Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Services for Jayme

We just send Dad's obituary to the KC Star to be published in tomorrow's paper. As stated below, services will be this Friday, April 29 - visitation starting at 1pm & service at 2pm.

Jayme Findlay, 58, died April 25, 2011 at Menorah Medical Center, while in the loving embrace of his wife, after a 2-year battle with esophageal cancer. Jayme was born August 1, 1952 in Omaha, Nebraska. He attended Westside High School and graduated from Baker University in 1970. He was a loyal employee of Power Sales & Advertising for 18 years. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Connie Findlay and brothers Tom and Dave.

Jayme leaves behind his wife of 25 years, Kay, and 4 adoring children, daughters Anna Heinritz (Adam), Ft. Lupton, CO, Caroline Findlay, NYC, and Grace Findlay, of the home, son Sam Findlay, Lawrence and 2 beloved granddaughters, Claire and Stella Heinritz. He is also survived by his brothers Bob Findlay, Lawrence, Scott Findlay, Omaha and Dan Findlay, Dalton, GA.

The family would like to express their sincere gratitude for the wonderful care Jayme received from Dr. Mark Myron and Dr. Rich Morgan. Jayme felt truly blessed to have both on his team.

Jayme had a mission in life and that was to make a real difference in the world. Mission accomplished.

Services for Jayme will be held on Friday, April 29 at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village (6641 Mission Road). Visitation with the family will begin at 1pm followed by a celebration of his life at 2pm.

The family suggests contributions to Operation Breakthrough (3039 Troost, Kansas City, MO, www.operationbreakthrough.org) or American Cancer Society (P.O. Box 22718 Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718, www.cancer.org).

Thank you for all of the outpouring of support - its been incredible to hear from everyone. Really shows just how much everyone loved and respected Dad.

Monday, April 25, 2011

On His Terms

It is with such great sadness that I (Caroline) am writing to tell our loyal blog followers that my dad died today at 2:15am. My mom was with him, laying by his side in the all-too-familiar hospital bed, as he took his last breath. He went out the way he wanted to - in peace, pain free and with as little machines running as possible. All four of us kids - Anna, Caroline, Sam & Grace - were together driving across Kansas to try and get back to say goodbye. But Dad went out on his own terms - he didn't want us to see him suffering. Mom asked us to pull over and gave us the incredibly tough news to hear. She was so sensitive, honest and poetic in re-living our dad's last moments. The fact that the four of us were together made the moment something that I'll never forget and brought us closer than I ever imagined possible. I will not hide the fact that I am heartbroken, feel completely empty and am struggling with losing my dad at the young age of 24 but he knows how much we all adored and truly idolized him as both a father and a person. He really was like no other. He raised four amazing children (if I do say so myself...) and he will now live on within us. Plus through his son-in-law Adam and beloved granddaughters Claire Renee & Stella Jean.

Mom has been our rock and a saint throughout this entire 2+ year ordeal. She has never wavered in her care for him and always made him the #1 priority, even when he wasn't being the most pleasant person to be around. She draws strength from us but we lean on her even more. I have never been more in awe of someone - she is our guide through life. Words cannot express the love I feel for her. I know my siblings fully agree.

Our Aunt Jane and Mom's cousin Amy Jo were with her through it all yesterday. We are forever grateful she had them both there. And his nurse, Wendy, even kissed Dad's head and cried while sharing in the grief of it all.

I want to thank everyone for their words of encouragement and support for our family. It has been quite a journey that feels strange to end this way, but I'm beyond relieved to know that Dad no longer has to deal with the never-ending flow of medication, hospital visits and the unknown of tomorrow.

We will keep you posted on service information. Love to you all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Still Here

Currently on day #4 at Menorah. They are still working on managing Jayme's pain and nausea, though both are improved. I asked the Dr this morning what the criteria would be for Jayme to go home. He said it was pain and nausea control and figuring out how to keep him nourished after he leaves here. He is not eating much by mouth, though did eat several spoonfuls of his clear liquid diet this morning. That is all he's had all week. He is currently getting nourishment through his IV 24/7. His digestive system is still slow, but improved.

After all he has been through, Jayme has decided he does not want to endure more chemo in the near future, but has also stated "that is subject to change". And who could blame him. What a warrior he has been. I will definitely need help with him at home, so Dr Myron will refer us to KC Hospice for palliative care when he is discharged from the hospital. For those of you unfamiliar with those terms, there is a difference between palliative and hospice care...

Palliative care (from Latin palliare, to cloak) is a specialized area of healthcare that focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients. Unlike hospice care, palliative medicine is appropriate for patients in all disease stages, including those undergoing treatment for curable illnesses and those living with chronic diseases, as well as patients who are nearing the end of life. Palliative medicine utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, relying on input from physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers, psychologists, and other allied health professionals in formulating a plan of care to relieve suffering in all areas of a patient's life.

But first things first. Our immediate goal is to get him through this current setback so he is more comfortable and able to go home. Wish I could take all these nurses with me, they are fabulous!

Since I will be his primary caregiver, I have taken a leave from my home health job. On the brightside, I'll get to hang out with Jayme lots. On the downside, he doesn't pay nearly as well!

