Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Kevin was in the hospital for Thanksgiving so we held the official Richards Thanksgiving Redux on the 26th
It was delicious and fun to have the whole family together!
After church Kevin's old 1st counselor Darryl and his wife Manulani came for a visit.

Monday was a chemo day and because of the holiday we had to go to the San Luis office

After chemo Kevin was still feeling pretty good so we went to our favorite sandwich place Kona's and ran into an old friend Dave. It's always good to see friends when you least expect it!

To celebrate Dale's Birthday today Darrell offered to Dad-sit while Hillary got her out of the house for a much needed escape. While our friend Floyd, and his son Sam delivered and set up our replacement treadmill, what service!

Tomorrow we go back to San Luis Obispo for his last chemo treatment in this round. We have a consultation  with Dr. Wolf in San Fransisco on Jan. 5th and lots of pre-transplant labs and paper work. This will all determine if Kevin is healthy enough and when it will take place. If all goes well (which we know it will) he will start the pre-transplant treatments in January.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas at the Castle

We knew this Christmas was going to be a little different but we didn't know just how AWESOME it would be.  Betsy King has been setting goals for Kevin's healing and frankly he hasn't been meeting any of them...until now! Brett & Cir had to work Christmas day so the family was going to visit him and we were invited to join them. We never thought it would happen but Kevin has been feeling a  little bit better (one of his meds really helps with this so we have to take advantage of it) so we packed up and headed for HEARST CASTLE!!!
It was a gorgeous, sunny California Christmas day!

Those with "special needs" got to ride all the way to the back door

While the rest of us enjoyed strolling around the grounds
Carolyn & Hillary love the golden inside Roman pool

Candice & Chris came home for the holiday

Dale & Crutchy (for all you Newsie fans) 

This is a Christmas tree made from poinsettias

but the real Christmas trees are GINORMOUS!

Dale, Kevin, and Carolyn lazing around on a couch while the others explored

A view from the top of the castle with the ocean in the background

The adventuresome in the party went up to the roof and beyond...

into the bell tower Quasimodo goes (Darrell)

Carolyn, Cameron, Betsy (and the triplets still cooking)

and Cir went for a swim in the outdoor Neptune pool.

Even though it was different it might just have been the most unforgettable CHRISTMAS EVER!!!! Thanks to the King family for making it possible and sharing their Christmas with us.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas To All & To All A Good Night

Fun filled last few days in pictures!
The Young Women from Paso Robles 1, 2 and Templeton Wards came caroling which lifted his spirits

Kevin has been feeling good and moving around easier, he even made it up the stairs for a shower

Nothing says Merry Christmas Eve like Chemo

The Major's shared their many musical talents with us

The King Family dropped by with Christmas goodies

Kevin was overjoyed to see his "adopted" grandchildren Cameron & Carolyn who fight over who gets to pray for him.
We have received so much love and kindness from everyone this Christmas season. This Christmas may be a little different but it is definitely more memorable and special.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Thank You

As I begin to write this short thank you my eyes are already tearing up, my heart is pounding and my spirit is full within me.  As I lie here in my hospital bed, where the Christmas tree would normally be, I have a perfect view of our entertainment center.  Every year we tape the Christmas cards that we receive to the entertainment center.  This year, for some reason, it is not just covered in an orderly fashion (you know Dale), but plastured with cards.  All with not only the normal greetings for the holidays, but more important to us, the expressions of love, the additions to prayers and prayer lists, and the statements of friendship, help and assistance in any way that have filled this Christmas with the Saviour's love and God's true gift of this season.  Thank you all for not only showing us what true brotherhood/sisterhood means in the Gospel, but SHOWERING US WITH IT.  Our love for you all has been deepened and strengthened as we never imagined it could be.  The blessings that we have received from this lesson alone, far outweigh the trials we have endured to receive them.  We will never be able to thank you enough, but we will spend the rest of our lives trying.  We wish you all a Merry Christmas, full of the Saviour's love, and a Happy New Year, full of our love and gratitude for you.

Merry Christmas!

