Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today would be Shawndra's 33rd Birthday. I just wanted to let you all know and wish her a Happy day of sorts. We are thinking of her today, as everyday. Praying continually for Doug, Ella, and my mom and dad. Thanks for those of you who continue to pray and support our families!
With love,
(Shawndra's sister)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kansas City Star Newspaper Tribute

Thanks goes out to Frank Tankard for writing an excellent tribute to Shawndra. His article appeared in the Kansas City Star Newspaper today. Below is a link to the article.

Ella and I are good. The past few weeks have been busy. If and when things slow down a bit, I'd like to post some updated photos of Ella and share a few fun stories.

Good night all.
- Doug

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Favorite Photo & Remember MP3

click for larger photo

I miss Shawndra. And so does Ella. Heck, we all do. I'm not sure her passing has completely sunk in yet. I think I'm still experiencing a small state of mental shock.

Flashback to two Thursdays ago, at the funeral, and I remember for almost one hour, Shawndra's cousin, Pastor Les Beauchamp, so eloquently speaking about Shawndra. His words brought comfort and peace, knowing that Shawndra is still with us, in spirit. Thank you Les. Words cannot express how grateful we are.

A recording of Les's "rememberance" of Shawndra may be downloaded as an MP3 file from (Right-click on the link and choose "save link as". Here's a free media player to play it --

A heartfelt thank you goes out to all who donated to Solace House. I delivered the memorial contributions last week. I hadn't intended to use their counseling services, but after a tour, and very informative conversation with the director, I felt Ella and I could benefit. We start group therapy in April. Ella is dealing with this life changing event rather well, but I'm very concerned about her. For peace of mind, I think I need a professional to tell me "she's okay". I question whether my explanations are satisfactory to a three year old, and whether I'm saying the right things.

I photographed Shawndra approximately one hour before I asked for her hand in marriage. This is my absolute favorite photo of Shawndra. It was July 26, 2003. Next to a window, facing west, we sat in restaurant, at The Elms Resort, in Excelsior Springs. The sun cast a warm hue upon Shawndra's face. I remember how her eyes glistened. How her smile lit up the room. She was so full of life that night. I remember how she made me feel, knowing I would soon be asking her to spend the rest of our lives together. Ah... the memories. I must have stared at this photo for over half the duration of the funeral service. I'll probably bookmark this post and click on the photo many times. I want to especially thank my Uncle Malcolm for preparing all the photos displayed at the services.

These past two weeks have been difficult. So many family members, friends, care providers, and even strangers, have made it bearable. And for that, I thank you.

There has been some speculation whether this BLOG would continue. Honestly, I don't know. A few months ago, we were "taking things", one-half day at at a time. I think it's improved to one day at a time. Ella is my number one priority in life now. She and I are figuring this out together, one step at a time.

One last thought before wrapping up this post...

Immediately following the graveside service, several of us released butterfly shaped, helium-filled balloons, in honor of Shawndra. While most were carried up by the westerly winds, mine, and a few others, got caught in the trees, directly above Shawndra's grave. At first I was disgusted with my failed attempt to release the balloon so that it would fly around the tree. Then I asked myself, how would Shawndra handle this situation. Would she have been angry? Disappointed? Of course not, she would have laughed. And that's what I did, as I exclaimed to the remaining bystanders, "Shawndra wants that butterfly balloon stuck in the tree above her so she can see it!" If there's one thing I learned from Shawndra, in our brief years as husband and wife, it's that you have to let yourself see the "good" in almost any situation. Thank you, sweetie. You showed me once again.

- Doug

Monday, March 16, 2009


Shawndra Beauchamp Turner, age 32, of Overland Park, Kansas peacefully passed on Sunday, March 15, 2009 in the comfort of her family.

