Disclaimer #1: This is SUPER long and you do not have to read it all. Just search for your name (if it’s spelled right – if not…we’re sorry). Purple names are family, blue names are medical family.
Disclaimer #2: I know all the grammar stinks and most of my sentences aren’t even sentences. It’s my thoughts and heart spewed out in type during the wee hours of the night and I don’t really care. It’s there and that’s what matters. Enjoy!
Lying here on this eve of Thanksgiving in my bed. My own bed, with my own pillow, and my own sheets. I’m clean from a shower in my own bathroom, with my own shampoo, and my own soap. So tired, but so awake and thankful. Thankful to be home for Thanksgiving after a long rough two and a half weeks in the hospital. Thankful that Kristine has made it over 24 hours without a fever. Thankful she gets to sleep a whole night without constantly waking up to pee from all the fluids being pumped into her or vitals checks. Thankful we don’t have to smell some poor old lady’s diaper being changed in the bed next to us. Thankful for this website and t-shirts to keep me occupied with fun stuff during all the sitting, waiting, and not-so-fun stuff. But most of all, thankful for people. This whole cancer thing really, really sucks. Like really. And you really don’t have any idea how much is sucks until you walk through it. I walk through it every day with Kristine and can feel the pain, but even then, I can’t feel all of it. I know it’s harder on her than her constant smile lets on. Harder than even I, who has been with her pretty much every second from day one of this, can understand. But there’s one thing (other than God) that I know makes all the difference in the world going through it: YOU.
We’ve had Mom and Dad dropping everything and making the almost three hour drive to UC Davis Medical Center whenever needed, bringing whatever we could want. And more. Friends like Megan, Michael, Abbie, and siblings Larissa, Aaron, Janaye, and Josh making the trip just to cheer Kristine up, bring games, food, and smiles. Michael, Casey – staying home to watch kids or keep sickness away. Michelle and Dan, we know you’d be right there too if you didn’t live 2000 miles away. Our Sacramento mom, Kären, who has her own daughter Natalie fighting cancer (who we just heard is CANCER FREE now!) to take care of, but somehow finds the time to take care of us too, bring us a bunch of meals, give hugs, and just gahh…everything. And Natalie - our favorite fellow patient. Thanks for welcoming us in and sharing your mom! Greek mom, Pinkie (we also call her Steak Mom…I don’t think she knows this though :) ), who pops in with gifts, steak and potatoes, and smiles. Greek mom #2, Cathy. The complete stranger who baked us cookies, and then only days later, ended up in the ER a few doors down from us diagnosed with cancer for the fourth time in her life. Larry and Donna, who gave us the keys to their house and offered to let us stay whenever we needed before we ever even met them. The Court (neighborhood of said house), our Sacramento family. They all bring us food, let us steal their catered meals, check in on us, bake fresh banana bread, let us suck their internet dry from Netflix, and make sure we’re as comfy as possible. Friends from JC Sacramento, Jessica, Natalie, and Yari, who come with gifts, Kristine’s weird cancer cravings, and smiles. Friends at home in Redding, EliseHawkinsNutritionalTherapy.com and Jordan, Joelle, Michelle, Misty and Jeff, Janet, Laura, Amber, Michael, Megan, Kara, Heather, Spencer, Seth and Susannah, ready with healthy stuff or fun at the snap of a finger. Adina – our Redding nurse who helps with any questions day or night. Joy - for initially making Kristine get checked out in the ER and saving her from death that would have occured in a few days.
Linda McIntosh at East Gate Bottled Water – constantly thankful for all I’ve learned and the person I’ve become because of you – I wouldn’t have made it even part way through this whole journey very well if it weren’t for you (and Loni, Jesse, Chad and Tracey – thanks for loving me through life, crap and all!). Andrea Lake (.com)– always going above and beyond, generous with time and resources, and my most recent favorite person to leech from. And all the Lessons.biz buddies – Patrick, Drew, the rest of the crew (even Dan Caldwell when you can’t get internet). Thankful for your constant encouragement, knowledge, and help with pushing our dream forward.
The Petersons and Williams – always awesome and willing to help. You give me work when I’m home and need it, but totally cool when I’m out of town for weeks. Nathaniel – sorting through big box of receipts and all things business related, helping me get it into quickbooks. Redding Fasteners – all your random supplies, sharpies, scrap metal, spray paint, boxes, tape, and screws. Isaiah, Elijah, Frosty, Abbie, Marissa, Shannon, Kiera, Joelle, Elise, Josh – the gym posse where it all started. Thanks for letting us constantly throw new designs at ya, wearing our very first prototypes, and being a constant boost forward. Lucas – friend with truck, hauling our random vending machines in the rain. Kristina – our biggest Arky fan and promoter. You rock. Sierra – everything is bigger in Texas - including our fans. Aaron at Turbans for Tots for thinking we're funny. Meredith - for all the randomness and laughs while you were around. The only thing we're NOT thankful for now is the fact that you don't live in Redding anymore. Erica Rae - all your sweet notes and pictures of cute kids to cheer us up.
