the 90's next week, but I'm going to enjoy the change of weather while it's here. And I love this kind of weather. Okay, after 44 straight days of it, it would get old, but for us Texans who are used to heat and humidity for 10 months of the year, we'll take any change sometimes. A storm came in this morning around 3:00 a.m. I know, I was awake. First came the pouring rain and then the wind brought in the cool temperatures. I woke up this morning about 6:30-ish listening to the rain soaked streets and the wind gusts. After I laid there a while enjoying the sounds, it's hard to get out of bed when it's like that, I had to know what the temperature was, 51 degrees. So nice. It's invigorating. Sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to near 40 mph help too. That my dear friends is called a wind advisory. Please be careful on the roads in all your SUVs and trucks, aka high profile vehicles. Glad I'm not driving to B-CS until Tuesday when it'll be back up to the 70s with lows in the high 40s and 50s. Fall or autumn here in Texas means we have to wear a small jacket or sweatshirt in the morning, maybe jeans for us wimps, take it all off during the day when it gets back up in the 80s and 90s and put it all back on as the sun goes down. It'll probably be this way until late December, maybe mid-January. Then winter! Two whole days of it. :)

I'm glad I'm up to enjoy all of this. It also means I'm on the road to getting my sleeping schedule back to normal. Once Roger left it got all out of whack. I'm tired all the time, but I can't seem to get sleepy enough to go to bed. I'm busy reading and studying last week and trying to get everything done. I've been trying to get up early the past few days so I can stay up all day and be really tired at night to get back to a normal schedule. But it's hard. Now I'm on the road to recovery.

I'm also excited because I received my first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure donation this morning! Yeah!! That made me dance inside (visions of Amanda freakishly signing jump-for-joy-inside come to my head). And it brought a bigger smile to my face to read the message with the donation, "Because I love you." Oh, my aunt Amy, aka my fairy godmother, is so sweet. I'm sure she'd prefer I not mention it here, but I have to give a shout out to my peeps.

This brings me halfway to my fundraising goal. And you know what that means, I need to increase my goal! This was also the first donation so far for the River 102.3FM Pink Patrol. So keep those donations coming. I have to represent. Thank you!!!

Oct 21, 2007

Race for the Cure

I really needed to "do" something (like I'm not doing anything, hmmm...school, classes, work, reading, studying, researching, writing, housework, yardwork, trying to exercise, lots of praying!). But I was starting to feel unmotivated in response to my situational depression. And I know when I get like this, I need something to pick me up. Since I don't have time to paint the spare bedroom, work on my family tree research, put flooring in the attic, organize the garage and pantry, replace the crepe myrtles in my back flowerbed, extend the front flowerbed or anything I'd like to do, I needed to do something that would do the trick but not take too much time away from my reading, studying and researching. While I was driving to church this afternoon I heard a PSA for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the River's morning show female DJ, Heather, created a team. So I decided to join it. So I'll be walking in the race with the woman who keeps me smiling and laughing in Austin's horrific morning traffic on Sunday, November 4th at 8:00 a.m.

If you'd like to donate click on the logo above and click the "Support Holly" link under my picture. If you'd like to join me, click on the logo above and click the "River Pink Patrol" link under my picture. Guys are welcome to join us. And no, you don't have to wear pink, unless you want to. :)

Oct 19, 2007

Whew! Test 2 is over.

It's been one crazy week. Once Roger left I had to hussle this weekend to get caught up with all the reading for both of my classes plus write a paper for my history class and study for my anthropology test. I didn't go into the test on Thursday feeling good. I felt like I needed another day to prepare but I didn't have a another day. And after I finished it I felt the same. There was a lot of material on this exam and it wasn't easy material to remember. Just to list a few things: we had to know all the traits of, physical and behavioral differences between and the history of the appearance for each species in the genus of Australopithecines and Homo; the characteristics of each era, period and epoch of time from the Pre-Cambrian to the present; plus all the traits and differences of each taxonomic order (phylum, subphylum, superclass, class, order, suborder, infraclass, superfamily, subfamily, genus, species) of primates and what they aren't; plus a bunch of other stuff. It was just a lot to remember. I was quite worried about my grade.