First, I must apologize to our good friend Dan Stuart, of Mesquite, Nevada, who paid us a visit last week.  Hillary is the photographer and blogger and she was not present for the visit, hence no photo, no comment!  I just enjoyed the visit forgetting that we are trying to record everything.  Sorry Dan!  Send us a photo so we can fix this record.  Anyway, Dan had been wanting to visit for the longest time, but Kevin was just too sick or out of town in the hospital for it to happen.  We haven't had satellite TV since last May and Dan knows we have enjoyed watching Dancing with the Stars.  He recorded the whole season on DVD's for us and brought them with him.  That was so sweet of him and I know it was a pain.  He tried to mail them and the Post Office mistakenly sent them back.  Anyway we have been watching them and enjoying them.  It's great watching them without commercials and no pressure to vote because it's a done deal.  Fast forward over the boring stuff!  Anyway thank you Dan, we love you and appreciate your visit!

Please know that we are having a Merry Christmas.  Our needs are all being met.  In many ways this may be the most joyous Christmas ever for us.  We have been on the receiving end of so much Christlike like love for so long now we have been feeling the true spirit of Christmas for months already.  We don't need a Christmas tree or wrapped gifts to enjoy the season and feel the love of the Savior.  We are enjoying Christmas movies, music, food, friendship, and family.  We don't need anything else.  Kevin is handling the Chemo very well and it's working!  We are very pleased with his improvements.  We are making real progress.  We have the most wonderful doctors on the planet treating Kevin!  We continue to feel your prayers and know that the power of prayer is continuing to sustain, strengthen and heal.  We love you all and wish you the Merriest of Christmases and a blessed New Year!

Last night the Young Women from 3 wards came all the way to our home with their wonderful leaders to sing carols to us.  They were so beautiful and brought the Christmas spirit into our home.  We thank them for sharing their time and talents with us.  Hillary couldn't be there but made sure we took a picture.  She will update the blog with that later.  I rely on her to do all this and obviously take it for granted.  Thank you Hillary for all that you do for us, and it's a lot!  Love to all,  Dale

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Quick Two Day Overview

Kevin had a great Sunday, a lifelong family friend decided to stop by on his way from Fresno to Santa Ana (maybe slightly directionally impaired)

Kevin had a great time laughing and visiting with Greg, Darrell even got in on the fun.

The Blackner family came to visit so we could catch up with there son Tatton, who's home from Washington D.C. for Christmas.

Monday was chemotherapy at Dr. Bonis' office and it went really well. Today Kevin's been pretty tired and food doesn't taste very good but he's being a good boy and eating anyway. Other than that he's feeling good!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dapper Dad

This have been going better this time at home. Kevin is feeling pretty good, so good in fact that he made it up the stairs and took a shower! After his shower our friends Ron & Barbara came over and Barbara cut his "long wavy locks" off. 
Dr. Bonis told us that he is receiving low doses of cytoxan so he probably won't lose any hair. His last hair cut was the week before we found out about the cancer. (about 3 months) I guess he's grown out of his hippy phase for a while anyway.
Another satisfied customer and one dapper looking Dad! I think is also brings out the color of his "red dot," don't you?
Ron also gave him a blessing because he is experiencing a lot of new pain from a weeks old rash he got while at UCSF. They weren't worried about it but it been there so long and now causing extreme pain. My mom thinks it might be shingles. Will have to talk to the doc on Monday.

Later in the afternoon our friend Tani and her daughter Chole stopped by to deliver some Christmas cheer!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Be a good boy, Don't make the Naughty List

Kevin is back at home and yesterday afternoon had a field trip to the doctors office. This was his second visit to Dr. Bonis' office because he's been in the hospital so much. It was a 4 hour round trip and really taxing on Kevin but it must be done. This was a preliminary meeting to discuss "the plan." He will receive 1 more round of chemotherapy with Dr. Bonis, starting Monday Dec. 21.

Dr. Bonis said that Kevin is on "low" doses of this chemo treatment which is why he hasn't lost his hair yet. It's starting to look like a bad wig! I guess we do need to get his hair cut instead of waiting for it to fall out.

