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!! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Courage & MD Anderson Referral
When I think of Mom & Dad's journey over the last six months, I am reminded of this verse. Mom has shown strength and courage. Dad has provided tremendous love and strength, especially when Mom needed it most. They are a special team.

Mom has had two more treatments since the last entry and she's doing pretty well. The side effects can be tough--the mouth ulcers are back, along with fever, more nausea and she's had some trouble sleeping at night. She does an amazing job keeping a positive attitude through it all. We hope she can continue to stay healthy through this crazy cold / flu season and that Dad recovers from his cold quickly.

Mom and Dad met with the doctor at her last appointment on January 29th. Dr. Xiong shared with them that the cancer markers had decreased from 42,330 to 34,090, but he is concerned the number is not decreasing fast enough. He would like them to have a Plan B and since she does not fit in the clinical trials at The Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders where she is being treated, he has referred her to MD Anderson in Houston to see what other options might be available. We are hopeful they are able to meet with the doctors soon and receive good news of alternative treatments. We appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts as they pursue these new options.

Text from Mom on Jan. 15: "Morning all!! Ready to start #16 Kill the Cancer!!"
Text from Mom on Jan. 29: "Well here I am for #17 chemo kill the cancer!!!"  

We had an impromptu outing to the park a couple weeks ago. It was such a beautiful afternoon and we were thankful for the time together!

Granna & Granddaddy with their Grandkids, Haleigh, Jillian & Oliver

We appreciate your continued love, kind thoughts and prayers for Mom and Dad. Your personal blog comments, texts and calls are appreciated and very uplifting throughout this journey. We are thankful for you!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

CT Scan Results & Holidays

Mom and Dad met with Dr. Xiong yesterday to hear the latest CT scan and lab work results. Clinically, Mom is doing well. The Cancer Markers came down to 42,000 (139,000 at diagnosis) and her red blood cells, white blood cells and liver function all slightly declined, but were still okay. Also, she looks good overall and is in much less pain. These are all blessings!

However, the CT scan showed that the largest tumor in the liver has grown and there are multiple small tumors forming around the large tumor. This was difficult news to hear and surprising, especially because her liver pain has decreased substantially. 

Moving forward, they are planning to do three more rounds (over six weeks) of the current chemo, FOLFIRINOX, with a slight modification in a couple medications to hopefully reduce the side effects. They will meet with the doctor every two weeks to reevaluate. Her next chemo will begin this Thursday (1/15), as scheduled.

We appreciate you continuing to lift Mom and Dad up in prayer. For those that would like specific prayer requests, please pray for her body to remain strong throughout chemo, for the tumors to miraculously shrink, for the pain to continue to decline, for the side effects to subside and for the best medical decisions to be made. Also, please continue to pray for her support system, most importantly, our amazing Dad. We remain hopeful this treatment will make a difference, along with your prayers and love! Mom has been incredibly strong throughout this entire journey and Dad has been so supportive.

A Coats Holiday!
Even through Mom's treatment and recovery time, we had lots of fun, shared many laughs and made memories at Thanksgiving and Christmas! Thanksgiving was wonderful, even with the Cowboy loss. :) Dad was so sweet and did most of the decorating and gift wrapping for Christmas. We had our usual busy Christmas Day, starting at Mom & Dad's house, going to the Mobley's for lunch, then back at Mom & Dad's for Coats' Christmas that evening. Mom was even able to make Christmas dinner with help from Dad. It was the perfect day.

Mobley / Wyatt / Coats / Cervenka / Powell Thanksgiving -- Go Cowboys!

Coats / Karaguleff / Cervenka Thanksgiving Dinner

Cedar Ridge Dental Christmas Party -- Mom's Work Family

Haleigh & Elaine helped decorate Mom & Dad's house for Christmas!

Granna & Granddaddy gave Jillian new ornaments for her tree // After Christmas Eve Service

Merry Christmas Night

PS ~ All comments are shared with Mom & Dad. Thanks so much! :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Latest Update on Mom

It's been a while, but we're back with an update! Mom has now completed 15 rounds of chemo, including 5 of the stronger chemo (FOLFIRINOX) she started in November. She and Dad both had a bad cold after her first round of the new chemo and that was crazy. She still struggles with a cough due to asthma and the cold weather, but we're hopeful and pray they both get through the rest of cold and flu season without any other major illnesses.

Ready for infusion -- isn't she beautiful?!
She even wore her blue hair and Cowboy gear to chemo before a big game!

Cancer Markers, Side Effects & Liver Tumors
It has been a roller coaster with the cancer markers over the last several months. They spiked to 93,000 at the November 20th appointment (they have been as low as 22,000 and as high as 139,000 when she was diagnosed). The doctor said not to be too alarmed, because many times the count is inflated after changing chemos. Thankfully, they came down to 63,000 at the December 18th appointment and Mom, Dad and the doctor were pleased with the substantial decrease.

Mom's white blood cell counts have been recovering, especially with the help of the Neupogen shots she gives herself after each round of chemo. Her red blood cell counts are decreasing and the doctor expects she will need a transfusion at some point. She has had an increasing amount of fatigue in the last couple weeks, so this could be in the near future. If you are interested in donating blood in Mom's name, we are gathering that information and will share it on the blog soon.

The side effects have been hard on Mom with the lack of energy and nausea being the most difficult. The three days during chemo are the hardest and it usually takes about a week after starting chemo for her to feel pretty good again.

The pain from the tumors in her liver has been much better over the last few weeks. It had gotten pretty tough during November and early December, so this has been a blessing and we're praying it's a sign the treatment is working and "killing the cancer," as Mom says! The doctor also said the tumors felt smaller and softer during the last physical exam.

CT Scan & Update Tomorrow
Mom had another CT scan today (1/12) and we are praying for miraculous news tomorrow! The doctor will review the CT scan with Mom and Dad tomorrow, along with the results from her blood work, including cancer markers, red and white blood cells and other items.

Please continue to pray with us for Mom and her heroic fight. We are so incredibly grateful for your support of Mom and Dad throughout this journey. We will provide another update tomorrow... along with a few holiday pics!