We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Dream

    I had one of my worst dreams yet last night (no tidal waves, thank God!)...and felt so blessed as I clawed my way up, and out of it, to see the morning light streaming through my bedroom window...

     Rattled, and still in the grip of my dream, I went to hug the bambini and wish them a good morning.  Tonio helped me make pancakes, hashbrowns and dippy eggs (as Kim fondly called them).  He's getting to be a good little chef!
     Autumn was working on a poetry project..."Who's your favorite poet Dad?"  "Thoreau."  I told her..."No, wait.  It's Edgar Allan Poe."  I told her the story of Poe, who lived out his life in Baltimore, and how the NFL team chose it's name from his famous 'Raven' poem.  She got busy googling and came up with 'A Dream'...
       "I really like this one Dad...what does it mean?"

A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream- that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star?
I struggled to tell her, without telling her that it reminded me of her Mama...

   This was a tough one...as Kim was back in the hospital, so quickly - poor little Antonio's head was spinning and nearly broke my heart...

November 5, 2010

   "Hi everyone, Coming home tonight from St. Joseph's, I thought this was going to be a tough update to write...but when I opened up email, there were so many inspirational messages...well, I wanted to say how much they all help. This one in particular, from a friend of ours from Rincon Vista Middle School, where Kim works, gave me the boost I needed to do this.
After I emailed the last update, Kim had awoken and could not fall back to sleep for some time. The percocet was not managing her pain. We contacted the Dr. in the morning to see what could be done. While I was helping her clean herself up, I noticed her right arm, where her pick line had been while she was at St. Joe's, looked swollen to me. I called the Dr. back and he urged me to bring her back...so less than 24 hrs. after she had been released, Kim was admitted back into St. Joseph's. While she was home, Antonio would not leave her side. Kim told him he could go play, since she was home for good. Antonio said 'Yay! I thought you were just visiting us!'. Still, he took the news very well when he came home from school and found her gone. It was a busy Friday night at St. Joseph's, so Kim was given a room...unfortunately, her pain med had expired and it took me a little while to find the right person to get the OK to get her some. Dr. Baeg finally made it to see her around 9 P.M. He ordered a ultrasound for her right arm, which they did this morning at 6 a.m...finding a series of blood clots from her elbow to her shoulder.
So, here's where we need your help - we need your prayers around 11:30 a.m., Arizona time (we don't mess around with daylight savings time!) when Kim will under go a Inferior Vena Cava filter placement (IVC) to prevent clots in her legs from reaching her heart/lungs and a right upper extremity venous thrombectomy (do not be impressed with my use of medical terminology, as it is only my note taking that has improved significantly during this process) performed by Dr. Luis Leon. He will actually enter the affected vein in Kim's right arm and implant a temp filter and a balloon on each end of the affected vein. The vein will be filled with a potent blood thinner called TPA. The Dr. will use a trellis device (30 mm wire) to enter the vein and break up those blood clots. Kim will then be switched to lovenox blood thinner, since, it seems the cumadin was not effective. Lovenox is an injectable, so I will be trained in the art of shot giving, as she will be on this long term.
Bambini's had a half day yesterday...Autumn and Antonio went with friends, Lupe and Vonda, to Peter Piper Pizza (which is a new, 25K sq ft funarama that was put into the old Linen's 'N Things building where I once was store manager, before the company closed)...Cody went to lunch at McD's with some friends, Dawn Ball and her boys Nathan and Alec, and had a nice time. Betsey and Brian saved the day when Kim had to return to St. Joe's and watched the kids until I got home around 1:30 a.m. We woke up early and made it down to the hospital to eat breakfast with Kim and they were great for a visit of over 3 hrs!! These kids are incredible.  Andrea picked them up for me around noon and took care of them the rest of the day, entertaining them, feeding them and getting the kids to bed before I got home. We'll do the same tomorrow, so they can eat breakfast with Mama and visit prior to her procedure.
Annointing of the Sick Sacrament for Kim and hung a brand new Crucifix in her room, as she noticed her room was missing one. He asked her how she was doing, handling all of this and she said 'well Father, every day is truly precious. Every day is a blessing. You never know what is going to come your way. There are no guarantees for anybody.' Beautiful Kim...continuing to inspire and touch the lives of those around her!
Thank you all! Love, Dave"

Speaking of breaking hearts - the beautiful words that flowed out of Kim's mouth, even as she suffered.  Even through her fears...I am constantly amazed at her strength!

