Friday, July 30, 2010

As promised, here is the schedule for Ken's visitation service. We're still working on the planning of the memorial tribute, and we'll keep you informed via upcoming posts, very soon.

Visitation Service:

Family will receive friends from 4:00pm - 7:00pm, on Sunday, August 1st, 2010, at Kirlin-Egan & Butler Funderal Home at 900 South 6th Street, Springfield, IL.

Kenny will be laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery in Mt. Olive, IL.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, 500 Huntsman Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To Ken's dear friends,

We should know by tomorrow afternoon, (which would be Thursday, 7/29/2010), of the dates and times for Ken's visitation services and his memorial service. We are planning something very special. In the meantime, we are asking anyone and everyone who has a kind rememberance or funny story about Kenny to let us know, as we are hoping to have a tribute event, where everyone can get up and share their story with the rest of us. Feel free to leave a comment on this blog, if you have a story that you'd like to take the time to write and share with all of us, right away, and/or give me a call, and we can chat about Ken's tribute event. My cell phone number is 608-358-4418.

Ken put up such a great fight, but we suspect that the cancer had spread to his brain, as things were just starting to fail. He was tired, and he was ready to let go. We are grateful for the time we had with Ken, over the last seven months, to say our "I love you's", and our "I'm sorry's", and to help him put things in order as best they could be put, before he moved on to that great motorcycle shop in the sky. As Ken's brother Mike put it today, we know that all of the Harley's in heaven will be running a lot better, now!

More tomorrow,
To all of Ken's dear friends,

Our Kenny passed away this morning. The fight was just too much, and he was ready. He went peacefully, with Mike and I at his side, holding his hand.

The entire night before, Kenny was sleeping peacefully, as I kept the vigil through the night. And, there was a very curious occurrence: the fluorescent light in his room kept going on and off, all by itself. Around 11:00pm, I summoned the hospital maintenance man on-duty, and with the lights off, talking in whispers, (so that we wouldn't wake Kenny), I held the flashlight as the maintenance man removed the light switch cover and then disconnected the wires that fed the power to the light. That should have done it, right? Well, ten minutes later, the light started going on and off again. So, I summoned the maintenance man again, and he couldn't figure out what was going on! ... Once again, we were working in the dark, whispering, as I held the flashlight, and the maintenance man removed the light bulbs from the fixture. How weird is that???

Inga and Ken's sister Gina said that the same thing was happening earlier the day prior. And, the light only did this when Ken was asleep. Psychic spiritual energy??? We believe it was...

Inga and Ken's family are making arrangements and getting everything figured out, and we will let you all know what is happening, as soon as we can.

Love to you all,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hello again, to all of Ken's cherished friends who are checking in on him, via this blog. It's amazing and heartwarming to know that you're out there, reading, and to see the hit-counts on the site!

In short, it's now time for Ken to take a breather! It's been a rough seven months. So, Ken's taking a break, and that means no chemo and no radiation. Instead, Ken will be taking time to relax, to heal, to gain back some weight, and to get to feeling a little better and little stronger, before he jumps back into the fight.

Ken's due for his third monthly treatment of Zometa, which is the osteo drug that rebuilds the bone, kills the cancer that is in the bone, and shuts out any new cancer cells from getting into the bone. Amazing, huh? With the cancer having spread to Ken's spine and pelvis, these treatments of Zometa are very important. I'm hoping that, after three consecutive months of treatment, we'll see an improvement in the bone mass, and a reduction in the amount of cancer, in the next scans.

The good news is that Ken hasn't thrown up for over a week. This is really wonderful! And, his blood counts are holding strong. The only bad news is that the chemo treatments, over the last few months, didn't kill the esophageal tumors the way that Ken's oncologist hoped that they would. So, when Ken is stronger, the plan is to try a different chemo-cocktail, and go after those esophageal tumors, again.

So, here's the current plan:
Get stronger
Gain weight
Back off on the pain meds (cuz he's gettin' a little loopy)
Have another Zometa treatment
And then, decide on the next steps, in a couple of weeks, or so.

Thank you, so much, to one and all, for your sincerely concerned inquiries and your kind support. It means a lot to Ken. He wishes that he felt better and stronger, so that he could take calls and visits. Though just not yet, we're hoping he will be able, soon. All of you, who watch this blog, will probably be the first to hear of it, when it happens!

Love and thanks,
Laura (Ken's sister)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hi everybody!

Just a quick update here, from sister Laura, as Inga is swamped, working and taking care of Ken, and last week was a very busy week.

A week ago, today, Inga came home from work to find Ken throwing up blood. So, one ambulance ride back to the hospital, and four units of blood later, (as his blood test showed that his blood count was down to 1/2 of a normal level), Ken was admitted to the hospital, and stayed for an entire week.

First, a scope of Ken's stomach revealed a bleeding ulcer, 2 cm x 4 cm. (That's a pretty big ulcer.) He is now on liquid Nexium, which will assist in the healing and will prevent any future ulcers.

Second, Ken's J-tube had coiled itself up in/against his stomach, (the J-tube is the one that goes directly into the intestine, after the stomach, whereas a G-tube is the one that goes directly into the stomach), which is the reason his liquid feedings had become so uncomfortable. So, they replaced the J-tube.

Third, due to Ken's ongoing shoulder pain, they did an MRI of his spine, again, to check for any spinal compressions, (since the esophageal cancer had spread to the spine, this is a concern), but all was OK. They attribute the pain to the start of arthritis and lack of activity, in general, causing loss of muscle mass.

Fourth, they did an echo-cardiogram, to check for fluid around the heart, and there was none. (This was a concern, due to the fluid that had accumulated around one of Ken's lungs, about a month ago, which was drained, and has since remained clear.) So, that was good news, too.

Fifth, the radiation treatments on the spine, (the fourteen (14) treatments that had started on July 6th), continued during his stay in the hospital, and, as of today, July 12th, he has nine (9) more to go. The rest of this week, (till Friday), and then Monday through Friday of next week.

The really good news is that Ken's blood is holding its own, rebuilding itself, and the counts are not dropping. Since stopping the internal bleeding of the stomach ulcer, he's doing really well. He was eating solid foods again, and getting some good color back!

That's all I can tell you, for now. I'm heading back down for a visit this weekend, and I'll have more to share, after that visit. And, I bet we'll probably get a post from Inga very soon, too.

Thanks for checking in, and for keeping Ken in your prayers.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Hi everyone.

Since my last posting, Ken has had two chest x-rays which have shown no new fluid. They are checking that, once a week. Ken starts radiation tomorrow, on his spine, (where the cancer had also spread), which will hopefully ease his back pain.

We had a bit of a scare, about a week and a half ago, when Ken's blood levels got too low. He received a blood transfusion, which did make him feel better, but not enough to make him want to go out and mow the lawn!

I suspected that Ken's levels had dropped again this weekend, when he was feeling bad enough to go to the hospital via ambulance. However, it was only dehydration. He was ready to go home after only twenty minutes.

Ken has gained five pounds! Five more, and we'll start discussing when to start the additional chemo treatments that Ken's oncologist has recommended. Thank you all, for complying with his wishes for no visitors; visits even with close family take such a toll on him. He thinks of you all, and says not to worry, he'll see you again, soon. As hard as all of this has been on him, he still wants to keep fighting. His attitude isn't always the best, but his perseverance seldom wavers.

I hope you all had a good 4th. I'll get back to you as soon as I am able.

Love to all.