Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We are back at Twin Cities Community Hospital again!

     Last Wednesday the 23rd of September, it was decided that Kevin no longer needed the special services of UCSF.  So after receiving his chemo he was transferred back to our local hospital.  Here he will finish out his first round of chemo we think and then go home.  He is on a schedule of day 1, 4, 8, & 11 for chemo and off for days 12 - 28 to give his kidneys and the rest of him time to recover.  Some doctors prefer only 7 days off but that schedule almost always causes permanent kidney damage and diabetes.  More space between takes a little longer, is as effective in the long run and will protect his overall health.  He seems to be tolerating the chemo very well.  No nausea.
     In San Francisco he was doing great until they did a PET scan.  The whole ordeal was very physically demanding and took its toll.  It caused him great pain and discomfort.  After that he wasn't able to walk his laps each day.  When he is just sitting up in bed visiting he seems almost normal, but watch him try to sit up in bed and then get out of bed and walk the few steps to the bathroom and back, he looks like a 100 year old man.  His muscles have atrophied from being in bed the last two weeks and the cancer causes pain and weakness.
     Saturday when sitting down gently he felt sudden excruciating pain, so they x-rayed him, which caused further pain, revealing a 20% compression fracture of a vertebrate where the lower ribs connect.  Doctor doesn't seem concerned.  This is what happens to Myeloma patients.  He wasn't feeling a lot of help from the pain meds they were giving him so they tried a different one on him that he likes!  Percocet. Not sure about the spelling.  Years ago when I broke my collar bone on vacation they gave me Percocet.  One pill every other day and I was in la la land for two days!  KR, who has a high threshold for pain, is getting two every four hours! 
     He is seeing a physical therapist that had him walking today.  This will be an ongoing thing and hopefully we will be able to rebuild his strength gradually.  Baby steps!
     One of the side effects of his and many chemos is constipation.  This is a new experience for KR.  They give him stool softeners and laxatives galore.  In the words of our friends Cameron and Carolyn, he has to make a 'stinky' before he can get his chemo.  That problem got him off schedule in SF.  We think the secret may be old fashioned prune juice.  We just need to learn how much!  Anyway yesterday he was experiencing painful back spasms, aggravated by trips to the bathroom, requiring him to need to call the nurse for help.  I came in when this was going on and he said, "This is some place!  I get room service in the bathroom!"
     We can't thank you enough for all the prayers, service and donations to our cause!  Miracles and tender mercies are happening each day.  I've been having a lot of trouble with my treadmill this summer and finally decided to give up.  If you buy something like that at Costco, they will take it back no matter how long you've had it!  Mine was only three years old, but two years out of warranty.  They not only take it back, they come and get it!  They even came up the stairs and did all the hard labor.  It weighs 350 lbs!  Soon I will see a credit for the purchase price on my credit card.  That's at least a tender mercy!  Hopefully I will be able to get another one, from Costco of course, that will last longer so that KR can do some of his physical therapy on it.  He needs load bearing exercise which walking is to strengthen his bones and rebuild his strength!  Isn't Costco the best?!  You don't get customer service like that very often these days!  Commercial over.
     I have to publicly acknowledge how hard Hillary has been working through all of this.  She always takes care of us to some extent but now she's the glue that's holding everything together.  Her strength and faith are phenominal!  Thanks to Darrell for setting up this blog and helping the keep it up to date.  His technicall skills and photograpic talents are being put to good use at home, office and hospital.  Poor Candice has been kept away as she has been suffering from a long drawn out cold that morphed into allergies.  At UCSF  she didn't pass the health screening and was only able to have a brief visit with her dad.  This was so hard for them both.  She and Chris drove all the way from Fresno to see him.  KR feels her support even from a distance. They stay in touch by phone and text messages!  How did we ever live without that technology?  KR is sleeping now and not snoring and that's a good thing!  Too be continued.

Stage 3

Forgotten information! In the last couple days at UCSF one of the many doctors who saw Kevin did FINALLY call his cancer Stage 3.  He told us because of his Kidney failure and extreme calcium levels it is an automatic Stage 3.

