We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pancake Breakfast

Last year, this time, the 2nd annual pancake breakfast and classic car show was about to take place.  Kim had done a neat job the first year - it was a fun event for Rincon Vista and the community.  She was in the planning stages last year, when she got sick.  And, being Kim, she was so worried about someone else having to do her work.  She had me make phone calls to all involved on what she had done and what she still needed to do.  She had a meticulous notebook that she had me drop off at the school.  And still...she worried and so wanted to finish what she started.

"Hi Dave!

Tell Kim that all the artwork and posters were inspired by her! We took everything she had done and put it in a few different formats, but the genesis is all hers. We have our fingers crossed that the whole Conca family will be able to come share in what would be a very special morning indeed.


PS: Look at this photo from last year!"

And there we were.  It was so much fun!  So, mark your calendar, because the 3rd Annual Kim Conca Car Show and Pancake Breakfast will be on Saturday, Dec 3rd, from 8a.m. to 12p.m. at Rincon Vista Middle School just east of Houghton on Bilby Rd!!!

And good folks from Rincon were keeping our hopes alive and our spirits up with emails like this one:

"Dearest Kim and David,
You're in our thoughts and prayers and am praying as fervently as I can for both of you. I specially thank Our Lord Jesus Christ for you David. You're an extraordinary and remarkable husband, father, and provider!! I'm always praying for you so that Our Lord Jesus Christ continues to give you the strength, persistence and patience to take one one hour at a time. I will forever be grateful for allowing us to be part of your new and challenging journey and kindly letting us know how our beloved and amazing Kim is doing.
Cast all your burdens to the Lord, and He will sustain you...always
Psalm 55:22

May Our Lord continue to give you peace and fill your hearts with His Divine Love and Hope,
         And from wonderful Cottonwood teachers...
"Hi Sarah, Thanks so much that you and the rest of our Cottonwood family
have been doing during this challenging time for our family. We so
appreciate you all! Sunday would be great - we should be around all day, so
just give us a call -  and let us know when is
good for you.
Thank you for the prayers, too - they are helping Kim get stronger every
It seems like a weird year for the NFC East - I thought the Eagles would
be at the bottom with the 'Boys and Giants fighting for the top. I'd
actually like to see McNabb do better in Washington, as I'm still pretty
upset the Eagles let him go.
Talk to you soon, Dave


> Hello wonderful Concas!
> I know that you are totally overwhelmed with stuff right now but I was
> planning on bringing you some dinner on Sunday. Is there a good time I
> can swing by? Just let me know. Our thoughts and prayers are with you
> constantly. Henry and I say our prayers together every night and you are
> all a big part of every prayer!
> Enjoy your weekend! Sarah Stoner
> P.S. Dave, can you BELIEVE the year the Cowboys have been having?!? "

  And from Barnes & Noble managers...

"Hi Andy,

Kim received the book you sent her today. Thanks so much for thinking of her. She had seen a special with Jane Seymour, talking about the events that led to her writing her book. It meant a lot to her that you took time to have Jane personalize it for her. Gave her a good smile, which we both needed! Kim's improving daily, but it's 'baby steps'. I've never been terribly patient, so it has been difficult for me. She's still on oxygen and can't walk by herself and her heart rate is accelerated. Kim has a PT Scan scheduled for Tuesday a.m., that's designed to let the Dr. know exactly where else the cancer has infected, besides her lung and liver. We're hoping for some good news.

Thanks again Andy, I appreciate your thoughts, prayers and the book, which is very positive! Dave"
        Andy, who runs a store near Scottsdale, AZ had sent Jane Seymour's newest book 'Angels' and had her personalize a copy for Kim...she LOVED it!!
        More Cottonwood teachers...
"Jen, Mary, Jill, Denise, Yvonne, Allison, Diana, Casey, Chrissy, Deborah, Apryl, Patti and Kristine,Ami,
Thank you so much for the charm bracelet that you all lovingly put together for Kim, to help bring her smiles and sunshine during this particularly dark time in her life. You are all angels. She loves the bracelet and she is going to enjoy each charm every day. That was so thoughtful of you all.
We have been so blessed by the love and support our Cottonwood family has provided our family! Especially for Autumn and Antonio, who really needed your help during the time Kim was hospitalized and I truly feel that they are just fine, thanks to all of you!
While words can never express how thankful we are, please know how much you mean to all of us.
Thanks again,
And Volunteer Coordinator at Cottonwood...
"Hi Melissa,
                Speaking of pancake breakfasts, we had one here this morning.  Really.  Janene's son, Brendon had slept over and Andrea and Breanna came over.  I made pancakes (of course), bacon, eggs and hash browns.  Cody and Brendon finished first and went to load up the Expedition, popping open the garage door to find...a rattle snake!!
                Well, I am no snake wrangler...and have deferred to the fearsome snake hunter, my neighbor Brian the last time one was on our porch, hiding behind St. Francis...so, I sent Brendon and Cody down to get him, while I used a shovel to slide it out of the front of our garage. 
                The snake did not take kindly to this.  It reared up, ready to strike.  Meanwhile, Betsey came down the walk and told us that Brian was not home.  However, snake hunting runs deep in their family and Betsey took a shovel, pinned the snake down and I lopped off its head.  It was not pretty.
                I'd love to show you a photo, but I recently smashed my phone.  It fell off of the kitchen counter top, falling straight down and landing totally flat on its face...smashing it. And the photo of the snake is trapped inside...

