The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Half Way There!

Radiation and chemotherapy are already half way over! Yippee! My mom is looking forward to this first round's completion, as she will then be able to return home to California! There is a big bell for patients to ring when they complete their last radiation treatment, and we are looking forward to that moment on Feb. 15th!

The following day, we will be on a plane bound for Sacramento. We booked our flights and are looking forward to bringing Grandma Lorraine home. Being the organized person my mom is, she is getting all her "ducks in a row." We have appointments with doctors and financial planners to get all her affairs in order when we get back to Red Bluff.

She also has an appointment at the funeral home, as she wants to pay off all the expenses for the funeral, casket, etc...she even asked the funeral director if they could help us put together a DVD of photos and music for her "Celebration of Life Luau." If she pays for everything now, we hope they would let us use this one service ahead of time.

I often stop and realize we are discussing every detail that will surround her death, and her wishes when that time comes. We don't know the time or day, but we do know she will be prepared to leave this earth with everything in order, and most of all, having shared all her thoughts with each of you at the Luau.

My mom looks good and acts so chipper all the time. Yet, when I saw her balding head today, or when I see that she is out of breath over a small task, those are the signs that all is not as it was a few months ago.

Cancer doesn't give you a day off. It doesn't give you a day where everything is back to how it once was. I suppose though that it doesn't have to. If we had that "day off" we wouldn't be discussing the many things we need to have ready and in place. If she had that day off, she might miss an opportunity to share how she feels about someone. Awareness over the finality of my mom's prognosis is leading her to cherish each day and live it fully. She leads her life like the Irish proverb: Dance as if no one were watching, Sing as it no one were listening, And live every day as it is were your last. Shouldn't we all?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

It was a dark and stormy night. The plane jumped and shimmied its way onto the runway. I arrived by the cover of darkness into Oakland, California. The rain came down in gusts, and my driver waited patiently circling the area. I was hidden under a long coat and hood, blending into the crowd, hoping no one would notice me, as my mystery visit had begun!

My driver, Paul, escorted me on the 30 minute drive through rain and traffic. We pulled into his driveway, and I ran inside hoping no one recognized the silhouette hidden under the coat. Inside, my presence would be known, so no secrecy would be necessary here. I received lots of hugs and hellos at my ‘safe house’ before the next leg of my journey. (Thank you DeClercq Family!)

Onto the covert mission…my driver leaves me at a mystery location. I watch my phone for the signal from my partner in crime (Thank you David!) that it is safe for me to enter…the time has come…I sneak inside and view a sea of faces…at last, the face I have flown 900 miles to see is before me…”HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLENE!”

Here are the Wileys! Ryan is on the left and he is 10 years old. Charlene sits beside him, (but I won't reveal her age!) and Megan, who is Ashlyn's BEST FRIEND in all the world is 6 years old. My partner in crime on this mission is Charlene's husband David, and we won't say his age either! hee hee

We enjoyed a wonderful surprise dinner at Hana Japan in Dublin! We loved watching our personal chef prepare all the food before us, and we got all caught up on the latest in our lives over dinner. I don't think Charlene and I ever took a was constant chit chatting and we enjoyed every minute of it together! Charlene and I have been best friends for years now, and when we see one another it is just like not a single day has passed! Talking , laughing, and of course lots of tears when we say, "goodbye" are now a part of our long distance friendship. Long distance or not, this friend will always be such a special part of my life!

David was a big help in arranging for me to fly in on my covert birthday mission! We were planing for months and scheming on how best to surprise Charlene! David had planned a whirlwind weekend for us girls that was full of fun!

David has a special place in our hearts for many reasons, but the best reason that Kyle will never forget took place many years ago. Kyle got his finger stuck in a plastic airplane. We had a 10 in. flying toy plane that had an opening just right for a small finger. Kyle managed to get his finger stuck in this whole when he was about 3 years old or so. It was around 10 p.m. and Tom was away that weekend. I couldn't get his little finger out, and didn't know what to do. Kyle was of course frantic, screaming and crying, and I had no idea to what to do. So I called our neighbors, hoping they wouldn't mind the intrusion so late at night, and guess who saved the day? David! He ever so patiently sawed away at the little wing on the plane, and 15 minutes later, Kyle was free! It didn't matter to David that it was 10 at night, but it sure mattered to us! His kindness helped Kyle and I during our evening of need and we will never forget it! :-)

Of course over the years, the Wiley's have been a BIG part of our lives. From family trips to Yosemite, Marine World..(there is a good story for another time!) to bringing us dinners when we sick, to hospital visits, carpooling, and caring for kids, they are there in ANY time of need. It's funny how some people are just "there" when you need them, before you can even ask. They show up ready to serve, help, and care, and the Wiley's are one of those families!

Our kids grew up together being next door neighbors for 9 years, and we have such fond memories of the boys climbing their log cabin houses to see one another over the fence! Charlene and I shared recipes over the fence, cups of sugar, and plenty of chit chatting! Our husbands shared tools, discussed BBQ tips, and we all enjoyed those years in our lives as neighbors! As our little daughers grew up, they too became the closest of friends! I know not having Megan in Ashlyn's daily life, has been one of the hardest parts of moving to a new state. I know it has one been one of the hardest for me!

I am determined not to let this family ever get away I see many more visits and surprise trips in our future! It is so nice to make new friends, but there is nothing like seeing a face that has been etched in your memory for years. What a wonderful weekend I had with the Wiley's, celebrating Charlene, and spending time together!!!

Megan showing me her fun Christmas toys so I could take lots of picutres to show Ashlyn when I returned home. Ashlyn was so upset she couldn't come with me on this trip, but I got lots of hugs from Megan to take back to her! The Wiley's children are just as sweet in person as they look here!

Ryan playing the clarinet for me during our 'sleep-over' on Sat. night! You played beautifully Ryan and I hope you will make a tape for me as you sounded so professional!

Thank you again for such a wonderful weekend! BIG thanks for allowing me to stay over, and for treating me like I were royalty in your home! I had a fantastic time...and will be planning my return...who knows the day or the time that Denise will show up on your doorstep... :-)

Thank you DeClercq Family!

Here she is...the amazing, the talented, the wonderful Laura DeClercq!!!! Laura and her husband Paul, helped me pull off my birthday mission this weekend! Paul was my chauffeur, and escort from the airport to our birthday surprise. The DeClercqs invited me to stay with them, and I had such a "spa resort" experience at their home! BIG thanks to Patrick for giving up his room for me! I slept wonderfully and enjoyed all the dolphins in your bathroom!