And here was the email that I mentioned above, that gave me the strength that I needed...

"Dear Kim and Conca Family,

We pray so that the merciful, loving, and Almighty Eternal Father and our Savior Jesus Christ grant you the strength, patience, and understanding to take one day at a time focusing in the now, witnessing everyday miracles through every moment that you get to spend time with each other and all your loves ones.

God wants us to put our complete trust in Him and for us to know that He cares for us and provides for us what we need. God invites us to cast away from our hearts doubts and fears that imprison us for He says:

"Do not be afraid for I am always with you...

I will come to you in the silence

I will lift you from all your fear

You will hear my voice

I claim you as my choice

Be still and know that I am here

Do not be afraid I am with you

I have called your name

Come and follow me

I will bring you joy and peace

that the world cannot give

I love you and your are mine

In the shadows of the night

I will be your light

Come and rest in me for

I am the strength for all who despair

Healing for all who are ill

I'm embracing all your pain

I will turn your pain into a flowing

river of endless joy and peace

Come and follow me

I love you and you are mine."

With much love,

Veronica & Abby

         So you see, with encouragement like this, we were able to keep moving forward...

         And to take the edge off today, we went to see Puss in Boots with our friends, Lupe, Manny and Monsi, and Tammy LaPlant and her daughters Emma and Sarah.  Tonio had the added bonus of bringing along Janene's son, Bryson.  Very funny movie! We were able to get over to 12th Ave and eat some excellent carne asada at BK and then, back to our house where the little ones played with Bella, did arts and crafts and played Legos...while Cody escaped with Janene's oldest son, Brendon and Andrea's son, David to the skate park!  It's getting chilly out and I know the boys appreciated the cool air as they road hard.

         Good night,




Friday, November 4, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night...

              Remember when Snoopy, the Peanuts character, used to try to write?  Every one of his stories began with 'It was a dark and stormy night...'  I just had that stuck in my head as I tried to come up with a way to tell you about this day last year...


The day dawned beautifully...I dragged myself out of bed at 5:45 and, as the sun began to peek over the Rincons, I dragged the bambini out of bed to witness this glorious start of the day...

After I dropped the bambini at school, I raced out to San Xavier...When I spotted it, in the distance, the white dove in the desert, I had that flash back of driving there for our wedding...early morning, all ready about 85 degrees.  When it appears, it stops time and takes your breath away.  I felt all of that this morning, as if it was my wedding day all over again. 

Ivan and Toni, the wonderful custodians, greeted me as I entered the church with my candles to light for Kim.  "She's all cleaned up."  Ivan advised me.  "Thank you."  I managed.  They are so nice and take good care of Kim's photo for me.

It was an incredible day this day last year. One of rejoicing and hope. And promise...

On Nov 4, 2010, at 10:56 PM, <conca5@cox.net> <conca5@cox.net> wrote:

