Monday, July 26, 2010

Love of My Life, May You Rest In Peace!

Kelly’s last breath was taken shortly after 3:00am on July 16, 2010 in our home that we built together. God finally put an end to all the suffering my dear wife had to endure. I cannot put into words what it is like to watch the women of your dreams suffer so much right before your eyes and not be able to do anything to stop it. To feel so helpless is heart breaking and the sadness is unexplainable. The cancer tried to strip Kelly of everything including her breast, her hair, her ability to walk, her ability to think clearly, her ability to move her arms & hands and eventually her ability to see. What it could not strip her of was her faith, her loving family & friends that adored her so much and the love that Kelly I shared for each other. I could write about Kelly forever and never get tired of it but I would like to complete this blog by sharing some stories leading up to the end of Kelly’s life that demonstrate what Kelly represents and what we can learn from her.

About a week before Kelly passed away she was still fighting. It was Wednesday night and I was lying next to Kelly in her hospital bed chatting with her when she asked me to get her walker out of the garage and to bring it into the house. I asked her why she wanted it and she said because she wanted to try and walk. When she told me this, I was thinking it was the cancer progression making her talk a little crazy but she insisted. I knew that there was no way that Kelly could walk short of a miracle because at this point, she had no mobility in her legs and had already lost the ability to use her entire left arm & hand. That being said, I did not want to discourage her, so I politely said “Babe, let’s get some rest and in the morning if you feel up to it, we can get the walker out”. I figured by morning she would forget about it. She was very fiery and made me promise to her that I would remind her first thing in the morning. I agreed. Well morning came and guess what, the first words out of her mouth was “please get the walker, I want to walk”. I could not believe she remembered and that she wanted to attempt the impossible. But let’s remember, this is Kelly we are talking about here, she never gives up. So I went out to the garage, brought in the walker and placed it by her bed. She then went on to say “get my shoes, I am going to walk” Reluctantly I said Ok because I did not want her heart to break when she could not do it. So I went through all the motions. Got her dressed, put her shoes on and slowly raised her up onto the side of the bed. She was in so much pain but wanted me to continue to get her up. Once she was up, I put the walker in front of her, put both her hands on the walker, got her sitting straight and told her she was ready. After a few minutes of Kelly sitting there starring and thinking of the situation, she finally realized there was no way she was going to walk. I then told her, “babe, you are tired today, why don’t we try it another day when you have more strength” She hesitated for a minute but then agreed. I slowly put her back down into the bed. Once she was comfortable, she asked me to come close to her and she told me, “Babe, I do not want you to think I am giving up, because I am not!” When she said this, it brought tears to my eyes. I gathered myself and told her, babe you are not giving up, you have never given up, you are the strongest women in the world, that’s why I love you…No one will ever think you gave up, I will make sure of that”. She never did give up, she continued to fight all the way till her final breath.

A couple days later, Kelly and I were watching a movie at night in her hospital bed (she did not want to sleep alone, so I would jump into bed with her until she fell asleep) when Kelly said “Manny, can you pause the movie, I would like to pray” I said of course babe, as I always loved to pray for my wife. Well I paused the movie and got ready to pray for Kelly’s healing when Kelly said “babe, I don’t want to pray for me, I want to pray for Carla & Zeph’s soon to be born child ( Carla & Zeph are Kelly’s Sister and Brother in law) that will be arriving this January” She wanted to pray to god that her sisters baby did not have any heart conditions like Carla’s other daughter. Even though Kelly was facing her own mortality, she still was putting others ahead of her in prayer. A child that has not even come into this world, she wanted to pray for. This was so inspiring to me, it brought me to tears. Kelly always put others ahead of herself her entire life and continued to do so till the very end.

As Kelly began to lose the ability to talk over her last couple days alive we started to have to squeeze her hand for answers to questions. However two days before she passed, I was taking care of Kelly in bed, helping move her around as I always did to make her more comfortable. She grabbed me with her hand and pulled me close. She put her hand under my shirt and rubbed my chest. She loved to do this while she was in the hospital bed as it was her way of being intimate. As she pulled me close, she softly whispered “Thank you for taking care of me”! I could not believe that she was thanking me. It tore my heart out to hear her say those words. I responded to her by saying “ Babe, you do not have to thank me, it was my honor to take care of you…I would not have it any other way and would not change a thing…your welcome and I love you so very much!” She then closed her eyes and went back to resting. These were really the last words that Kelly said to me.