Laura graciously took me shopping on Saturday morning to hit all the stores I love that we don't have in Colorado. I got all caught up on my favorite shops, filling an entire empty suitcase with special finds! :-) We enjoyed a lovely lunch out at the Nordstrom Cafe and ran into our friend Mary Larsen while we were there! You can see Mary in the photo below. Her husband was Kyle's CYO basketball coach a few years ago!

Thank you Mary for giving up your afternoon to spend time with me at lunch! I have missed you, but have SO appreciated all your uplifting e-mails and encouragement for me during my mom's illness!
Again, BIG THANKS to Paul, Laura, Patrick, and Parker for all your help this weekend! Laura has been a friend for many years now, and is one of those gals who would give you the sweater off her back if you asked. She has taken care of our kids, had them both for sleepovers, and would do anything for me at a moment's notice. These are just some of the reasons I love her so much!

Thank you Laura for hosting me this weekend! I miss you already!

Dublin Darlings

Here are two special ladies I was fortuante enough to see on my trip! Judy is on the left and we worked together at St. Ryamond School during the years I had her two sons in my 3rd grade class! Judy was also instrumental in getting us into our home in Dublin on Santo Court. She was a huge help and a wonderful neighbor inviting me over for girl talks, shopping and jewelry making, and the most relaxing of tub soaking with strawberry daiquiris! :-)

Sofia is on the right and this is her home where the picture was taken. Sofia took care of Kyle for me when he was an infant...ALL day, every day during my last semester teaching 3rd grade. I was so torn leaving my little baby each day to go to work, but Sofia took such excellent care of him that I had peace of mind he was in the best hands! At the end of the semester I decided to leave my job to take care of Kyle, and Sofia moved back to the east coast. I cried for days when she left! BUT, she moved back, and became a big part of our lives again watching our kiddos, helping with parties and First Communion party planning! She helped decorate our home when we moved in, as well as helped us stage it and prepare it for sale when we moved! She is a very talented decorator, so if you live in the Dublin area, I can set you up with her!

These two friends are keepers, and it was wonderful to catch up on each other lives once again!! Thank you Judy and Sofia!!! :-)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Grandma's Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park

Grandma Lorraine, Kyle, Ashlyn and I (Tom) took a short drive to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park today. We enjoyed burgers, freshly made taffy and views of the famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, and then took in the wildlife and spectacular views in RMNP. I hope you enjoy the posting of pictures...minus Denise's clever writing. (FYI - We just talked to Denise and she is on her way home after a thoroughly enjoyable and well deserved break in California with all of her closest friends.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Live from California!

I told a little fib in the entry below. Actually it was a half truth, but it was truly for a good cause! Tom, my mom, and the kids will be in Estes Park this weekend, but I will not because I am writing to you live from my friend Charlene Wiley's home! I had planned this surprise birthday visit a few months ago with Charlene's husband. After my mom's diagnosis, I wasn't sure if it would still happen. My mom has been doing so well that her and Tom insisted I go, so I did!

I arrived last night and have had a wonderful time staying over at my friend Laura's, celebrating Charlene, visiting with friends, shopping, and eating lots of good food! I will fill you in on all the details and post more pictures when I return, but for now we are off to a nice dinner at the Basil Leaf Cafe in Danville!

Here are all the ladies at Charlene's party this afternoon...Me, Diane, Laraine, Charlene, and Charlene's sister Jessie! Happy Birthday Charlene!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Play it again Ashlyn!

Here is our little pianist...Aunt Beth would be so proud...our discussion at the dinner table includes Italian words like, "Mezzo forte", "Cresscendo", and "Diminuendo" (apologies to our Italian speakers for any misspellings!) Ashlyn deligently practices daily, and has offically learned a very jazzy version of the ever popular, "Hot Cross Buns!"

For all my mom's loyal readers, she is doing well today! We spent 3 hours at the eye doctors figuring out how best to improve her vision. The tumor affected her entire right side field of vision so when she writes letters, her writing goes off the page. When walking she bumps into doors, etc...This will probably get worse in time, but she wanted to get fitted for new glasses to help the remaining vision she has.

We got her wig ordered today as well. Many people were asking about her full head of hair despite brain surgery, chemo, and radiation. Just as predicted, at the end of the 2nd week of treatment, her hair is falling out. Since she never really lost all her hair 20 years ago when she underwent chemo, she is hoping this time will be similar. Just in case, the caps and hats are ready to go, and the wig is on it's way!

Her doctors continue to be pleased with her attitude and progress. She never feels sorry for herself in anyway, but wants to live life fully everyday. I don't think I can keep up with her! She makes friends with everyone she meets, and has signed herself up for Stamp Camp, water exercise, a Mardi Gras dinner, etc...I keep trying to talk her into a nap!

We are taking her to Estes Park in Rocky Mountain National Park this weekend. We will rent a wheel chair so we can push her along to see all the sights. She is thrilled, and can't wait to see something other than Longmont and all the doctors offices!

Hmmm, I wonder what is keeping her on the go and fueling her desire to fill her days with busy activities...perhaps it is Ashlyn's piano playing? Nah, Ashlyn plays wonderfully, but after the 20th time hearing Hot Cross Buns, it would be impossible for anyone to take a nap! :-)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My new "sister" :-)

I have always been an only child; despite wishing on stars for a sibling and pleading for years to my parents for a brother or sister. I continued to beg and plead my only-child-woes up until I was 18 years old! I honestly didn't give up until I had children of my own! Well, today my sister in law uttered a phrase I have never heard in my entire 41 years.

I was feeling overwhelmed with my mom's care, party plans for the big luau, and just trying to juggle motherhood and my new role as caregiver. In the midst of personal chaos, I asked my sister in law Cindy for help with all the numerous details required to throw the "Celebration of Life Luau" for my mom. I so want it to be everything she desires, but was feeling lost trying to plan it all from 900 miles away.

Cindy graciously accepted this BIG job, (with the awesome assistance of my mom's friends' Annette, Sherry, and Beverly...thank you ALL!) What just brought me to tears was when I thanked Cindy for all her help and time. I couldn't think of what I could possibley do to repay her for such a big undertaking, and she said to me, "You don't have to Denise, this is what 'sisters' are for!"

She told me when my dad died to think of her like a sister. She told me to lean on her like a sister on Christmas Eve at my mom's diagnosis. I always appreciated this offering, but perhaps never took this gift to heart. Today, in my moment of weakness needing a huge helping hand, Cindy told me again to think of her like a sister, and for the first time...I did.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The cat who took a bubble bath!