We still don't have the results of either Bone Marrow Biopsy's

Here are some photos from our time in San Francisco

Kevin on phone while Dale reads the quilt

From left to right: Kevin with his safety towel, Dale,
Hillary, and cousin Brent.

Kevin enjoying his new quilt

Darrell finally got to see him a week after the trip to
the emergency room

Lunch time with Dale and Hillary reading him his
many letters and cards

He wanted to be covered up for his ride to the PET scan,
not at all morbid

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Good to be Home

My mom and I are so glad to be back home.  Although we miss the cool, foggy days of San Fransisco as we sweat it out in the 100+ degree heat, we don't miss the traffic and parking nightmares.

Kevin is doing well at Twin Cities.  He is as comfortable as possible in his own room and being well taken care of by the staff and family.

Kevin should be staying at Twin Cities at least through this round of Chemotherapy.  He receives the chemo on days 1, 4, 8, & 11 but he received one of the three drugs at the end of day five because of complications.  His Doctor here is pushing back the next treatment till Monday so he should be done with this round on Thursday.  He is still on liquids and yesterday had a PICC line put into his upper arm. The PICC line goes up his arm, around his shoulder and almost to his heart.  This is where the drugs will be administered.  If all goes well he could keep the PICC line in his arm throughout ALL of his treatments.  Don't know how that will work but that's what the Doctors say.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Regarding Visitors

At this time we ask that Kevin have no visitors at the hospital.  His immune system is weak and seeing as it's flu season the Doctors have asked that visitors not be allowed.  We will let you know when this changes and keep you informed of his progress.  He will be able to check emails and blog comments regularly which brightens his spirits after being poked and prodded all day and night.
Thank you for respecting the doctors wishes and letting Kevin rest a while!

It's Back (ish)

Dana turned out to be Kevin's last nurse at UCSF.  The fact that we were being shipped back to Twin Cities Community Hospital came as a shock to Dale & Hillary and Dana made sure they were taken care of and had all the information they needed.

At about 8:35pm the EMT's showed up and got him ready to go.  Kevin is saying Hallelujah in this picture. Soon after it was taken they strapped him down!

As the Ambulance headed out Dale & Hillary stopped for a quick goodbye to their home these last 10 days. They took excellent care of Kevin here and we are eternally grateful for their service but they were happy to put UCSF behind them and head back closer to home.
That's before they found out it was over 100 degrees at home!
San Fransisco we miss you...

Here Kevin is summing up his past 2 weeks to Jessie his night nurse at Twin Cities.

Catching up on Photos

This is Lori, she was Kevin's favorite ICU nurse. Once he was moved from the ICU to the Oncology floor she came up for a visit on her break.

While Kevin was in the ICU Pat & Lauren Ham stopped by for a visit.  Lauren is a student in SF and Pat works in SF.

Candice & Chris were able to come up for a quick visit.  It was the first time they were together since the diagnosis.  It was a happy reunion!

This is Dr. Burgess, he took AMAZING care of us.  We're pretty sure he never leaves the hospital. We saw him EVERY day we were there from the ICU to the oncology floor.  He took great care of Kevin and we appreciated a familiar face.  The other doctors rotate on a weekly basis.

This is Kevin's roommate Dennis. We love Dennis! Dennis wasn't sure if he loved Kevin after the first few minutes of snoring but warmed up quickly the next day.  Kevin was able to give Dennis a Blessing and we now have a new friend for life.

Kevin's brother Brian and son Brent came in from Highland UT for a visit.  Between Kevin and Brian the laughs and gas was non stop!

Agnes was Kevin's nurse 3 days in the oncology ward.  She made sure he got excellent care and showered! (Dale & Hillary LOVE Agnes)
Kevin enjoyed teasing her with threats of a conga line and walking backwards. (That's a NO NO)

  We will post more pics of this beautiful blanket made with love by our sweet friend Becky Snider. All of the light tan squares have words of love and encouragement from the Paso 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Wards!  Kevin was a little warm in his room so Dale & Hillary enjoyed it's warmth and "comforter spirit" as it wrapped them with your love.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Look Inside The Beast

Yesterday Kevin had a PET scan to determine if there were any more tumors or lesions on his bones.  It took 3 hours not the 1 they told us and was not a comfortable experience because apparently they do not make PET scan machines at the Big and Tall store.