The snake banished, we went to the Foothills Mall, where they dumped several tons of snow in the parking lot.  We met up with Lupe, Manny and Monsi and Kim, Rahson, Mariah, Micah and Maleah.  The bambini had a blast hurling snow balls for several hours!!  Their cotton gloves quickly becoming wet and useless, but this did not slow them down at all!!
I took some great photos...but, I smashed my phone.  You know, as it fell off of the kitchen counter, it did not tumble, or turn even a little bit.  It simply fell, flat as a pancake.  Fblapp. Like that.
When the snow melee had ended, we went inside to the Barnes & Noble Cafe, where the kids had hot chocolate and pastries.

In the evening (and after Brendon and Cody spent 4 hours at the skate park), we went to Pizza, Wings and Things and caught the first half of the U of A v ASU game..which the Wildcats hung on to win, the Sun Devils making it down to the 15 yard line as time expired!! 

Good day.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Fixing Kimmy's Bike

"Another good day for Kimmy, as she had her final visit with her surgeon, Dr. Atkinson. She'll miss Dr. Atkinson, he has been good to us and we were blessed that he was on duty when Kim was admitted to St. Joseph's. He reminds us of the actor Ed Norton, and on the day she was released from the hospital, our favorite Ed Norton movie, Fight Club, was on...we had some good Philly sports conversations, as he hails from Bristol, PA in northeast Philly. He had cultured some of the discharge from Kim's drain, found no infection and felt it was time to be removed. He was able to take it out right there in his office. The drain has caused Kim the most discomfort and, hopefully, she will have some pain free days. She wept with joy in the parking lot and said 'that's one more thing off of my checklist!'. We stopped at Target on the way back so I could get her a celebratory mango smoothie! She's pretty tired after her big day and sleeping right now...but it seems, each day, she is making small steps towards feeling better. We are now waiting on the results from the blood tests Dr. Taetle ordered to check her values and to see if her kidneys are strong enough to handle her next round of chemo - so please pray for strong kidneys for Kim!
The bambini's had another good day, too. Obviously relieved with their mom being home, they are certainly a little more energetic than usual...our friend, Andrea, picked up the kids today after school, took them to Costco, where her husband Mario works, and they bought the kids pizza and hot dogs. Then, they went to Eegees, a kind of southwestern Italian ice/deli chain in Tucson, and had Eegees (Autumn and Andrea's daughter, Lexi, had soft pretzels, too). Next, they went to see her son, David's, soccer game at Udall park, a large, beautiful park, where Kim and I used to run, take our first pup, Cajun to play, as we lived in apartments right across the street from it when we first moved to Tucson in 1994. David's team won 5-2 and David scored a goal.

Now, we are hoping Kim's lungs can gain some strength, to be able to get her off of oxygen. She walked from the car to the Dr's office today, and made several bathroom trips, but is exhausted at the end of each walk. Still eating well (Thanks Mary Montes for the awesome chicken spaghetti and thanks to her sister, Ami Bunch, for the strawberry salad!!), which should help her get stronger. No more appointments until 11/29, when she has more blood work scheduled and then her next chemo is scheduled for 11/30.

Other than that, we are working on the cornucopia of paperwork involved in coordination with her condition - having signed up for ACCHHS, Social Security Disability and researching many other avenues(I need a secretary!) - Kim's school has been helpful in exploring some of our options and is even looking to make an exception for her to allow her to 'borrow' sick time from other school district employees!! They have been so supportive!

Thank you all, once again, for the support, bambini help, food (I love food...I could practically live on food!) and prayers!