It was all lined up to the be perfect relaxing evening. A kind family brought dinner for us, the dishes were done, the kids had their homework finished, and everyone was watching TV. Hmmm...I think I will plan my escape to a nice warm bubble bath hoping no one will notice my absence! hee hee

Moments later, our curious cat Raspberry, decides he would like to join me. He walks gingerly around the tub, reaching in with his paw to scoop up bubbles and eat them (yuck!) I shoo him away knowing cats and water are not a good mix. He is persistent and insists on perching on the ledge pawing at the bubbles.

In the blink of an eye, his back paws slip, and splash goes the cat into the bathtub! His entire body is immersed except for his head! I try to get him out, and he proceeds to scratch my feet and arms in the process! The drenched cat runs off in a wet frenzy dripping bubbles and water down the stairs. Tom rushes in afraid I have fallen. The kids are laughing hysterically, my feet are bleeding, the cat is in a panic...

Did I mention that this was my peaceful escape for the evening?!? Ü

Wacky Wednesday

Another busy day awaits Lorraine and Denise....would you like a glimpse into our day? Beginning at 8:30 a.m. my mom's physical therapist, Affie, came by to work with my mom on various exercises. My mom needs me to stand by and understand the expectations so I can assist her in arm, leg, and strengthening exercises. We will be adding out patient occupational therapy to this mix next week. The home health nurse will come by around 10:00 a.m. to assess my mom and check blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, review meds, side affects, etc....At 10:30 we leave for her daily radiation treatment at 11:00 a.m. and meet with the radiation oncologist. Then at 11:30 a.m. my mom has a half hour massage scheduled in the cancer center. At 1 p.m. the nurses aide comes to help with showering, (I think today will be the last day of that service though as my mom is doing so well!)

We have a piano tuner coming today after the aide, a handy man to put in a safety rail in the garage, and Ashlyn has piano lessons at 5 p.m. The early shift begins before the 8:30 a.m. appointment starting at 5:30 a.m. getting laundry done, packing snacks, preparing breakfast, stuffing backpacks, and getting kids ready for school...Kyle needs to be up and dressed by 6:45 a.m. and Ashlyn needs to be ready by 8:15 a.m. I organize all all my mom's medications, and run errands for her during the day inbetween appointments. Kyle has guitar lessons once a week, we have Brownies once a week, and the piano teacher requires that a parent who knows how to play, (me) sit with Ashlyn for 20 min. required practice sessions daily. Of course homework, housework, phone calls and luau party plans fill in this time too. This is all very busy, or at least it seems so to me!

I dare not complain though, as we are so grateful to have my mom feeling strong and well during this initial phase of her treatments. I don't want to wish away the busyness, as this busyness means we have a thriving household filled with life. My mom's life is something I never want to take for granted, nor do I want to ever take for granted the generosity and friendship of each one of you! Thanks for all your support each day. It truly brings us more strength than you can imagine! Enjoy today, and live well!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Making Valentines with Grandma

My mom decided that today was a good day for her to work with Ashlyn on creating her annual valentines! Sure it's a little early, but who says you can't make valentines in January? Grandma and granddaughter sat for 2 hours; stamping, coloring, cutting, folding, and tying ribbons on valentines for Ashlyn's class and Brownie troop.
My mom had a full day with chemo, radiation, visiting the oncologist, and a physical therapy home visit. She was probably tired, and probably needed a nap. She doesn't let that stop her though from missing any "quality time" with the kids. Right now, she knows that this will be the best of times with her health, and she is not missing a single moment making memories with her grandchildren.
I realize how much my mom can teach me about both living and dying. Joy in the simple moments, joy in the act of creating memories, and joy in just living, is enough.

Grandma's First Day in the Snow

We awoke this morning to a few inches of snow and it is still softly falling! When we moved from California we weren't sure how we would do living with snow, but now we can't get enough! Each day we hope it will snow and are disappointed when it doesn't!

The kids are off from school today, and my mom has 3 appointments this morning through early afternoon. Since I can't leave the kids alone, and children in an oncology department where patients can't be exposed to germs are not a good mix, we have a helper for my mom this morning. Her "caregiver" today is a nice gal named, Stephanie, who will take my mom to all her appointments. The hospital has a neat organization they recommended where "caregivers" come to your home and will assist with everything from driving on errands, to self care, to helping with cooking and even scrapbooking! The photo is of Stephanie and my mom out in the snow on their way out to appointments. I shoveled the driveway and the sidewalk this morning in hope of lessening my mom's risk of falling on the ice. She is armed with hiking boots, gloves, and a sturdy helper!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Paper airplanes and spit balls!

All right...Grandma is officially the kids favorite person! Ashlyn's teacher Mrs. Boeke, sent home a few extra readers so Grandma could work with Ashlyn. My mom loves to teach, and since Ashlyn is an eager learner, they are a perfect match! Today they worked on a story from the 3rd grade reader called, "Miss Nelson is Missing." They worked on reading skills, comprehension, etc...then Grandma livened up the lesson by teaching the kids the ultimate classroom to make spit balls and paper airplanes! What a sight to see, the kids and Grandma wadding up balls of paper ready to launch in a straw. Send your kids over...Grandma truly makes stories come alive, and you won't get sent to the principal's office either! :-)

You're happy over a washing machine?

I admit it, I get a thrill over household conveniences. As someone who loves a clean house, and "everything in it's place" I was ecstatic over the "Roomba" Tom got for me for Christmas which is a robot vacuum cleaner! I can sit on the sofa while my new friend Roomba slaves over vacuuming carpets! Hooray!

My poor clothes dryer had died and been resurrected once before, but now it has been taking two 60 min. cycles to dry a load of clothes. My mom noticed this and how our washing machine makes an obnoxious banging noise when the clothes are unbalanced in the drum. Things like this one just tends to live with, until the machine finally dies and has no hope of repair. Not my mother mom does not let any grass grow under her feet as you know! So, she sent us on our way to purchase a new washer an dryer set. "Why wait Denise?" she happily said, "You should make your life easier any chance you can!"

So, we took her advice and now I have a new High Efficiency washer and dryer duo. Did you know that it only takes 2 tbls. of detergent to clean a full load of wash which will hold 23 towels? Who would have known? I am now thrilled to do laundry, and will happily do laundry for any of our readers...I can wash your clothes and ours in a single load! A homemakers bliss!

Back Buddies

Our Chihuahuas Roscoe and Tara Belle are true lap dogs, and as you can see here, they accept a flat back to lay on too!

The new "Blogger" Grandma Lorraine!

Hello from Lorraine! I've been trying to post a blog entry, and have lost the past two entries in cyber-space. Third time will be “charmed” I know! We lost everything, (Harry’s own words when the electrical system went dead on a 4th of July flight!) At any rate, my blog entry today deals with food and pampering.

