It’s been 2 months since we said our goodbyes. It was meant to be that I went to Palm Springs/ Indian Wells today for a client meeting. I felt u tugging at me, as the car passed the Jack in the Box that we ate at before picking up the Casita back in May. That was such a rad day- that road trip out to Arizona to get our traveling camper.

There is a big emptiness without you but I know you are on new adventure. I thank you for keeping me strong and lifting me up on those tough days. I’m finding happiness in each day but this still is a bit unreal for me. Your spirit and love is always with me. Thank you. Love and miss you!

Today is our anniversary. We first met on February 15, 2003. I thought it was kinda cute that we met the day after Valentine’s. Since then we’ve made it a point, or rather a game to see who could remember the “15th” of every month first and tell the other, “Happy Anniversary.” Tim had an amazing memory. And Tim was usually the first to remember and got sneakier with telling me first. There was a few times when he would wake up in the middle of the night, gently stroke my head and swipe my hair back from my face, and whisper, “Happy Anniversary” in my ear. I sleep like a rock, but when he did that, I slowly awoke and gave him a kiss and deep hug. I loved that he remembered, how sweet and genuine he always was.

So, as the days have been counting up to the “15th”, I’ve been wondering how this day would hit me. Last night, tucked in under the covers, with my iPhone in hand, checking email, facebook and playing solataire, counting the minutes and seconds until midnight, June 15, 2011. After my iPhone hit midnight, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I knew it was coming, and I guess the reality of him not surprising me by walking into the room or getting a text from him was the cold reality of him not “being” here. I guess I realize that he’s in heaven, looking down at me, wanting to whisper in my ear, but it doesn’t feel the same. Each month forward, the 15th will still be a special day for me/us.

I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have known Tim. He was my soulmate and we were such a great team. I’m doing pretty good, I feel all the love and support from all my friends and angels watching over me, and checking in. And my family and Tim’s have been there too. It’s helped me heal, but this will be hard and slow road. Oliver, our dog, has also been such a great support. Oliver’s wiggles and excitement when he sees me continues to make me smile.

I’ve taken some time off from work to heal and gain strength before heading back to the battlefields of quick deadlines.

I want to thank all of my family, Tim’s family and all of our friends for constantly checking in on me- with calls, texts, emails, cards, etc. It seems when I start to hit a wall, someone checks on me. I just want to thank you for helping me get through this hard time and give ms the courage and strength to pull through. Many big hugs and many blessings!

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Photo taken on May 31 by Eric Watanabe, after Tim’s Celebration of Life service.


On May 26, 2011 thanks to Tim’s doctors and the unusual approval of the hospital administration Tim was released from the hospital under the care of hospice for Tim to take a camping trip in our lil travel egg—our casita camping trailer. As I have mentioned earlier it was Tim’s dream to go on a camping trip to Yellowstone or the up to northern California’s Redwood Forest, but Tim’s condition would not allow such a lengthy adventure. But the next best thing was to head to his first love (after me of course) the ocean. Mom and Dad Gutmann’s longtime friend Chuck & Christine Goebel were able to secure a camping site right on the ocean near Camp Pendleton State Park. Tim was able to enjoy an unforgetable evening with a number of his long time friends from the area, as well as, those who flew in from across the country, his brother and sisters, his parents, my parents and my sister. In addition, all his doctors stopped out to celebrate the day with him as did a number of his nurses. It was such a pleasure to see him engaged and to get to see him enjoy one more sunset over the ocean. He made jokes, ate some pizza and wanted to make sure we had blue corn chips on the ready. We were so blessed to have these moments as many hands were involved in making this happen and we can’t even begin to thank everyone who made it possible. You know who you are. Thank You.

Unfortunately, the rest of the night and into the next day was a rough one for Tim as we had to take him to the emergency room in the wee hours Friday morning. We were able to bring him home later in the morning but it was clear by that time God was calling Tim home. ¬He and I were surrounded thoughout the day and next night by the love of many family members, friends and members of his medical staff that had been involved in his care. Here is where I wish I had a magic conclusion to this but I don’t. Tim’s suffering ended at 4:40am, May 28, 2011. Tim will be missed but not forgotten. He touched us all.