"At last, Dr. Atkinson and Dr. Taetle agreed...it was time to send Kimmy home to her family!! It took most of the day to prep her - they removed her 'pick' line and deactivated her porto-cath. She received injections of steroids, to counter-act side effects from her chemo treatment yesterday. She received Neuropin to stimulate platelet growth and get those white and red blood cells in line. She began taking oral pain medication instead of intravenously - this was a big challenge, as the drain installed to correct the abscess where her gall bladder was removed, cause considerable pain where it passes through the rib cage and muscle. What else? They did a thorough check up on her, taught me how to clean, drain, measure fluid and flush her drain, which I must do 3 times per day until the drain is removed, wrote her a slew of prescriptions and finally signed off on her at around 4 p.m. She was so appreciated of the sunlight (I lent her my sunglasses, though), the fresh air and being in her own clothes. Father Harry, our pastor from St. Pius, visited with us again today and prayed with us. Kim showed him her strength by telling him God had a plan for her and was sending her home today to start the journey towards getting well. Father Harry and her had a great conversation and, I believe, he was invigorated by Kim.
We start the home part of our journey tomorrow - Kim has an appointment to receive a injection of 'nuelasta', which is a longer term, faster acting, shot to boost those red and white blood cells. She also has an appointment to have some blood drawn and tested. We will also consult with her oncologist to plan her next chemo treatment, which should fall around 11/24.
When we got home, I made her favorite, home made chicken soup with campanelle pasta. She ate well. Started a log for all of her meds and dosed her up so she could rest, flushing her drain before she fell asleep. I'll wake her up here in a bit for more medication - every four hours. She's still in considerable pain and resting on a recliner. She's also a little fatigued from the chemo.
The bambini's were so excited. Betsey and Brian, their kids, Hadley and Mitch, and Cody, Autumn and Antonio, worked together with sidewalk chalk to make a beautiful 'welcome home' mural on our driveway. They have really missed her and have been so brave and helpful to me, not just in doing extra chores, but keeping my spirits high so I could be strong for Kim. We are so blessed with these little guys. Tonio thought that Kim was just visiting and would not leave her side until she finally convince him that she was home to stay. Our Border Collie pup, Bella, had to be leashed, as she is a little to much like Tigger and could not contain her joy.
Our neighbors, Betsey and Brian and Amy and Tom, and our 'southwest family', Angie, Andrea, Janene and Kim,  have been so incredibly supportive - picking up our kids at school, feeding them, helping them with homework, getting them ready for bed, bringing them down to the hospital to visit Kim, packing lunches, feeding them again - even cleaning our home!! Angie, Andrea and Janene have made sure that I eat every day while I'm at the hospital visiting Kim.   We couldn't have gotten this far without them. And without all of your support, cards, flowers, gift cards, food that has been made for us, prayers(with prayer groups from Pennsylvania, all the way out to California!), leadership, for us and the help you have given to our kids. We cannot thank you all enough for all that you do!
Phil Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus. (Thanks to Bob Johnson, a friend of the McDonald family, for sending me this one)
              Love, Dave"

                  Tonight, I stumbled across the last birthday card that I was blessed to get from Kim...

                        We just always thought that we would escape this world together.  We had talked about it over the years...and had no doubt - whether it was a plane crash, a sickness, a car accident or just old age...we were going together.  And when I found this card, it reconfirmed that...and yet....

                           When we went out back tonight, to light our candles and to say goodnight at Kim's nitcho...the wind was blowing so hard...the clouds swirling, the moon was visible for a moment..."it's amazing how fast the earth moves!"  Cody commented...

"Missing someone isn't about how long it's been since you've seen them last or the amount of time since you last talked. It's about that very moment when you're doing something and you wish they were right there with you."


Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Peske's

             After spending a day in the bambini's classrooms (remember to mail in your ballot for prop 405 by tomorrow!!)...they had built up and appetite...we swung by to pick up Lexy and Breanna...then out to get Cody...and off to Viro's...Italian Wedding Soup Day!!   I distinctly remember as a child, a commercial for Prince spaghetti...In it, a little boy comes flying up outside of his row home, skids to a stop yelling "Mama, mama!!  What's for dinner?"  "It's Wednesday!"  came the reply from an open window high above the street..."Prince spaghetti day!"...well, here, it's Thursday, Italian Wedding Soup day!!

As far as I can figure, we sacrificed at least 14 bowls of wedding soup, countless pounds of bread and pasta and the bambini closed with gelato and eclairs....the adults had the mini-eclairs...Rose joined our table with the largest calzone I've ever seen, that she stuffed with the traditional mozz and ricotta and then with seafood.  Kim brought lots of art materials and the kids created many beautiful pictures...The dinner helped keep our forward momentum...good for the heart and good for the soul...

