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. A Fatherless Daughter is a blog series that highlights his last few weeks and the struggles we have had to overcome as a family as my dad’s cancer battle came to an end.
Update on my Dad: May 16th, 2019
Dad has been getting better every day. He can sleep better, swallow better, his pain is better controlled, he seems to be getting his humor back too. As the effects of radiation wears off he should continue to get better ?
We are enjoying not having to get him to Lacrosse every day! The car rides were getting SO long for him towards the end! Long curves and turns are hard on his neck.
He did go up for a neuro surgery visit yesterday. He will still be in the brace for the foreseeable future. If the cancer had gone to any other bone in the spine it could have been fixed by filling the bone with cement but not the C2. So right now the bone was described as a “shell.” Yeah, let’s leave the brace on ?
We have a BIG day May 24th. Dad will go through the “truth machine” (aka PET scan) to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else. He will get a new chemo schedule, a new plan of attack, and meet with just about every service the hospital has to offer ?
If you would wear your Kramer strong shirts next Friday – May 24th that would be great! Post a picture and use the hashtag #kramerstrong ?
He got to get a REAL shower today and we replaced the pads on the neck brace. I imagine it’s going to be a long summer for him wearing the brace – it’s going to be HOT. Plus, he’s so warm in general. We asked the doctor and he said as cancer cells are dying and “released” it can make you really hot and sweaty. Fun fact.
Anyway, I go back to work full time starting tomorrow. I’m so glad I was on this maternity leave the past three months. I know that was what I call a “God thing.” He knew I’d need to be there for my family and he knew we would need Gannon and Georgia for some relief from the seriousness of it all.
We are all still so overwhelmed by the support from everyone. My coworkers pooled together got us a huge gas card, our neighbors have been mowing our lawn and their neighbors have been mowing their lawn, the cards continue to come in daily, I love people wearing their Kramer Strong shirts, it’s just AMAZING how people have come around us to support us ❤️❤️❤️
May 17th, 2019
Well I spoke too soon guys…
I found this picture on my time hop from my RN pinning ceremony 4 years ago. Dad has always been my reason to be a nurse – he inspired me to join the medical field as he is an EMT.
Well today I got to be DAD’s nurse in the ER – he woke up drenched in sweat, fever of 102, short of breath, shaky, and a bit confused. Mom brought him to the ER where I work and he’s been shipped to Lacrosse via ambulance.
He has an infection somewhere, we don’t know where probably pneumonia but we suspect he is septic which means the infection is in his blood stream now. He got IV antibiotics and fluids in the ER. His blood pressure was SUPER low. He’s stable – we just need to figure out for sure where this infection is.
Shout out to Sally Hensley for swooping in to help mom this morning on such short notice! And for the childcare parents for being so understanding.
We will keep you all posted!
These posts are getting harder to read. I remember I was out at the nurses station. Dads blood pressure took. It was 64/48. I remember making a joke like “come on Dad, you can do better than that!” I walked into the room and there dad was, standing, I looked at him DRENCHED in sweat and said “Dad, are you okay?” He perked up, “Yeah I feel fine.”
Despite his blood pressure hanging around the lowest possible reading while still reading, he claimed to be asymptomatic. This was later chalked up to the steroids he was on suppressing his adrenal glands.
But Dad was sick. Really sick, but not with pneumonia. A week from Memorial Day, that PET scan we are so desperate for will give us terrible news.
This won’t be dad’s last ambulance ride to Lacrosse this week, or his last visit to the ER while I was working. In fact he stabilized quite well once he got to Lacrosse, only to start the process all over again after he was discharged. The bottom out blood pressure, shortness of breath, dizziness, fever, Dad’s body was trying to die. Now is when we started to get suspicious.
It’s heart breaking reading these posts over again. These next two weeks will be hard. Yet, we are still #kramerstrong.