Thursday, May 27, 2010


Thanks for checking this these posts the past three of weeks. A bunch of people wanted me to post me and my brother's eulogy, so here they are.. (DREWS IS UNDER MINE)

In the few minutes that I’m given to speak, I cannot sum up the love that I have and always will have for my dad. As you all could probably imagine, my train of thought is moving in a thousand different directions, so bear with me as I put together some words that hopefully will summarize the amazing person that my dad was and always will be to me. First of all, I can say that I have never met such an outgoing, fun, funny, and overall wonderful person in my entire life. He was the perfect dad. Everyone loved being with him- even my friends. My dad and I shared the exact same personality and spirit, especially in the past few years as I’ve grown older. He died in a 55 year old’s body with a 25 year old’s spirit. Nothing could ever take the youth out of him. Whether we were playing obnoxious music on the jukebox at the towson diner to irritate all the other people eating, launching fireworks out of the sunroof, relaxing at the beach, or just going out to get dinner or ice cream every couple of nights, I can’t say that there has been a negative time that I spent with my dad. We would fish together, go to the beach, go to concerts, music stores, and overall just always enjoy each other in whatever we would be doing. He taught me countless things: how to swim, bodysurf, skimboard, skateboard, fish, but most importantly how to love and have a good time. He built me, drew, and the rest of the neighborhood kids a skate ramp that fulfilled half of my childhood. He built a longboard from scratch for us. He was willing to do anything to see a smile on me or my brother’s face. He has brought so much happiness into my life, and it’s so incredibly sad that it all had to end here. My dad would call drew and I every night- I don’t think he would ever miss one day. He always had something to say to cheer me up if I was depressed, and always had a funny story to tell me, or usually a story to back up my story. He had my back on everything, no matter what I was dealing with. My dad loved my brother and I more than anything in the world. He has taught me many things, but most importantly he has modeled the person that I want to be for the rest of my life. In these past three weeks, I have seen how special my dad really is through love from all of his family and friends, the endless stories and continuous support. This is the hardest thing that I have ever had to go through, and I know somehow he will help me get through this. I will never spend one day where im not thinking about him all the time. There is no number for the amount of money I would spend to see my dad again. I know that he will always be with me, and that one day I will be with him again.
Dad, as I said to you seconds before you left us, I love you more than anything in the world and I always will. I will miss you to a level that can’t be explained, and I know that your spirit will stay with me always. You fought an incredible battle that nobody can compare to. Rest in peace dad. There’s no more pain where you are now. You mean the world to me, and I will never forget the priceless moments we spent and will always spend together. I could not have asked for a better father. I love you dad, and I can’t wait to see you again.

These are some of the great memories my dad and I shared:

Going to Rehoboth Beach every year, where we body surfed and laid in the sun; I remember watching him swim out so far so we could hardly see him, and he would swim up to an hour before returning to our section of the beach. Swimming was definitely a passion of his. My brother and I are lucky to have learned from the best. We named some of the waves like Brother Bill and Slappy which we would say as they came our way; he taught me how to fish which was definitely a highlight of going to the beach, whether we fished in the pond at Spring Lake or went to fish at the beach; occasionally, we would catch a lot of fish that he cooked up for dinner. After playing all day, we would eat Grottos, usually followed by mini golf or Funland, and then go to Royal Treat for dessert
Going to various places to eat like Bel Loc Diner, Soursis, San Sushi, Kent Lounge, the Rec Room, and especially downtown in Fellspoint to eat out by the water;
We especially loved going to the Several Species concert (a pink floyd cover band) at Pier Six as we did share the same interests in music
Riding up to Gunpowder for a swim when it was really hot out; he would close the windows and blast the heat to make us really hot before we dove in
Driving up to mom mom’s house to swim in the pool and lay in the sun, followed by a nice home cooked meal from mom mom
I am so lucky to have had such a great dad, I love him so much, and I know he will always be with me in spirit. He will always watch down on us and show us signs that he is here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Viewing and Memorial Service

A viewing will be held Wednesday, May 26 from 3-5 at 7-9 pm at Ruck Funeral Home. The service will take place the following day at 11:00 am at Ascension Lutheran Church. Thank you all for the support.