Later, our old neighbors, Cindy and Derek Peske stopped by with their children, Ryan, Maranda and Aaron, in Tucson visiting from Georgia.  They lived across the street from us in our old 'hood.  We went through the whole story of how we met Angie's daughter, Janene, about 17 years ago and subsequently meeting the rest of her family and getting adapted.
The Peske's had some wonderful memories of Kimmy...
Halloween, 1995, our first in our new home...the doorbell rings, Kimmy shouts "Dave!!  Our first trick-or-treaters!!"  I raced to get the camera...opened the door to find Cindy, Derek and Ryan, just a toddler.  Cindy remembers that Kim had made these little elaborate bags of candy, tied with orange raffia and a bow!! "from that moment, I knew this woman makes people feel special...even little children."  she told me.  Especially children!!  Cindy said she immediately thought 'Wow, how am I going to live up to her expectations?"  But, the beautiful thing about Kim, was, she had no expectations for anyone...she just really wanted to make everyone smile and to feel good.
Years later, Cindy remembered, she ran into some problems and was running late to pick up her children...Ryan was in 5th grade, Maranda in 3rd.  She was panicked, because she had just begun to let the kids walk home alone and knew they did not have a key.  "I was running late...I was sweating bullets...and never wanting to be a burden on anyone, I didn't have back up plans with neighbors or anything...I was so worried...driving so fast down Houghton to get to my kids...praying for safety.  I get home and there is a note tapped on my front door from Kim; "Cindy, don't worry.  Ryan and Maranda are with me at my house, Kim Conca"  I just about collapsed with gratefulness.  I walked over to your house and was embarrassed to be late, thinking I was a horrible mom and thanking Kim over and over again.  She was so KIM-like and was so kind, saying it was no big deal, not to worry and let her know if she ever needed anything."

Another memory that the Peske's had, was inviting us to a party and Kim showing up with a platter of deviled eggs and a pitcher of lemonade.  Cindy told her that she didn't have to bring anything and Kim told her 'don't be sillly!  You are a family of five, I have to help out.'  Cindy thought that was just so sweet and thoughtful and told me that from now on, any parties she goes to, in Kim's honor, she will bring a pitcher of lemonade, because, she bets that Kim will just know that and smile down through a ray of sunshine.
The Peske's remember Kim's smile and infectious laugh, too. 

I often mention that some of my most challenging moments occur while driving, alone.  I happened to change the dial today to 96.1 - something I normally don't do, as they are a classic rock channel and I find most of what they play to be crusty, over-played tunes...today, I was thwacked between the eyes by Pink Floyd's 'Learning to Fly'...this was one of our favorites when it first came out...many great memories...

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
To dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, A state of bliss
Can't keep my mind from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

November 3, 2010
"It was a busy day at St. Joseph's for Kim!  This morning, her oncologist, Dr. Taetle, felt she was ready for chemo and ordered her to begin treatment at 10 a.m.  A nurse came in at 10 and activated Kim's porto cath, an implant on the left side of Kim's chest, where, going forward, Kim will receive her chemo treatments and they will also be able to draw blood samples.  Around 11, she received Alimta.  This only took 10 minutes and then around noon they gave her Paraplatin, which took about 2 hours.  She did incredibly!  All smiles and no reaction.  The nurses told her patients typically experience a rash and nausea during or shortly after treatment.  She may still see some side effects in the coming days, but is ready to face them.  Afterwards, she received two pints of blood, as she was anemic.  Before I left, her nurse expressed concern that the amount of her blood coming out of her drain needed to be monitored and said she would notify the Dr. if the level was too high.  We will consult with the Dr. in the morning to see if another ultra sound needs to be done.
     Kim says, the outpouring of goodwill has made her glow and her new nickname is 'firefly'.
    Today, she also told me she knows that she is going to get well.  She knows it may take a long time, but she believes that if it was her time to go, God would have already taken her with one of the blood clots in her lung or leg.  She says she knows what she has to do and this is her journey for now, but God still needs her here to do His work.  Once again, in case I haven't told you this before, she is the most amazing person that I have ever met.  And all of you are helping her continue to be amazing with your love, support and prayers.
                                 Thanks so much,
                                                         Love, Dave"
          I'm trying to emulate, keep Kim's spirit alive, in all that I do - it is a challenge, a minute by minute struggle and I know I have a long ways to go...but, between the incredible teachers/staff at Cottonwood today, the wonderful family dinner at Viro's this evening and the Peske's visit...it was a good day for us all...
                                       Thank you,


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Half Day

              The bambini love half days!  They know that I will be there for them and will try to make it as fun a day as possible...