More good news: The tumor on his lowest right rib was the only "hot spot" on the scan.  We expected at least and most likely more than the 3 other "hot spots" that showed up on a CAT scan he had done in Templeton before we came here.  Not only were there no additional "hot spots" but the 3 from the CAT scan did not show up!  What this means is that the cancer is more evenly distributed throughout his body.  He should not have to have Radiation, which they use to spot treat those areas.

This evening he will receive his second dose of chemo along with a heavier chemo drug Doxil.  The third step to his treatment called VDD for Velcade, Doxil, & Dexamethasone.  They will continue to monitor him the next few days but are hoping to take out his central line in his jugular and catheter. Continued progress each new day. The doctors are pleased with his continual progress and the nurses are appreciating the upbeat nature and constant jokes that come from room 1151.

We are all hanging in here and hoping to be hope this weekend.  We are working hard to get all the paperwork together for Medi-cal and will feel a HUGE relief once that is finished.  Otherwise we are constantly receiving blessings and love from all of you! Love you all and hope to see you soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Heeey youuu guuyys!

Whoa what a rush the last couple of weeks have been!

It's Sunday afternoon at the hospital.  I wanted to try and start out with something funny, but I moved that down.  I know you've heard it from all of us in our calls, and have read it in Darrell's great blog many times, but I want you to know from me that I have felt not just all of your prayers, but more importantly I have been able to feel individual prayers.  As if a constant pulse of prayers, not a mass of prayers being strung together.  The importance of the "one", in this case me, and the importance of the "one", in this case you, being individually delivered.

I don't know if anyone will remember during one of my Ward Conference talks when I stated my belief that I "knew" that I could "do it here on earth" by the Savior's gaze into my eye that told me so.  In the next year's talk I professed my belief that it was our spiritual communication with the Savior in the pre-existence of not only His belief in us, but then more importantly our belief in Him that helped Him through His time in the Garden of Gethsemane.  When the Father had to withdraw, and the Savior was left to himself, there was us.  If I can feel the individual prayers of those praying for me, is it any less difficult to belief that our prayers for Him at that time would be denied?  Perhaps I'm way off.  Perhaps not.  I do believe that my experience has helped me understand the Atonement to a greater, and again more personal, degree.

You remember my testimony before?  I really hate to see it grow THIS PARTICULAR way, but grown it has.  God lives.  Jesus is our brother.  The Gospel is absolutely true.  Amen

Today Dale, Hillary and Darrell filled me in on 2 plus days that I completely missed.  That was interesting.

I'm not going to take a long time to start filling in the blanks from my part, but I promise I will.  Let me sum up:
I announced to the doctors and staff that they were going to be witnessing a million miracles over the next few days.  Whether they believed it or not, they would one day have to admit it.  Along with that, I had one doctor in particular, Dr.Lo, my kidney/dialysis Dr whom I had to convert to humor as well.  After coming in in with total kidney failure, 2 days later we went back and forth several times before he admitted, "OK, you had a 'miraculous' recovery."  He said my kidney function level before coming in was "pristine" (can you say Word of Wisdom boys and girls?)  The damage had taken it down to 25-30%, which is where most 65-70+ would be.  He said we might be able to get you back 5-10% over years, but very likely not.  Today he came in to tell me that my function was already up to 60, maybe 65%.  I just held up my finger.  Pause.  I said, "You're either going to say it voluntarily or I'm going to have to get it out of you."  "OK, another 'miraculous'.  I may even see some more function recovery.

I've had some great spiritual and personal discussions.  More later.