Today I got a hair cut and that felt awesome. So far no hair loss, but it will be happening. When I was on chemo before, my hair really thinned out, but I never wore my wig. This time I definitely will because my head really gets cold here. Annette, thanks for sending the hats and Lisa thanks for the scarves. Both are appreciated. Back to beauty treatments—now I’ve had my pedicure, nails, a massage, hair cut, brows done, and I feel like a new woman!

Barb, thank you so much for your offer to make the cake for the luau! You don’t know how special that makes me feel. Speaking of food, thanks Beth for the prune cake on my birthday! I loved it, and now that it was on the blog it has gotten notoriety! I shared a piece with my radiation nurses (one that had it before and loved it) and Collette, your hand dipped chocolate covered prunes also were a hit. I had my friend Annette send me the ones I got at the boutique and took some for the gals to try. They loved them.

To my stampin buddies, I wanted to pass on to you that I met a gal who does Stamin' Up. Many thanks Michelle for the nice dinner, and also the set of thank you notes. Michelle’s friends are having a stamp camp on Feb. 2nd and I want to sign up! Looking forward to more ideas. She also does Creative Memories and will be a great resource since Annette and Sheri sent all my supplies. Now I have all my "stuff" to work on my Japan album! Love you guys! My Women’s Guild is having a Mass said for me at Sacred Heart Church on Feb 2nd and Denise and I will go to Mass here at 5 pm. The church is having a Mardi Gras dinner that night as well. It will be a fun filled day. I appreciate all your thoughts, prayers, notes, cards, blog comments, phone calls, e-mails, etc... and am looking forward to seeing all of you on Feb. 24th!

Aloha, Lorraine

Friday, January 18, 2008

The cat's retreat!

The cat has finally had enough...we found him huddled in this space above the kitchen cabinets! No more barking dogs, screaming kids, ringing doorbells, doors knocking, therapists talking, or clanging canes...the cat will just hide out up here! Hmmm...I wonder if I will need to call the fire department to get him down? :-)

A message from Lorraine!

Greeetings and Aloha from Lorraine attempting to join in on the BLOG. I’m so fascinated with this concept and am grateful that Denise had it all in place before all this with my health came down. I feel so blessed hearing from so many of you and keeping up with everything through this technology. My 67th birthday on January 15th was awesome and it was wonderful getting all your e-mails,phone calls, flowers, thoughts, prayers, and incredible birthday cards (there were close to 40 cards and they ALL came on the 15th!) I feel so loved and so appreciate each and every one of you. Denise and family really spoiled me on my day beginning with having the upstairs area all decorated. They even had a boa for me to wear, OOH LA LA! I’m sure you saw that on the BLOG. Denise prepared a delicious meal (Grandma Johnson's Sausage Rice Casserole with a JELLO salad and Hawaiian sweet rolls. Some ono! (Hawaiian for good food!)

You should see my space—I have the basement all to myself with all the amenities and I’ve taken over! I am one busy lady and you should see our Daily Planner. I’m getting Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy. Of course that makes Denise even busier taking on all these roles. Isn’t she amazing, wonderful? --she’s THE BEST! I love you Denise..She is juggling so many schedules and one hard thing is that every time you check something off there are 3-4 more things to do. You should see the area she has set up for my medications (about 2 ft across for all the containers and times, and that’s just between 6 pm and 11pm. We go to the Hope Cancer Center for radiation 5 days a week too. I must go for now, but I will stay in touch!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Luau Date and Time

Hello everyone!

I wanted to let you know that we have a new date and location for my mom's "Celebration of Life Luau." It will be held on Sun. Feb. 24th from 12-3 p.m. at Sacred Heart Parish Hall in Red Bluff. Feel free to stop by for a few minutes or for the afternoon! We will have lots of good food, music, and celebrating! I know my mom is most looking forward to "visiting with every single person there!" As she reminds me, so many people come to your funeral, but the person being honored never gets to enjoy the company of all those attending. This is my mom's chance to see everyone, and have that opportunity to catch up and spend time together!

Today was another busy day from start to finish. After getting the kids off to school, the home health nurse came by for a half hour visit to check on my mom's vitals and assess her progress at home. We scooted off to radiation, in 12 degree weather and used our handicap sticker for the first time. This was a huge help with my mom's mobility and to get inside the building faster with the cold! Afterwards we went to the medical supply store as my mom has graduated to a regular cane vs. the big awkward quad cane. Off to lunch, the bank, and then a visit from the nurse's aide in the afternoon to assist with several life skills. My mom is busy doing her physical therapy exercises, and getting stronger each day in preparation for her return to California!

Tonight the local grocery store is making a home delivery, and Kyle has guitar lessons. Yesterday Ashlyn had her first piano lesson, and was so thrilled to begin! The instructor was terrific, and Ashlyn is ready for this intellectual challenge having already practiced 3 times since the first lesson!

Tomorrow, someone from the local Catholic church is stopping by in the a.m. to visit with my mom and give her communion. Immediately afterwards she has a 45 min. physical therapy session, radiation, and then occupational therapy. Busy, busy...thank goodness she still has the energy to keep up this schedule...I am the one who is tired! hee hee We will be seeing the oncologist weekly, as well as all the therapists and aides. We have been so pleased with the care she is receiving, and truly feel that everyone involved in her journey has been instrumental in how well she is doing. As you can see from the pictures, my mom does not look like someone who is battling such a serious prognosis. She truly lives each day fully, and does not worry about the future. She has certainly taught me a lot about handling adverse situations with grace and dignity. What a woman! :-)

We hope you are all well, and living life fully! Treat yourself to a nice healthy fruit filled mom will be glad to hear you did!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happiness is a Home Pedicure!

Here is my mom and Rose, a very kind gal who makes house calls to those with a terminal diagnosis. My mom is thoroughly enjoying her spa pedicure, complete with lots of polish choices! Rose even brings in special healing items that enables patients to enjoy a truly therapeutic experience. I never knew such services were offered. What a great community we live in!

Girl Scout Cookies

Thank you Sheri, Sally, Aunt Beth, Annette, Beverly, and Jim for your cookie orders! We haven't been able to take Ashlyn around the neighborhood yet, so your orders were a huge help! She has sold 19 boxes, and the first prize, (a patch for her vest) starts at 34 boxes, so we will get busy this weekend! :-) If you would still be interested in buying a box, (they are $3.25 each) let us know and we will happily take care of your order and deliver them to you in February. The troop gets to keep .45$ per box, and at the last meeting the girls all voted on how the money should be spent. I hate to brag, (but maybe just this once!) I was happy to hear that Ashlyn was the one child who voted on giving the earned money to the poor, rather than spending it on something frivolous. We'll see what the troop decides, and I will keep you posted. Again, thank you so much for supporting Ashlyn in her first year selling cookies. You can be assured she will make certain your cookie money is used wisely! Ü Thanks!