But today we received the email from the teaching assistant that the grades were up. He explained they dropped the two most missed questions and applied a curve. There are two possible curves for each exam: (1) Subtract the highest grade from 100 and add the difference, or (2) subtract the raw average from 75 and add the difference. The highest raw score was 86 (+14). The raw average was 56 (+19). Therefore, 19 points were added to every grade. So I rushed to see what I made. My final grade after the curve was a 92. I was shocked. I couldn't believe it then I had to know what my real grade was, 73. That's how I felt about my grade after I took the test. I know this is going to sound mean, but thank goodness so many people did so bad on the test because it made the curve larger and my grade higher. This is going to sound really bad, but it seems like me doing good in this class depends on others doing not so good. I know, that's so sad. But I'm ready to get back to my normal schedule and stay up with my reading. And Roger's not here to distract me. Oh, also, I made a 93 and a 92 on my last two history papers. So I'm doing good in that class. Not a surprise that history is my major. Two more tests in anthropology and three more papers in history. I'm off to read some anthropology homework. That's my Friday night.

Oct 11, 2007

Back in DC... again. -sigh-

I’m sitting on Continental flight 223 from Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) en route to Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI). I booked a flight from Austin (AUS) through Cleveland (CLE) into BWI that left Austin just before noon arriving BWI near 6pm knowing that Holly was going to have to drop me off on her way to school around 8am. This morning, she dropped me off as scheduled and I went right to the ticket counter to see if I could catch an earlier flight. Sure enough, they were able to confirm me on a flight leaving at 9:20am, connecting in Houston and getting into BWI a little after 3pm. There was a catch though… the plane was scheduled to arrive in Houston at 10:15 and the flight to BWI was departing at 10:52. Not such a big deal except for the fact that the arriving and departing gates were on two entirely different ends of the airport. See for yourself: Arrive E19, Depart C25.

In addition, Roger needs to eat, so I had to find food along the way. The plane landed on time but we were delayed getting to our gate and I didn’t deplane until 10:25. We were told that there would be a “uniformed attendant” at the end of the jet way to answer any questions and help us out the best they could. There were two guys next to me that were in the same predicament and several others from what I saw. I got off the plane and guess what? No “attendant.” I looked at my watch, figured I could get across the airport, tightened my backpack over my shoulders and took off.

I remembered from going through IAH last week that they had lots of moving walkways. I would have to take advantage of those… I walked and walked and walked… my right leg was starting to be uncooperative at a fast pace, so I pretty much limped the whole way. My knee was locking and I was starting to sweat, but I was committed now. I wondered where the others were, but there was no time to stop and look. I found the end of the ‘E’ concourse and came to a big intersection. I slowed down and looked for a place that sold premade wrapped sandwiches, but there were none in sight. I was wasting time! I limped on through the ‘C’ terminal that seemed to go on forever and kept my eyes open for food. I saw a sign that pointed me in the direction of my gate. This area looked familiar from last week. I knew there was a USO nearby, but I didn’t remember seeing anything but junk food there, so I kept walking. I finally found the area where the C20-ish gates were. I saw C23, mine was C25, so I was close.

I looked at my watch and it was 10:35. I had made good time! I saw an area that sold food and wanted to get a Subway sandwich, but the line was too long. Right next to it was a Popeye’s. I saw that they had chicken already to go and all they had to do was box and bag it. I bought some and made my way to where I saw C23. Looking up the concourse, I saw the gate numbers getting smaller. I saw a lady on an electric cart and asked her where C25 was. She told me up ahead on the right, so I walked past her. Then I heard her say something to me… she asked me what gate I was going to again. Again, I told her C25. Then she told me to go the other way and turn right. Basically, when she told me it was ahead on the right, she meant from her perspective! How was I to know that? I had passed my gate! I must have missed the sign when I saw food… I looked at my watch and it was 10:47.