  We were getting there right?  Getting there.  Being out of the hospital and the trips to the Dr. appointments, gave Kim and I opportunities to do fun things together that we never got to do over the last 14 years or so - like grab a mango smoothie at Target.  The small things meant the most.  I cherish the memories.
    And the memories of the wonderful food - like the dinner that Mary and Ami made us this day.  It was so nice, giving more time with Kim and the bambini, as cooking takes a lot.
     Here are some more email exchanges from 11/18/2010:
      From Tonio's teacher...
"HI Dave,

I hope that Kim's appt. went well today and she is drain-free now! It was great seeing Andrea Castillo today and catching up with her-it's such a small world! She said she got to spend some time with Kim this morning and that Kim's spirits were good-I'm glad to hear that. She is such an amazing, strong person (as are you!!).

I wanted to see if Kim would be up for a few visitors tomorrow around 3ish. Patti, Casey, and I would love to bring her the charm bracelet that we've been working on for her. If not that is totally fine-we 100% understand. However, if it does work out, the kids can stay with us after school until about 3 and then we can bring them home.

Hope you get some rest tonight!

A thank you to Mary Montes:
Hi Mary,
Thank you so much for the delicious chicken spaghetti and rice krispy treats! I have a weakness for rice krispy treats!! Kim's stepdad, Jim, who is 100% Italian, and I were discussing the chicken spaghetti. Neither of us had heard of it before, and prior to trying it, we agreed that we have never met a pasta dish that we did not like..your pasta was fantastic, we both agreed!! That was very thoughtful of you and our family truly enjoyed the meal and dessert!! We are blessed to have you in our lives and to have your support during this challenging time.
Thank you too, for the card and generous check that was presented to us from our Cottonwood family...where would we be without all of you?
Again, we appreciate all you do!
Take care,
        Mary and her husband Emilio (and now Brinley!) continue to be a part of our lives, helping us through and inspiring us!!
        Ditto her sister Ami Bunch, her husband Brian and their triplets.  Yes, TRIPLETS!!
Hi Ami,
We wanted to thank you for the delicious strawberry salad and raspberry dressing that you put together for our family - it was so good! I was emailing to Mary, what an inspiration your family has been to ours for many years and how blessed we were to have you as a teacher for Cody and as friend of our family. You, Brian and your little ones are incredible!
Also, we were overwhelmed with the card and generous check that our Cottonwood family presented to us and are very appreciative. I do not know where we would be without the support of wonderful people like yourself.
Thanks again, Dave"

Started the day here, at Mary's Chapel, lighting a candle for Kimmy and cleaning her picture, before 8:30 Mass...and breakfast with Lupe and Manny at McD's after Mass!
Met with Carondelet, administrators of Kim's Foundation, to discuss who needed help from Kim's fund and they caught me up on the progress on the chapel being built at St. Joseph's Hospital, with assistance from Kim's Foundation!  We also hammered out the wording about Kim's Foundation for her cookbook - I submitted the edited proof today!! 
Met the manager of Starbucks, who has provided Andrea with gift cards as raffle prizes for Kim's Foundation, a syrup pump and sugar for my iced tea, prayers, etc for the first time today!  Her name is Kim, too!
Rode out into Fantasy Island, solo, to fix Kimmy's memorial out there...

Made it through in a half hour, pressed for time to go pick up the bambini from school!  The bambini noticed that red overspray on some of my fingers (I'm no Kim, you know!) and asked me what happened.  They were so happy when I told them that I repainted Mama's bike. 
There is a certain freedom in hurtling through the desert on, essentially, slightly widened cow paths...until, sudden sobriety hits you in the form of half a dozen cattle, literally right in front of you as you make a corner!!  Shocks you back from the beauty - veering around jumping cholla and other assorted cacti, I managed to out maneuver them, get back on their path and speed away...telling myself that they were just as startled as I was...


 Comfort Food


Thursday, November 17, 2011

You're Never Over

"You're Never Over"
"The days are cold livin’ without you
The nights are long, I’m growing older
I miss the days of old, thinkin’ about you
You may be gone, but you’re never over.

God just help me out while I fight through this grievin’ process
Tryin' to process this loss is makin’ me nauseous
But this depression ain’t takin me hostage
I’ve been patiently watchin’ this game, pacin’ these hallways
You had faith in me always

And instead of mourning your death, I’d rather celebrate your life.

 It was just the other night, had another dream about you
You told me to get up, I got up, I spread my wings and I flew
You gave me a reason to fight.