The visitation is scheduled for 6-8PM on Wed. March 18th at Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church, located at 9300 Nall Ave, Overland Park, KS 66207. Please join us at Rolling Hills Church on Thursday, March 19th at 10:30AM for the celebration of her life. Graveside service will immediately follow at Johnson County Memorial Gardens located at 11200 Metcalf, Overland Park, KS 66210.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Solace House, 8012 State Line Road Suite 202, Shawnee Mission, KS 66208, a center for grieving children and their families.

Shawndra was born on July 23, 1976 and grew up in Prairie Village, Kansas. She graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School, and later received her undergraduate degree from Drake University, where she was a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority. She continued her education by obtaining a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Kansas. She spent five years caring for kids at Children's Mercy Hospital. In 2004, Shawndra advanced her education by receiving a master's degree as a Nurse Practioner. She practiced in the outpatient ENT clinic at Children's Mercy Hospital.

Shawndra married Doug Turner on August 7, 2004. She was committed to her family, friends, and the medical community. Her love of life, spontaneous wit and infectious laugh will be cherished by all who knew and loved her.

Shawndra is survived by her husband, Doug Turner, her precious daughter; Ella, her parents, Gary and Carolyn Beauchamp; her sister, Andrea Kristoff and husband Greg; her grandmother, Beulah Janssen.

Arrangements: D.W. Newcomer's Sons Johnson County Chapel 913-451-1860.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Love You Shawndra Forever

March 15, 2009 at 3:10PM will forever be marked in my mind, and hopefully yours as well. This is when our sweet Shawndra passed into the arms of Jesus, thereby freeing her of pain and suffering. Her family prayed over her. Her family cried for her. And to me, time stopped as images of joyful memories rushed by, as she took her last breaths.

Just a short time ago, I shared with Ella that her mommy was in heaven, without a tummy ache, loving us, and watching over us, alongside Jesus. Ella, in her gentle innocence, clapped and exclaimed "yeah, mommy doesn't hurt anymore!". Thank God for Ella.

Shawndra touched so many lives during her brief 33 years. She will be missed immensely, but never forgotten.

More information regarding a celebration of Shawndra's life will be posted soon. Thank you family, friends, doctors, nurses, and strangers, for your unconditional love and support. Our family could not have done it without you.

"Shawndra, I love you forever." - Doug
"Mommy, I love you all the time... even when I can't see you." - Ella

- Doug

Our Beautiful Butterfly has flown ... HOME

This morning we were all called in because Shawndra's condition had changed. She was breathing differently and the doctor said that this was a sign to look for as we approached the end. Shawndra rested peacefully and breathed quietly for the rest of the day. Both Shawndra and Doug's immediate families came up and we surrounded Shawndra with love and prayer. This afternoon, she took her last quiet breath and peacefully passed away into heaven. It was a blessed moment, one in which we were all surrounding her, crying and yet rejoicing at the same time. She is no longer in pain, no longer has cancer, there are no more tubes, and she is FREE!!

We are ever grateful to all of Shawndra's supporters, prayer warriors, family and friends who have been there for her and for each of us throughout this journey. Thank you to the incredible staff of doctors, nurses, care assistants, techs, and medical staff in every facility that Shawndra was blessed to have care in. Thank you to all the wonderful people out there who have been so compassionate in your blog comments and have loved Shawndra even without knowing her. Remember that this blog is a detailed journey of Ella's mommy to show her how strong, courageous, loving, and selfless her mommy was in her life and how much of an impact Shawndra has made on so many people. She fought a huge fight! We will be reading this as a book to Ella for years to come.

Finally, we will provide information on the service as we finalize plans and complete decisions. Thank you in advance for your patience in this. Please pray for Doug during this time and for his future in taking care of Ella. Pray for Ella. Pray for my parents and for Doug's parents and our respective grandparents. Doug has a sister with a family as do I, please continue to pray for us all as we mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Shawndra Turner.

