We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Monday, November 22, 2010

How did we get here?

      How did this all begin?  I've known Kim since we were 12 years old (we are now 45) and can count on one hand how many times she has needed to see a Dr.  But, during the second week of October, Kim began saying she was having pains across the muscles of her rib cage...indigestion, right?
      On October 19th, the pain was severe enough that Kim called Dr. Struthers, her physician that she had not seen since Antonio's birth back in 2003.  She could not get an appointment until October 25, so she was advised to go to the ER at St. Joseph's, where they diagnosed Kim with a bad gall bladder.
      On October 20th, Dr. Atkinson successfully removed Kim's gall bladder.  He met me in the waiting room and told me the surgery went fine, but that was the worst looking gall bladder he has removed.  Then, he said, 'I found something else...' and showed me pictures of Kim's liver.  Gravity tried to betray me as I looked at Kim's liver and was told 'she has cancer'.  I couldn't speak - this was my best friend since 1976 he was talking about, my wife, mother of our children...'Can you help her?'  was all I could ask.
      Dr. Taetle, a world renowned oncologist, was brought in.  Every test you can imagine was performed on Kim over the next few days...revealing adenocarcinoma tumors in the lung and liver.  To complicate things, Kim had blood clots in her lung and legs.  She was placed on oxygen, as, the tumor, clots and recent surgery were too much for her body to handle.  She was also anemic and received the first of 4 transfusions.  A bone scan and brain scan proved to be clear, thank God!  However, the Drs. suspect she may have cancer in her thyroid (who needs a thyroid, anyway?) and possibly pancreas. Kim was placed in ICU for a week.  During this time, she had a power port installed beneath her skin on her left upper chest.  This will allow for easier blood draws, administration of medication, such as her chemo and for future tests, like a PT scan.
      A few days after her gall bladder had been removed, Kim's pain was still very high.  This was made even more disturbing, due to the fact that Kim has a very high pain tolerance.  When she would tell her nurses she was at a pain level of 5 on a scale of 1-10, I would translate that into a 7 for a mere mortal, like myself.  Dr. Atkinson suspected an abscess and Dr. Rau was brought in to place a drain, through Kim's rib cage, through the liver and into the area vacated by the gall bladder.  This was placed on 10/30 and was Kim's largest source of pain until it was removed on 11/18.
     On 11/3, Kim received her first round of chemo, a newer drug called alimta.  Dr. Taetle chose this treatment, as alimta is filtered through the kidneys, rather than the liver, which is already compromised.  Kim did great and had no side affects.  On 11/4, she was sent home!  The bambini's (Cody, Autumn and Antonio) were ecstatic!  They had so terribly missed their mom.  They had been well cared for by our neighbors, Betsey and Brian and Amy and Tom, who had fed them, clothed them, picked them up from school, entertained them and loved them so well for us during this challenging time.  They even kept the house cleaned!!
       Kim's homestay was short lived, as on 11/5, I noticed that her right arm was swelling and she was sent back to St. Joseph's and diagnosed with blood clots in her arm.  Dr. Leon, a vascular surgeon, went in on 11/6 and 'roto rootered' Kimmy's arm and, while he was in there, placed an IVC vent to prevent the clots in her legs from traveling to her heart.  She was placed on the blood thinner lovenox, an injectable, and I was trained on how to administer the shot into her belly.  She is so kind, telling me each time, that she feels nothing.
        Kim was unable to stabilize her breathing, following Dr. Leon's procedure and she was sent back to ICU.  A pulmonary Dr. was brought in and initially thought Kim had pneumonia, but, a bronchial scope showed she was bleeding.  He stopped time for me, as he told me the urgency in stopping this flow...I asked him to get back in the operating room and save my girl!  The challenges with Kim's lung, are, that the tumor is older and being fed by an artery that it is deteriorating.  The tumor has cavitized and the blood vessels in the hollow center are enlarged and weeping.  So, her blood thinners have been reduced to allow her to heal (he initially wanted to perform a double-secret and dangerous procedure to cauterize the vessels, but we sought a second opinion and cooler heads prevailed!) and she is doing better.
       On 11/15, Kim was sent home again!  The bambini's had created a beautiful mural on our driveway, welcoming her home (reminiscent of the 'chalka estrada' event in Little Italy, San Diego during their Columbus Day Festa).  She remains on oxygen, but, we see small improvements daily.  Her spirit is so strong.  Her faith has gotten her this far, as has the incredible support of friends, family and community.  The nurses, techs and Drs. at St. Joseph were all hard working and wonderful for Kim.
        The next step, is a PT scan, which will be done on 11/30, so we can more accurately see what is going on in the rest of her body.  We pray that we will get some good news!