Hours: 3:00-5:00 pm and 7:00-9:00 pm
Ruck Towson Funeral Home
1050 York Road
Towson, MD, 21204
Telephone 410-823-1700

Ascension Lutheran Church
7601 York Road
Towson, MD, 21204

Sunday 1:30 am

I went back over at 12. I was told that he would probably go during the night, so i told him howmuch i loved him and left the room to call my family. When I came back, he had already gone. My dad passed away at 12:30 am, Monday, May 24.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday 10:30 pm

Just got done visiting him. He's in a deep sleep/coma and is showing no signs of reaction. His breathing is good and there is no congestion that we can hear, but he is taking shallower breaths and the pattern is more irregular. His feet, hands, and joints are starting to lose their warmth; His body is sending the blood to only his brain, heart, and lungs so that he can breathe. This is an indicator that the end is approaching. The nurse told us that it's probably he wont be with us much longer, probably within a day.

Sunday 2:15 pm

Not much to really add, except his feet and hands are starting to get cold as the blood leaves to go to his lungs and heart. His breathing is still pretty comfortable, but he is getting weaker and weaker and his color is starting to fade even more. He hasn't been awake for a few days, and hasn't showed any reaction to us. We're told to expect him to go sometime early this week.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday 5:00 pm

All is pretty much the same, except there's a noticeable change in his color fading. He seems pretty comfortable.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday 11:00 pm

He's been asleep all day, and we're not expecting him to wake up for the rest of the time that he has left. His color is still good and his organs are functioning properly, but it's only a matter of time before things start to shut down. Visitors can still come by. It doesn't look like it will be within the next day or two.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday 9:45 pm

He's been asleep all day-he hasn't really opened his eyes and hasn't been responding to us. From what it looks like, we should expect him to only get deeper and deeper into this. His kidneys are still functioning and his color is still good, but he's getting progressively weaker and eventually things will begin to shut down on their own. Visitors are still welcome to come; He can still hear you and acknowledge your presence.

Visitors today: Tod and Beverly, Drew (Pappy), Lyle, Tom Graf, Chris Brown, Diane Angelo

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday 10:30 pm

We just got done visiting with him for the night. Surprisingly, he's been awake a lot- not really responsive, but his eyes are open and he's been moving around. We put him on the phone with Pappy and his mom, and for both calls he tried to say something (he said bye to both). His breathing is good and comfortable, but he's pretty congested. When we were all huddling over him at one point, he opened his eyes, smiled, and said "how are you". Last night, I said that he was in a coma, as was stated by the doctor. He once again proved her wrong, although he is in some sort of one. He can hear, see, and feel, but cannot talk. He tries though- you can hear a faint voice and watch his mouth move as he tries to respond. He's once again surprising everyone...we don't know for how long though. He will eventually go into a full coma. He definitely looks better than he did last night though. This was day 19.

Tuesday 4:30 pm

He's about the same today, except he's been opening his eyes and moving around a little bit. I know he can hear us, he just can't respond. Keep coming to visit.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday 10:30 pm

He's in a coma right now and will most likely not wake up this time. His breathing is better and more comfortable, but there is still a gap in between breaths. His chest isn't retracting anymore, and he seems calm and easy when he's breathing. No one knows how long it will be- a coma can last anywhere from hours to weeks. Tonight when we went to say goodnight, he half-opened his eyes and tried to say something to me when i moved his pillow. Keep coming to visit because he can still hear you and knows that you're there even if he can't respond.

Monday 2:15 pm

He's been the same since last night- his breathing is a little more shallow though. We got a call at 4am from the nurse that things were changing and that the family should come in, but he's still with us. No one knows when it's going to be, but his color is fading and he isn't responsive. We're told to expect probably a day at most.

Monday 2:00 am

(Read the 12:30 post before this).
I couldn't relax so I just went back over to visit him again. His breathing is still about the same. His heart is working ridiculously hard to power his lungs to give him air (150 bpm). His lung capacity at this time is very small (probably somewhere around 8-12%), so one of his full breaths is equal to about 1/10 of ours. From my view, it looks horrible and uncomfortable, but hopefully it's hurting me more than it is him. We can only use his expressions as signs that he is comfortable, because we aren't promised another conversation with him. His eyebrows were relaxed which is a good sign that he's not in any pain. If his eyebrows look strained in any way, it makes it evident to us that he's in some sort of discomfort. The nurse said that she can't promise anything, whether we will see him awake again or not, but from how it's looking right now, we probably won't be able to "be" with him anymore. The reason is because if he does wake up, the chances are that he will realize how short his breath is and panic, which starts a downward cycle for him. The more comfortable he is, the better. I gave his night nurse my phone number and she will call me if she sees any signs of life from him, even if he just opens his eyes for a second.