I shall leave you with a verse: Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away!
Bye my sweet butterfly,
Love you,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Taking in the Moments with Shawndra

Dear Faithful Ones-
It is with a heavy heart that I give you the latest update. The procedure did not produce much of anything out of her G-tube. Therefore, they have given her a medication to try to dry up the digestive enzymes so that she does not have nausea/vomitting. In addition to this, she, Doug, the doctors, and our family have decided to no longer give Shawndra any IV nutrition (TPN) nor any IV fluids. The only thing she'll be receiving are pain meds from now on. This is a hard decision, but an appropriate course at this time.
Shawndra's battle with cancer is coming to a close. Her poor body is just no longer able to withstand infection. She will be getting the sole care of hospice starting this evening. We have a wonderful place for her ready. The entire family asks that you respect the fact that this is OUR - FAMILY time. We know so many of you want to say good-bye, we understand, however, we need to have peace and time with our beloved mom, wife, daughter, and sister. Thank you for respecting this. You may email myself, Doug, or post on the blog, we will respond when we can/feel up to it. I will continue to keep you all up to date with the major happenings but for the moment, please remain in prayer for each of us as we learn to let go and let GOD.
We appreciate what each and every one of you has done for us, be it prayer, meals, childcare, counselor/someone to talk to, helper, and friend. We have had an amazing journey and felt such love and faith surround us the past 2 years. May God continue to bless each of you and your family's as well.

One of our daycare provider's left this verse on the blog a while ago and I just remember it and want to leave it for you all!
Matthew 6:25
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Enjoy today, let God handle the rest!

Taking in each moment with Shawndra,


Hello all. Shawndra was hospitalized yesterday due to some complications. We'll know more late in the day tomorrow (Tuesday). In order to control her pain, she's been heavily sedated.

You know Shawndra... she's the toughest fighter you'll ever meet. Her fortitude never ceases to amaze us. With that said, though, she needs your prayers now, more than ever.

Please, no visitors at this time.

Shawndra sends her love.
- Doug

Thursday, February 26, 2009

difficult recovery

Hey everyone- I am back. It has been a difficult few weeks. I have been sleeping a lot (ya right, difficult you say), but I get tired so easily it is frustrating. Especially in the morning, it is difficult for me to get up and going.

I feel like I am confined to my hospital bed, in my room. I can't help even less than before. I finally yesterday walked down the stairs holding onto my dad's arm and doug monitoring so I didn't fall. I barely made it back up the stairs later, that was a feit. I did get out to enjoy the sun and warm a little while, which was great.

I have my nephrostomy tubes (for urine) on either side of my body, the dressings for that on my back with my epidural on my back as well. I have the g tube hanging from my front left side which I have to hook up to a suction machine when I feel full or like i am about to throw up. Then there are the ostomies, the colostomy which only requires a small dressing but I have had some problems with it lately. Then my active ileostomy which requires the full ostomy dressing. After my last hospital admission, I had so much swelling in my legs from my feet to my pelvis. It now only remains in the pelvis area which we are unsure if that is tumor or not.

I feel like I am losing my relationship with my daughter, I can't help her. She does come sit with me in my bed to watch a cartoon, read a book or occasionally I will get on the floor to do a puzzle or play candyland. I still get to see her as she is growing so independent, beautiful and smart. I still get a morning hug and kiss and an evening kiss but my time with her has gotten much more limited and that makes me so sad. I am trying to get things done for her, a journal, video, something for her to remember me by, it is difficult though.

I am starting to get better, to the point where I may be able to have more visitors. I know that I have had a few people who have called but it hasn't been the right time yet. I am just getting strong enough now to have visitors more. It's just hard to know when, I never know when I am going to feel good or not. I fly by the seat of my pants these days! I hope all of you out there haven't given up on me. I need to go read all my comments. My computer hasn't worked the last couple of days when I finally felt well enough to get back on.

So this is a glimpse into my life right now. It has been very mentally difficult to go through, many emotions not only with me. Thank you all for your continuous support you give my family. I believe it is getting closer to the end of this journey and we are going into it blindly, trying not to fear but to give up our control and take it day by day.