The outpouring of support continues to astonish me. And please, never think I don't want to be bothered, cause I do!

Thanks for the love,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Detour

Severals hours after I posted my previous blog, Jayme started to experience more nausea, vomitting and abdominal pain. I ended up taking him to the Cancer Center Monday morning and following an exam and x-ray, they admitted him to Menorah. He had a scope earlier today and they have concluded part of his colon is "frozen". They do not know why, so they are loading him up with meds to get the colon moving. So far he is pretty out of it from mega doses of anti-nausea and pain meds. Poor guy can't catch a break!!!

I'll post again if and when they get him figured out. Hopefully tomorrow.

I've received so many texts and calls this week and it has meant a lot to me. Thanks for all the attention!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

So far, so good

Third day out from chemo treatment #2 and things are improved since round #1. Jayme still has weird side effects like before, but nausea is more controlled. I think the new and improved anti-nausea regimen did the trick. One downside is he seems to be experiencing more abdominal pain, so will address that on Monday with the Cancer Center. He has lost several pounds, so he is trying to eat something every few hours, plus that will also help with the nausea.

I don't leave him for long periods, so Grace came home yesterday so I could work. Hopefully, he will be able to fend more for himself next week.

And who would have guessed the Royals would be 10 & 4. It has reaffirmed our belief that miracles really do happen!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Round Two

Following Jayme's few days in the hospital, he has felt better and the nausea has disappeared. But, since his first go around was a bit rough, he is a little nervous about his 2nd round of chemo scheduled for tomorrow morning. His oncologist and I had to do a little nudging, but Jayme feels this is his best shot to send this beast into remission and he promises to show up at the Cancer Center at 9:30 am tomorrow for treatment #2!

We met with Dr Myron this morning and he told us that this chemo regimen is the best out there for this kind of cancer and he has seen positive results in some of his patients. We understand that his cancer is not "curable", but Dr Myron is doing his best to keep it under control. This morning we discussed changing and adding anti-nausea medication during and after the treatment in an attempt to send him home feeling better than before.

Even though he fatigues easily, he still manages to work from home via his laptop, and is so grateful he is able to earn a paycheck. I am still working both jobs, but know I may need to cut back in the near future as this caregiving duty is exhausting!

Prayers and positive vibes continue to be welcome in our world.

Peace to all,


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hospital Visit

It's been a rough week for Jayme, but we think things will start to improve. He is currently in Shawnee Mission Medical Center and should be home sometime tomorrow. Last night he was having abdominal pain, nausea, and had not had much to eat or drink over the past several days. I took him to the ER and they admitted him. Turns out his white blood count was severely low, he was dehydrated and had a bowel obstruction. He has been given lots of IV fluids and antibiotics and is feeling better. His nausea has decreased and his appetite improved. They've had him in isolation due to the low white count, which is common in chemo patients. He tried to persuade the staff to let him recover at home since "the worst place to be if you don't want to get sick is the hospital"! He lost that argument.

He is not up to visitors, but loves the emails, texts and cards. He thanks everyone for their love and concern. And so do I.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hanging in There

One down. Jayme had round one of chemo on Thursday. Had rough days Thursday and Friday, but started to feel a little better by Saturday. Experiencing some side effects, such as brief hand incoordination, tingling in hands and feet and constant borderline nausea. He has had to take more anti-nausea meds, so he is sleeping more than usual. He continues to take two chemo pills daily and we hope those side effects keep to a minimum. The good news is he was able to make it to his office today for several hours. I think it was hard for him, but so important to him that he is able to work.

Had a great weekend with all our kids, plus granddaughters Claire and Stella. Mostly just hung out watching basketball, fighting off our disbelief at the way the Jayhawk's season ended. So so sad. Caroline flew back to NY last night and Sam and Grace are back in Lawrence after a week of spring break in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Anna, Adam and the girls will drive back to Denver tomorrow and begin their preparations for their move th KC in July.

A huge thank you to my KC cousins, the Williams and Helfers, and soup nazi friend Jeff for the delicious food over the weekend. That was such a huge help with all the mouths we had to feed.

Enjoy the rest of the week and please keep those good vibes coming Jayme's way!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Getting Started

Jayme and I met with the nurse practitioner at the KC Cancer Center yesterday to find out the protocol for his chemo. We will see Dr Myron at 10:15 tomorrow and then Jayme will hang out for a few more hours and receive his first round. His "chemo cocktail" consists of 3 different kinds, two will be infused by IV tomorrow and the third is a pill taken daily for three weeks. He is scheduled to have chemo at the center every 3 weeks, up to 6-8 rounds. He will have labs drawn and see the oncologist weekly during this timetable.

He continues to amaze me with his focus on nutrition and exercise, and the most incredible attitude I have ever witnessed. He inspires me daily.

All the Findlay kids and grandkids will be here at some point this weekend and nothing makes us happier. Now if we could get a couple of Jayhawk victories, all would be good in the world!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Back in Shawnee

Finished our appointments late yesterday afternoon, so decided to head back home. Jayme is already back to work and I will be heading there soon, though I would much rather watch March Madness all day.