Many Thanks!

Thank you so much for all the lovely birthday wishes my mom received yesterday! We were amazed that 38 birthday cards arrived in the mail yesterday! She had at least 12 phone calls too, so we told her that surely is a sign of how well loved she is!

It was a good day yesterday, but very busy! We started the morning with a visit from the home health nurse, then on to radiation, a home assessment from a care agency, a visit from the nurse's aide who helps with bathing, and several fun visits from florists! (Thank you so much Susie, Suzie, David & Fernie, Sylvia & Jerry for the beautiful flower arrangements!) We also squeezed in a visit to DMV for a handicap parking sticker, and a trip to "Inta Juice" where my mom enjoyed a mango, pineapple, peach, and passion fruit smoothie!

In the afternoon, her special delivery from, "Beth's Bakery" arrived! The prune cake was absolutely delicious, which refutes all the comments about how a prune cake sounded so dreadful! If you need a good recipe, Beth is our go-to-gal as her cake was fantastic! She barely knows us, yet she and her children graciously baked this cake for my mom. Your kindness Beth will never be forgotten!!!

My mom had fun opening her presents, one of which was a big photo that her dear friend Georgia blew up onto a big board. It was a picture of "The Three Thirds", which were the three 3rd grade teachers at North Whittier School in 1973! The picture was taken on Halloween with everyone in costume. My mom is the one in the middle. Georgia, or Miss Temme as I knew her, was my 3rd grade teacher! My year in her class, was the most magical wonderful year of all my years in education! Miss Temme was my inspiration for wanting to teach, and my mom was the role model growing up, of what dedicated teachers do year long for their students!

Thank you to Aunt Beth for the gorgeous Fruits of the Spirit bracelet! My mom said that every person she saw in the Cancer Center today commented on it!

The birthday celebration continued today with a relaxing massage at the Hope Cancer Care Center where patients can receive complimentary 30 min. massages after their treatments. We also found a kind beauty operator who makes house calls, and will come to give my mom a pedicure today! She is thrilled, and is in such a good mood. My mom is embracing everyday, and isn't letting any grass grow under feet, except of course for a nap now and then!

Thank you again to each of you, who helped my mom celebrate this 67th birthday with such joy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Lorraine!

Today is my mom's 67th birthday! She was born in Maui, Hawaii on Jan. 15th, 1941. We are happy to have her celebrate her special day in Colorado with us! We have a "birthday boa" for her to wear, and she will have a special birthday surprise this afternoon! This morning a home health nurse is coming by, and then we will head back to the hospital for her radiation treatment. Afterwards another assessment therapist is coming by, so she will have a full day. I am making one of her favorite meals tonight, and Beth's Bakery will be making a special delivery as well! :-) (Thanks again Beth!) Happy Birthday Mom!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A message from 6 year old Ashlyn

Hi my name is Ashlyn, from the Brownie Girl Scouts, troop #710! I was wondering if you would you like to buy some tastey Girl Scout cookies, to support the Girl Scouts? These are the varieties of cookies we are selling in 2008:

Lemon Chalet Cremes...cinnamon ginger spice and lemon
Tagalongs...peanut butter and chocolate
Trefoils...shortbread cookies in a cracker style
Do-si-does...crunchy oatmeal cookies with peanut butter filling
Soamoas...vanilla, coconut, caramel and chocolate

I would suggest the "All-Abouts"...a vanilla cookie with rich fudge coating

Sugar free chocolate chip cookies which are just like a chocolate chip cookie, but sugar free with all it's taste.

Thin Mints...thin wafer of chocolate and peppermint

Each box is $3.25. You can pay me when we deliver the cookies, which will be delivered around Valentine's Day. Free shipping to California when we come back with Grandma Lorraine at the end of February!

Hope you enjoy the cookies!

But, if you do not care to order any cookies, and want to support the Girl Scouts, you can make a donation, and our troop will donate the cookies to our local food pantry. Thank you!

The Brownie Scout Ashlyn :-)

(As dictated word by word to Mom)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Beth's Bakery!

What generosity! The prune cake request has been filled! Thank you SO much to my new local friend Beth, who has generously offered to bake a prune cake for my mother, whom Beth has never met! I can't thank you enough Beth, for this very kind gift of time and love preparing a birthday cake for my mom! Thank you to another new friend Viki, who was researching bakeries in Lafayette for us, and for everyone's kind offers to mail us recipes! I am still in awe of the generosity of this community, for those who barely know us, yet continue to want to help. How can words express how truly thankful we are? I can only hope that one day we can repay this kindness to all of you! Thank you! :-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday at home!

We are home and so happy to not have to see the hospital today! My mom was stuck in a hospital bed or chair for 20 days, and today she is a free woman! Hooray! We have two days off from having to visit the hospital, so that will be a nice change of pace. On Monday, we will go back to the hospital for daily radiation treatments, and will return for weekly appointments with the oncologist, and 2-3 X a week appointments with various speech, physical, and occupational therapists. Of course you can't see each on the same day, so we will need to go back 2-3 X a week for each one! My car will have the route memorized. We won't complain though, as the hospital is only 10 min. from our home, so it is very convenient.

I am embarrassed to admit it, but with all the new developments here, we had not put our Christmas decorations away yet! Our entire formal living and dining rooms, where full of decor. Today, Tom got everything all nicely boxed, and the house is once again back to "normal." What a relief!

Last night we met two lovely Longmont ladies, and this mother/daughter duo prepared a delicious meal for us! I had been on the phone all afternoon, (literally!) with insurance companies, pharmacies, doctor's offices, their knock on the door was such a welcome sight! Thanks for such a nice visit Kathy and Sarah, and for the awesome meal! Your kindness will not be forgotten! Big thanks to the Christie Family who also generously sent us two Omaha Steaks meals! We will be covered on weekends with delicious meals now too! Thank you all for such generous gifts of heartwarming meals!