Take car everyone. Thank you all who have helped us with Ella, meals, etc. My parents have especially gone out of their way to drop everything and help us almost every spare moment they have. love you all. Shawndra

Sunday, February 8, 2009

long nails suck sometimes....

Like this. I can barely write now. My nails have grown so since I have been off chemo, I wish my boobs grew with then. Sorry it has been so long, lots has been happening, as you can imagine. I am tucked into my hospital bed at home near our bed,just a few bodies apart.ugh. I feel like a prisoner, I have to hook atleast two tubes to the bed everynight. lots of changing dressings on wounds,taking care of my port-a-cath and pic line. I know this is overwhelming for those of you not medical.
The first few days home I was pretty out of it, sleeping a lot. I finally came around about Wednesday I believe. A lot of this is hazzy! I am weak, weaker than I have ever been since a surgery! That shocked me. I am getting stronger but I still can't just get up and go somewhere, I have to have help. And the stairs,yikes two guys have to firefighter training lift me like my sister the fabulous, all knowing Physical Therapist taught us. Thanks dre!. So this is my life at the moment.
I haven't had the chance to read my email,actually I'm kind of scared to see how many there are. Thank you all for your support. Thank you to the neighborhood for the blue ribbons on all entrance trees! You all amaze me more and more every day.

As you all now I am probably reaching the end of this battle. I continue to get stronger and still doing most of what I can to continue to be here with you all. I know a lot of people have contacted my immediately family to find a time to come and see me. I am overwhelmed with outpouring of love. I need to take control of it because it is getting too hard for everyone. So to try to get this organized I would appreciate if you would call ME, not my husband, my parents or my sister. I am going to try to be in control of this one. I will give you all my information and we can make plans.

Phone number 913-226-0171 (If I don't answer I will get back to you, and please don't abuse this number)

Email: (I am overwhelmed with them so phone might be easier)
Thank you for all your patience, trust me I am just regaining the happenings in my world and what has happened these past several weeks/months. I have missed you and look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Home at Last

-- Tuesday Evening --
After a long three week stay at St. Josephs Hospital, we're home at last. As an anonymous commentor mentioned, her care is now in the hands of KC Hospice, although the immediate family is still very much involved in the day-to-day activities. Today, Misty, an RN from KC Hospice, spent approximately three hours with us, doing all the things Shawndra needs. There are so many tubes now, that it can be overwhelming. I'm happy to say that her pain is under control, enough so that she walked from our bedroom to Ella's playroom and back this afternoon.

A lot of people complain about health insurance premiums. Perhaps some of that is warranted, but one thing to remember is, when something devastating happens to a family member, like it has for Shawndra, the coverage is there when you need it. I cannot give enough praise to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. Not once has a claim been denied. And, although private nursing is not offered as part of the health insurance policy, the company has approved 40 hours this week, for a private nurse to help us. That's in addition to hospice. We're blessed.

Since this is Mommy's first day home, in a long time, Ella decided she didn't want to go to daycare/school this morning. She was a good girl for her grandmother and me.

-- Wednesday Evening --
Sorry, I didn't have a chance to finish this post last night. Today Shawndra slept until 4PM. It's now almost 7PM. Three hours is a long time for her to be awake, we're all cherishing it. Gary (Shawndra's father) and I moved furniture in the master bedroom to accomodate the hospital bed. This bed is much more condusive for when Shawndra is sleeping and awake, since it moves in a lot of different ways. Currently, Ella is lying between Shawndra's legs, watching Scooby Doo.

A few of the "Lake House Ladies" surprised Shawndra with stories of receiving tattoos of butterflies on their ankles (to honor Shawndra). This past Saturday, I met three ladies at Irezuma's to videotape the event. There was laughter, grins of pain, but all in all, an enjoyable, especially bonding experience. I too was tattooed on the shoulder, but with a custom design, created by Mark (at Irezuma). This was a rather impromtu decision. Like Mark said, every tattoo has a story behind it. I'll explain more of the symbolism my tattoo has on another day. (And, yes, a photo. Perhaps even a video.)