Not many are lucky enough to have a guardian angel like you.
Lord I’m so thankful, please don’t think I don’t feel grateful, I do
Just grant me the strength that I need, for one more day to get through"


"Wow, we've had an amazing couple of days! Once Kim got home, she received a heroes welcome, complete with the chalka estrada, and the bambini's would not leave her side. This has been good for the kids...they have done so well, with the help of our friends/family and are so relieved to have mom home. They immediately settled in to helping mama with whatever she needs. Thankfully, their teachers are still making extra time with them to help them keep up with their studies (progress reports arrived - Autumn has straight A's!! Cody has A's in all classes but one, and that teacher is the one giving up her lunch hour to help tutor him! And Antonio has all A's except for two subjects, which are high B's!) they would have been pretty lost with the leadership and compassion found in the Vail School District!!
Kim still has an uphill road to walk. Her oxygen intake is still pretty high and she cannot walk alone. But, she had some BIG wins today, getting to take a shower, as we placed a chair in the bathroom (it took us two hours, between prepping her power port, drain and arm that had the thrombectomy, giving her time to rest and then getting her in, but she felt like a new person when done). She also sat at the dinner table with us all for the first time in one month!! Again, this was great for the kids. We had her follow up with her oncologist, Dr. Taetle today (Google him, any thoughts of 'Mayo' or 'Cancer Treatment Centers of America' will immediately dissipate, as they did for me when I did my research on him the first day I met him). Kim absolutely loves Dr. Taetle. She feels he resembles her 'stepdad' Jim and his mannerisms are similar, too. He feels she is making some progress. Her coughing is decreasing, so he believes the bleeding in her lungs is slowing down and he felt able to schedule her next round of chemo for 11/30. As I mentioned before, the primary chemo is called alimta, a newer, so costly form of chemo. It filters through the kidney, rather than the liver, which is already compromised. They drew blood on Kim today to check her kidney values to be sure they are strong enough to handle the alimta (please pray here).

The little bambini's stayed after school today to get tutoring from Mrs. Schrantz (Tonio) and Mrs. Rudzena (Autumn). They were dropped off by Mrs. Rudzena' mom, Patti. The kids had such a sense of accomplishment when they got home, showing us how much homework they were able to get done with their teacher's help (and Tonio proudly proclaimed 'and I had popcorn with hot sauce with Mrs. Schrantz!). I picked up Cody and our neighbor Amy took him to see her son, Alex's, basketball game and then took them to Subway (Alex's team, Rincon Vista Middle School, won). Tomorrow, they will all be picked up by our friend, Andrea, and taking to see her son, David's, game, while Kim has an appointment with Dr. Atkinson, to evaluate her drain for the abscess where her gall bladder had been and, hopefully, remove it (please pray here, too). It is her remaining source of pain.

We are so appreciative of all of the help and support you all have provided, beyond our imagination. We are so blessed and each time we face a hurdle, God has blessed us with one or more of you stepping in to help us. From the absolutely huge check presented to us by our Cottonwood family to the incredible team that I am blessed with at Barnes & Noble, who have enabled me to take a month off and counting to be by Kim's side and to help my family...everyday someone comes forward to touch our lives - some have told us they had lost faith at some point in their journey and have rediscovered it. Some have told us that they have reprioritized their lives...some have said they've reconnected with a family member or friend that they lost touch with...everyday, we are blessed by you all...I am so humbled and appreciative. My family is in good hands. 
         Thank you, Love, Dave"

          Kim getting to take a shower...Yes, it took a few hours to get her ready - but, for her, and for the appreciation she showed, the look in her eyes.  On her face.  The tears...it was worth it.  And to sit with the family at the dinner table...amazing...

         Speaking of sitting at the dinner table with family...

                      We chased away any lingering dark clouds with a huge dinner at Viro's!  Angie, Andrea, David, Lexy, Breanna, Kim, Rahson, Mariah, Micah, MaleahBrinley, Cody, Autumn and Antonio...

Angie, Rosa and I...

                                                       Lexy and Autumn, happy and full...

Breanna and Tonio enjoyed gelato for dessert.

                     We spent about 3 hours together, talking, eating, the bambini playing - customers came to the table to compliment how well behaved the little ones were...

                                      Italian Wedding Soup...Pasta...Gelato...Friends...Family...




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kimmy's second homecoming

11/15/2010...was a wonderful day.  Exciting.  Refreshing and full of hope.  I knew Kim being at home was a lot more work for me, but I was looking forward to it.  Just being able to have her home was a tremendous feeling!