I am still navigating the medication schedule, but it will all fall into a routine I am sure. There are 11 different medications my mom needs to take and they are administered at these times...6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., dinner, and bedtime. Each one has a different instruction in regards to being taken with food or not. I bought a big pill organizer so I can make sure I don't get mixed up on when my mom needs each one. We joked that between the insurance companies, and the medications, I have a new full time job! HA

My mom is doing great and feeling well, although she is very tired. She was a real trooper today and played, "Barbies" with Ashlyn! She listened intently to all Ashlyn's stories, talking animals, and watched as Ashlyn gave her a tour of all the Christmas gifts Grandma missed watching her open. They had a nice morning, but then my mom had a good long nap before the home health nurse stopped by. Her heart rate continues to be high, and she has not regained her peripheral vision on the right side, so we need to be careful of what furniture is in that sight path. The chihuahuas are in heaven as the minute my mom reclines in her chair, two dogs are immediately curled up on her lap. I think both the dogs and my mom love it! The cat continues to be scared to death of the quad cane, but will now sit and study it as if it were prey to be attacked!

Thank you again for your kind e-mails, comments, and get well cards. These lift my mom's spirits immensely! Thank you Fred and Crystal Null for the gorgeous flowers today too! They're beautiful, and brought a huge smile to my mom's face, just as all of you do, when she hears of your messages! Thanks again for EVERYTHING!!!!!

Special Birthday Request :-)

Everyone has been so kind to ask if we had any special needs, and I actually do have a special request for anyone reading in the Longmont, CO area! My mom's birthday is on Tuesday, and her favorite kind of cake is prune. Does anyone know of a good bakery in town? I wanted to see if I could have a proper prune cake baked as the one I baked a few years ago for her was OK, but not terrific. We usually fall back on chocolate, which we all love, but I am really wanting to make this birthday one to remember for my mom. With such a serious diagnosis, we don't want to take one day for granted, so if prune cake is her wish, I so want to make it come true! :-) Let me know if any Longmont readers have bakery suggestions. Thanks!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

After 20 days of hospital living, she's home for good!

Here she is...enjoying her new chair, listening to Kyle play his guitar, and watching Ashlyn perform her many "tricks", all in the comfort of her new home-away-from home in Colorado!

Going, Going, Gone!!

Goodbye to the hospital!!! Goodbye needles, blood pressure cuffs, walkers, surgery centers, and hospital beds! Welcome home Mom to fresh food, comfortable sleeping, and family!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chemo is on...7 days a out cancer cells!

Hello everyone! Today's update begins with the doctor's meeting this a.m. After much discussion, my mom will stay status quo with the current treatment plan, with the exception of some much stronger anti-nausea medications. She will be discharged tomorrow, and we will happily take her home! It has been a long stretch since Dec. 23rd when she was last in our home. I know she will look forward to her new chair, and sleeping in a real bed again!

The rest of the day was busy as the hospital had many things I needed to accomplish today. From a quad cane walker, to bathroom adaptations, to medical supplies, I was driving all over town trying to to locate just the right item. The doctor sent me on my way with a long list of medications to obtain, and the chemotherapy drug was impossible to find. Pharmacies don't carry it, as the price tag is $7,000 a bottle! Can you imagine? After insurance company calls, faxes, several trips to different doctor offices, etc...we found a company that can mail it here in 3 days.

The hospital staff is still taking safety precautions to not be exposed to the drug, but the oncologist persuaded her that as long as our children do not handle it, they should not suffer any effects from being exposed to it in the air, touching her belongings, etc...I will still be careful, as their bodies are still growing, but this is the best medication to prolong my mom's life, and slow down the progression of the cancer cells multiplying.

Tomorrow is a new day, and hopefully we will fall into a nice routine, and she will have energy and strength to proceed forward with the treatment plan. We have 15 stair steps she will need to navigate in our home so they are working hard on building her strength to accomplish that goal. In time, a hospital bed may be required for the main floor, but for now, we hope the new chair, a warm fire, and beautiful views of Long's Peak from the big picture windows will be a welcome change from hospital rooms!

Thanks again for thinking of us, and leaving your kind comments. Since we are on our own here in a new state, it is nice to know so many friends are only a blog comment away!

BIG thanks to the Wiley Family for the generous gift of prepared "Omaha Steaks" meals! That will be a big help for my mom and us, on days when I am flustered, and the kids have all their activities and chaperoning needs! Thank You!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Grandma's New Chair

Hello everyone! Thanks for all your kind comments and concerns regarding today's news. I will be meeting with the doctors first thing in the morning, and we will review all the concerns and options for treatment plans. I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, we are still planning on my mom's homecoming on Friday! Our couch is very uncomfortable (it came with the house, so beggars can't be choosers!) We want my mom to be as comfortable as possible and have everything easily accessible. We found a neat recliner that has a chair lift and is remote control operated. With the push of a button, she can easily recline, or be lifted to a standing position. We think this will be a huge help with her right sided weakness.

You can see Tom and Ashlyn demonstrating it's many fine qualities! :-) We will be sure and show you a photo of Grandma at home, enjoying her new chair in a few short days! Thanks again for all your kind blog comments, and a special thanks to Joie S. for preparing a delicious meal for us to enjoy tonight! It has been such a huge help to not worry about meal preparations right now, and we so appreciate it!

The good and the bad...

Yesterday was a good day, and we were all feeling very encouraged by the doctor's hopes for my mom. She was feeling so well, she was ready to come home! Today was unfortunately just the opposite. My mom had a severe reaction to the chemotherapy drug, and was very ill all morning. It really frightened her as she said she couldn't breathe or see, and she was severely nauseous. They gave her an IV medicine to help the nausea, so when I arrived this afternoon she was feeling a bit better.

We were also discouraged by the potentcy of this chemo drug. I had to put gloves on before entering the room, and we were told that I could not hug her, or touch anything she had touched. All of her clothes must be washed seperately from the family's when she comes home, and the children are not to touch her skin due to any perspiration. We cannot handle her drinking glasses, etc...Toilets must be flushed twice, and she is only to use one that the rest of the family does not use. If one of the chemo pills breaks open, the family is instructed to leave the room and not inhale any of the dust from the powder. This is so serious, that she is doubting if she wants to continue on the chemo course as she does not want to risk our children's growth and development by being exposed to such a drug. She also wants to weigh her days in terms of "quality" time vs. "quantity." We will meet with the oncology doctor tomorrow morning to discuss all of her concerns.

Please keep us in your prayers, and especially my mom as she weighs all the pros and cons of this treatment. I have told her this is a decision she needs to make for herself, and we will stand by whatever course she wants to follow. Being the organized person she is, she is already thinking ahead to returning to Red Bluff. She told the nurses that she wants to be at her party in February, and wants to feel well enough to enjoy her time! I will keep you posted as to what the doctor says tomorrow, and what she decides to do. Thank you again for your continued love, hope, and support!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A good day!

