A gathering to celebrate Kia's life will be held this Saturday, February 4 at 10:00 a.m. at the Lamp Liter Inn in Visalia, CA. The Inn is located at 3300 West Mineral King Avenue in Visalia and can be reached via telephone at (559) 732-4511.
On the east coast, we will be holding a service at Second Congregational Church in Greenfield, MA on Saturday, February 11 at 2:00 p.m. with details of a gathering afterward to follow. Second Congregational Church is located on the Greenfield Common (Court Square).
We are sad to report that Kia passed away yesterday afternoon. She was surrounded by friends and family, warmth and love, songs and psalms, and an incredible staff of nurses and doctors who worked to keep Kia (and all of us) comfortable in her final days. I hope many of you find comfort in knowing that we read every email, post, and comment to Kia and we know she heard you all.
I share with you Kia's message to us all (by clicking the link here):
We promised to ourselves and the world that, no matter what the outcome, ours would not be a tragic story. While we are filled with sadness, we find comfort knowing that our story is so full of love, comedy, and blessings and that Kia is with us all... always. On that note, I share a silly video of the two of us singing here....
Last Sunday, Annie and Kia were happily watching the Patriots punch their ticket to the Super Bowl (or the Ravens punch the Patriots' ticket to the Super Bowl).
Before the game ended, Kia started having trouble finishing sentences and her fever shot up to 103.1. Annie and the rest of the family made the decision to take Kia back to Stanford. Tests revealed a widespread return of Kia's lymphoma with possible infections.
At this point, Kia's brain has been affected. She's been in and out of sleep and, here and there, family and friends get to see short but very sweet bursts of the Kia everyone knows and loves. Kia has been surrounded by a constant stream of very close friends and family. Visitations are very limited at this point but if you have a message for Kia, please leave it below in the comment section or email Annie (firstname.lastname@example.org) by clicking here.
The family is keeping Kia comfortable and honoring her wishes through these hard times as best as they possibly can. At this point, they expect Kia might not make it through this particular battle. They're thankful for your prayers, thoughts and well wishes and they'll do their best to keep everyone updated from this point forward.
Outside my window, yellow leaves are swirling down from the trees into the garden below. Through the opposite windows of the courtyard, I can see hospital staffers coming and going like ants in a child's plastic ant farm. In my room, I'm surrounded by medical equipment and more disinfecting products than I ever thought I'd see in one day. The stem cells come in in five more days. I've been here for four days already, and it's just starting to sink in today how very long I'm going to stuck here.
I'm definitely experiencing a bit of a comedown after all the exhilaration of my pre-hospital adventures. Driving up into the mountains and down the coast, re-visiting Esalen and receiving some healing touch, pulling out the old Razzle Dazzle for a Karaoke night with some of my best peeps, sharing Thanksgiving with my little family, and welcoming my parents-in-law to California and some of my favorite places....all those things sure were fun, footloose and seemingly cancer-free. Now I lay here and receive my treatment, which today includes one kind of chemo and some fancy Rabbit Serum that's supposed to lower my immune system. Yes, it's safe to say that I officially feel at the height of my Cancer-Patient status. Knowing I'll be in this room for about a month, knowing I have to wear the HEPA mask every time I step outside, missing life as I've known it forever. I know it does no good to dwell on the past—how much I miss my old life in Northampton, my friends, my job, my dog, my family there—but neither does it do me any good to dwell in the future - i.e. "when will I get out of here? Will my cancer come back? What if it does? etc etc." I can only be in this moment, in this bed, in this place, with this view, one day at a time.
We just got in to Palo Alto after a long and gorgeous drive up Hwy 1. Tomorrow I get up at 7 am to get my Hickman Catheter implanted and then get admitted to the Hospital for my stem-cell transplant (and 30+ day stay) in the afternoon.
The big event today though is that Annie and I recently decided there should be a "mix tape" that I listen to every day while my new stem cells are roosting and taking care of business. Here are a few songs we know are going on the mix:
1. In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg
2. Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
3. Feelin' Groovy by Simon and Garfunkel
4. All That Jazz & When You're Good to Mama from Chicago
5. Bamboleo by the Gypsy Kings
6. Shakedown Street by the Greatful Dead
7. Damn it Feels to Be a Gangsta by Ghetto Boys
8. Dreadlock Holiday by 10CC
9. Everybody's Free by Quindon Tarver
10. Love and Happiness by Al Green
That's just the beginning. But we also realized this could get so much better if we opened it up to everyone else. What songs would you put on a mix tape to make my stem cells twinkle their toes, rock it out, and build me the best immune system there can be?
Let us know, and we will post the Ultimate Stem Cell Mix here, at a later date.