LOVE YOU ALL AND CAN'T WAIT TO GET BACK.  I've got a bunch more miracles/blessings coming.  As Dr Lo said, now the hard part begins.  I'm not afraid.  I have us.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Little Update

Kevin continues to do well today and at 11:21am he had received his first chemo treatment.
That's about all there is to report. Just thought you'd like to know.

Friday, September 18, 2009

*Another Side Note*

I've now got a little slideshow running on the sidebar that will be cycling through all the images that get posted here on the blog. If any of you have any photos of Kevin or that you feel is appropriate for the blog than you may be able to add those to the slideshow in one of two ways. Firstly you may email them to the blog account chemoslobber@gmail.com and I can add them for you.

The second alternative is for those of you with Google accounts. With your Google account you already have access to a Picasa web gallery. It is yet another free web service provided by Google and you sign in with the same user name and password as your gmail account here: http://picasaweb.google.com/ . Any images that you upload to Picasa can be added to the slideshow by simply adding the keyword or "Tag" "chemoslobber" to each relavent image. If you are unsure how to add tags to your images you must first open the image on Picasa and then look to the right on the sidebar for the "Tags" setting and click on the + with a tag symbol next to it and enter "chemoslobber" into the text field.

It may not show up right away on the blogs slideshow but it will after a few minutes.

I will be working on a direct method for everyone that wants to add images, to do so directly into the album related to this blog. I've just found out that it is possible but don't have the time to learn how it's done and set it up at the moment. Once I'm back from San Francisco I'll get on that.

He Looks Alright To Me part 2

He's looking and feeling much much better now. Today he has showered and is fresh rather than ripe for the first time in eight (if you've been around him very long) days. He's also in his new room having been moved out of the ICU. We are hoping that if all is well tomorrow that he will begin his chemo treatments. I will be joining them sometime tomorrow to witness first hand his shameless flirting with the hospital staff and might even catch him on candid camera but it might also mean a slowdown in blog updates depending on internet availability up there.

Fund Racing, Or Something Like That

This is largely copy and pasted from an email I received from Barbara Hogeland on the current options for generating funds for Kevin:

There are three ways you can donate to Kevin and his family.

1 -- participate in a fundraiser. Our first one is Car Wash tickets at the 21st Street Carwash. The ticket is $20.00 and will expire March 31, 2010. $5.00 of the purchase price goes to Kevin. Ticket sales are available until October 4, 2009. You can contact anyone of the following individuals.
    Sherri Goforth
    Mike & Tani Blackwell
    Matt & Margret Purkiss
    Debbi & Scott Stevenson
    Mike Dinsmoor
    Randy & Jamie Jorgenson
    Rod & Diana Blackner
    Ron & Barbara Hogeland

We will be holding a yard sale / rummage sale October 17 your donations will be much appreciated. Also we have bbq's and mexican dinners and a high ticket event with silent auction,etc in the planning stages. If you think you can assist in executing an event or have an idea for one and have the time to help or organize it please let one of us know.

2--Cash donations can be given to one of us and we will put it into the family's hands. PLEASE NO CHECKS to the family. They are qualifying for Medi-Cal assistance and we don't want to take any chances that it would be denied. Cash only or gas cards or pre-paid visa cards.

3--THE FIRM FOUNDATION is a non-profit organization that the Richards can use. This method of donating can become a tax deduction claim it can also be as anonymous as you would like. You can send your checks of any $$ amount to
    c/o Terry Lyn Fisher
    PO Box 10474
    Santa Ana, CA 92711
Make a note on the check that it is for Kevin Richards.
Terry Lyn is a long time friend of the Richards' family. She will make the deposits into the account and do the little bit of bookkeeping that is required. The Foundation is administered by volunteers totally. It was established in 1985 and has helped many families who have found themselves in need. 100% of monies donated to this fund will be available for the family's needs.

I hope this gives you some ideas of how you can be involved in relieving the burdens of his health care at this time.