Monday 12:30am

Me, Drew, my grandmother and my mom just went to visit him to say goodnight. When we walked into the room, we noticed how big of a challenge it was for him to breathe. His chest would dramatically sink every time he took a breath. His heart rate is 150 bpm. I counted out 11 shallow and unsteady breaths in a minute, meaning that his heart beats 15 times for every breath he takes (there are gaps between each breath). The nurse says that there's nothing else we can do to ease his breathing. The morphine is as high as we can get it right now, so if that's not working than his nervous system may be controlling his breathing, which means the cancer may have spread to his brain. It was very hard for us to see him like this; This is the worse i have seen him yet. We're told this could last hours to days, and that we should next expect for him to go into a coma where he will not respond to us at all. I squeezed his hand as hard as i could, and i didn't get anything in return. We're praying for a response.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday 7:15 pm

Early this morning, his pain medication was increased because his left arm was really bothering him (this has been for about two weeks now). This could be a sign of the cancer spreading to the bone, or it could potentially be irritated from a previous operation, but there isn't a need to further investigate it. He's on another drug now(phenobarb) to help him stay comfortable. According to his visitors earlier, he's been sound asleep all day with the exception of opening his eyes every now and then- no conversation and very slight recognition of his visitors. We're told to keep visiting because apparently "he can hear us even if he doesn't look like it". As of now, he's sleeping and it looks like he's really working hard to breathe- his chest sinks in when he takes a breath. He hasn't had anything to eat or drink all day. From what it looks like now, he will probably be like this for the rest of the night.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday 11:30 am

He had a really good night- he didn't need any breakthrough doses. This morning they gave him less meds, and he's been having some moments where he's completely clear when he talks. He is very comfortable and his breathing is smooth. Although we are supposed to obey the doctor's orders (more medicine), we're modifying them to what we think is best. He's most lucid when his medicine is wearing off, and he can't eat or drink when he's so drugged up, so hopefully we'll find a balance for him... sorry that every day contradicts the next.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday 3:15 pm

He's been awake all day, but hasn't really been too coherent. We held a family meeting to discuss everything with his doctors, and we learned that all of these questions and experiences we're having are normal. Everything that we've been seeing is a "part of the dying process". He is not making sense when he talks mainly due to the fact that not enough oxygen is being sent to his brain. We learned that the morphine doesn't even sedate him- it's main purpose is to control his breathing. The other medications (ativan and haldol) actually work with his brain to produce rational thoughts, which took us all by surprise- we thought they were the reason for his incoherency. We will not be trying to lower his medications anymore, because there's a reason that they're increasing them- it's better for him to be comfortable and asleep than awake and agitated. Everything that we have been seeing is described as normal, and apparently every patient in this facility goes through the same symptoms that he has. As of now, he's awake and pretty anxious, hallucinating frequently. We are going to try to relax him so that he can get some sleep.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday 10:45 pm

He's been mostly asleep the whole day, except for a period of about thirty minutes where he was just mumbling and staring off into space. We consulted my dad's lung cancer specialist and she cleared up most of the confusion i had mentioned earlier. We were concerned about his mental state and why he doesn't make sense when he talks to us, and she believes that it could be due to him not receiving his previous anxiety medicine since his admittance to Gilchrist. To clear up the biopsy story, it has been clarified that even if they had examined the correct lung at the proper time, it still wouldn't have made a difference in his prognosis. We did not make a mistake in putting him in hospice, and it is necessary that he receives this care. We did however discover that his left lung, the one that had been operated on, is basically shut down and not functioning at all due to all of the trauma it had encountered in the past year. On the other hand, 2/3 of the right lung has been taken over by cancer, meaning that only 1/6 of his lungs are currently functioning. We are still working on finding him his balance- he may not need as much morphine. There is a chance that we will be able to even things out so that he can sleep at night and talk and enjoy visitors during the day.

Right now, my mom, George, Tom Graf and I are with him in his room. Suprising everyone once again, he's having somewhat lucid conversations and is making a decent amount of sense. For example, I told him about the sound system i bought for my car which set him on a rant about rap music. He even called his mom to say goodnight and tell her that he loves her. He's still in his other world, but hopefully we will get him back on our side of the planet pretty soon. We're all going to leave in a few minutes- hopefully he will be able to sleep throughout the night.