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We will be celebrating Tim’s life on May 31, 2011 at Power House Community Center 1658 Coast Blvd. Del Mar, CA (Community center/building next to Jake’s restaurant and Poseidon) at 4pm.

Let’s gather together to remember the great memories that we will never forget. Hope to see you there.

Take I-5 to Del Mar Heights Rd. Go West on Del Mar Heights Rd. Turn Right on Camino Del Mar (Pacific Coast Highway). Turn Left on 15th Street.  Turn Right onto Coast Blvd.  The Powerhouse Community Center address is 1658 Coast Blvd.  The event will be held in the building located right next to Jake’s restaurant.

Parking:
You can find free parking along the nearby streets to the north and south of the community center. There is also a parking lot across the street from the community center, but this is a pay lot.  There is metered parking along the street as well. Poseidon restaurant has also generously offered parking for this event, too.

Tim’s biggest wish before starting any new treatment is to escape and take a short vacation. We bought a used Casita travel trailer – a cute lil home on wheels about 2 weeks ago. This has been a wish of Tim’s since he was diagnosed. His brother and him actually drove 8+ hours to Arizona to buy one and then found out the lady selling it lied about half the stuff she promised on the phone and on her craigslist posting. Luckily a few days later, Tim found another one, from a nice retired man who was buying a bigger trailer.

Say hello to Etta the Egg. (named after Tim’s nana). She’s a fiberglass, lightweight trailer and has a small kitchen with 2-burner stove, good-size fridge and freezer, small bathroom with toilet and shower and cozy enough for the two of us and Oliver (and perhaps a lil kiddo if and when the time comes!)

We’d like to head up to Santa Cruz—to camp in the tall, towering redwoods and sample the abundance of organic produce and whole foods. Though, whenever Tim is released and recovered fully to travel, he’ll decide how far and where we’ll cruise and camp.

This series of photos were taken in earlier this winter near the Point Loma Cabrillo monument. Tim purchased a new set of sweet binoculars from Cabela’s (with all the cool stuff he’s bought from their site and “bargain cave” he deserves to be on their VIP list!) and we went whalewatching. We saw about 5-6 whales and it was spectacular. Free entertainment (not including the entry fee into Cabrillo monument park) on a crisp winter day. I love these photos, as it was so invigorating for us to get out of the house, do something fun, and  Tim was feeling pretty good.

I look forward to taking our Casita on the road and seeing Tim strong and enjoying life again like this.

-Michelle

That’s how Tim and I feel right now. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update as I’ve been overwhelmed these past few months, physically and emotionally.

About 4 weeks ago, we went up to City of Hope to follow-up and see what they thought of Tim’s prognosis on stem cell transplant. Tim’s sister, brother, Aunt Joan and I were with Tim as we got the slap in the face. They told us a stem cell transplant wasn’t going to cure Tim’s lymphoma, that they didn’t recommend doing it, as his chance of survival were less than 5%. The oncologist suggested that we need to figure things out, that we look into other chemo treatments, clinical trials or do nothing. I begged for another answer, there’s got to be another option, an alternative, a sense of hope from the place that’s called City of Hope. I don’t think I’ll forget that day. Needless we were beyond upset and dissappointed.

So right now, we are determining next steps of treatment. I really want to improve the quality of Tim’s life, there’s got to be a promising a non-toxic treatment or combination therapy to reduce his cancer lymphoma and improve his well-being. Tim has been thru 4 different chemo treatments/regimens and 15 days of radiation since January 2010. His body responds to the chemo initially but after the 3rd or 4th session, but then the tumors come back and he’s been blasted by health issues that’s arisen from the intense side effects and his Crohn’s.

Since our City of Hope visit, I’ve been exhaustively researching and scouring the internet for clinical trials, alternative or naturpathic treatments, various experts, and calling doctors, cancer centers and lymphoma specific groups to get their recommendations or insight on what we should do. Tim’s sister Lori has also called some of the big cancer centers in the US and I still feel unclear on what the best direction will be for Tim.