Thank you to everyone who has so willingly offered to help us throw this special luau in honor of my mom. She was just tickled to hear of the great response, and has already started making "To-Do" lists for the big party! She is up frequently at night, due to the steroids she is taking. Since her writing skills are returning, she is trying to "keep busy" with lists and tasks to accomplish when she returns home. I truly think the anticipation of this party is going to see her through the first 6 weeks of treatment. Knowing how many friends and family she will see in February, gives her the strength to endure what is ahead.

My mom has had two radiaton treatments so far, which sound like quite an interesting experience. A mask was made of her face to enable the technicians to deliver the radiation to the precise areas where cancer cells are forming. She referred to this as if she were wearing a hockey mask, and said it is eerie seeing all the "hockey masks" lined up on a wall, awaiting each patient's treatment. Blue beams cross over her, and she must remain perfectly still for the length of the treatment. Inevitabley, an itch, funny pain, or sensation occurs when she is in the machine. In time, her hair will fall out where the radiation is delivered, but fatigue is really the only other side affect. She has begun the daily chemotherapy pill, and it is delivered at a very low dose, so side affects should be minimal. The subsequent rounds afterwards will be much stronger, but we will just take it one 6 week block at a time.

Brain tumors are an aggressively growing cancer, and a Glioblastoma, is the most aggressive of all. Completing these treatments will hopefully "buy" my mom more time. We all want more time and more memories, so thank you for helping my mom celebrate her life with you in February. Your friendship and kindness continues to bring us both joy, and lifts up our day! I apologize for not getting back to each of you personally, (I hope to do so soon!) Keep leaving blog comments as you are able. I print them all out, and read them to my mom. Hearing all your kind comments brings her many smiles!

P.S. I have been informed by a helpful editor in our home, that I have been abusing comma usage! Apologies for the poor all the teachers out there who are loyal readers, feel free to critique...constructive criticism welcome! Ü

Hawaiian Luau in February!

Aloha friends and family! As most of you know, my mom is one of the most upbeat people you will ever meet. Her optimism and positive attitude, even amidst adverse conditions, always shines through. This leads me to a special request my mother has asked us to help her organize. Since my mom does not know how many days she has remaining on this earth, she would like to celebrate life, and enjoy it with you! When we return to Red Bluff in 6-8 weeks, she would like to have a special celebration with none other, than you guessed it, a Hawaiian Luau! Having grown up on Maui, anything Hawaiian related always brings her such happiness.

This is my opportunity to ask all of you in the Red Bluff area for a favor, and to take you up on your requests to help! Ü We are considering throwing a party in her honor around the weekend of Feb. 23rd if all goes well with her treatment plan here. She would like to have everyone come to her home, to enjoy food, friends, and celebrating life! Could I ask you to help me honor her special request by bringing a dish, drinks, or helping set up? We will know more about timing once we have the A-OK from her oncologist to travel. Until then, save a few hours toward the end of February to join us in a party, that would not be complete without your presence!

Send me your e-mail address if you can help, and I will coordinate what we will need. Thank you so much! I know this “Celebration of Life” will bring my mom much joy, and will create memories she will cherish through the challenging days ahead.

Denise Kofford

Monday, January 7, 2008

3 Generations of Teachers?

Last night Ashlyn and I stopped by the hospital so my mom could see Ashlyn in her fancy "glamour" outfit for the big, "Girl Scout Cookie Kick Off Rally" later that evening. While we were there, Ashlyn helped my mom complete a puzzle that the occupational therapist suggested she work on to challenge that "brain power" the tumor had affected. Ashlyn very patiently suggested, "Now Grandma, do you think that piece goes there? Try look at the setting, is this correct? Don't give up, keep trying!" Ever so patiently, Ashlyn and Grandma completed the puzzle. We then came to the realization, that we could very well have another teacher in the family!

Breakfast with a neurologist

I had never met a neurologist or a neurosurgeon before, until Christmas Eve. My mom was given a very kind doctor named, Dr. Pavot, who had the unpleasant job of delivering her diagnosis news to me. I remained strong during his visit, but shortly after had many tears. He came and found me minutes later, and was such a supportive doctor both medically and emotionally.

Imagine my surprise today, when Dr. Pavot asked if he could pull up a chair next to me in the hospital cafe, and eat breakfast together! During our visit he said how my mom had such a great attitude, and patients with that attitude always do the best. He also took the time, to tell me that our worry really accomplishes nothing, and that if anything, all worry does is take away from the quality of your day to day life. He said that all any of us can do, is lead a healthy lifestyle, and enjoy each day, as each day is all we are really guaranteed. I walked away from our impromptu breakfast very rejuevenated, and ready to fight this cancer battle with my mom. I am realizing that we may not win this battle, (although we will certainly try!) yet we will have won valuable time together, and that is a lesson I want my mom to take with her into the cancer battlefield...her second battle with cancer begins today, with the first day of chemo and radiation...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

She's leaving us!

Boo hoo hoo....Annette is leaving us in the morning, and we are so disappointed! I know my mom was very happy to have her here, as Annette literally spent entire days at the hospital with my mom. She had only seen our home and the Longmont Hospital in 4 days! Tonight we took her into Boulder to see a few of the nighttime sights on her last evening here. We enjoyed a yummy dinner and stroll through historic Pearl Sreet afterwards. We came home to rent a movie, and it was such a nice distraction from all the worrying I have been doing since my mom's diagnosis on Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow Annette will see my mom in the morning, and then she will be off to the airport to return to Red Bluff, where her power is still out due to the big northern California storm! I am sure she will be anxious to get home, and see her family, but we will miss her greatly. Miraculously, my dishwasher has been loaded and emptied, the kids are entertained in the back of the car, tears are dried, and both my mother and I have had a shoulder to lean on. How will we get by without Annette? As she reminded me tonight, she is only a phone call away, as are all of you, and we are so thankful!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Kyle's Home!

Thank you, to all of you concerned readers about Kyle's safety, flying tonight amidst the rain, winds, and stormy skies! He made it home safe and sound, and had a GREAT time with his buddies! BIG thanks to the DeClercq and Pitre families for hosting Kyle this week! He had such a wonderful time playing with the boys, and catching up with you all back "home" in California! We appreciate your treating him to so many great meals, fun, and friendship! I know he will never forget this trip, and we will never forget your kindness! Thank you!

The gift of friendship!

Here they are...the two buddies...friends through sickness and health for 30 years! How lucky we all would be, to call someone, "friend" for over 30 years! Annette has been staying with my mom all day at the hospital so they can talk, and enjoy every minute together. I know this has been a huge morale boost for my mom, and we are so grateful to Annette for this gift of time.

