Kenneth Thomas, Jr. 2/20/62 – 4/26/2012

Ken at Disney World for his 50th Birthday

For those who have been asking, I can now report that my big brother Ken passed away yesterday. This week they knew it wouldn’t be long before they had to make a call on removing the various assistive machines he was on. My sister was at his bedside asking him for a sign about what to do, and within an hour the ventilator indicated he stopped breathing on his own.

They removed all the equipment, passed around a bootleg Kahlua and put some in his mouth, and said a prayer around him. He passed “tasting rainbows”, as my sister put it, as they put him on the highest level of morphine possible without stopping his heart; so he was feeling no pain as he passed from this life. Thanks to all who have been going through this part of the journey with me. I am glad he is at peace.

How To Care For a Friend or Family Member With Cancer

This week is an “off week” for Chris–that means only one infusion this week, rather than 5 or 6. So here is a little wisdom I read about how to care for a loved one with cancer that I thought was well considered.

Giving Support When A Loved One Has Cancer

by Lisa Fayed

Giving emotional support to a loved one with cancer is not easy. There is just nothing simple about it. Of, course you want to be there for your loved one, but at the same time, it hurts. Keep in mind that your strength will make them even stronger.

Just how do you give support and how do you give it without breaking down?

Listen With You Heart, and Not Your Ears

When your loved one talks about their cancer, listen. Really listen. Sometimes, it is not what you say, it is what you do. Listening is one of the best ways to show you care. If your loved one wants to rant and rave about how unfair life is or whatever is on his or her mind, let it be. We need to have emotional outbursts every once in a while to vent our feelings. Knowing they have a shoulder to cry on is such a comfort. Continue reading

Chemo Day 5 Update – more excellent care!

Back again on a relatively slow Friday morning. Getting up early is not my favorite, but I got used to it as the week wore on. Sitting with Chris, chilling out, kicking cancer’s ass…you know, the usual.

Friends have been some coming over this week and keeping Chris company while his energy is low, and freeing me up to go teach and run errands without my worrying mind being half at home. Thanks and love to James for coming to a boys night at our house this week, and to Heidi hanging out with Chris Monday and last night, as well as feeding us delicious pizza last night!
Continue reading

Happy 4/20!

With Chris’ “green card”, he can legally “celebrate”. But really, shouldn’t EVERY day be a celebration?

Day 4 Chemo – Shay’s Pics

Just a couple pics today!

Chris looking good, even when he’s not feeling good.

Our nurse today, Cathy. Love her. Been in the business for 28 years, and has been through chemo herself. She had a great manner, listened well, gave good personal info.

Cathy did say something somewhat ominous. As she was unhooking Chris when he was finished, apropos of nothing she asked, “So how do you like your hair? Right now? You like it, don’t you?” *sigh* At least it opened a brief discussion about when he is likely to start losing his hair. She said 2-3 weeks, and that most everyone reports a burning sensation on their scalp the day before it begins. So there’s that…

Day 4 chemo update

Howdy all,

Today I woke up feeling … rough.  Not terrible, but rough.  My first thought was that I was going to have to be sick, but I wasn’t – so that’s good I suppose.  I slept 10 hours last night, but still woke up feeling unrested.  Bleh.

I’m in the chair now, and I’m not sure if they’ve got me on the Cisplatin or Etoposide first today.  So far, each day has been just a little bit faster than the day before, and I’m hoping today is similar.  They’ve got me sped up a little to 1250 ml/hour on the double pump today, so maybe I’ll get out of here 9.2% faster.

Right now, I can’t think of what else to write.

– Chris

[ Update: 12:36pm ]

Well, today is nearly done – I’m on my last 10 minutes of Cisplatin now.  Dr. Birchfield came by for a visit today and met Sharon for the first time.  She was out of town with her brother when I met him initially.  Just a quick chat – we’ve got an appt. next week.

They’re getting prepared to flush the port now, so I’ve got to put the laptop down.  Mostly today has just been tired, feeling a little worse than yesterday and tired of it all, already.  With any luck, it’ll be easier next week, when I don’t have to come in every day.



Foods to avoid during chemo

As well as what foods to favor! Here are some resources for our future reference.

Day 3 – Shay’s view (now with pics!)

Chris is a rock star, number 1. He is moving through this week with a lot of courage and humor, and is really taking his time to check in with me, keep me informed, and be loving even when he is feeling tired and unmotivated. How lucky am I?

Today I had to sit in an “uncomfy” chair all day. Hey, I suppose that is a shitty complaint considering the reason all the comfy chairs were that they were taken up by people with, you know, CANCER. But my back is kinda killing me this afternoon after three hours of trying to get comfortable in a chair which was probably banned by the government in 1995 for bad ergonomic design. Mostly I crocheted. I walked way over to the cafeteria to get us some breakfast, which is NOT nearby the clinic–quite a hike. Don’t they know I wore my SITTIN’ shoes, not my WALKIN’ shoes? Again, who am I to complain when I can jump up and walk all that way anytime I want. But there it is.

It was nice of Angela to come and visit on her lunch break! That was a treat.

When we left it was sunny outside. Ahhh. Lazy afternoon together. Got Chris to eat a little something, and we are relaxing and playing WoW together to pass some time. Too bad the WiFi at the hospital couldn’t support us playing there. Then treatment time would really fly!

Will post a few pics on this post a little later. They are on my iPad in another room.
He are some pics to commemorate day 3:

We have arrived, a little more tired today:

View from the new location today:

A panoramic shot of the room with Chris’ phone:

Day three : almost done with chemo for today

Well, I’ve got about 40ml left to go of the Cisplatin, and then I get to go home.  I’m going to try to take a nap, I think.

None of the symptoms (so far) are anywhere near as drastic as I had feared, which is a good thing.  They’re a little more insidious, I think – creeping in slowly, lasting a little longer, coming earlier in the day.  Less energy than yesterday.  Headache is still there, hugging the back part of my brain just a little too tight.

2 ml to go, so I’m signing off.


I’m ready for my port to be flushed.

– C

Day three : feeling run down

Just a quick update here.  I’m in the chair – been here for about an hour and a half.

On day one, I was feeling pretty good through the day until the nausea hit a little bit around 6:30pm.  Not too bad, but definitely off.  Low grade headache.  Energy vacillating between low and high, thanks to the steroids + exhaustion.

On day two, I started feeling off pretty much as soon as I got home from chemo.  Headache is still ever-present, but still not very bad.  I feel a little like I had a vaccine shot yesterday or something – you know how it feels a little like a low grade cold?

Today is day three – I woke up feeling kind of crappy, and really just wanted to crawl back in to bed.  I still wouldn’t call this “bad” by any stretch, but my energy is absolutely down and I’m feeling weird.  My hands were shaking mildly this morning.

I’m eating, though less than usual.  This morning I had a bowl of instant oatmeal – 2 packets.  The first two or three bites tasted good, but after that I had to make myself eat the rest.  I got it down okay – I didn’t have to “choke it down” or anything – but I really didn’t feel motivated to take any more bites either.

Meh – more later.  Rest now.

– C