Tim’s oncologist is recommending going back to a very low dose of  Folotyn, the chemo drug he did 5 weeks ago, since it showed reduction in his tumors. Though the reason why Tim stopped taking it was because the harsh side effects—he lost weight and had bad stomach pains and cramping.
Another suggestion is the stem cell transplant clinical trial at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research center in Seattle. http://www.fhcrc.org/. Their bone marrow transplant center is the largest in the world.

Another thing that has been a hurdle with Tim has been these crazy swelling and pain episodes in differnt joints in his body. It first started with his right elbow in March.
This photo shows his elbow after they did an orthapedic surgery as they were concerned the swelling and pain was an infection or possibly gout, but after they did the surgery and they tested the fluid and it was negative for infection, it seemed to be somekind of arthritic episode, possibly from his Crohn’s disease. He went thru some drama and long recovery with his elbow getting back to normal bending function. After he left the hospital he had a physical therapist help him regain strength and mobility in his elbow and shoulder. His elbow is doing fine now, just has the staple impressions to remind him of that ordeal.

Then about a month later, his left knee had the same symptoms, but when he went in to the hospital, instead of slamming various antibiotics into his system, his hospitalist decided to not give him any and it the swelling and pain subsided after a week on its own.

However, this Sunday his right shin and ankle ballooned and he was in wrenching pain and we went into the ER. Another issue that’s been problematic is his shortness of breath. He had a significant amount of fluid in his chest cavity near his lungs so they did a partial thoracentesis and then put a cathetor in, and for the past 5 days (since Wednesday), about 3300 ml of fluid has been removed. That’s a pretty substantial amount! With this tube in his chest he’s been in severe pain and still has trouble breathing, but the breathing should get better once the fluid and tube is removed from his chest. So… we’re hoping for him to come home sometime this week. We can only take one day at a time.

Tim needs a huge wave of love and prayers right now. This current hospital visit has been really intense and emotional for us. Its been so brutal for me to see my sweetie in such misery and health obstacles, when we thought this hospital stay was going to be quick and simple. Especially knowing, that in addition to these other health issues, his aggressive lymphoma is growing and needs to be controlled.

If you know of any insight on refractory T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma and Crohn’s treatments and/or doctor’s that we should connect with, let me know (shidesign@yahoo.com). We have a few conventional options and some possible alternative/naturpathic options.

Tim knows that his health is in God’s hands. And after my stubborn ego finally listened to the genuine words from an angel, I realized that I too, can’t control things, though I thought I could somehow, it’s too much for me to handle and decide, but God can.

Thank you for reading and for your continued love, help and prayers. God bless and big tight hugs!
~Michelle

Haaaaaaaaaaaappy birthday you old fart! Love you – Michelle

Last Friday, February 25th, Tim’s nana passed away. She was 94 years young and such an amazing lady. She was so witty, really loved her family, and gave the best hugs. We will miss her and know she is now comfortable and in peace with Papa.

We love you, God bless.

Wheeewww… the past 12 days seemed like a month. Juggling Tim and my non-stop workload was pretty overwhelming, and I’m finally catching up on the lack of sleep and crazy stress.

Tim went in to the hospital for his 3rd round of chemo 12 days ago. After a few days of getting chemo, they got CT scan results back that showed fluid near his heart and fluid in his right lung. (NOTE: that they had removed fluid in his right lung after his previous chemo round). They ended up focusing on the fluid near his heart, as it was a bit more critical. The did a procedure called pericardiocentesis

The procedure went smoothly! They removed about 350ml of fluid (about 1 1/2 cups) near his heart, and they decided to hold off on the lung fluid as Tim already had so much going on. After the procedure, I was hoping that he would have more relief, but it was the opposite. It seemed as if Tim went from feeling bad to feeling like a truck hit him in the chest. Although the procedure stuck him with a needle to drain out the fluid, he said that the spot where the needle went in, felt like it was a large shotgun wound. He kept a hot pack on his chest consistently to help soothe the pain and was on strong pain meds, but it was just a matter of time to let the pain calm down more. I’d say he was in pretty high level pain for about 8-10 hours after the procedure. Tim and I both got about 2-3 hours of sleep that night.

