Friday, April 10, 2015

Thank You!

Your love and kindness have carried us on this journey and your wonderful memories of Mom make us smile and bring tears to our eyes at the same time. We are tremendously thankful for the visits, food, flowers, gifts, cards and messages. The outpouring of support for Mom helped her remain positive and upbeat throughout the past eight months and continue to brighten our days. Thank you to everyone that came to the events celebrating Mom last week. We are grateful for you.

Mom's Obituary
If you didn't have a chance to read Mom's obituary, see below. It was posted on the Jaynes Memorial Chapel website and printed in the Dallas Morning News. It was tough to describe her beautiful life in so few words, but we hope it conveyed her many loves and sweet spirit.

Video from Celebration of Life
We put together a video with hundreds of memories throughout the last 62 years for the Celebration of Life service. The two songs are Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael and Always by Irving Berlin. Stardust is Lloyd & Geraldine Coats' (Jerry's parents) song and Always is my parents' song and is engraved on their wedding bands.

{Dianna Mae Coats from Kathleen on Vimeo}

A special thank you to everyone that made Mom's service so special--Rev. Debbie Riggsby, Rev. Dr. Diana Holbert, the wonderful people at Trinity United Methodist ChurchCantiga, Polly Rains, Kyle McGinnis and everyone who attended!

Easter Service at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church
A friend of the family and former youth pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church delivered a beautiful tribute to Mom during his Easter Sunday sermon at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church. If you would like to watch his sermon, it starts around the 29:45 minute mark in the video below.

{04-05-15 Easter full service from FUMC Mt. Vernon, TX on Vimeo}

This scripture was shared on the back of the bulletin at Mom's Celebration of Life service. May God continue to bless each of us as we walk through life together and carry the spirit of Mom in our hearts. Love, hugs and peace to you.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Promoted to Glory

Our wonderful, sweet Mom was promoted to glory on Palm Sunday, March 29, 2015. Thank you for loving her so much and supporting us all. We will be celebrating her beautiful life this week.

Visitation will be Wednesday, April 1, 2015 from 6-8pm at Jaynes Memorial Chapel, 811 S. Cockrell Hill Road in Duncanville.

The Memorial Service will be Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 10am at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1302 S. Clark Road in Duncanville. The Burial will follow and everyone is invited.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

In God's Hands

Mom & Dad went in for blood work, an appointment with the local oncologist and chemo yesterday morning. Based on the results of the blood work, she was planning to proceed with a new chemo combo, as recommended by Dr. V at MD Anderson {see previous posts for more details}.

Well, the blood work showed that her body, especially the liver, was not strong enough for chemo. While her red blood cell count was good due to the recent transfusion, the bilirubin and liver enzymes were at levels where chemo could cause liver failure.

With this news, Mom & Dad made the decision to discontinue treatment. It is a blessing to know that Mom will not be undergoing another round of chemo, especially one with unknown side effects when her body is already tired. Mom will continue to eat healthy, exercise when she's able and enjoy this time without treatment. We look forward to creating many more memories and enjoying lots of time together! We started by having an impromptu family dinner last night, along with some group selfies. :)

family selfie.

mom with the girls & boys

our coats family

mom & dad ~ a beautiful love

Thank You
We have been blown away by the number of sweet friends and family that have requested bracelets. We are excited to send them to each of you! Mom & Dad have have truly not been alone in this fight. Every blog comment, text, email, Facebook message, meal and offer to help has reminded Mom, Dad and our immediate family of how many truly genuine and loving people there are in the world. We are blessed by each of you. Thank you for your love and support as we continue this journey together!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bracelets for Mom

Would you like a "No One Fights Alone" bracelet supporting Mom and so many that are fighting or have fought cancer? Mom has one and I'm going to order some for family and friends. They are only $1 if I order 50, so please let me know if you're interested. Thank you, John Shumaker, one of Mom & Dad's long-time friends, for taking care of the cost of everyone's bracelets. I will deliver or mail them to you, so it's super easy!

Please let me know by this Wednesday, March 4th. Available in Youth (6.75"), Adult (7.75") and Extra Large Adult (8.75"). Just leave a comment, send a text {kathleen} or email {} and let me know what you would like and your mailing address. Thanks!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

MD Anderson Follow-up & New Plan

Second Appointment at MD Anderson
Mom & Dad went to Houston for a follow-up appointment with Dr. V on Tuesday. This was a very thorough meeting, including discussion of all prior blood work and scans, treatment options and other clinical trails around the country.

A review of her blood work and CT scans over the last several months showed a progression of the tumors in the liver and that the liver has been severely compromised. Since many of the chemo drugs filter through the liver, it is important to carefully monitor the liver function before proceeding with any new treatments. Dr. V recommended that if Mom's blood work looked okay in another week, she could try a different chemo combo--Abraxane, Gemzar and Xeloda (AGX). Mom has had Abraxane and Gemzar before, but the Xeloda (pill form) would be added to hopefully help the other drugs work better to shrink the tumors or "kill the cancer!" as mom would say.

Dr. V also recommended that Mom have another blood transfusion to give her a boost. Dad asked about the trials going on at Sloan Kettering and Johns Hopkins. She said that while Mom might be eligible for some of the studies, the treatments are very aggressive, not proven and might not be worth the time. While it was a very difficult appointment, it was important to fully understand the limited liver function and remaining treatment options.