Well, it's time to prepare Shawndra's evening "cocktail" as we call it. Thank you for your prayers. As far as visits are concerned, yes, she welcomes them, but please call well in advance so we can plan for it. We are also considering the idea of having set times on certain days for "open house" visiting. That may work better. What say all of you?

Good night, all. I'm anxious to get some REM sleep tonight. This brain of mine isn't firing on all cylinders right now...
- Doug

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

17th Day in Hospital

It's hard to imagine that we arrived 17 days ago. About half of those days have been a blur, and I apologize for not updating everyone with the situation at hand...

Shawndra is resting, but still experiences various levels of pain throughout the day. Today, Dr. Morgan is going to repeat the pain block procedure she had approximately one week ago. The procedure "degenerates" nerve endings present in the abdomen. Over the last 3-4 days, her kidneys have recovered, thanks to a bi-lateral nephrostomy.

There are days when Shawndra is very alert, talking, watching TV, and visiting with family, and a few friends. Then there are days (like yesterday) where the pain is so great, that the opiates needed to alleviate that pain, puts her into a deep sleep.

With the help of a social worker at the hospital, the family has been working to get Shawndra home, and in the care of home hospice. An inpatient facility was discussed, as well, but was quickly rejected after learning that TPN and IV fluids are NOT allowed in those type of facilities. Once at home, her primary care will be in the hands of us -- the immediate family -- with occasional visits from home hospice, and of course, other family, and friends.

Ella is feeling much better. She came down flu-like symptoms the middle of last week. She told me several times that she "doesn't like to throw up." Bless her heart.

I was thinking last night that one day, I'm going to print Shawndra's BLOG, in its entirety, have it laminated, and bound, for Ella to read... Ella, your mommy IS strong, kind hearted, and loving. She loves you all the time. These photos, stories, and thoughts are timeless.

I just asked Shawndra what she would like for me to write. Her reply was "tell everyone that I miss them".

Please pray for her comfort, and for our family. And thanks goes out to all of you who continue to help in so many ways.

- Doug

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Here's my most recent email update:
Hello all-
So, a lot has happened since my last email. Shawndra has remained out of ICU, but not out of the OR (operating room). She did have her stints replaced. Then they put in an epidural to try to help with pain. Then she went back in for a 2nd stint to be placed on the Rt side, her better functioning kidney.
Shawndra gave us a little scare over the end of the week/weekend when her creatinine started to increase. This is not necessarily a good sign in terms of kidney function. She was also still having pain. So, they performed a superior hypogastric pain block which has helped some with the pain, but not eliminated the pain yet. Shawndra's pain doctor, Dr. Morgan is so awesome. He is always thinking of something to try to help with the pain and manage her case so well. He is trying so hard for Shawndra, it's so kind.
Yesterday, Shawndra had perked up a bit, smiled, was awake more, made a few jokes/sly remarks - much more the Shawndra we know. She is still having edema in her legs, so not getting up as much as before. Today, she was up/awake most of the day but was starting to have some increased pain some this evening again. The doctors are trying to wean off of most all the tubes and discuss transitioning her. We are still undecided as to the course of hospital stay and then on from there at this time. Lots of things have been suggested, but no decision yet. She and the family will help decide when we need to.
In closing (don't I feel like the president today - Ha!), I want to repeatedly thank everyone for their concern, committment, support, and prayers. I know it's hard to not be able to do anything but pray. But you know what - that is one of the MOST important things that you all can offer Shawndra, Doug, Ella, my parents, Doug's parents, Doug's family, and my family. I am following this with Luke 11:8-10 that was sent to me in one of our pastor's weekly devotional emails. It seems fitting at this point in time. I appreciate all of you who have been supported my emails and who take the verses and follow through with reading and studying them. That is awesome!!