So there you have it. These are the options currently available to those who would like to contribute and we'll do our best to notify of any new and upcoming fundraisers in the future. I will also repeat that if you have any questions regarding these fundraisers or have suggestions for others, than you may contact any of those people listed above. You may also send us an email through the address listed on the right sidebar and the information for the Firm Foundation will be kept on the right sidebar as well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Donating Funds

We've received several requests for information about donating funds to help with Kevin's treatment. While I don't have a lot of answers regarding that I can tell you that there is a foundation that money can be put into on Kevin's behalf. If you would like to donate money than you can contact Barbara Hogeland at 805 610 0764. She can give you the details on how it works and where to send the money. Thank you all for your concern, generosity, love and prayers.

Photo Time

Doctor Bonis his oncologist here in Paso, at Twin Cities
 explaining about the blood problem and the need for a
plasma exchange as soon as possible.

Suzan the case manager who got Kevin to San Francisco
whom had been mentioned earlier.

Pam McClean, an old friend and his ambulance driver
for the trip to San Fran. Still can't out goof Kevin.

 The view from the ICU waiting room.
I'm pretty sure that bridge and fog in the background
is a fake city backdrop.

Cousin Josh who drove all the way from Utah to see him.
Apparently he had nothing better to do.

Leslie Ashby, a Family Camp friend brought diner to
Dale, Hillary, Tara Griffith, and Josh. She and her family
lives in San Jose. Kevin offered her to pull his finger.

Tara Griffith, a friend from home that is attending
school in the Bay area. Kevin saw her coming and
pretended to be sleeping.

Kandee Anderson, another friend from Family Camp,
works for Marriott and secured this room at the
Courtyard Marriott in Emeryville for Dale and Hillary.
Josh is doing his daily leg lifts on the floor behind the second bed.

Kevin had an ultrasound to check his heart and it's a
good thing he hasn't practiced law in a long time or
they may never have found it.

Kevin tried to phone home but because they wont
allow cell phones in the hospital rooms all he got was
a glowing finger.

This is the machine that is being used to clean his
plasma. The Large bag hanging in the far back that
is filled with brownish yellow liquid is what's coming
out of Kevin. The bottles contain what's going back
into him. There are ten total (although they are not all
visible) to replace what's been taken out. He goes
through this process once a day.
Today he's doing very well. Has eaten more and we all know how much better he feels after a meal. His kidneys are doing really well so he will not have any dialysis today. If they remain in good condition he will begin chemo within a few days.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

He Looks Alright To Me

He's feeling, and some might say looking better today. He has even managed to say things that make sense. He felt a desire to eat something for the first time since early Friday, although he still feels a bit of nausea. Now if only they could do something about his handwriting. He is still in the ICU but will be moved out into a regular room by tomorrow. He sends his love and appreciation to all of you for your fervent prayers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Things Are Looking Up

A brief update. Kevin will be at UCSF for at least the next five days. while there he will go through the plasma exchange process each day for two to three hours at a time. This is the process that will clean his blood and get him in much better shape. Sometime in the next couple of days he will also be starting chemo treatments. Cousin Josh is there now, he flew out yesterday as soon as he had heard about what's been going on and he has been able to help out Dale and Hillary. We thank him for that.

Again, he is already doing better and we are expecting him to improve significantly over the next few days. We should see a marked improvement even by tomorrow morning. It seems that what Judy Centers has predicted is at the moment correct in that all the craziness that has happened these last couple of days has only served to get things going sooner rather than later while giving us all a few grey hairs in the process. His oncologist up there is Michael Burgess and his cancer type has been determined to be IgM Myeloma.
IgM Myeloma is apparently very rare, only about 0.5% of all multiple myeloma cases. Of course that's the one that Kevin would get.

Hillary will be coming home in the next couple of days to pick up a few more things and when she does that she will bring with her all the photos she has taken and we will be sharing those as they come in along with any new developments.

*Side Note*

To those of you who may not be aware, if you would like to get a better look at the photos we share here you need simply click on the image and it should load at it's full resolution. And for your viewing pleasure, here is a very short time lapse video of a sunset I photographed at home a few days ago.

The Adventure Continues

Kevin is at UCSF Medical Center now and around 1am last night they began the process of cleaning his blood. He ended up being transported by ambulance driven by an old friend Pam McClean whom some of you from Paso First Ward may remember. I used to work for her and her husband Kevin before serving a mission doing landscape maintenance.

