Superfluous Matter

I just wanted to say thank you to the hundreds and hundreds of people who came out to either the visitation or the funeral to express their condolences. It really means a lot. The video from the funeral is available online.

Not sure if I'll blog much more for a while so for now I'll leave any readers with some of my favourite photos of Kim. Click on any photo for the full resolution version, suitable for printing.

At Peace

Last night, September 21st around 7:15pm, my wife and best friend gently passed away while I sat by her side. Words cannot express how much I loved her; Kim was beautiful, selfless, and brave. She made me laugh and any time I spent with her was time I cherished. People talk about a hole in your heart when a loved one dies. For me the hole seems to be located just in front of my body, where she would fit so perfectly when we hugged. It's just so empty now.

Services will be held at Haskett's Funeral Home in Lucan, Ontario. Visitation Friday, funeral Saturday. Please contact the funeral home for more details.

In lieu of flowers, Kim requested that donations be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Oncology Department at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. As an alternative, she requested that you can also take the time to give blood.

The obituary has been posted.

My wife and best friend, Kim
My wife and best friend, Kim

Kim has not been doing so well in the last few days. She's having trouble with lots of different things and the doctor does not expect she'll be able to leave the hospital again or that there is very much time left. We are out of treatment options and untreated the cancer is moving very quickly.

Kim has asked me to communicate her love to everyone, but requests at this time that no one come to visit or try to call her. She is not up to seeing visitors beyond myself and her immediate family. Please understand, she has enough to deal with at the moment without having to try to hold polite conversations with any arbitrary person. Kim is also not really replying to email/Facebook at the moment.

If you would like to pass a message or something on to her, contact myself and I will try to take care of it. Some of her former coworkers made an album of silly pictures of themselves for her and she was definitely amused.

Kim is getting excellent care here in the hospital. Many of the nurses have become like friends and they are upset too.

Thanks to everyone who has helped out in little ways over the past couple weeks and those who may yet help out in the future.


Just a quick update. Kim is still in the hospital. They've determined that the cause of the fever is not an infection but instead a symptom of the continued growth and progression of the cancer. The DHAP and Methotrexate only slowed the growth temporarily. As with all the other treatments we've tried the cancer has adapted and is no longer responding to the drugs. The doctor suspects that the cancer has moved into Kim's bone marrow but we won't be doing any tests for that since it doesn't make a difference to treatment either way.

At this point we are switching to a palliative approach. The idea is no longer to target the cancer but instead to just try to treat the symptoms as they come up. For now that means trying to get the fevers under control. We're not sure when Kim can home yet.

The last couple weeks have been really hard. I find myself rarely knowing what to do.


Kim's fever is persisting so she is still in the hospital. Tylenol keeps it from being too bothersome, but it doesn't seem to want to go away. They've done many more blood tests looking for infection and have yet to find anything. Kim has only seen the on-call doctor thus far as her normal doctor is away for the long weekend, so I suspect we'll learn more tomorrow when her normal doctor returns.

Additionally Kim's hemoglobin was super low today so she had to get three units of blood. Pretty crazy but hopefully it should improve her energy levels. I spent the day with her at the hospital watching Doctor Who and Torchwood and had a yummy takeout supper from Amaya in the shiny new Eaton's Centre food court.

Anyone looking for an easy way to help out can go donate blood. It's amazing how much can be used during the treatment of cancer. Kim's been lucky so far and hasn't needed much, but some of the people she's met undergoing similar treatments need blood multiple times a week! Personally I always pictured trauma victims and surgery patients using donated blood but never thought of cancer patients. Apparently cancer patients are the biggest user of blood products.

Tomorrow I'll probably drag my big work laptop to the hospital and work from her room so that I can be there when the doctor comes to visit. Kim's sister is also around this week to sit with Kim while I sleep or whatever.

Recent Happenings

The last week or so has been pretty busy/crazy. Kim had a lumbar puncture last Friday and the procedure itself was more painful/crappy than usual. One of the possible side effects of lumbar punctures is extreme, migraine-style headaches due to leaking cerebro-spinal fluid when the hole from the puncture doesn't seal up properly right away. The CSF cushions the brain and even tiny imbalances can cause nasty headaches. Anyway, the difficult LP has caused Kim to have headaches ever since. Additionally she has been suffering low blood counts (platelets, hemoglobin and white blood cells) and had to have a couple platelet transfusions.

There is a procedure called a blood patch which can be used to fix the leak caused by the LP and make the headaches go away. However, for a variety of reasons, it isn't appropriate to pursue in Kim's case. The leak will resolve itself in time, we just have to wait.

Anyway, by Thursday it looked like we had figured out the right combination of medicine to manage the headache pain and Kim was feeling pretty good. Unfortunately on Friday night she started running a fever and we had to take her into the ER (anytime her temperature goes above 38C we have to take her in, just to be safe). By the time we got to the ER her temperature was already dropping as she had taken some Tylenol before we left. We stayed at the ER for eight hours while they monitored her and ran some tests to look for infection. Nothing was found so the sent us home.

After a long sleep we woke Saturday morning to find her temperature was back up and so we returned to the ER. Once again her temperature dropped as a result of Tylenol but this time they admitted Kim to watch her overnight. Her temperature predictably rose above 38C as night fell and the Tylenol wore off so they're keeping her while they run more extensive tests to try to figure out what's happening. Fortunately they can control the fever with Tylenol pretty easily so she's not too uncomfortable.

This week Kim is also scheduled to get a CT scan to check the progress of the DHAP treatment so hopefully we can still get that done. I'm pretty tired.

2011-08 | 2011-10