In Luke 11:8-10 out of the New Living Translation, here is what we read: 8 But I tell you this—though he won't do it for friendship's sake, IF YOU KEEP KNOCKING LONG ENOUGH, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.9 "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Lord, may your ears, eyes, heart and door be open today and everyday that we pray for Shawndra. We continue to pray for strength for her, Doug, and our families. We keep knocking asking for Shawndra's pain to be resolved/eliminated. God, we give you the glory for all the successes that we've had and seen in this journey. We ask that You keep showing us YOUR work. We boldly proclaim a MIRACLE in Shawndra's name. Father, we know that this will continue to be an emotional journey and we want the highs to be ever higher and the lows to be less. Thank you for reminding us to lean on you. For some of us are still walking next to you, but we know that you are carrying some of us as well. Thank you for answering our prayers and opening the door as we continue to knock. Bless all the people who read this and who comprise Shawndra's support community/prayer warriors.
In Jesus name. AMEN

In Christ,
(Shawndra's sister)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pain Block Procedure

Dr. Morgan just finished with the pain block procedure. I do not recall the name of the procedure, but it has to do with injecting alcohol into a region of nerves that control sending pain messages to the brain. This procedure is somewhat permanent, in that if enough of the nerves "receive" the alcohol, they will forever block those pain messages. I know what you're thinking... how will this affect her ability to walk. Luckily, it will have NO affect. She should have all feeling in her legs. We won't know how affective this procedure was until later this evening. The amount of pain medication being given via the epidural pump has been turned down. The hope is the epidural can be removed completely. We're so grateful that Dr. Morgan decided to do this procedure today, instead of Monday.

Shawndra is still quite weak, and prefers no visitors. I'll be staying with Shawndra in the hospital over the weekend. Ella is planning on having fun at Grandma's house. Shawndra and I have a lot to discuss this weekend (or early next week) about the next steps to take for her care. Thank you for your prayers.

- Doug

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Video of Shawndra as a Teenager

A BLOG commentor, from the previous post, asked for the "sharky" video. I've seen that video, once, with Shawndra, at her parents house, during our courting days, but not since. I need to hit up Gary & Carolyn for that video! In the absence of that video, let me present you with Shawndra, Dustin, and Andrea as the Three Amigos. Thanks goes out to Dustin's father, Dave, who provided the video clip from the old VHS days. Shawndra doesn't know I'm posting the video... hopefully she approves. Hehehehehe. Oh, and Dustin & Andrea... I know you two wouldn't approve, which is why I didn't ask... ehehehehehehe. Enjoy!

Also some photos from our ski trip last week are below. (Click on the photos, if you wish to see them in large format.) Goodnight. - Doug

Ella playing dress-up. What a princess!

Aspen Airport. During take-off, Ella shouted "we're going so fast!"

Look at my huge gloves!

Ella & Mommy With Big Smiles

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shawndra is out of ICU! The epidural will remain to control pain. I'm back at work today. Getting ready to pick up Ella at daycare. She hasn't seen mommy since Sunday morning, so we're going to eat dinner and head over to the hospital.

This will be a short post, since I need to run. I'm hoping Shawndra can BLOG soon from the hospital. Thanks everyone for your support.

- Doug
Oh, I may post some photos, video, etc. tonight after Ella goes to sleep. I have a feeling I'll be doing that work in bed, while she falls asleep by my side. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Bored

"I'm bored." were Shawndra's first words when I arrived to the ICU this morning. Those words were the most she has spoken in more than 24 hours, and hearing them was such a relief. Now that Shawndra is relatively pain free, Doc Morgan "turned down" the pain drugs. As a result, she's more coherent today. Although she's still fighting an infection and the iliostomy isn't yet functioning, she's in much better spirits. Having suction hooked up to her G tube is slowly relieving pressure in her abdomen.

As planned, her ureteral stents where replaced this morning. Unfortunately, though, the stents are not source of what is causing the pain. Lots of stool in the intestines and tumor pressing against nerves are the reasons.