Update from Dennis' Blog:
We're Home!!  Things went very smoothly today - and we arrived safe and sound in Anchorage where we were met by our son-in-law Eric.  Went directly to Providence Hospital - though Dennis really wanted to just head to Eagle River.  We met with Dr. Anderson, our Alaska oncologist and started the ball rolling on some home health care issues.... the plan is that Dennis will come home tomorrow.  He was in great spirits, ate more than I've seen him eat in over a month.  This evening he was telling stories to Dominic, Angela and Eric... the best spirits he's been in a long time.  I know this was the right thing to do!

We are so relived that they arrived home safely. Flying with someone as sick as Dennis must have been nerve raking but his excitement to be home must have helped him rally through. Dennis will continue to receive treatment in Anchorage and enjoy the comfort of being at home with his family. Send our love and prayers to Alaska!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Round & Round We Go

Kevin is being released from Twin Cities Hospital tonight.

Let's try this again...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Home+Difficult+Argumentive=Dehydrated at Twin Cities Hospital

Well here we go again. Dale & I (Hillary) know that Kevin coming home was not a goo idea.  He was in such a hurry to get out of the hospital that he rushed it and here we are 4 days later back in our po-dunk hospital. Without an on-call oncologist 24/7, pain management team, the top multiple myeloma cancer doctors in the world and Dennis.

We don't know how long he will be in the hospital again or if Dr. Bonis will try to get us back up north before his scheduled January return. We had an appointment with Dr. Bonis Monday morning so we don't know if he will be able to come to the hospital tomorrow or not. We don't know much at this time but what we do know is WE'RE BACK!!!!

Just after we left UCSF we got some hard news from Dennis' family. To quote his blog  
"After long discussions with the doctors, nurses, and between ourselves, Dennis has chosen not to receive the transplant and  to return home  to Alaska. Not the course we were hoping for when we left Eagle River in September, but a course we always knew was a possibility.  His blood counts never did recover and his body has put up the biggest fight the doctors have ever seen (really!), but the fight has weakened his body and spirit.  Dr. "Optimistic" Martin admitted he has lost his optimism and is having real doubts that Dennis' body could survive a transplant.  Although they were willing to wait to see if the lung infection would clear and his body get stronger, with the risks so high and the chance for a successful transplant now so low, Dennis has decided that life in a hospital is not the quality of life he wants.  He wants to be in Alaska, in his home, with his kids, grandkids and friends.

We continue to send our love and prayers of comfort to Dennis and his family. We miss them so much and we were extremely saddened not to be there when they made this extremely hard decision.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Home Happiness

Considering we didn't get out of the hospital till almost 4pm (high traffic time) we had an amazingly quick trip home. Carpool lanes actually serve a purpose in the bay area. For as green as they are they all drive there own car everywhere leaving the carpool lanes wide open. We made it home in 3 1/2 hours including a quick stop at Carl's Jr. to get the Big Guy a western bacon cheeseburger.  He didn't sleep at all the whole way home because he was to excited but crashed as soon as we got him in bed. We drugged him up before we left so he had a very comfortable ride home considering and he only had a few minor spasms last night and this morning as repercussions.

We are all so grateful to be home at this time of year and especially grateful for all our loving friends and family who have blessed our lives so much and increased our testimonies 100 fold. Because it's flu season Kevin has to be extremely cautious about infection so he won't be allowed out besides doctors trips and has to avoid people. Something that is extremely difficult for Kevin but health has to come first and we don't want to backtrack anymore.

It is so hard to once again leave Dennis Lozano (Kevin's roommate from his first visit to San Fransisco) behind. Dennis has been confined to the hospital for nearly 3 months and has been stuck in his tiny room for over a week due to an infection. He is very depressed and going stir crazy (who wouldn't be) but as soon as the infection is cleared and he gains a little health they should be ready for his transplant. We are hoping that by the time Kevin has to go back to UCSF in January Dennis will have been released or almost ready to go home after a successful transplant and healing time. We are so grateful for Dennis and his family who have helped support us and who allow us to be apart of there very difficult journey.  We miss the already!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bustin Outta Here (for a few weeks)

So sometime Wednesday afternoon (at best) early evening (most likely) we will be loading Kevin up and driving him home.  The long car ride we be taxing on him so it will likely take a couple of days for him to be feeling like his new normal again but he will be glad to be out of the hospital.