Here was one of Autumn's emails to a friend:


Well, she's done it again! Digging deep, Kim was deemed well enough to make it out of St. Joseph's again...we're praying it is longer than the 20 or so hours that she was home last time!! All of Kim's Dr's. agreed she is well enough to make it home. She can walk to the bathroom on her own and can sit in a chair for several hours now. She was sent home with oxygen and has several tanks for travel to Dr appointments, which she has nearly daily the rest of this week and a large home unit that plugs into the wall and makes oxygen for her (and makes a great white noise that I'm looking forward to falling asleep to). She still has her drain, too, which we are hoping will be removed at Dr. Atkinson's office on Thursday afternoon. It is producing less and the drainage is being tested to see if there is anything funky growing in there. I will give her a daily Lovenox injection to control blood clotting, flush her drain three times per day, and give her pain killers, anti-biotics, etc throughout the day. All of Kim's Dr's and nurses were sad to see her go...she sure touched the lives of many while in that hospital, as Kim tends to do.
We loaded up the back seat of our Toyota Tundra to capacity, with all of the items collected from well-wishers and then had to fit two tanks of oxygen! We stopped by Walmart to get her syringes of Lovenox and Kim waited patiently in the truck for about an hour while I got that prescription filled (no one shops at Walmart for their service!). When we arrived home, the kids had once again decorate our driveway with side walk chalk...if you've ever had a chance to make it to San Diego for their Columbus Day festa in Little Italy, they have this incredible 'chalka estrada', a sidewalk chalk art gallery right on the streets and sidewalks, where artists make beautiful murals on the street - well, our kids brought a little of that festa to our neighborhood, on our driveway for Kim, creating a beautiful mural welcoming her home. As we got inside, she was very tired and I noticed her tank had run out of air! Upon further inspection, I noticed it was not turned on!! Either the tech from the hospital who loaded us up forgot to turn it on when he transferred her from the hospital tank to ours, or, when he placed it in the back of our truck, the handle somehow got turned off during transit. We are not sure how long she was without oxygen, but quickly hooked her up an she had instant relief and quickly fell asleep.

The bambini's were so happy to have her home, they came streaming out of the house at terrifying speeds, and smothered Kim with love. Bella behaved very well, containing her 'Tigger' like demeanor. Betsey had  picked them up from school for us, as Kim and I endured the grinding process of hospital check out, which began around 8 a.m. and saw our freedom come around 3:30. Grammie and Grandpa Jim had spent the day as 'white tornadoes', cleaning our home for Kim's arrival and then taking the kids and Bella across the street to the park. We all ate dinner together, for the first time in nearly one month.

It sure has been a long, surreal month. Kim still has a long journey ahead, and today marked a significant step forward. This week, we have appointments with her surgeon, her vascular specialist, her generalist and her oncologist, who will determine what and when we will be able to go after the tumors that Kim has. We pray that her lungs are ready...her mind is set!

Thanks again for all of your support, the daily dinners that are being delivered, help with the kids, happy thoughts and the prayers, mostly the prayers!!!

'If today your hear His voice, harden not your hearts'...you have all heard and helped!! Thank you and God bless,
Love, Dave"

          I remember being scared - not having the nurses and techs help...and not having a Dr. close by had me on edge.  Giving Kim her lovenox shots, twice a day, hurt me.  She was so sweet and gracious saying things like "Ok, go ahead and give me my shot.  I'm ready!", knowing that I had just injected her, but pretending that I was so good at giving them, that she didn't even feel it!     
          We quickly got on a schedule, lining up a notebook for Kim's medications, monitoring oxygen, scheduling visits with Bayada Nurses, who would come every few days to take Kim's vitals, meals, showers - I took one of our patio chairs and fit it in the shower.  I would move her oxygen down the hallway so her line could reach and she could sit in the shower - something she found such a luxury and cried grateful tears!  She was such a great patient...
          And our first dinner together, with her parents here, was so moving and meaningful...Carole and Jim worked so hard around the house, helping keep it clean, helping prepare meals, helping with the bambini

           I can't describe to you the mish mash of emotions we went through.  On one hand, sheer joy and relief to have Kim well enough to come home.  On the other, feeling a frightened, over the enormous responsibility, with medical back up so far away.  We found 'quality' time in being able to sit together in our own home.  And working for Kim, trying to save her, and any comfort I could provide her, gave us both intimate time together...

          Have I mentioned how much I miss her?