Mom & Dad are SO silly! After their tough appointment, they went over
to take more pictures with the paintings on the wall at MD Anderson. HA!
Mom was so hot in the desert while we were having snow in Dallas! :)

They found some real flowers at Cracker Barrel in Conroe
and they even had dinner next to the fire. 

Back Home for Local Appointment
Today, Mom had blood work and they met with her local oncologist, Dr Xiong, to discuss their appointment at MD Anderson. They decided that she will come back on Monday, and depending on the results of new blood work (liver function, specifically), she will receive the new chemo combo as recommended by Dr V. Mom will be able to receive this treatment in Fort Worth, so they will not have to travel to Houston. Yay!

Based on her labs, Mom qualified for another blood transfusion (2 units). They went to Baylor after her appointment, and she received the transfusion this afternoon. Dad said her color looked much better afterward. Hopefully this will make a difference for her. So thankful for people that donate blood to make a difference for people like Mom!

Your continued positive thoughts and prayers for healing and peace throughout this journey are appreciated!! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Initial MD Anderson Visit

On the way to Houston, Mom and Dad stopped for a break at a favorite place--Buc-ee's! Mom even ran into a long-time friend!
Mom & Buc-ee :)

They made it safely to Houston, and after a short night's sleep, they reported to MD Anderson at 7:30am on Thursday. It was a full couple days with lots of waiting, lab work, meeting with their medical team, more waiting and having a CT scan. Mom said they took more pictures than she'd had during previous scans.

They met with Dr. Varadhachary, her primary oncologist, a couple times. Mom and Dad both liked Dr. V and kept hearing that "she's the best" from other people at the hospital. That was great to hear! Dr. V modified Mom's pain medicine, but they didn't talk much about treatment options. She wants to review the new CT scan, blood work and talk with Mom's local oncologist. Their next big appointment with the doctor will be this week. I will update as we know more regarding this next visit.
Dad sent us these pictures while they were waiting.
He said, "There was a lake by the hospital and Mom went crawling in the swamp" and
"Oh look! Mom's looking for birds in those trees!"
HAHA! I had to do a double-take to realize it was a picture in the hospital. Love them! 

After their many appointments, Mom and Dad were able to rest at Tommie & Polly's condo--which was a wonderful gift! They also had a little date night. So happy Mom and Dad had this time together!!
Love Mom's smile! Dinner at T-Bone Tom's Steakhouse
as recommended by Tommie and featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives!
Enjoying the Kemah Boardwalk!

Thank you for your continued prayers of peace and calm for Mom and Dad, for the doctors, new treatment options and for Mom's pain to remain under control. Thanks and much love! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chemo, Transfusion & MD Anderson Update

Appointment on 2/12: Cancer Markers, Pain Level & Chemo #18
Thursday, February 12th was another chemo day and Mom and Dad met with Dr. Xiong prior to the infusion. The cancer markers decreased from 34,090 to 30,800. We were thankful the markers went down, but hoped to see a greater change. He was also concerned about the decrease in her red blood cell count and scheduled her for blood work after chemo.

One of the greatest concerns over the prior week was that her pain had increased. Her discomfort is primarily in her back and abdomen from the tumors in the liver. She went from only taking the pain medicine occasionally to needing much more. The doctor added the lowest dose of morphine to her daily medications. So far, this has made a difference in her pain level and we hope that continues!

Part of Mom's Text: "Morning!! I'm here for #18 Kill the Cancer!!!!"
Appointment on 2/17: Blood Transfusion Scheduled & Cancer Markers
Today, February 17th, Mom had an appointment to check her red blood cell count after the last round of chemo. Her count was low at 7.6 and she is scheduled for a transfusion in the morning (2/18). They anticipate that she will need one pint and it should take between 1 1/2 to 2 hours. She has been extremely exhausted and we hope this will make a big difference for her! We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for a successful transfusion.

We were told people could make blood donations in Mom's name, but Carter BloodCare has discontinued the program. Any blood donations would be wonderful, but will not directly help Mom with her transfusion. 

Mom was called in for an unexpected appointment with Dr. Xiong after the blood work. He wanted to check on her pain level, which has been better with the morphine. Also, he let her know that her cancer markers have increased. They went up from 30,800 to 68,666. It is very tough to see this increase, but also good timing that she has an appointment at MD Anderson this week--see below!

MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston
After about a week delay due to name spelling issue, we heard good news from MD Anderson. She has been accepted and she has appointments in Houston this week! We are very thankful to the Rains family for offering their condo to Mom & Dad during their visit and to the friends that have offered assistance while they are in Houston. We are hopeful and prayerful that they will have additional treatment options available to "Kill the Cancer!" as mom would say. I will be updating the blog as we hear more information from her appointments.

Having Fun
Mom & Dad had a date night to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra concert in Duncanville a couple weeks ago. They really enjoyed the performance! They also went out for burgers with Jonathan, Elaine and Haleigh last weekend and we celebrated Valentine's Day together a couple days ago. Valentine's Day has always been a fun holiday in our family. Mom and Dad give the best Valentine's Day gifts and we enjoy celebrating the love day together! 

Granna & Granddaddy with Haleigh at Kincaid's

Celebrating Valentine's Day with Jillian & Oliver
Mom had lunch with her work family at Cedar Ridge Dental.
This is her close friend and dental hygiene partner, Jessica.

That's it for now, but I will updating with information soon regarding her transfusion and their trip to MD Anderson. Thank you so very much for your love, prayers and support!!