 We started with Subway...Eat Fresh!


And ended with a movie party.  Breanna and Tonio decorated and sat together to watch Mickey Mouse's Three Musketeers.  They are so cute together...

Andrea and I talked about Kim and how she made each day special.  In so many ways...


Andrea said she could hear Kim laughing in this photo - I had thought the same thing, vividly remembering this December day, our first Christmas in our new home.  Kim's laugh was so genuine, so infectious!!  A deep, 'belly laugh'!

And, this day last year, she had a pretty good day at St. Joseph's!  Here's an update I sent to her principal at Rincon Vista Middle School, Lydia Crain:

"Hi Lydia,
I wanted to say thank you for all that you and your team have done for Kim and our family!! Amy and my daughter Autumn went shopping Friday and filled our freezer and fridge with the money your team generously donated. Mrs. Christensen made us some awesome Italian veggie soup and Maria made some delicious chicken enchiladas. Additionally, having Kim paid for the extra 2 weeks and the help with the LOA are an incredible help! I requested a Dr. note for the LOA, but have not received it yet - I'll follow up tomorrow.
Kim had a good day today and is making progress! We walked the entire 'U' shape of her hospital floor for the first time since she was admitted. Her blood values look better and the drain they put in for the abscess where the gall bladder was seems to be doing its job. God willing, they plan to give Kim her first round of chemo tomorrow. They will keep her at least overnight and hopefully, she will be home Thursday or Friday! She's already been at St. Joe's for two weeks!! We can't wait to have her home.
We could not get through this challenging time without great people to support us like you and your team at Rincon. Thanks again so much Lydia, Dave"

    What amazing help Rincon and Lydia rounded up for Kim and our family...
        We did have our great moments, our 'up' days.  And Kim kept so positive throughout.  She was amazing...


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kimmy's Halloween

                                     Here Kimmy was, last Halloween, on the 4th floor of the women's center at St. Joseph's.  We all have the Happy Meals that Deborah and Vivian brought to us.  You can't see it in the picture, but they also had brought me a recliner to catch some z's with Kimmy.
                                     And, she was the picture of strength.  For us.  I'm amazed at how much younger Tonio and Cody look.  They seemed to have aged about five years a piece in the last year. 

                                    It has been like running uphill these last few days, sorting through what happened.  The memories.  My team noticed it today at work...

                               I think that initially, going through the emails was good therapy, but, the last two or three days, it has been excruciating.  Here's one, to my Dad,  that brought a smile to my face:

"Did you have a nice birthday? Oh, Autumn just showed me your email - glad
to hear you had a nice birthday! What will you do for your anniversary??

Kim's chemo will be pushed back again. They are still draining the abscess,
trying to get her blood values right and working on the clots in her lung
and leg. We were able to take a walk for the first time since Friday, but
it wiped her out for the rest of the day and she is back on morphine and
dilaudid. Hopefully, we'll hear some good news tomorrow. I have a tricky
one - I'll drop the kids off at school and then have a tire appt. at 8:30
(one of the Expeditions tires finally gave out, luckily, it was in the
garage when it happened!). I'll go to the hospital until 2:30 and then pick
up the kids from school - Autumn and Tonio's teachers are keeping them until
3:30 to help them with homework and tutor them where needed, so I'll get
Cody at 3 and Patti, Autumn's teacher, Mrs. Rudzena's, mom, will bring Aut
and Tonio to me at the house. Then, Tonio has a musical performance at the
school at 5 o'clock. I'm hoping to go back to the hospital right after I
tape it to show Kim.

Let us know how your celebrate on Thursday - 15 years did fly by!! Love,

          And one, to Kimmy's Mom, that still brings me to my knees...