So back to the "I'm bored" comment, Shawndra made... I asked her if she wanted to play Yahtzee, knowing she would smile a bit. (A little history to that comment: two years ago, after her first cancer surgery, we played Yahtzee in her hospital room. She kicked my butt.) Instead I turned on the radio in the ICU room and tuned to 105.1 Jack FM. "Turn Up The Radio" filled the room (you remember Autograph, the 80s band?). I sang that to her, well, just the chorus, cause I admit, I don't know any other lyric. :) She grinned a smile. I suppose she didn't like my singing (or my breath).

Gary & Carolyn, Shawndra's parents, decided early yesterday morning to cut their vacation short and start the long trip home from Snowmass. I'm glad they did. It's comforting that they're here now with Shawndra, and me.

Ella woke up asking for mommy this morning. She slept in mommy's spot in our bed last night. I was too tired at 8:30 PM last night to lay on the hard floor in her room for an hour, waiting for her to fall asleep, so I just told her that last night was a special night, and she got to sleep in "mommy & daddy's bed". Hmmmm, seems like there are a lot of special nights these days. So when Ella stated "mommy is getting better in the hospital", I had a difficult time coming up with a reply. Is she really getting better? I don't even remember what I said... I think it was something to the affect that "mommy loves you all the time" -- from the "Love You All The Time" book. Ella loves that book, and mommy read it many times to her.

During Dr. rounds this evening, we'll ask Dr. Morgan about moving her out of ICU and into a room. After a room... who knows. A lot of options have been discussed. As Dr. Morgan stated yesterday, you have to live 1/2 day at a time. I like that phrase.

My sister, Krissy, "celebrated" her 35th birthday yesterday, hanging out with me in the ICU. My mother was also here with me. Thank you two. I appreciate your support.

Thanks for your comments and prayers. Currently, we're just taking it 1/2 day at a time...

- Doug

Monday, January 12, 2009

Maybe an Epidural Will Kick the Pain

Last night Dr. Morgan came back to the hospital to address Shawndra's unbearable pain. He put in an epidural and had her transferred to the ICU for monitoring. I spent the night at home, and took Ella to school/daycare this morning. Around 6:30AM, Ella awoke and called for me. I don't know what was different about this morning, but hearing her say "Daaaaddddyyyy" just made me smile. She really needs me right now.

Arriving to the hospital this morning, I was troubled to find out that Shawndra is still in pain. She's being given Hydromorphone/Dilaudid via her port-a-cath, and Ropivicaine via the epidural. She's built up quite a resistance to opiates. She's pretty much unconscious right now. Wow, what more can I say. I hate to see her suffer.

The ski trip to Snowmass was a lot of fun. Shawndra walked around and shopped the village stores a few evenings. Each year, Gary arranges for a photographer to take photos, quite early. I'll post one soon. I enjoyed snowboarding. Gary, Andrea, Greg, and I spent a lot of time together on the mountain. Thursday was sunny and beautiful.

One afternoon, after skiing, the parents and kids did some sledding. Ella was good for only one run because she and Daddy tumbled over. Shawndra took some video. I haven't seen it yet, but will post it, as well.

We're pretty much in limbo right now. Shawndra's ureteral stints are scheduled to be replaced tomorrow.

One more thing before I hit "save"...

For being only three years old, Ella has flown several times already. The take-off from Aspen (in a prop plane) was real fun for her though. There were only about 15 passengers on the plane. She was able to get all of them to chuckle by screaming "we're going soooooo fast!". Oh... Mommy took a pic of Ella and I on that plane. I'll post that too. Looks like I have some work to do. (Sorry boss... the ports for VPN access from the hospital are blocked, or I'd be doing real work. :)

- Doug

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pain issues...