The following 8 days after the procedure was a combo of things. Tim was recovering from the procedure and the effects of the chemo were also kicking in—strong fatigue and anxiety. His coughing attacks still were going on, happening every hour/ every few hours. And with his chest wound from the procedure, it felt like his chest muscles were being ripped apart. His coughing attacks were so intense to watch. So overall his pain was controlled, but everytime he had a short coughing attack, it spiked his pain sky high. He also kept getting a fever, and doctors were concerned it could be bronchitis or pneumonia, so they added antibiotics to his load. After a few days and tests, they decided it wasn’t bronchitis or pneumonia—that the constant coughing attacks were due to side effects from his radiation last month, but he was still getting fevers, so obviously they kept him on the antibiotics, just to cover all the bases. In addition to that, his levels got low and he had a blood & platelet transfusion to boost things up to normal levels, which he’s had before due to the chemo.

When we got home, we were so glad to see our wiggly Oliver. We’re slowly catching up on rest, laundry, and all the other chores and routines.

I want to thank my mom for taking time off from work (she was just here in Nov for 2 weeks). Those 10 days you were out here went too fast, but we loved having you here, and wish the rest of the Prescott’s (and Marty too) could come and stay.

I also want to thank Angela and especially Eric for checking in/caring for Tim the past week, while I was at work. It was tough going into work most of last week, but we can’t afford for me take off too much time from work. I also want to give big thanks to AJ, Barbara & Nancy for taking care of Ollie and keeping him happy. He loves seeing you guys and I’m glad that you are happy to care for him.

Tim’s sister is here helping us out for most of this week—and it’s great to have her energy here. She took time off from work to help us.

I also want to thank you all of you for your prayers and continued strength!

Love and hugs!
Michelle

Tim will go in for his next chemo round either Monday or Tuesday. We will wait to get the call from the hospital when a room & the chemo nurses are setup. It’s a 4-day chemo regimen, but they might keep him at least 5-6 days. (Chemo cocktail is ICE with Valcade).

Once Tim’s home, he’ll do Valcade chemo twice a week at his oncologist’s office. Then after his body bounces back from the chemo then he’ll go for his next chemo round at the hosptial.

His oncologist said that these next few chemo sessions might be tough on Tim, since he’s been thru different chemo regimens this past year. So, please keep sending your prayers these next few months that Tim will stay strong through these treatments.

My mom flew into town last week and is here until Thursday. It’s been great help having her here with us. She’s been so stoked to be in the Cali sunshine and see trees and grass – as the weather in New Jersey is frozen tundra. Needless to say, we didn’t need twist her arm to fly out here. Between the time that Tim’s folks left and she came, we had great support & help from Eric, Angela & Alison too.

Thanks everyone for all your prayers and love.
Michelle & Tim

I’m not going to get all churchy on you folks, but I’ve got to tell you about the Rock Church (in case you haven’t heard).

Ashley Z. recently told us that they do live webcasts of their services. So for the past 3 Sundays, Tim & I wake up, prop up in bed, turn on his iPad that my work gifted him, and watch the music & service live for an hour. The technology works great and we can listen to Paster Miles McPherson’s inspiring sermons. This is perfect for Tim, as mornings are when he’s in the most pain, and right now with Tim’s health this makes the best sense. Pastor Miles is down-to-earth, relatable and funny.

I wanted to share how thankful I am to have found the Rock and its live sermons. Like I said, I’m not going to get churchy, but I’ve been moved so much (sometimes in tears and laughs) and feel that although Pastor Miles isn’t speaking directly to me, God has brought us to him, and Miles is bringing us closer to God. And right now, I think that’s what we all could use- a better relationship with God, and not just a routine religion.