"I just got in and did not want to fill you in this late on things. Thought I'd use this email, as we have kept the kids informed on everything that has been in my nightly updates, so far. Kim had a pretty great day today - positive attitude, got out of bed twice for an hour or two to sit next to me in a chair, ate her first solid food for dinner (fish, potato, green beans) and her pain killers and oxygen were reduced. We enjoyed each other's company, talked and watched movies. Tomorrow morning, there will be an MRI on her brain and we should get the results back for her Thyroid scan.
Now, the exact terminology I have been told, is that her cancer originated in her lungs and is of the Adenocarcinoma variety. I've stayed up well past one each night reading all I can and it seems this is the most common lung cancer in America right now, among women, non-smokers. The Drs are astonished to find it in a woman of Kim's good health and great condition. So far, we are happy with the team that is working for her - they seem aggressive, clear communicators and are on hand - her Oncologist actually answered the phone when I called him - I've never had that happen in my years of asthma, allergies, and most recently, right ear treatment or any other medical doctor. But, I've begun researching alternatives, just in case. University Medical Center here in Tucson has a whole facility dedicated to cancer treatment. In Phoenix, they have a Mayo Clinic and Cancer Treatment Center of America.
But, we should have a more clear understanding of what is going on tomorrow and no treatment can start until Kim's breathing is under control. She is still on Heparin and should go on Cuminin tomorrow for the blood clots. Dr. Atkinson stopped in today to say her hemoglobin looks good.
I will call you Monday morning after I drop the kids off at school, but wanted to present the facts so that you had them. We still have a lot of testing to do - they need to do the full body PET scan, as soon as Kim is able, to pinpoint any other organs affected and I've been waiting until I have more answers to call.
OK, I'll talk to you soon. Love, Dave"
             That's all I have in me tonight.  Not sure what we've accomplished, but, I hope you've gained some insight - I was trying so hard to quarterback this thing...so hard.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Let me start out by wishing my Dad a very happy 75th birthday!!

Halloween.  Kim made every day festive for us, but, especially Halloween.  She would schedule trips to the pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving.  There would be baking, of course - her pumpkin pie had no known comparison.  She hand made each of the bambini's costumes for each of their first three years...incredible.

Kim's scarecrow, a yearly fixture...Andrea kept up the tradition this year, building one out of Kim's old overalls!

We've been members of the Reid Park Zoo since 1997.  They have the best Howl-o-ween there!  This was the first year since '97 that the bambini did not make it...

You could not hope to compete with Kim at pumpkin carving!  One of her nicknames was 'Spooky'.  The above photo shows why.

She made the best costumes...for herself and for the kids.  There was the year she was Cruella DeVil.  The year she was the Bride of Frankenstein, we won contests.  One year, she dressed me as Nikki Sixx and went as my girlfriend ( I did NOT o.d. on heroin, but she did kick start my heart).

This was my life.  I took the day off, so I could do my best to make it a special day for the bambini...I worked at it all day (after spending a little time for breakfast with Angie - Happy Anniversary!).  I dug through boxes, finding her old costumes and looked through album after album trying to unearth photos of her wonderful costumes.  Autumn helped me.  I had distinct flashbacks of that day, almost a year ago, where Kim and I looked through old photos to help Autumn create a 'All About Me' poster for school.  Kim was overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry.  I held her and she wept 'Dave, what a wonderful life we had.'  She was right, and I found all of those memories as I went through our old photos.  I'll keep trying to uncover some of her costumes to share with you.

               Tonio was Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), so I surprised him and went as his dad, Keith Richards (can't remember his character's name in movie).

Tonio, Mitchell (Soul Sucker), Autum and Hadley get ready to go Trick or Treatin!

                                             Found an ostrich in my garage (sorry Amy)


Alex and Cody transformed our house into a crypt to hand out candy and scare Trick or Treaters.