He will continue treatments with our original oncologist Dr. Bonis in Paso. Probably only 1 more round of chemo before returning to UCSF in San Fransisco for the higher doses of PACe chemotherapy. We'll discuss that when the time comes. This will happen sometime in January. For now we are taking things one step at a time!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Observations from KR

What a rush these past 4 1/2 weeks have been.  I came back for the apheresis treatments and ended up with back surgery, pneumonia and treatments for low blood counts that just knocked me out.  Up until this past Wednesday, I hadn't had a "day off" to recover from one thing before they were doing something else to basically put me out for another day or two.  MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, radiation treatments seemed never ending.  Last Wednesday, it seems that they ran out of things to do to me, and wow what a difference it has made.  The last 2 nights I have been able to sleep without any extra pain medications to help knock me out, and I slept well and deep until my daily 5 am wake up for blood draws for the lab work for the day.  Miracles.  I've been doing so well the past few days to the point where the kind and compassionate nurses skipped waking me up for my 12am, 2am and 4 am  "vitals checks" as they are technically supposed to, in order to let me sleep until 5 am.  Usually I'm already awake and waiting for them, but a couple of times I've still been dead out, and one nurse let me sleep until 6:30 am.  I love these nurses!

I would also like to share with you two beautiful experiences having to do with music and my stays in the hospitals.  My desire is not to embarrass the performers, but rather to share with you how their time and talents helped transcend the experience I was actually having to take me to a much better place.

The first was when I was in Twin Cities Community Hospital.  I was in ICU and pretty much "totally out of it", including hallucinations. My recollection is that I was quite restless and in pain. I couldn't tell you whether it was day or night.  I heard a sweet voice whisper in my ear, "It's Peggy."  I remember thinking, I don't have a nurse named Peggy.  And then the music started.  As the Lord says in Doctrine and Covenants, I believe Section 25, wherein he states that a song of the heart is a prayer unto me.  Well, the songs, the music, played by Peggy Cann on the harp brought not only my heart, but my whole body as close to heaven as I could ever hope to be.  Peggy and her kind and understanding husband Bob where on a vacation.  Had dinner with some friends and found out what was going on with me, and next thing you know she's performing a personal concert in the ICU for me!  I literally felt my pain melt away.  The sensation was that of being moved on beds of clouds to the very gates of heaven.  There I enjoyed a peace and calm that I had never felt before. The feelings I can't describe,  and I won't try.  However, to me, the experience transcended all earthly experiences.  Thank you Peggy (and Bob) for you unselfish gifts of time, and talents, which made a huge
difference in my spirit.  I hope that the rest of your vacation was wonderful for you.

The second happened Thanksgiving Day.   The day and week of Thanksgiving was a very difficult one for me. Dale and Hillary had returned home to finish up what they could for our medi-cal qualification and spend time with the rest of the family after spending the previous two weeks with me in SF.  Doing Thanksgiving all alone in your hospital room is a very humbling and somewhat depressing experience, even for me.  I suggested to the nurses that we go around to the others who would not be having company and try and have a group meal.  They checked with the higher ups but got the thumbs down.  That afternoon, however, Heidi, the head physical therapist at the hospital enters my room all dressed up and asks if I would like to participate in a musical presentation that was going to happen immediately.  Of course I said "Sure" and with the whoosh of the wheel chair I was on my way to another floor.  It turns out that Heidi's daughter, and I apologize as I have forgotten her name, who is a college student, is very talented on the guitar.  As they were wrapping up their Thanksgiving meal at home and the men folk were watching football, Heidi thought it would be nice to do something for the Thanksgiving hospital shut-ins and made the proposal to her daughter, who readily agreed.  She played a wide variety of songs, from folk to classic.  One of the best parts was that my friend, Dennis Lozano, also made it to the performance.  He was quite out of it, but we exchanged encouraging words as we headed back to our rooms.  It was so thoughtful of Heidi and her daughter to do this kind act.  It lifted my spirits for the rest of the day and beyond.