Hi Everyone...It's not Shawndra, but Angie. Shawndra asked me to blog to let you all know that she is on her way to the hospital to be admitted for pain issues. She has increased the pain patches on her back, is using the fentanyl suckers and some IV fentanyl at home but it's not cutting it right now. Dr. Morgan is admitting her and hopefully she will also get her stents replaced while she is there so she doesn't have to go back for that! It seems like she usually has some pain from that procedure so it would be good to get it under control there. SO...please pray that Dr. Morgan can find that magic amount of medicine that allows her to be comfortable but not knock her out!!

They just got back from a ski trip with Shawndra's family and it sounds like everyone had a great time. The snowy mountain picture is great!! They did have some drama on the way there with plane delays and a bus ride, but they made it there and made it back (with another delay, but no bus ride ). I got a text from Shawndra one day that Ella got "kicked out" of ski school-something about not wanting to wear the ski boots...;-) I'm still laughing about that because I can totally picture the "scene." Heehee...

I'm sure there was something else, but I'm stressed that my friend is in pain and that I can't do anything to help her (it's hard to be the friend and not the nurse-I'm used to just calling the docs and getting bigger doses and pain pumps, etc.) Please pray that they can get her pain under control and that she can come home soon!!!

Love you Shawndra B!!!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone- It is me, Shawndra, once again, yaaaa. Sorry I have not blogged, I haven't even touched my computer since my last post. I have been busy working on recovering, resting, and spending quality time with Ella and my family. Things have been very difficult physically and mentally for me since i have been home. My quality of life has gone down drastically since I have gotten this new tube in my stomach and TPN nutrition at night, etc. It is just overwhelming what all I have to do to live these days. I have also been thinking a lot about chemotherapy and not really wanting to continue with it. I have talked with my family who of course wants me to continue to pursue treatment but also doesn't want to see me suffer. I met with my oncologist this week to find out more about the chemotherapy he wants to put me on and if it is worth it. He was very good about telling me that either way I go is an okay option. The chemo sounds like it could have some bad side effects, horrible rash, as well as hair loss and then the general fatigue, diarrhea, etc. He said it works on about 10-20% of people and if it does work it works only for about 4-6 months. I still have my appointment but in my heart and my soul, I feel like I am done with treatment. It is not worth it to me to feel like that, make me sick and have my daughter watch me suffer, just lay there sleeping all the time with a miserable, possibly deforming rash where she couldn't recognize me. I want to live what time I have left in peace, if possible. I have been through too much! My oncologist also basically said that there is no cure especially at this stage so you all know what that means. I have a hard time writing it, tears swell up just mentioning it, but these are the facts! He promised that he and my pain doc will make sure I am comfortable from here on out and who knows how long that will be. I want to spend as much quality time with my family as I can!!
Any way you look at it, it sucks and doesn't seem fair! Atleast that is what I think. I don't want to give up on my family but I want to be at peace now. I can't live like this, I am basically home bound pretty much, except one small vacation I have coming up with my family. So this has been a very difficult time for me and I have spent many days and nights crying over all of this. This may also be why I haven't gotten on my computer. I am a pleaser and I don't want to let people down, so please respect my decision. You can't judge unless you have walked in my shoes and fought as much as I have fought but unfortunately it is a losing battle.
Today I was thinking that maybe God wants to take me home so people do get angry at him and hopefully through this somehow get closer to God and find comfort from him. Or maybe he needs me for a special duty, so look out everyone, you never know when I might reappear or how, hehe. Just kidding. Anyway, thank you for all your love and support. I will try to continue to keep up with the blog. I haven't read my email or the comments yet, so I have many to go through. You have all become my friends throughout this journey and I appreciate each one of you! I appreciate all the people from my past who have reconnected through the blog, thank you for thinking of me and reaching out. Thank you most of all to my close friends and my family who have been there for me through this very difficult time. I need you now more than ever! I will talk to you soon. I hope you all had a wonderful new year. We didn't even stay up to see midnight, just an old couple spending the night at home, it was perfect! I hope this year is a great year for all of you. I am going to try to make it as good of a year as I possibly can! all my love, shawndra