Monday, November 14, 2011

Gnocchi...and the 'nice pot'

             Tonight, I entered the closet.  I did not want to.  It still, well, speaks to me.  I feel it telling me Kim is ready to start her day and here are her shoes!  And her slacks!  And her pretty dresses!  Getting cold?  Sweaters!  Blouses, hats, bathrobes, etc, etc, etc.
             But, as it gets chilly, I think of the less fortunate, recall my blessings, and know that Kim would want to help those that need her things...
             Andrea and Janene's sons, David and Brendon, are working towards their Confirmation at Our Mother of Sorrows.  They do a tremendous amount of community service and are energetic and enthusiastic about it.  It is truly heart warming.  They are collecting for a woman's shelter, here in town, called Casa Maria.  This is the same shelter that Autumn and Antonio helped make sandwiches for early this year - Kim and I had helped with this project each year for the last several at Cottonwood.  It is a great cause.
             And yet, here on earth, we become attached.  To our 'things'.  It was like walking into a long tunnel, as I filled one, then two, then three, than four boxes of Kim's pants and tops.  Each one had a story for me.  Each one a special memory.  Thankfully, Autumn has gone through Kim's things several times and we have about 3/4 of my dresser full of clothes for her.  Plus, there are many shirts she wears as night gowns!  And, so far, we have had Angie, Andrea, Janene, Kim, Amy, Betsey and Mary, choose some of Kim's things.  It is hard to express how much that means to me, to have them have some of Kimmy's clothes.  It brings comfort.  And I feel honored that they have them and that they mean something to them.
            Inside the 'tunnel', I felt a myopic effect and I hurried to complete the task...again, having that feeling from Mark Danielewski's book "House of Leaves", about the sentient house...I still have a lot of work to do, but not yet.  Not yet.

             I received the rough draft of Kimmy's Kitchen today!  93 pages, so far.  I dove into the proofing and editing phase of this adventure and made it through the entire book!  I realized that A.  I had forgotten a recipe for gnocchi, and B. I needed to tell the story of the 'nice pot', complete with photos.  Still hoping to have the completed cookbook by the first week of December!!

             Missed the Viro's brunch-a-thon photo from yesterday morning:

              Andrea was busy getting Italian Wedding soup from the buffet...

             As for this time last year, it appears that I did not send out an update on Kimba...but had a lot of 'thank you's' to send out...

"Hi Suzanne,

I wanted to say thank you for all of the wonderful food you sent to our family!! The casserole was well loved by all and we had plenty for the next day, too!! That was very thoughtful and generous of you. Kim is doing better today, and if some tests she has tomorrow go well, she may get to come home. It's been nearly one month and we are ready to have her back.

Thanks again for helping our family during this challenging time in our lives.

"Hi Monica,
I wanted to thank you for the delicious meatballs you sent home for us! We ate one tray and have the other two frozen for later. They were so good - that was so nice of you to cook for us again, we really appreciate it! Kim had a good day today, and, if all goes well on a couple of tests she will have done tomorrow, she may get to come home!! We sure miss her. She is so strong, and has gone through so much over the last month - she is amazing! Generous people like you have really given her inspiration to fight! Thank you again, Dave"
"Hi Suzanne,
Thank you for the card you sent our family and for setting up the Mass for my wife, Kim. That was very thoughtful of you! Kim had a good day today, and, if she does well on some tests tomorrow, may be able to come home. She has been at St. Joseph's for nearly one month and we sure miss her. If she is doing well enough, I will try to attend the Mass on Sunday.
As Kim was in the hospital, I was unable to clearly follow the election results...did you get a seat on the school board? Fortunately, Kim and I both mailed in our ballots, prior to Kim being hospitalized (two votes for you!).
Thanks again,

"Hi Dave
You are very welcome, although it was not much! I wish we could do more to help you guys, but know that Kim and your family is always in our thoughts! I appreciate the updates you send and am glad to hear that she caught a few breaks today, receiving some good news! I know she is anxious to get home, so I hope it works out! We are only a few streets away, so Please do not hesitate to call if you need anything!! (Even if it is just a good street hockey game to take your mind off things:) I know a few hockey guys I will send over! take care and I hope to see you soon!

 Tara, Doug and boys,
Thank you so much for the beautiful card and the Bruegger's

Once again, the teachers at Cottonwood, where our pillar of strength!
"Hi Apryl, Casey and Patti - Would Wednesday work for Casey and Patti for a
homework session? If so, could you bring them by our home Patti,
afterwards? That has worked out so well for us AND especially for Tonio and
Autumn, to be able to keep up with their homework.
Apryl, thanks for your help with the Christmas project - whatever fabric
you choose will be great!
And if I cannot make Stone Soup day, and it works for you Casey, I know
Tonio would love to see his big sister there - if all goes well with Kim's
tests tomorrow, though, I should be able to make it.
Thanks for everything you guys have been doing for us!


