A Fatherless Daughter: April 23rd, 2019

My father, Roger Kramer passed away from lung cancer on June 2nd, 2019 after his 129 day battle. His cancer progressed quickly after his diagnosis on January 24th 2019. The cancer spread to his C2, eating away at the bone and fracturing his neck. After finishing chemotherapy and radiation, a PET scan t revealed the cancer had spread throughout his body. I was honored to care for him in his final days and he passed away 4 days later. We not only lost a father but Craig and I lost a dear friend and community member.

Update from the Kramer house: April 23rd 2019

Dad can’t swallow anything more than water, milkshakes, pudding, or ice cream.

We have 11 more doses of radiation after today so this will only get worse. His esophagus is so fried from the radiation and to target the tumor that even water doesn’t go well at times.

If you know my dad you know he loves beer and there’s just no way it would be worth the pain or the sensation that you’re choking.

Chemo is every Monday and it hits him hardest on Wednesdays. He’s usually feeling *a little* better just in time to get chemo again. He gets dehydrated, has horrible headaches everyday, feels very unsteady when he stands up, and just feels like a “pile of rags” in general. This will all get worse before it gets better.

Dad gets an MRI tomorrow to rule out a brain tumor. He’s on oxygen most of the time now.

Mom’s tumor marker doubled from December. She’s on a special iodine free diet so she can have a full body scan after her PET scan from last week came back clear. They don’t know where the cancer could be growing. We are in limbo a bit between Mayo and Gundersen with her.

Anyway that’s us. It sucks. Cancer sucks. Not much more to it than that. We are so thankful for friends and family who have been driving dad and sending cards.

Dad loves reading the comments so feel free to leave him a note.

We would find out later that the reason he got so much better when he got steroids was because it was an anti inflammatory and was actually treating the pain in his neck thus relieving his headaches. He would end up on heavy steroid doses for the remainder of his life.

Dad’s MRI would come back clear reiterating again that there is NO brain cancer – we were all relieved but Dad was still having headaches. If the MRI would go just a few more inches down, it would see that cancer had eaten most of his C2 vertebrae leaving it vulnerable to a break.

That’s all in a post for next week. Until then, thanks for reading.



  1. Susan the Farm Quilter
    April 23, 2020 / 9:59 pm

    I remember thinking that the speed with which your dad’s cancer spread was insane. You hardly had time to understand what was happening each day before you had to learn a whole new set of information the next day. Your family’s connection to each other is a beautiful thing to see…you supported each other every day, no matter who needed the support, someone was there. You are blessed to have that.

  2. Elle
    April 24, 2020 / 12:46 am

    It is my hope for you that journaling hear is a therapeutic grief process for you. And I admire that you are educating the world. Cancer and death SHOULD be talked about, not swept under a rug because someone might be uncomfortable.

    My Dad died in 123 days from his lung cancer. Unlike your Dad, mine bone metzed (ie: pain) and then brain metzed. I could tell the day it happened as was evidenced in a sudden change in his verbalizing tenor. That was 10d before he died.

    Hugs to you.

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