I looked down the concourse and the gates were numbered backward… C25 was near the end! I put it into high gear and I knew I was breaking a sweat now. I got to the end of the gate and one of the agents yelled to me, “Baltimore?!” I held up my boarding pass and yelled back, “Yes!” I got there and she scanned my boarding pass and then mentioned something about ‘that’s why he’s late… he got fried chicken.’ I felt like saying, lady, if you only knew. I walked down the jet way alone and onto the plane. I found my seat and there was an older Hispanic lady sitting there. She was hesitant to give up her seat, until the attendant intervened. She moved over, I stowed my backpack and took my seat as I felt the plane begin to move backward. In a sweat, I looked at my watch and it read 10:52. I made it!

A quick postscript now that I’m back in my room. I was surprised that my suitcase and the baggage of all the others made it to BWI on time. Kudos to Continental for getting it right. And I’m glad I bought lunch… the so called lunch on the plane was a horribly dry turkey sandwich about the size of a small lemon. I tore into that fried chicken much to the dismay of my fellow passengers. I brought warmer clothes back with me to DC and I’m glad I did. I walked to grab dinner and the wind was pretty chilly. Fall has arrived in DC.

My visit home with Holly was too short, as usual. I don’t feel like we planned a whole lot but we stayed busy. We slept in too late most mornings and stayed up late. This was bad for her since she needed to study and still attend classes. Then I caught a cold and was sick for the last few days. It’s probably a good thing I’m here and she’s there – I would distract her way too much.

I’ve got some great pics of the new baby and family that I will post soon.

Oct 1, 2007

Sandy Update

It has been a while since I've updated you all on Sandy's battle with breast cancer. She had been fighting hard and still seemed to be fighting hard even a few weeks ago as her husband Mike writes in this email:

From: Mike
Subject: update 9/16/07
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2007 19:16:30 -0500

Hello to all. It’s been a couple of weeks since I have written an update. This one was hard to write so it took me some extra time.

The last few updates have focused on Sandy’s radiation burns and her fight to recover from those burns and the nausea and fatigue she was experiencing. Well, the burns are still with her, but are getting better ever so slowly. She has more area that is less tender although she still has some setbacks occasionally in areas that I thought were healing. And I think we figured out the biggest culprit in the nausea too. Sandy is on so many medications that she and I figured that something must be causing the nausea. I read through all the possible side effects from all the medications and kept coming back to the antibiotic as the most probable cause. So two Wednesdays ago (on 9/5) we talked to the radiation oncologist and told her we wanted to stop the antibiotic. She agreed that Sandy should stop and see if the nausea got better and if the skin continued to not show signs of infection. Sandy’s nausea has been better and her skin does not show any signs of infection at this point. In fact, on Wednesday 9/12 the doctor told us we could come back in two weeks instead of one week. So we have all good news on the burn healing and nausea fronts. Slow and steady but moving forward.

The fatigue improved after the transfusion which took place on August 29th. Sandy still has more energy than she had before the transfusion, but her energy level has been dropping. The downside to the transfusion was that Sandy did not get her weekly chemo that day and by the next week (9/5) it was obvious that the cancer was spreading. Sandy has been through so many chemos and each one worked for a while and then quit working. We had hoped that this last one she was on would be the answer, but it now seems that it is becoming ineffective.

Last Wednesday Sandy received another dose of the weekly chemo along with a dose of the every third week chemo. The thought is that the combination may still have some effect. At the same time, her blood counts have been dropping since the transfusion so the oncologist is giving her next week off. That gives Sandy’s body a chance to recover a little more and allows the doctor to use a more powerful shot to increase her blood counts. Since Sandy got the shot on Thursday 9/13, she can’t have more chemo until Friday 9/28 so that is the next appointment with the oncologist. We tied the radiation oncologist in to the same day for the next skin check so we only have to go into the cancer center once that week.

The biggest prayer request I have tonight is that Sandy is running out of options and we need a miracle to find a treatment that will work and we need to find it now. I know everyone is doing all you can, but I ask that you don’t give up and continue the effort with Sandy. She is such a fighter it amazes me. Thank you for being a part of Sandy’s prayer warrior team.