The last thing I want to write about was the heart attack that the Primary children sent me, along with the pictures.  Hillary and Dale put them up around the TV that I have in my room, so that anyone coming into the room can not miss them.  I know elsewhere in this blog it shows me with a great big smile opening them up and reading them, but they have done more than just that.  It has opened the door to many a gospel discussion with my nurses and doctors.  One nurse opened by saying, "These can't all be your grand kids."  Another, "You must be a schoolteacher."  Another, not even wishing to guess, 'Who are all these from?"  They have opened the door to some missionary work.  While in the hospital I've been able to place a Book of Mormon and have many gospel discussions about the restoration, the difference between our church buildings and temples, the difference between marriages for time and sealings for eternity (including scriptural references), family history work, the colonization of California by the Mormons, etc.  The most important thing that those hearts have done, though, is make my heart full and tears in my eyes every time I look at them.  I can't wait to get back and be near my kids.  Parents, please explain to your children that just because I come back to church, doesn't mean that I can hug them and pick them up.  I can 't have any contact with them if they've been sick, or are around someone who is or has been, in the last 10 days.  The same goes for adults.  Hand shaking or hugs, etc. to be kept at a minimum, if not avoided entirely.  But visits and phone calls are still OK. Just call ahead to make an appointment.

There's my report.  Hillary finally left the computer with me at the hospital. With Love and Appreciation,   Kevin

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Kevin is continuing to make progress.  Today he went on his longest walk yet, took a shower and sat in a chair for a half hour. He's continuing to meet all his goals and so it appears that we are on track to bring him home next week.
He feels and smells a LOT better after a shower but still looks a little crazy because of his super long, curly hair. Which is starting to come out a few hairs at a time. All and all it's been a really good week and Kevin is feeling pretty good considering it all. His medications seemed to be getting all worked out and he's in a lot less pain.

Dale & Hillary escaped from the hospital for a nice afternoon and lunch with Tara.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Approved! Miracle # kabillion

You've prayed us another miracle!  I received a message from our case worker at home notifying us that Kevin was qualified for Medi-Cal from September forward!  We have to give credit to our wonderful attorney Martha for working this one!  As soon as she came on board things started happening.  We were told that Kevin would qualify but that it wouldn't be retroactive back to the beginning.  Martha not only pushed it through but she got it retro to the beginning, which is huge.  Saving us at least a million dollars.  Martha you're one in a million!  We are so grateful.  We knew that it would all work out somehow, but this is more than we could have hoped for!

Kevin is doing very well this week.  He's been able to get out of bed for a short walk two times a day, which is huge!  He's had less nausea, more appetite, and more energy.  A complete turn around from last week.  He received chemo today and is scheduled to receive it again on Monday.  If he can maintain the gains of this week into next we expect him to be released to go home and continue his chemo in Dr. Bonis' office in Paso Robles.  We will know more on Monday.  They need to make arrangements with Dr. Bonis, and Dr. Wolf and Dr. Martin here will hopefully be able to give us a better idea of our future schedule.  We will be coming back to UCSF when they determine he is ready to prepare for his stem cell transplant.  More about that later.

We can't thank all of you enough for your continued prayers in our behalf.  I know that prayer is not only what gets us through the day, it has brought us constant peace and comfort.  Kids, I really mean it when I say the Holy Ghost is our comforter.  The spirit has enveloped us in your love and warmth and that gives us all the strength we need.  We express our gratitude for all of your gifts and efforts to help us in every conceivable way.  God lives and hears and answers all our prayers.  We have to be patient in waiting for the answers and be willing to accept His will for us, knowing that He knows best.  We are grateful that this time His will was our will as well!

Thank you for your prayers in behalf of our good friend Dennis Lozano and his family.  It's been a long hard road for them.  He's not out of the woods yet, but thankfully he has the same wonderful doctors that Kevin has and we believe they will do everything humanly possible to heal Dennis.  Please continue to add Dennis to your prayer list.  I know it's working!  We've grown quite attached to the Lozanos and want them to experience as much good news and blessings as we have.  We have a good feeling about this!  Thanks again.
Love, Dale

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Exercise Maniac

Get weighed, am walk, sit in chair, eat better, afternoon walk, sit in chair again, mouth care

Today Kevin met ALL of his nurses goals! He has had 3 good days in a row and things are going well. Everyone is talking and preparing to send us home at some point but the last we heard was at least another week. Dale & Hillary are nervous about bringing him home again but the doctors, physical therapist, and nurses are trying to do everything they can to prepare him and us.