This is a photo Hillary took with her phone of the ambulance crew getting Kevin onto the gurney. I believe that is Pam in the upper right. Many thanks to her and her colleagues.
There had been a bit of trouble making the travel arrangements for Kevin yesterday and there was somewhat of a long delay which is why his treatment didn't begin until after 1am. We must give our thanks to Susan (I don't have a last name yet) who is our case manager. She began to work very hard to ensure Kevin would be taken care of. In fact she had begun working for us some time before we even knew that we needed her. Without her help Kevin might still be here and in desperate need of treatment. She may well have saved his life yesterday.

So now his blood is being cleaned and that process should take around fourteen hours to complete. Much quicker than we had anticipated and so we should be seeing some real progress within a days time. They are also giving him simultaneous blood transfusions to make sure he has enough clean blood running through his veins and dialysis to keep his kidneys healthy so that they are in top shape for the hard chemo treatments he will eventually be taking.

The doctors say that at the moment he is doing well, although he has been a little delirious. As you can imagine there are a great many machines in his room what with the three different treatments taking place with all their own machines in addition to all the monitoring systems. Hillary told me this morning that when they had arrived he was saying things like "are they trying to get me to buy all this stuff?" and "everywhere you go they try to sell you stuff?" so he is a little out of it but at least he has some awareness of what's around him.

Hillary has also been taking several photos and once they all return here we will be sharing those with you. His doctors have been very good about keeping them informed about his progress and condition, calling them regularly as they were out in their hotel room. They are currently with him in his room at the UCSF Medical Center. So as the info comes in I will keep everyone posted as long as I can be in town to do it.


Monday, September 14, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm, Then the Storm Hits Early

A week ago last Saturday the Stake President and his wife had stopped by Kevin's office on their way home from vacation after learning of his condition to meet with him and see what they could do for him. When President Scott asked what he could do for Kevin, Dale quickly replied, "release him immediately!" President Scott then set out to do just that. That Sunday he had an emergency meeting with his counselors about the situation and to discuss candidates for the new Paso Robles First Ward Bishop. Guided by inspiration they left the meeting knowing who Kevin's successor would be but before anything could be set into motion the decision had to be approved by the First Presidency.

The process normally takes time, often much more than a week but feeling it was absolutely necessary to expedite things President Scott did all he could to get things moving along quickly. In what can only be described (by my limited mind) as an LDS equivalent to a Hail Marry play the new Bishop was approved before the end of the week. So within a weeks time Paso Robles First received a new Bishop and Kevin was released from is post. President Scott and Kunz came up to our place to visit with and release Kevin.

At this point Kevin was not doing well at all. Friday as you have likely already read here, he had a bone marrow biopsy and it is still some time before we will have those results. What you may not know is that upon arriving back home he was too week to go upstairs to his room and spent the next three days sleeping on the family room sofa. He was suffering from continual, nausea that got worse when he moved or got up. He had eaten nothing and had very little to drink having constant dry heaves. He was able to sit up and visit a short while when President Scott and Kunz came by as well as Mark, now Bishop Goforth and his wife Sherri later that evening.

Sunday afternoon Kevin's former counselor Darryl Todd and his wife Manulani came to visit and give him a blessing. Late in the evening he seemed to be doing worse and we once again called upon Michael Blackwell to come and check on how he was doing. He quickly came to the conclusion that we should take him to the hospital and with his help we got him into the car and to the emergency room where he spent much of the night. They had run some new blood-work and found that his anemia was worse but with no known explanation so they ran some additional tests as well. After spending the night there he was moved into the ICU early in the morning as they could not figure out what was causing these new symptoms.

They discovered that his blood had a high calcium content, that it was leaching from his bones, and that he needed immediate treatment to filter out the calcium and clean up his blood-flow. The nearest machine that is capable of doing this is in San Francisco and so he is being flown via helicopter up to the UCSF Medical Center to have that done asap. He's on his way as I type this up. It turns out that his cancer is mutating and multiplying rapidly and this seems to be the direct cause of his current state of health. Hillary and Dale will be driving up shortly to be with him while I (Darrell) hold the fort here and do what I can on the home-front until the time that I may be called to go up there as well, should I be needed.