  1. Bravo Dave on the blog but more important...Bravo Kim on you're spirit and determination! You have brought so much love & happiness to all of us and while we will try to offer much in return...we surely will pray harder, laugh louder and love more in hopes that this journey to health is a short one.

    "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways"
    Psalm 103:2-3

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful, yet emotional blog. Tears of love and concern came upon me as I read about my dear friend, Kim.
    May the God of all comfort(2 Cor 1:3-4)continue to give you all the power beyond what is normal(2 Cor 4:7) to help you endure and comfort you during these difficult days. remember to "throw your burdens upon God himself, he himself will sustain you, never will he allow the righteous one to totter!"(Ps 55:22)

    Be sure to give Kim and the children my love. You all will be added to my daily prayers.

  3. Just know that SO many people love Kim and are praying for your whole family. Thank you for creating this blog so we can keep up on such a personal thing in your lives.

  4. Well written, Dave. My prayers are with you, Kim and your family. Thanks for letting us keep up with what's going on. There is a big hole here at Rincon Vista without her.

  5. Beautiful, and thank you for sharing this with us all. I look forward to hearing how the PET scan goes today!

  6. LOVE the pictures you chose on here!
    And I have to share this one :)I'll figure out how!
    When you were in the hospital Kim, it was if the sun had lost one of its rays. Now that you're home and feeling a little better it seems to be getting brighter.
    You are truly an inspiration. You are an amazing person and I love you soul sister!

  7. Great job on the blog Uncle Dave! I love the pictures on here..it's been so long since I've seen you guys. Aunt Kim, you've always had such a big, special place in my heart. You mean so much to me, and my family and I pray every day that your road to recovery will be a quick one..and also that as soon as you're feeling better, you can make a trip back home to visit (hint..hint..lol) :) I love you and miss you. God is holding your hand every step of this journey and with Him, you can conquer the world.

  8. Thinking of you all today. I was teaching Morgan how to cook a Turkey dinner and we made our first pumpkin roll to remind us of all the wonderful meals we had together in AZ, especially, Kim's delicious pumpkin roll (which was way better than ours). Miss you guys and hope you are all together. God Bless-

  9. Dear Dave, this is your cousin Judy in Florida. I have just told about your wife. I an so so sorry. I can't even imagine what you and your Family endured. I wish I knew her, she sound like such a loving person. I now regret that we did not keep all of our family members in touch! I will pray for you and your family. God Bless. Judy

  10. Dave,

    Its me Erica (Lamont and Erica). We've been told recently that Kim passed away and Lamont and I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to you and the children. I met Kim 13 years ago in parent tot swim classes. Kim was the epitome of sweet and she was so very kind. She and I did not hang out often but whenever we saw each other, to me, if felt like we were old friends. My heart is heavy but I've been told that you all are doing well. My prayer is for comfort and peace to you, Cody,Autumn and Antonio. Please, please let us know if you need anything 520-574-9305 Much love. Erica and Lamont

  11. Thank you for sharing the story of such a beautiful woman. It's impossible to think that such a blessed soul is no longer in our wonderful Vail community. She touched so many lives it seems. Thank you for giving me the chance to share in her wonderful spirit and the joy she gave to everyone she knew. I wish you much success with the fundraiser. I am honored to keep your family in my prayers for healing and uplifting. I am sure Kim is still with you every day. You both have beautiful children and a loving family you have created.
    Warm Regards
    Stephanie Noyes
    Fellow Parent w/kiddos at
    Mesquite & Desert Sky

  12. Dave,
    I was curious to know how you, Kimmy and your children were doing. I haven't seen you since I moved from Tucson in 2005 and I mourned the loss of contact. I was so sad to read the loss of such a wonderful woman. Kimmy was such a good friend and wonderful mother and wife. It was a blessing to know her and you. I hope that all is well with you and I know Kim is smiling down on you and your children.
    Lucinda Fischer (formerly Parsons)

  13. I don't know you but I was touched by your story and this blog. Kim sounded like a lovely woman. I am sorry for your loss. Oddly enough I was crossing through your blog because of Granimals. Than, I started reading more. Very sad! I will pray for your family!
    Take Care