I promised Kelly on her last day on earth that I would not let her life and death go in vain and that I would make sure everyone knew how hard she fought. I also promised that I would try and better this world based on the gifts she taught me. At Kelly’s funeral service I had an opportunity to start the promises I made to Kelly by getting up in front of all of our friends, family and other guests to speak about what Kelly meant to me and to all of us. All I can say is that I felt Kelly with me the entire time. Under normal circumstances, I would be nervous and stir crazy speaking in front of 800 people, but that day I did not feel a nerve in my body. What I did feel was Kelly standing right next to me the entire time. She pushed me to be stronger and that day I certainly was. I had not prepared at all for that speech. Even our priest, Father Rudy, thought speaking was going to be too difficult and advised against it but I told him I had to do it for Kelly. Once I made my way up to the altar, the words just flowed out. I know that Kelly was helping the words flow from my mouth that is the only way I can explain it. After my speech was over, I felt I like I got hit by a truck but the entire time talking I felt Kelly’s love for me and all the love in the room for Kelly. It was certainly a once in a life time moment that I will never forget.

I truly believe there is no such thing as coincidence in this world…if you feel the same way then this last story may bring tears to your eyes. The night before our wedding last year, Kelly gave me a special gift. She gave me watch that was engraved in the back. I love this watch, it is so special to me. I only wore it for our wedding because it was so nice. After the wedding, I put it away in my dresser and had not touched it all year. The night of Kelly’s viewing, while I was getting ready, I thought to myself, I should wear my special watch, I know Kelly would like that. So I opened my dresser, pulled out the watch and noticed that the battery was dead. I briefly put the watch back in its place but something made me pull the watch back out. I told myself, I don’t care if the time is not working on the watch; I am wearing it anyway because it meant so much to me. So I proudly put it on and headed to the funeral home. I was sitting with my mother in law and other family members during the viewing. After a hour or so, I leaned over to my mother in law and mentioned to her that I was wearing the watch that Kelly gave me for our wedding. I told her I was wearing it even though it was not working. She wanted to see it so I showed her. After briefly looking at it, her mouth dropped upon looking at the face of the watch. She looked at me and said “Manny, look at the time” As I looked down at the time my heart almost stopped. It was just after 3:01am. The watch froze at the time Kelly passed away. I could not believe it. To make it even more unbelievable, Kelly had the watch engraved “MK, Until The End Of Time”. This is just not some strange coincidence, however everyone can believe what they wish.

Kelly was a gift from god to all of us, I truly believe this. When I look back over all the little things that happened over the past 20 years that led to Kelly and I ending up together, it truly is amazing. My plan is to write a book about our love story, Kelly’s faith and the inspiration she has shown us even in the toughest of times. Even though I am not much of a writer, I feel as if Kelly is continuing to push me. Whenever I wanted to just be ordinary, Kelly made me be better. I used to always talk about being extraordinary…well the truth is she was extraordinary. Kelly made me the man I am today and I owe her my life! She opened my eyes to the world as I now know it and she gave me a gift that not too many people will ever have. Now it’s up to me to share our experiences to make the world a better place.I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to be so in love with Kelly. The love we have for each other is truly amazing. So unconditional, I wish everyone reading this blog gets to experience love like ours in their lifetime. As Kelly stated in her very first blog, “I guess the vows "through sickness and health" really hold true here in our home”...we demonstrated this to the highest level. So when you get down in your relationship and your feeling like life is just too much to handle, remember Kelly and I.

I would like to personally thank each and every one of you who have read this blog and for all the beautiful comments you have shared. I would sit up at night and read to Kelly all the comments on the blog even on her last days. I know the comments continued to give her strength even at the end.

I hope that you have been inspired by Kelly and I in some small or big way. Continue to try to and be a better, stronger person, love deeper, live freer and don’t ever stop believing in your dreams. Continue to put your stake out farther away then you normally would and try to reach for it. Love life and live it to the fullest.

Smile for Kelly after reading this knowing she is looking down on us from heaven with that big smile we all remember.