> Dave,
> I just read your email and it sounds like today's news was an answer to
> your prayers-I'm glad that Kim had a good day and I will say extra prayers
> tonight that her lungs do cooperate so she can come home.
> Wednesday seems to be a good day to keep the kiddos after school-does this
> work for you? I have so enjoyed spending extra time with Antonio. He is an
> incredible little boy. He is truly such a loving, caring boy and
> definitely such a trooper. I'm so proud of how he has handled this whole
> situation.
> In regards to the "surprise project" that offer absolutely still stands-I
> would love to help out! Do you think Kim (and you!) would like Christmas
> themed fabric for this special present?
> One last thing and then I promise I'm done! For our Stone Soup day, if
> you can make it great. If not that's okay too-I was thinking that if you
> can't make it maybe I can ask Mrs. Rudzena if Autumn can come over and
> join Antonio for our special lunch. Just an option! I am also going to
> send home some Stone Soup and the book with Antonio so he can share it
> with Kim.
> Let me know if you need anything else this week. Kristine Impellizzeri and
> I are working on a special project for Kim this week! Can't wait to give
> it to her. It's just to remind her that she is so loved and supported! :)
> Have a good night,
> Apryl"
And our neighbors, too...
 "No Amy, I have not slept so well lately...luckily, thanks to all you have
done for us, I have had more time to research. Speaking of which, thanks
for packing the kids lunches!! Dave

> Dang Dave! Have you slept at all? Or are you researching constantly? I
> am glad that they will refer you to mayo if and when the time comes. I
> hope she comes home tomorrow! Goodnight and get some sleep!>
>> Thanks Amy, Kim has had several treatments of lasix (spelling?), which
>> is designed to remove fluid from around the lungs and the heart. Believe
>> me, I've looked into Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and really felt
>> they may be the best place for Kim. Then, I talked to Kim's surgeon
>> about alternatives (he feels Mayo Clinic has the advantage over CTCofA,
>> simply because they have a better pulmonary team).
>> Kim is sold on her oncologist, Dr. Taetle. If you google him, I'm
>> sure you will feel the same. He has had an excellent education, has
>> several patents for cancer treatment and is world renowned. Dr. Taetle
>> and Dr. Atkinson have assured me, that if they become 'baffled', they
>> will recommend Mayo. UMC is not an option. Although they have an
>> excellent cancer treatment facility, they would not measure up to Dr.
>> Taetle and their expertise is not in adenocarcinoma.
>> Don't feel like you are overstepping your bounds by wanting the best
>> for Kim! We value all you do and you are a very smart person, so we
>> value your input. I've done a lot of internet research, in fact, the
>> advice I most often get from survivors and Dr's, is to stay off of the
>> internet!
>> The x-rays and tests show that the nature of Kim's tumor is
>> deteriorating the artery that is feeding it. Additionally, the tumor is
>> cavatized, and the hollow interior has enlarged blood vessels that will
>> naturally weep. Factor in the blood thinners that are preventing life
>> threatening clots, and you have a delicate balancing act!
>> Kim had a better day today and hopefully gets a great nights rest and
>> has an even better day tomorrow!
>> Thanks again Amy, we appreciate you, your family and all that you
>> have done for us!!!
>> Dave
>>> Hey Dave,
>>> I am sure you have been doing your research. But I was reading about
>>> these alternate forms of treatment on Cancer Treatment Centers of
>>> America's website. Also, in the section about lung cancer it talks
>>> about treatment for fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion). Maybe
>>> this is also causing Kim's shortness of breath, etc... Have any of
>>> Kim's doctors mentioned this? I hope I am not over-stepping by asking
>>> or mentioning this. I just want Kimmy to get the best and get better.
>>> Amy"

     And, of course, Rose and Vito...

"Hi guys, Hope Rosa is feeling better! Kim had a better day today, and your cookies really cheered her up! We all enjoyed them today and managed to save some for tomorrow, despite eating way too many!! Again, providing us breakfast was so generous of you guys!! Kim's folks really enjoyed it - they had been asking if we could go there, they remember meeting you both last time they were here, which was 3 or 4 years ago. I bought a jar of the Baresi lupini beans you are carrying now for the kids. They are really good and I think the bean is a little larger than the Pastene brand!

Anyway, thanks again for all that you guys do, Dave"
You know I could go on and on with the thank you's...I often said "I'll never be able to repay you..."
The cool night air smelled so fresh as we spilled out onto the back patio, Cody lighting his Mother of Guadalupe candle as he left the brick to cross the grass to the Nitcho...deftly handing the lighter to Tonio, who expertly sparked his candle and gracefully hopped up the garden wall to place his St. Jude candle into the Nitcho (yes, Andrea and Janene, two months of use and the candle you got us for the Nitcho are going strong!)...the nightly ritual...the bambini do not go down easily without saying goodnight to their Mama...


Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Proverbial Wife

                We only had a month to go together...only we didn't know it.  Lord knows, that I did not want to believe it - and would not accept it...


Hello everyone,
Kim has now been at St. Joseph's for 3 weeks and 4 days...she had a sad day today, waking up anemic, which increases her difficulty breathing and increases her heart rate. Since entering the hospital on Oct. 19 for what she thought was routine gall bladder surgery, and finding she had adenocarcinoma tumors in her lung and her liver was affected, plus blood clots in the lungs and legs, she has had only one other sad day - she has been a rock. I helped her get cleaned up to help her feel better as we waited for the Dr's to make their rounds. Dr. Taetle, her oncologist, arrived first and ordered two more pints of blood and will have a chest x-ray taken tomorrow to see if anything else is going on that is impairing Kim's ability to breath (her oxygen was increased a little today to help things along). Dr. Bravo came to check on her and agreed she needed blood, and reiterated that this is what was causing Kim's lack of strength, as well as, the increased heart rate and forcing the lungs to work harder. He feels that the tumor in the lung is also contributing to the difficulty in breathing, and is hoping the x-ray will show that the bleeding has stopped in her lung around the tumor area. Once Kim received both pints of blood (last pint finished around 7 p.m.), she told me she felt much better. But, she still became exhausted and winded just getting to the restroom and back.

The bambini's had a fun day with Grammie and Grandpa Jim...I had left for the hospital around 7, so they fed the kids breakfast and came down to the hospital around 10:30. They left at 1 and went to Mama's for pizza and then shopping at Target. Then an afternoon of video games and Yahtzee! with some great dinner supplied by Suzanne Logsdon, a teacher who works with Kim at Rincon Vista (and thanks to Angie and Andrea for bringing me by fish tacos at the hospital and for lifting me up!!). Tomorrow, I'll take them by Viro's for breakfast and then to see Kim.

Father Harry stopped by later in the evening to pray with us and talk to Kim, providing her comfort (Thanks for calling him again for us Janene!!).We know that she will be stronger tomorrow and feeling better - and, we pray that her x-ray provides some answers and some good news for Kim, who really needs a break right now. Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers - we gain so much inspiration and strength from you all!

                            My sister, Sherri,  graciously sent Kim a t-shirt  with a verse that helps:

"Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness..." Psalm 112:4
           And there are fireflies on it...Kimba's newest nickname...

Love, Dave"
             By this time, I don't know whether I'm coming or going...I just want to help Kim.  To give her comfort.  To save her.  And on the other hand, I know that the bambini need me badly - their eyes...look so lost, and they want their hugs to last forever...
              It was appropriate that the day dawned with a gentle rain, on this, 11 months since Kim passed.  The temperature was mild, and we all wore short sleeves to church this morning - seeing a rainbow, reaching across the desert, along the way...Kim loved a day like today.
              As I walked the bambini through the courtyard at Our Mother of Sorrows, to take them to class, a figure stood in the center holding her umbrella - "Look kids, it's Mary Poppins."  I told them and got the laughter I was fishing for - the raincoat Laura, religious education director, wore was a perfect fit for the character.  She is so nice.  She typically greets everyone in the courtyard on a Sunday, gets us all in a huge circle and says a morning prayer.  Today, she stoically stood in a puddle making sure everyone knew where they were going...
             Cody and I met Andrea and Lupe in church...Monsignor Tom read from Proverbs today:

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
       One of those moments where I felt someone was trying to speak to me...
       Mass was good...followed by a great breakfast at Viro's with Andrea and the girls.  Lexy and Breanna came back to our house, to be joined by our neighbors Hadley, Mitchell,Alex and later, Janene's son, Brendon.  I made Janene's recipe for chicken strips for dinner and Lexy, Breanna and Brendon stayed with us to watch movies.
        It was a great day to keep on the top of all of the good memories, and not have a chance to get swept under by the cloudy weather...Thanks for carrying me today.
PS Today is the feast day of St. Francesca Cabrini, also known as, Mother Cabrini.  She came here from Italy in 1889 and helped many immigrants establish themselves in the U.S.  She was the first U.S. citizen to be canonized by the Catholic church.
      There is a shrine to Mother Cabrini just west of Denver on Rt 70.  It has a beautiful little chapel at the base of 300 steps and a gigantic statue of Jesus at the top.  Kim and I once ran those steps back in the day (1990)...I tried to run them back in '07, during a snow storm and blistering winds...I did make it to the top, but it wasn't pretty...