Met with an oncology nurse practitioner, the surgeon and Dr Alberts, a medical oncologist yesterday. They recommended the same treatment regimen as our KC oncologist. So, I have already shot off an email to Dr Myron to get Jayme started asap. They all believe that Jayme will respond well to the treatment since he had such a good result the first time around.

We are both so glad we made the trip. It helped to validate our own oncologist's recommendations and gave us hope as we begin the next phase.

Please keep those cares and prayers coming our amazing family and friends!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Arrived at destination

Many, many thanks for all the good wishes and prayers. And love all the blog comments, emails and texts. We are so blessed with all this love and support. Believe me, it is noticed and appreciated!

Arrived in Rochester around 8:30 this evening. Love our hotel, Townplace Suites by Marriott. We have a 1 bedroom suite with full kitchen. which is great for Jayme's 6 meals a day. And I am thrilled that I spotted a Trader Joe's on our way into town.

Ready to get started tomorrow and get this show on the road. We are to check in at the Mayo at 9 am in the morning and find out our agenda for the next few days. Hopefully, we will be home by Friday evening in time to watch the Jayhawks.

Rock Chalk!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Back to Mayo Clinic

We are heading to Rochester, MN the afternoon of Tuesday, March 15th. Jayme is scheduled for lab work and a CT scan on March 16th and will meet with an oncologist and Dr Nichols, his surgeon from two years ago, on the 17th. After the appts with the docs and their review of all his test results, including those from from the KC Cancer Center, they will let us know if we need to extend our stay for more tests. Hopefully, at that point, they will be able to head us in some direction as far as treatment options and a timetable. At least we have a plan to get this battle started.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Not Much New

Finally received a call from Dr Nichols at the Mayo Clinic this afternoon. I gave him an update on Jayme over the past month and he referred me to an oncologist up there. The oncologist's office called an hour later and I gave them a thorough history on Jayme over the past two years. I was told they will review his case and call me within four business days to schedule an appointment. You can bet they will get a call from me on Wednesday.

She also said the earliest we would probably get in is the end of next week or the following week. Not fast enough for us, but I've learned that being proactive and patient go hand in hand during this process.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Change of Plans

Jayme and I were set on heading down to MD Anderson in Houston, but have since changed our course. Dr Myron, his oncologist, called me Wednesday am and we discussed our options for treatment. He informed me that he had researched clinical trials locally and in Houston, but Jayme does not qualify for any at this time. I let him know we are not ready to jump into a standard treatment here until we get a 2nd opinion and strengthen our knowledge base about what is out there for Jayme. Dr Myron concurred and after further discussion, we decided to go back to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. We need a place to start and we are both very comfortable starting at a place that we know.

Dr Myron made a call to the Mayo Clinic on Wednesday afternoon and left a message for Dr Nichols, Jayme's surgeon from two years ago. I found out today that he had been out of the country until last Monday night, so it may take a few more days to get things rolling. Hopefully we will have some news first of the week. Guess we just have to "hurry up and wait"!

Jayme is doing well, working full time and maintaining an amazing attitude. And, we are both overjoyed that Anna and Adam and granddaughters Claire and Stella are moving to KC in July! Anyone know of a couple of jobs for a couple of great teachers?

Enjoy the weekend.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Moving Forward

It is my opinion that Dr's offices take way too long in "getting back to you". So I called the KC Cancer Center today to see if the test results we were waiting for were in. Just so happened they said they received them this afternoon. Coincidence? I think not.

We were hoping the test showed that Jayme's original 2009 biopsy contained a gene called Her2. If it did, then he could be treated with an antibody drug called Herceptin along with the chemo. In theory, the cancer responds better to the duo treatment. Unfortunately, the test for the gene was negative, but they will repeat the test to be certain.

In the meantime, Jayme and I think it would be best to go to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for treatment options, hopefully find a clinical trial. I did a self referral for him on-line last night and we should hear from them within the next 24 hours. Hopefully, we can get an appointment in the next few weeks and get this thing going!

As always, we feel blessed to have such an awesome support system. Thanks for the emails, cards, calls, texts and comments. It does make a difference!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another Fight to Fight

Although I found writing on this blog helpful when Jayme battled esophageal cancer in 2009, I was really hoping that I wouldn't have to get my "therapy" through blogging again.

No such luck.

Jayme has been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer, this time it chose to settle in his right lung. In November he had a PET scan and it showed a very small area in the lung that concerned the oncologist. They did another scan on February 1st and it showed it had grown enough to biopsy, which he had last week. We met with Dr Myron today to find out the results. It is the same kind of cancer he had before, adenocarcinoma. The Cancer Center is performing another test, then we will discuss the best options for treatment, most likely chemo. At this point, surgery and radiation are not options. The oncologist is also looking into clinical trials here and elsewhere. So, we won't know much more for 7-10 days.

In the meantime, we ask for your prayers and positive vibes. Jayme has started this fight with an incredible and contagious positive attitude. He has already made me feel better. I think it is suppose to be the other way around!
I will post again as soon as I know our next course of action.

Peace and gratitude,