Saturday, February 04, 2006

Tanya’s Last Day

For the last few days of Tanya's life, she was in a hospital bed in our living room. She became less and less able to communicate, but she was always an absolute sweetheart, never complaining. She didn't seem to be in pain when she was laying still. The hospice nurses that visited always commented on the excellent care Tanya was obviously getting. No one could have provided more constant and loving care than Steve did. He didn't lose hope in Tanya rallying again until the last days.

On her last day, Steve could tell that Tanya was on the verge of leaving. Linda (Tanya's mother), Christina (Tanya's sister), Conner (Christina's 4-month-old grandson), Cary (Tanya's father, who flew in from Indiana), and Juanita (Cary's partner) spent the night at our house. Steve noticed a change in Tanya around 3 a.m. and woke up all of us. Tanya's family was gathered around her bed when she took her last breath in her sleep. Her battle with cancer ended before 3:30 in the morning on Wednesday, February 1, 2006.

Tanya wanted to be cremated but didn't want a funeral. She didn't want people to be sad, so she requested that we have a party for her. We'll let people know when that has been planned.

Tanya worked at the American Cancer Society and her passion was helping to fight cancer. To help continue Tanya's fight, Steve will be raising donations to the American Cancer Society through the ASU West Relay for Life, the relay that Tanya and Steve brought into existence.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Friends and family will continue the fight.

Please see Steve's latest update at the following URL.

(The original web page is gone. Please see Steve's new web page at

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Still Fighting!

Tanya’s birthday is coming up (Friday, January 13), so I thought I better hurry up and post something. Tanya is doing okay, but we don’t know how things are going to be from day to day, and many family members are sick, so we’re not planning a get-together. We wouldn’t have gone out anyway, since it’s an ordeal for Tanya to get out of the house these days—and for Steve to help her. Also, we don't like to have many visitors other than healthy family and nurses since, depending on how things are going, Steve or Tanya often is not feeling great or may have had a sleepless night.

Tanya has been coughing a lot, so she has had her lung drained by a hospice nurse many times recently. It is very painful at the end of the process, but Steve says Tanya barely complains. Tanya is one tough fighter.

Tanya had a blood transfusion shortly before Christmas to make her feel better, so she was feeling decent for our Christmas feast at my dad’s house with Dad, Julie, Dave, and Ed. (Ed is Steve and Tanya’s magician friend, who did a great trick for us.) Tanya’s mother had been very sick, was running a fever, and didn’t want to risk making Tanya sick, so she couldn’t join us. Tanya’s sister had taken her grandson to the ER that morning. It turned out that he had pneumonia, and so Chris stayed at the hospital with him. We hope to get together with Tanya’s mom and sister and have another Christmas dinner when everyone is well.

Tanya has had a pain pump for the back pain for a while now. That is making her more comfortable—she doesn’t ask for extra pain medication as much—but it makes her loopy to varying degrees, recently more so. Therefore, Tanya’s pain specialist changed the medication in the pain pump this week, and Tanya is already more alert and able to communicate better. Recently, the face and feet puffiness from drugs seems to be going down, too.

Tanya won’t have another chemo treatment until she gains some more strength. Our last report about the lack of tumor cells in Tanya’s spinal fluid turned out to be mistaken. However, we have some good news on that front. Several recent checks of Tanya’s spinal fluid have been clear of cancer cells!

As always, we thank you, everyone, for all you’ve been doing to lift Steve and Tanya’s spirits!