Last year, this time, Kim was on the fourth floor of the women's center of St. Joseph's.  I ran into one of her old nurses, Heather, as we trick or treated tonight.  The bambini remember, during their visit with her, that techs Vivian and Deborah brought them Halloween Happy Meals.  Kim and I sat and reminisced about our favorite Halloweens together....

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 29th...

October 29th 2010...
   “Hello everyone, today was Kim's 11th day at St. Josephs and was a more challenging one. We met with her Oncologist, Dr. Taetle around 8:30 and he has chosen a chemo called alimpa for her treatments. This will allow the kidney, rather than her ailing liver, to filter the treatments. She will take steroids (MLB, here she comes!) the day before, day of and day after alimpa treatments that will help prevent a rash, that is a common side effect of this treatment. After 6 weeks, the tumors can be measured to see if this treatment is right for Kim. She received a vitamin B12 shot and folic acid today to strengthen her body.

The pain in Kim's side where her gall bladder was removed persists and her blood values were elevated again today, so the CT scan was scheduled. It showed she has an abscess in this area, which explains her pain and fatigue. Dr. Taetle said that as long as the abscess drains well, her chemo can begin Monday. If the abscess persists, treatment will be bumped back at least a day. Either way, we're praying the draining of the abscess will help Kim get over the pain she is in. We were able to take Communion today with the hospital chaplain around 2, which was nice. After being her usual strong self throughout the day, Kim finally accepted dilaudid around 6:30 and was sleeping comfortably within 15 minutes. I told her nurse that when Kim says her pain is a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10, that would translate into a 7 or 8 for the rest of us mortals.

The kids came down this afternoon and Tonio read a funny Halloween story to all of us.  They were relieved it is Friday and they have two days off from school. Our neighbor, Amy took Autumn grocery shopping tonight - Kim's co-workers at Rincon Vista have been working on chipping in for a Fry's grocery card for us - an effort led by Amy, who works alongside of Kim there. They truly miss Kim and have been sending some inspirational messages our way - we appreciate all that their team has been doing for our family. Autumn had a great time and made some great choices, mostly fruit.   Tomorrow, Betsey will take Autumn, while Tonio and Cody will go to Amy's so I can get down to the hospital to be with Kim for her procedure. If all goes well, we're hoping to take a stroll around her floor and watch a little college football.

Her spirits remain high, despite a painful day and she is ready to get going on her treatments and get home to family. Again, she is so amazing...reminding me today of some writings from Mother Teresa, who feels that in today's society, we spend so much time trying to avoid or buffer every form of pain, and tells us 'Rather than asking ourselves how to eliminate pain, the real question must become, what are we going to do with our suffering? What are we going to do with the pain we cannot avoid?' I can tell you, Kim is using her pain as a springboard and asking 'OK, what is next?', also, looking beyond to how she can turn this experience into something positive for herself, our family and our community. Amazing.

Thank you for the continuing happy thoughts and prayers!!

God Bless,


                 You know, as crazy a time as this was, it was Kim's absolute strength and high spirits that allowed her and I to have a little fun, as weird as that sounds.  I do have some good memories of this time...
                 And, it seems, that the 29th was so full of inspirational well wishes:
From the Knights of Columbus...
Dear Kim and Dave,
I continue to marvel at the strength you both have and how your positive attitudes and the prayers we are all sending to you are bringing Kim back to health. I know the chemo may be a bit frightening but it has not dealt with Kim and the Conca clan yet. I am sure with the love and couragee you are both displaying along with God's watchful eye you will eradicate this terrible thing and be back soon.

God Bless You All and All Our Love and Prayers Are With You,
LIane and Fred Falgiano, Knight of Columbus

And our friend Rachael...
Thank God she's headed in the right direction! We will be in touch about dropping dinner off Dave. We'll try to call you (or maybe you can email again) to figure out when your neighbor or anyone will be at the house to drop something off ok!? Also, if the kids need anything I know they don't know us as well as they should, but I'm sure they'd have fun w/our kids and we are here and happy to help anytime. We are praying still and sending you strength please don't forget that you need to take care of yourself as well ok? Lots of love and god bless you guys,Rachael

From Niki, our niece;