Love, Mike

We didn't get any more news until Saturday, and it was not good:

From: Mike
Subject: update 9/29/07
Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2007 14:36:34 -0500

Prayer team,

I am sorry to tell you all that the news isn’t getting any better. We consulted with the doctors last week and determined that there are no other options available for Sandy. We contacted Hospice on Monday (9/24) and the nurse made her first visit on Tuesday. We did not go see the doctor this week – there is no reason to put Sandy through that if there is no treatment that can be given. We expected this to be a slow process over several months but we don’t call the shots.

Sandy was doing pretty well on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Nancee and Wanda visited her on Monday and Jessica visited her on Tuesday. They all would have given good reports if asked. Wednesday morning, things started to go down hill - Sandy got considerable weaker and just plain sicker. By Friday morning, it was obvious that she was not getting better. The nurse came over around noon and verified what I thought. She noted that everyone is different and each case is different, but she suggested that I call the kids and tell them to come over as soon as they could. I called Matt and he got a flight in last night. I told Sandy that all the kids were coming home to see her and it seemed to make her happy. She had been fighting so hard all day on Friday that I feared she would miss them.

Kimberly got home from school around 4:30, Jessica came over around 7:00 and Matt got home around 9:00. Sandy perked up each time she saw one of the kids and seemed happiest when all three of them were around her bed last night. She drifted in and out of sleep while we talked to her.

She actually seemed a little better this morning for a while, but is just worn out and tired of fighting. Although we have no way of knowing, I don’t think it will be long now.

Please continue to pray for her that she can make this last transition of her life at complete peace. Thank you for your support and prayers,

Love, Mike

Finally, yesterday, we got an email that was very hard to read:

From: Mike
Subject: update 9/30/07
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2007 21:36:40 -0500

Prayer team,

As many of you know, Sandy died this afternoon at 4:05 pm.

She spent all night last night talking about all kinds of things, most of which I couldn’t understand. I went to bed around 10:00 and she was resting peacefully. She started talking around 11:00 and kept talking until around 8:00 this morning. She would talk for a while saying stuff I couldn’t understand and then say a few words or names as clear as could be. I spent all night hopping up out of bed to figure out what she was telling me. I am not sure I gained much wisdom, but I think she cleared her thoughts.

This morning I called Wanda, Nancee, and Ray to see if they wanted to see Sandy. I told them that the time was short and she was restless. The Hospice nurse told me that she may have someone she still needs to see. Wanda, Nancee and Ray came over around noon and after they left Sandy’s breathing seemed to become more labored.

She stayed true to being a mother first even as she died. Matt, Jessica, Kimberly and I were with her all afternoon – at least one of us all the time. We hooked up a DVD player and started showing some home movies of when the kids were little. Sandy always said that was her favorite time in her life. She labored to breath while we ate lunch up in the bedroom with her and watched home movies. Every once in a while she would smile at what she heard or saw on the movie. Jessica was alone with her for a while before 4:00. Just after 4:00, Jessica went downstairs as Kimberly went into the bedroom. Sandy quit breathing during that time. I believe she was protecting her kids from seeing her die and I believe she died at peace.

We are going to miss her terribly, but we know that she is in a better place. She was in so much pain and fought so hard for so long, that it is comforting to know that she is at peace.

Once again I thank you for your prayers and support during these last 16 months and ask that you continue to pray for us as we struggle with this loss. We will be making final arrangements tomorrow but tentatively we will have a visitation on Wednesday at Baue funeral home in St. Peters and the funeral will be on Thursday at St. Paul’s in Creve Coeur. I’ll try to update you if that changes.

Love to all, Mike

I don't know why, but today I picked up the phone and gave Matt, my good friend, a call. But there just wasn't anything to say. All I could manage was to tell him that I loved him and to let me know if there was anything I could do. And to let me know if there is anything I can do for him when we both get back to DC. I don't want to draw this post out any longer, but please pray for the whole family. Pray for peace and understanding. I'll have more details regarding final arrangements and will post them.

Posted by PicasaKimberly,Matt, Jessica and Sandy in late 2003

Sandy encouraged me during my own battle with her strength and courage. At Matt's wedding, I was an usher and we all wore pink ribbons on our lapels to support her. She was a fighter to the end.

We'll miss you Sandy.