Thursday 11:00 am

He didn't have any trouble sleeping last night- we both just woke up. His eyes are opened now, and he said even said hi to me, but not much else. He's looking away into space, so it looks like he'll be awake for a little while. This is probably because we lowered his meds- he's not completely knocked out. We're still working on finding a balanced dosage for him. He just got his meds, and they gave him 15mg of morphine, and cut the ativan and haldol in half. His congestion is a lot worse than I've seen it in the past, but his breathing seems fine. He's dozing back off to sleep now. He looks comfortable and doesn't seem agitated.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday 11:30 pm

He was under 15mg of morphine all day, so we didn't spend too much time in his room because he would be asleep the whole time. Joe T came in around 5:00, and my dad seemed to be agitated and was trying to get out of bed, so the nurse increased him up to 20mg of morphine. I'm a little confused with everything that's been going on- here I will try to provide some background info. Keep in mind that I'm not trying to turn anything around- I just have some questions.

If some of you don't know this already, he was diagnosed with the cancer last April with a tumor on his left lung. They removed the tumor without any issues, and he went through full chemo and radiation treatments to get rid of any extra cancer (the treatments ended in february). A month or two ago, I was swimming with my dad and he told me that they found a small mass on his right lung which would require a biopsy. When he went in for the biopsy (for the right lung) six weeks ago, they accidentally examined the left one instead. The results came back anyways, and it showed that the left side was completely clear of anything. He was then supposed to go back to get the right side examined, the one that they were supposed to biopsy in the first place. He missed his appointment due to a case of pneumonia which required him to be hospitalized. A week after this, Drew and I took him into the hospital thursday night because of his shortness of breath, which was the start to all of this. Moving forward, we stayed with him until about midnight as he was getting a catscan. Everything seemed fine- we thought he'd be out in the morning. However, the following morning, we were told that he would have a few hours to two a few days to live. The oncologist told us that 75% of his lungs were filled with cancer, and there was no hope in any treatment working.

Since there was no cancer in his left lung six weeks ago, as shown in the biospy, and that the right side contained only a small amount, it's confusing how 75% of his lungs were taken over by cancer in such a small amount of time. We admitted him to Gilchrist the following day because we were told that he didn't have much longer to live. Here it is two weeks later and he's still here. We will be in contact with his doctor tomorrow in hope to clear some of this up (maybe even look at a copy of the catscan). I'm not speaking for my family in this post, so you can only hold this against me. I'm not saying that this is a misdiagnosis or that he doesn't belong here- i'm not trying to turn things around. I just have a few questions. I will be staying with him tonight. We lowered his morphine and haldol once again in hope to find a good balance for him.

Wednesday 2:30 pm

Last night, he woke up once. Because of his restlessness, the nurse gave him a breakthrough dose, meaning they gave him extra meds outside of his four hour routine. He's back on three drugs now, and it looks like it will stay that way for the rest of the time he has. He's up to 16mg of morphine, 5mg of ativan, and 3mg of haldol (coming from 5mg of morphine and 2mg of ativan). Although we don't like medicating him like this, its for the greater good that he's comfortable. We took off his oxygen because he can apparently breathe fine without it, and plus it was making him uncomfortable. There's not much else to write about- he's been asleep for the past 12 hours. Every now and then, he will open his eyes for a second when someone's talking to him, but he's extremely sedated so he falls right back to sleep. The nurse said that he will be like this for atleast the next 24 hours, but most likely he'll be like this for the rest of his time here- it doesn't look like we're going to be able to lower any of his meds anymore. So, if you're planning on visiting, try not to come with any expectations of him being awake.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday 9:00 pm

I went to school today so my grandmother, Barb, Tom Hammer, and Rob stayed with him all afternoon. Apparently he has been very agitated and stressed all day, really fighting to get out of bed. As a result, we had to increase his meds because his comfort is more important than ours. Although we don't like sedating him, the nurse explained that he is most comfortable when asleep, so more medicine is needed to keep him calm and easy going. The nurse also told us that everything was probably going to begin gradually declining after today, mainly because his organs are slowly beginning to shut down and malfunction. He's asleep now, and looks pretty comfortable. Nothing too exciting for his birthday on his part.. he had a bunch of visitors though.

Visitors today: Tom Graf, George, Marisa, Spike, Mark, Drew and Pam, Joe Hart

Tuesday 10:00 am

Last night, he woke up in the middle of the night trying to make the great escape. Luckily, the alarm on his bed went off, preventing him from getting out of bed. Other than that, he slept throughout the night with no problems. This morning, he's been a little restless and anxious, but he's back asleep now (probably due to the fact that it's his birthday and he wants to get out of here). He drank some coffee, tea, milk, and juice, but he doesn't have an appetite for food. He's got some visitors coming today, so we're going try to make him rest up until they get here.