Love you Babe, Rest in peace!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Today was one of the hardest days I have experienced so far in my life so far. I had to make a decision for Kelly to either try and get her up to her chemo appointment or to let her rest in peace at home and to start the ball rolling in asking for help and the services of Hospice.

A little background as to how this came about. Last Friday, we went to our normal brain chemo appointment. Kelly’s mom and I both noticed how difficult it was becoming to transport Kelly to and from San Jose for her appointments. The anxiety, pain & suffering it was causing Kelly was hard to watch. When we sat down with the Dr that day, we had a conversation about continuing treatment. I made it a point to ask Kelly in front of the Dr If she really wanted to continue with this plan and that we were all ok with her decision either way. She expressed that she still wanted to continue the plan of receiving chemo for at least one more full treatment. This put me at ease knowing that even though it was so hard to get her to the appointments that she still wanted to try and fight. As a husband, this is the kind of spirit that always made me feel so good.

Unfortunately, over the weekend things started to change. Kelly started to become less mobile with her upper body and her strength started to decrease. She had become more and more displaced and very confused at times. She started to be in more and more pain and was very repetitive in the things she would say and ask for. By Sunday it became hard to get her out of the bed and when I did get her up, the pain was so severe she asked demanded to go back right away. This made me sad, depressed anxious, you name it. To see her get worse right before my very eyes was so treacherous. She did not want to eat or drink much either. That takes us to today. I got her up with every intention of taking her to her chemo today, or at least give it a try. Because she was so weak it just made it impossible. She was also running a fever of 100.4 which meant they probably would not give her chemo anyway. I asked Kelly what she wanted to do. In a soft whisper voice she said she still wanted to go. I expressed to her that it was ok to take a break from the chemo and that her body was so wore out I did not think it was such a good idea. She then agreed and said that I was right and she really did not want to go. Although I wanted to whisk her up there I knew that this was the best decision for Kelly. She has been through so much and her body is just starting to say “Time Out”!

After a while I called the Dr and had a conversation about the situation. The Doctor agreed that if Kelly’s symptoms of confusion, lack of mobility, loss of coordination, extreme headache and body pain, fever were all increasing, Chemo Therapy would not be the best solution at this time. She also felt that these are all signs that the cancer is just progressing and not the medications causing the problems. I also asked the Doctor some questions that they always avoid and I pretty much got the answers I was looking for. She agreed that Kelly’s long term prognosis was not very good based on how fast and aggressive this cancer is spreading. The next thing I did was get in touch with Heartland Hospice on the phone because the Doctor felt they would be our best resource at this time. After talking with Hospice on the phone I felt better knowing that by them coming out to help, it does not mean the end and that hope is gone. They are just here to help Kelly be more comfortable and to help us manage her pain more effectively. They also let me know that if Kelly does start to get better she could always cancel the Hospice service and go back to treatment options.

It was a long rough day but it feels good to write to everyone. Kelly is very scared right now and is having thoughts that because Hospice is going to help us that her life is nearing an end. I keep telling her that that is not the case and we just want her to be in some comfort and the pain she is experiencing is not ok. I believe she is starting to accept that things are not going the way we would like but that it’s not over till it’s over. I feel the same way. The best way to put it is, you prepare for the worst, you hope for the best. More importantly we are cherishing every second that we have with Kelly. Living in the moment is really the only way to get everything that life has to offer. I know we all have our problems and issues but if we just take a step back and realize what’s truly, truly important in life, it’s amazing how you can be changed. I know that this experience has changed my perspective in so many ways, and I take nothing for granted. So please for me, after you are done reading this blog, go out hug your wife or your husband or your significant other, your children and tell them how much you love them and how important they are in your life. Our lives can change so quickly, life is so fragile, your heart can be ripped from your chest and your world could be turned upside down in a blink of an eye, so again take nothing for granted. That’s enough preaching for now; I know you are all not reading this for advice on how to live your life, just sharing from my point of view.

Please continue to pray for Kelly and for god to give her strength and to find peace in whatever comes next in her life. God bless everyone and thank you for continuing to read share our story, I pray that Kelly’s life will have touched so many people and changed everyone for the better, I know she has done that for me. Thank you to all the DBOM ladies for the wonderful surprise from the Omaha Foods. That brought a big smile to Kellys face when she saw those boxes on our door. God bless you all!



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