In the meantime I will be doing my best to keep you all informed as things progress. It is quite possible that I will be updating the blog with additional information as it comes in later today.


Because his blood is so thick he is at high risk for heart attack and other circulatory system problems. Before he gets to San Francisco he will be given something to help thin his blood out to reduce the risk of such an occurrence. He will also be starting his chemo treatment today, even before we have the solid test results from his Friday biopsies. This is, as you can imagine a very serious situation and his life is in immediate risk from any number of potential complications. We thank you all so much for your support and prayers.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bone Marrow Biopsy

Hello Friends!

This morning Kevin had some more blood work done and a bone marrow biopsy.  The biopsy went really well and didn't cause him any additional pain.  Unfortunately we won't get the results for 2 more weeks :( this means we won't have an official diagnosis or know what stage it is in till then.
Over the past 3 days Kevin has rapidly deteriorated! he has a permanent headache and nausea.  He can fell the cancer spreading through his body as the pain grows and spreads. Just getting in and out of the car or standing for a short time is hard.
Doctor Bonis gave him some meds to help ease the symptoms.  They should help him get through the next two weeks of waiting.  We are hopeful that he will feel  a little better by the beginning of next week.
The next scheduled appointment with Doctor Bonis is Monday Sept. 28. After we receive the biopsy results the next step will be to head to San Fransisco to meet with some associates of Doctor Bonis.  Hopefully Kevin will be able to get into a trial treatment program and start treatment soon thereafter.  Doctor Bonis will remain his main Oncologist/Hematologist throughout his treatment.
On behalf of the family I would like to express our love and gratitude for all the prayers that have been offered on our behalf! Each day we can feel the accumulation adding up to strength and comfort us enough to get through the day.  we have received an overwhelming amount of calls, cards, emails, and facebook messages. All have been passed on to Kevin to encourage and help him. We have printed them ALL out and have created a Blessings Book as a keepsake which will help us all get through the hardest days which are yet to come. All of this is appreciated.
Kevin wishes he could reply and talk to you all and we are hopeful that he will soon be strong enough to do so.

Thank you all and keep up the prayers and Temple rolls, we can feel the love!!!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What's Actually Going On Part 1

     Here goes!  Sorry this won't be as cute and fun to read as what Darrell began with but hopefully informative.  This morning we met with the oncology/hematology doctor and REALLY liked him.  He grew up in Long Beach, Ca, went to Wilson High!  He's brand new here.  His office is in the building right next door to Kevin's office!  We felt a connection immediately.  Especially Kevin.  He really felt like he was led to him and meeting him only confirmed that.  Kevin even went so far as to tell  Dr. William E. Bonis that he was an answer to prayer and felt like the Lord put us together!  Kevin does not usually bring up religion on the first meeting.
     Because he is new here, he doesn't have alot of patients so he will be able to devote alot of time to Kevin.  He spent alot of time with us today.  In looking over all of the tests already done he felt like most of them were not so bad or pretty normal!  However, he thinks it probably is Multiple Myeloma.  He will do a bone biopsy Friday morning along with a few more blood tests, that will make the determination.  Then we will get x-rays of his whole skeleton to determine where it all is. 
     Then he will make arrangements for us to meet with associates in San Francisco who will give a second opinion and maybe get Kevin into a trial, which would help alot since we have no insurance and not much money!  The treatments he thinks will probably work best are mostly pills.  I think he mentioned one IV per week.  It's too soon to know for sure.
     They need to determine what stage the cancer is in, yada yada yada!  Sometimes they radiate a specific pesky tumer.  Since this is a plasma cancer which is in the blood and bone marrow it's basically everywhere.  When they get the cancer near or into remission then they often do a bone marrow transplant of his own marrow.  They basiclly take some of it out, clean it and put it back in and that often keeps the patient healthy for many years to come or indefinitely.
     Today is a good day.  He seems to have more energy.  Sunday was a very good day.  He made it through 4 hours of church, came home took a nap, then spent the afternoon and evening receiving visitors and phone calls.  Monday he was exhausted.  He layed around most of the day and made it to the office at 4pm.  Did some work and church work.  Went out to dinner with his physician and his family, went home and crashed.  He feels very tired and weak most of the time.  He feels heavy as though he is carrying a ton of extra weight.  He's aches all over.  He has a constant headache which he manages with ibuprophen at the moment.  Oddly enough just showering is the hardest thing physically each day. A good friend delivered a shower chair last night that helped alot this morning.
     I can't end this without thanking our PA Michael Blackwell for his tireless work in getting us this far.  He's been working and researching day and night accomplishing weeks worth of tests in one weeks time.  We are grateful!  Hugs and kisses to Tani and the kids for living without him while he's been helping us.
     We thank you all for your prayers and notes.  We will try to keep this up to date.  We want to respond to each and every one of you, but we just can't .  We hope that he will have the energy and time to keep working while he's healing. 
     We feel the love and prayers of you all.  It's really amazing.  We love you all so much and look forward to when we can catch up with you individually.  Love, Dale