He did 2 longer walks today and sat in a chair twice. He has to practice sitting in a chair to prepare for a long, uncomfortable ride home whenever that might happen.  He is feeling sore after 2 days of extreme physical activity but is glad to be making progress.

Dale & Hillary were able to have a short visit with Dennis and Marie this evening. Dennis looked much better today than he did on Tuesday.  He is feeling a little better and getting over his "cold." All the big wig doctors met yesterday to discuss his future mainly, if a transplant is in Dennis' future or not. Last night they got the news that they will go ahead with a transplant if he can get his strength up and get over his cold.  This is excellent news! Dennis has been in the hospital for nearly 3 months and this was the good news we have been waiting for. We are now praying that he can sleep soundly (he's been having insomnia) so he feels up to his exercises. If you would like to check out Dennis' blog please visit

Still excepting names for the "Name the Pink Puke Bucket Contest" please leave your names in the comments field or email Some previously submitted names are...
-Sanctuary for Food Voted Off the Island
-Pepe Le Puke
-Pink Panter or Comes-a-lot
-Pail Face
-Yack Pack

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nothing Like A Crunchy Taco

Today has been another good day. He started with a lite breakfast and then another walk with the physical therapist. He went the same distance as yesterday and then was able to take a nap.

We brought him a crunchy taco from Taco Bell for lunch and he ate the WHOLE THING!
(It's funny that a crunchy taco is the only thing Kevin has requested since this all began??? weirdo)

Sara Collett and Hillary team teach the sunbeam class and while I was in San Fransisco the class put together a care package for Kevin which included drawings, cards, and some cars to entertain Kevin with.
Kevin and Hillary enjoy having races down the hospital bed!

Who can come up with the best name for the pink puke bucket?
(basically a trusted friend that goes everywhere Kevin does, who deserves a proper name)
Please leave your suggestions in the comments field or email us at
We will post the winner and "major award" at the end of the contest
(Does anyone have suggestions for a "major award?")

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Good BIG Day

Today has been a busy day but Kevin is making very good progress! I hope I can remember everything...

The day started out with Breakfast and a visit from the "pain team"(4 doctors/students) who are working on the spasm issue. Since the treatments obviously aren't controlling the pain they think it might be nerve related and will start him on neurotin (slowly and then more aggressively depending on his reaction to the new drugs)

Then Kevin was able to read the many cards and primary pictures we brought back with us. He especially enjoyed his "heart attack" from the Paso Robles Primary, they all wrote messages, colored pictures, and added stickers to heart.

He had a good laugh when he read a Thanksgiving card his Mother sent him. It reads "All along, Tom thought he was being ostracized for being born with an 'outtie,' not realizing it was actually a pop-up timer."

He was able to get out of bed today and go for a little walk. His nurse Karen and physical therapist Heidi are good coaches!

Super Skinner Kevin heading back to his room. A couple of days ago he weighed in at 187 but because he has so little muscle he looks smaller than that. We had a nice, long visit with Michael his nurse practitioner. (who's in the back of the picture)
When Kevin got back from his walk they moved a new "air bed" into his room. This bed continually circulates air and helps prevent against bed soars and pain. Once he got settled into his new bed his nurse Karen brought him a vanilla ice cream so that I could make him an ovaltine malt (his favorite treat) it was so good he had two!

Then Denah (Spiritual & Psychological pain) and Bonnie (part of the "pain team") came to check on Kevin's mental and spiritual well being. Adding a fun twist to Denah's job we were the ones who spiritually uplifted her!

Dale & I were able to have a nice visit with our good friends Dennis and Marie this afternoon. Dennis had another lung test yesterday and will find out the results tomorrow. We are praying that the results are positive and the doctors will be able to come up with an effective treatment plan for him.
We met Dr. Sayre, who is the on call doc this week but Dr. Wolf and Martin are his main doctors still and are keeping a close eye on his numbers. His Kidney function is normal which is great news and so he has finally been taken off of the renal (no salt) diet, which he is thrilled about. He is only eating small amounts but he has been keeping it down.
So all in all it's been a very good day. The nurses say is because we are back and I have to say I agree with them ;-)