Hello Dave,
I am so happy to hear that Kim is doing better with each day. Grammie is keeping me updated on everything that is going on. It's so wonderful that you have such caring people in your lives to help you out through all of this with the kids and food and emotional support. You are very blessed with such great people. I'm happy to hear that Autumn's interview went well...she seems to be so mature for her age...well all 3 of them are just such great kids (I hear a lot about them from Grammie). You guys are doing a fantastic job!! I continue to pray for you all each day and for the team of doctors that are caring for Kim. From what I hear...she is in great hands out there. I hope all goes well with the blood work so she can come home and you can all be together again...I'm sure that will help to raise everyone's spirits even more. Kim has always been a very positive person so I am not surprised to hear that she is in such good spirits. That's the Kim I've always known...and that's what is so great about her. The close bond that you all have together as a family can get you guys through anything. If there's anything more I can do...besides continuing to pray, please let me know. I'm usually not too good with checking my e-mail, but since last week, I check it at least twice a day and I will continue to do so. Please tell Kim I said hello and I'm always thinking of her. We love all of you!
More Rincon Vista staff!
Hello Family Conca and Kim,

The Inclusion Dept. is letting you know that our thoughts and prayers
are with you.
We are missing you dearly.

and Yan

Hi Kim,
You are in my prayers. Please let me know if you have any specific
prayer needs and I would love to lift you before the Lord.


Stephanie Abeyta

Hello to the Dear Family of the Amazing Kim!

After reading the email from Mrs. Crain about what your family is
enduring, I am sitting in my classroom in tears. I had no idea. Please
know that I just prayed for you, and will continue to do so.
I am the 8th grade SS teacher, and have been blessed by Kim's
kindness, warm beautiful smile, willingness to help with any
fundraising event for our DC Club, and her constant professionalism.

Words seem so inadequate, but I wanted to send a note anyway.


Karen McCurdy

Artist, Neil Myers, an Arizona favorite;

Hi Dave,
Thanks very much for taking the time to write. I can only imagine
that your days have been hectic and draining, but of course i know you
are giving it 110 percent, as most of us would in such a situation.
Anyhow thanks for the info regarding Kims procedure tomorrow. I may
try to get by in the afternoon as you suggest. Rest assured that if
Kim is not feeling up to it, i will just try to discreetly leave what
i have for her and skedaddle. I thought that if i can put a smile on
her face for 5 minutes with my gift ( oh gollie, what could it be?)
then it would be worth it.
Much love and prayers are with you guys, tell Kim hello and good luck
to you guys,
Best always
          Neil painted Kim a bouqet of flowers, telling her he wished it would give her a smile every time she needed one and that it never needed water, and never would die...

   Friends Theresa and Ed, who's son Nick has been in Cody's classes since kindergarten and son Andy, who has been in Autumn's classes since kindergarten:

Hi Dave. Ed and I want you to know that we're thinking of you and Kim, and you have our full support while she's getting better. If there's ANYTHING you need, I don't want you to hesitate to call us. I'm not working, so I'm available if you ever need someone to pick up the kids, run errands, etc. If there's anything that will make Kim's recovery easier on the both of you, please consider me at your disposal.
 Warmest regards,
Theresa Mercurio-Sakwa
     So, you see, support helped me keep things together then, as now....
     Today, we celebrated our friend's, Lexy and Breanna's birthday at Rolling Hills Park - it is a beautiful park, with plenty of space for the kids to really spread out.  The grass was freshly cut and it was a beautiful 84 degrees.  There was volleyball, baseball, soccer, basketball being played.  Andrea had a craft tent set up with three tables of clay, stickers, beads, bracelet making - I don't think Autumn and Tonio left that area!!  We went with our neighbor, Brian, and Hadley and Mitchell spent a great deal of time there, too.
       There were two pinata's, and so much food, highlighted by Guero Canelo making us tremendous sonoran hot dogs!!

             The bambini had a wonderful Sunday....



                                          "Breakfast with Breanna"...gotta love the alliteration there...
                      And the bambini insist on Italian Wedding Soup with breakfast!  Two bowls each!!