All those who have donated time or money to Kristine or myself, you do NOT go unnoticed: Kaia, Sky, Michael, Marty, Gabe, Alex, Laughenbergs, Mike and Earline, Martin, Cherylyn, Season at KICKcanER, Michelle, Bincy, Obrechts, Katie, Hintzes, Clarissa, Weisses, Andersons, Fullmers, DeMers, Colleen, Jeff, Kristina, Sophia, Sherry, Lloyd, Soukups, Christine, Sherrills, Tifany and James, Clowers, Josh, and the anonymous donors – can’t thank you all enough.
Tim, Anna and Tom, Matt, Uncle Rob and Aunt Sue, Aunt Marcia, Laura, Uncle Bll and Aunt Dede – we love you family! Your constant check-ins and texts, pop-ins between travels, generous gifts, cards, and happy pictures of cute little cousins in our clothes. Oma and Opa – the best grandparents/housemates ever! Kim, Audrey, and Katie – cause you’re like family too.
And of course our Doctors:
Gold star for Dr. Pawar! It was a good, good day when she became our primary doc. Always makes us feel like the most important people on the planet. Does things beyond the role of your normal doc. We love you! Dr. Chung – the first doc to subscribe to our email list. That + you = a spot on our favorite people list. Dr. M – super funny, someday we will learn to pronounce your name. Dr. Ducore – at first we didn’t know what to do with you (and we still don’t), but it has been fun throwing jokes back at ya. The Resident Docs – you all kind of switch a lot so we don’t remember your names. But you’re all super cool and we’re thankful for your early morning checkups for weeks at a time with no break.
THE BEST case nurse in the universe! She’s a person that you can tell just really, really cares. She cries when we cry, keeps up with all our ups and downs - even off the clock, and is one of our, and Catch Some Air’s, biggest fans. She’s the type we’ll invite to our weddings for sure.
Infusion Center BFFs:
Nancy – has one of the biggest hearts there is. Amanda – always happy, always fun – everybody’s best friend. Dorene – warm and hot like a wood stove on a freezing cold day. Dina – never been our nurse but smiles are felt from across the room. Rebecca – spunky, sarcastic, hilarious, super cool. Brian – happy smart teddy bear. Michelle – the dreaded check-in for treatment just got a whole lot better. Cesar – master parking validator, saves us millions in tickets and taxes. Kristine – name buddies, who doesn’t love that? Maria –the soft spoken saint. Kay – know it all...but in the absolute best way. Rose – short and sweet. Melinda – emergency snack/pillow/blanket supplier. Laugh that’s contagious.
Surgery Center Scrubs:
Ginger! Everyone’s favorite nurse…who’s not technically a nurse (can you be my maid of honor?). Jodi – cool x1000, can you be our mom too? Connie – all kinds of goodness wrapped into one nice package. Chicago (you know who you are) – no more of that thin crust…go get a deep dish. Tall Anesthesia Lady (we suck for forgetting your name) – going under with you is always a pleasure. Heather – no, Kristine still won’t wear the cream. Joyanna – so sweet…we’re totally taking you up on riding horses once Kristine can stand for more than 5 minutes. Man Who Writes Notes On Our Sheets – you are un-named for your protection…but it’s seriously the best. Cheryl – Kristine says “you can access my port any day.”
All Great on Davis 8:
Mother Grace – like the Mother Teresa of the hospital. Eyes that look right into your soul and know exactly what you need. Also the only one who can get Kristine in the hospital shower. Chuie! We just like saying your name…and you…a lot. Lan – like another older sister we wish we had. Always enjoy when you’re around. Stephanie – Lan’s side-kick gone pro. You’re awesome! Brittany – all laughs with you in the room. Our favorite thing. Nadira – Like a favorite loud crazy fun aunt who stays up with us during the wee hours of the night shift. Makes the hospital stays like 500x more fun. Eloisa – faithful through the thick and thin of fevers and itchy platelet reactions. Philline – it has been awhile, but we love you too. Kris - name twinsies! Always fun. Myrna - literally the only person who has gotten Kristine to eat hospital food in months. Sometimes it is just necessary. William – our favorite voice from the wall. Sometimes we push the call button just to hear you. Daryl – any two second interaction with you, and all in life is good and happy. Nurse with Dark Hair and Tattoo - we're sorry for forgetting your name, but we like you. Laundry Man Lewis – thankful for your morning blessings and reminders that you love us and God does too. The Cleaning Ladies – I hate germs, and love seeing your smiling faces in all corners of Davis 8 keeping things sanitary.
Message for all hospital staff:
I don't even have words to thank you enough for working tirelessly around the clock, day and night, to keep my little sister safe, alive, healthy, and cured.
Redding Quest Lab:
I really don’t know how you all can be so nice with a job where you stab people with needles all day long. But, if anyone has to suck Kristine’s blood twice a week, we’re glad it’s you guys.
And a HUGE THANK YOU to so soo sooooo many others for your prayers, support, good vibes, and kind words. As hard as this walk is, I’m thankful for all our family – old and new – that we’ve become closer with because of it. You are what makes this process the best it can be. I wish I could write something personal to all of you, but I really am falling asleep now. I’ve written myself late into the night…and into THANKSGIVING! My FAVORITE holiday! Have a good one. So much to be thankful for today, and every day.