My mom has been busy each day with physical, occupational, and speech therapy. She is recovering well from her surgery and gaining strength each day in preparation for her radiation and chemotherapy treatments starting on Monday. There will be several adaptations necessary for her homecoming, and so we will be busy preparing for those needs. It is the doctor's hope, as well as hers and ours, that she will be as independent as possible when returning home to us this week. Due to the aggressive nature of this cancer, this will change over time, but we hope that we will have as many memories, and happy moments with "Grandma Lorraine" as we can in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you for all your kind words of encouragement. We will need them, and will draw strength from them in the coming months. Today we had a surprise on our doorstep from our new friend Susan, who prepared a delicious homemade sauce with all the fixings and sides!!! What a huge help that was Susan, and we are so grateful! Even though we are far away from our families, the kindness of so many new Coloradoan friends, is truly a gift of friendship. Thank you!
P.S. Lorri, the banana bread has provided us with 3 breakfasts on these harried mornings, and we are so thankful!
P.P.S. Thank you Annette for sewing my mom's pajama hems in the hospital today...what a whiz you are with both a needle and thread, and comfort too!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hello from Longmont, Colorado!! This is Annette... Denise allowed me the privilege to do a posting today. First, the weather was beautiful yesterday, but today is partly cloudy. I hear you're getting quite a blast in Northern California today! Batten down the hatches! We aren't supposed to get any of that weather here, so I'll hopefully have good flying weather on my Sunday return.

You are anxiously awaiting to hear how Lorraine's doing, aren't you? Well, I spent most of the day ... okay, all of yesterday ... with her at the hospital. She is doing amazingly well!! We never ran out of things to talk about, which is always the case with us. We laughed, cried and hugged lots.

While I was there, we met with the radiation department people, nurses, techs, and doctor. She also received physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy yesterday, which will be the norm for the next week or so. She's getting very comfortable with the use of her walker and her right leg and hand are getting stronger.

Lorraine's attitude is always so positive and upbeat. She would love to hear from you. She is the same Lorraine, but sometimes can't find the right word, or is a little confused, especially in stressful situations. Give her a call if you can and let her know you are thinking of her! Every time she heard from any Red Bluff friends via your blogs, cards, notes or phone calls, tears welled up in her eyes knowing you were thinking about her. The Longmont United Hospital's phone number is: 303-651-5111. Also many of you asked about sending flowers, so I asked at the hospital's information desk and they said to either get flowers from their gift shop (the flowers there looked nice) or, they highly recommended calling Longmont Florist at 1-800-932-4876 or order online at

Many of you have indicated you would love to help in some way... for the moment, just keep in touch with Lorraine in the weeks to come (radiation and chemo begin Monday) so she can hear those familiar voices via phone or mail from home. Your prayers are also a comfort to everyone here.

Today Denise is meeting with the social worker to see what's needed for her homecoming and to do other errands. Ashlyn is getting worn out from all the late night activity, so I stayed home with her so she can sleep in. Ashlyn is my new buddy!! What a sweetie.

Denise is hanging in there, concerned about the future, but I encourage her to take things one day at a time. Lorraine and I are so proud of the job Denise is doing caring for her mom. There is so much to do and think about.

You should see their house! It's gorgeous!! I have the basement all to myself which is like a studio apartment. I have to admit that I overslept this morning! Denise's home is so festive with Christmas everywhere and a Christmas tree in every room!! She is so talented.

I wish I could word things eloquently like Denise (I keep telling her she should be an author). She seems to have recovered from her fall, but her knee is still tender as is her pride.

My love to all friends, Denise's friends (she appreciates your support through all this more than you know), Denise and Lorraine's family, Tom's Family, and DKG sisters... oh, and my family too!

Love to all,


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First fall of the season...

The first victim of ice and cold...the first fall of the season...the first "splat" on the driveway belongs to....Denise! Poor Ashlyn watched as Mommy's feet came out from under her and "splat" went the mail, and her knees! I have been trying so hard to be careful walking in the areas where the snow has turned to ice, but today I was distracted, and my knees and chin took the worst of it on our icy gravel driveway. I'm just thankful it was me, and NOT my mom!

Annette came with us to the hospital this morning to visit my mom, and listen in on the appointment in the, "Hope Cancer Care Center." My mom had a mask made of her face, so they can position her in the correct position for her radiation treatments starting next week. She will have the radiation treatments daily, (keep your fingers crossed neither one of us has a spill in the icy parking lot!) and daily chemo treatments also starting on Jan. 7th.

Annette has stayed all day at the hospital with my mom, chit chatting and having some girl time! She is not ready to leave, but after a 12 hour visit, I will need to talk her into coming home! Annette's time with my mom, allowed Ashlyn and I to have a little, "Mother/Daughter" time together. We girls were on our own as Tom is back at work today, and Kyle is in California! He was so looking forward to his friend Parick's visit from CA this week, but with all the latest developments we needed to cancel that plan. Patrick's parents, and his good friend Tom's parents, all graciously agreed to have Kyle fly to CA instead! He is having a grand time, and we are so happy for him, as he has missed all his buddies from back home in Dublin.

Your blog comments, calls, e-mails, (and great care packages Lorri and Betty!) have brought my mom, and our entire family such comfort. We are blessed to have so many friends and family support us during this journey. Although many of you are long distance, your support and encouragement both in CO and CA, mean the world to us! Thank you!!!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Annette Arrives!

Here she is! My mom's best friend Annette, has flown in to Colorado, to spend time with my mom, and help our family cope with all the new changes that 2008 will bring. Annette really is an angel, disguised in a human's body! Annette was there to help my mom battle cancer 20 years ago. Since I am an only child, she was there to help me throw a 25th wedding anniversary party for my parents, when I was too young to know how to successfully pull off such a feat. She really couldn't enjoy the party, because she was quietly helping in the kitchen the whole night. She helped me in high school choose a "just right" outfit for Homecoming, and invited our family into her home for meals, friendship, and holidays. She missed the beginning of our wedding, not because she was late, but because she was in the back helping organize the wedding party. She and her husband Fred, supported my mom and I through every step of planning my dad's funeral, and memorial when he passed away last year. And now, here she is, again, supporting us, as her best friend begins treatment for stage 4 brain cancer...Annette is always, "there" right when you need her, and you never need to ask. She arrives to help, nurture, and take care of any possible need. How can we ever thank her for her willingness to step in when life is at it's best, and when it is at it's worst? That's the thing about Annette, she doesn't want thanks or acknowledgement, she just wants to be "there." And that is why I have to type this entry at midnight, so she can remain an angel, hidden under the name of, "FRIEND!"