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Topic Of Cancer

These days most people have had some experience or contact with cancer. Either you've fought it yourself or someone you know has. There are many stories of people young and old who bravely fought the war with cancer. Like the one of the old man who built an entire hospital wing adjacent to his home so that his wife may be treated while he continued to watch closely over his lawn, ensuring no children played on it. Or the one about the experimental program that utilized trained gorillas to perform the surgeries to remove tumors and reduce the cost of doctors fees as gorillas will work for bananas and mating rights. This blog is to be a record of one such story.
It's the story of an aging man who had let himself go simply because he felt like it. Now, in hindsight, which is somewhat obscured by the fumes, he just might begin to regret it as he will soon be subjected to some of the most grueling tests and trials of his life. Most feared of these tests will undoubtedly be the strict diet that he will have to live by. The very limits of just what constitutes a food product will be called into question and whether or not it is determined to be food he will probably still have to eat it. Of course we will cross that viaduct when we get to it. Before we can go into those horror stories that always end with, "...and remember children, to always eat your vegetables" we must start our story at its beginning because that is where it begins.
It was a dark and stormy night. The low rumble of the thunder outside could barely be heard over the loud cries of agony from the maternity ward, but none were so loud as those of Barbara Richards. This being her third childbirth she was screaming directions to her obstetrician to hurry the heck up and get the damned kid out already. Shortly thereafter Kevin Richards was born as the doctor seized his head by the ears and gave a good yank. While the doctor had insisted that he could perform a quick surgery at no extra cost to reduce the size of Kevin's ears Barbara said no thanks, that'll teach him for being difficult and the family returned home.
That was a real long time ago and to this day he has remained a bit difficult. This has not at all been helped by his mostly growing into his ears. Having grown up with a passion for sports he has always been athletic, playing tennis, basketball, and volleyball as often as he could. But as he grew older he began to play these sports less, and started to move on to the age old sport of the aged called golf, and he's never been the same since. Some blame this change in athleticism for his "going soft" while others, himself included, have believed it to be an extreme case of "Bishopitis," which is also responsible for his going soft. And that is what we first thought was responsible for his recent change in health, a progression of Bishopitis.
As it turns out Bishopitis can share symptoms with cancer and its a good thing we decided to send him to the vet to get a PET scan or we might have missed it. While it was difficult to get him into his travel cage it was Hillary, his eldest daughter who had the brilliant idea of using a can of Dr. Pepper as bait and soon we were on our way. After several tests (and a whole lot of howling) we have learned that Kevin Richards has cancer. Multiple Myeloma to be specific, so we are setting up this blog to tell the tale, document it for posterity, and have a way for all three of you who really care to share your comments, advice, information, and personal stories that may help us. Please refrain from sending your condolences for the appropriate time.