Support for Danielle & Mr. Richard
On June 20th, our dear friend Danielle Peeples was diagnosed with Invasive Breast Adenocarcinoma, an invasive and fast growing form of breast cancer. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy, and will need about 6 months of chemo before her mastectomy. After the surgery, she will have daily radiation treatments.
As many of you know, tomorrow is Danielle's Celebration of Life in Winter Park, FL. Here is the information for the event tomorrow, as well as the sign up to bring a dish to share:
Thanks for all of the love and support!
Danielle left us at 10:10pm last night, surrounded by four people who love her: I was curled up on the bed on her right and had my arm around her neck and the other hand on her right shoulder, brother Kirk had her right hand in both of his, our old friend Joe knelt at the foot of the bed with her feet in his hands, and our dear friend Marianne held her left hand in hers. She had begun to breathe heavily and with some difficulty around 8:30, so I gave her some more morphine at 9:30 but her discomfort continued. By then we all had our hands on her and were telling her it was okay, to relax, we love you, etc but she kept gasping for air. It upset me so much I couldn't help myself and broke down sobbing into her hair and neck for a few minutes. Then I felt I needed to pull myself together so that she could maybe calm down, and she gradually did, and I slid down so I could look into her face. She has had an infection in the lower halves of both eyes and her eyes have been mostly rolled up into her head the past few days, but I looked at her and told her we all loved her and that it was okay for her to go. As soon as I said it, she lowered her head so that she could look at me over the infection and looked right in my eyes for a brief moment, then she sort of just relaxed, let out a last exhale and her head gently fell to the side. So she went peacefully and calmly and just like I wanted her to go: in my arms, with the bonus of extra love from three of her favorite people on all sides. Molly was there, too.
So there's a new star in the sky tonight. Shine on, you beautiful eternal diamond and forever be a beacon of our love. Thank you for being mine. I love you Danielle.
Wish I weren't having to share this, but Danielle's MRI was not good news. She has cancerous meningitis cells in her spinal fluid and there is excess spinal fluid in her brain. This is what caused the initial swallowing problem which allowed the yeast bacteria to establish the thrush infection in her throat and tongue. Meds are clearing up the thrush so she's got some relief from that, but this is just the first of oncoming neurological problems that will begin to appear, and there is nothing more they can do for her. On both her doctors' advice, I have opted to discontinue any further chemotherapy treatments; they would only be annoying at this point. Her oncologist, Dr Grow, estimates she has two to three months left. She might go home tomorrow, and hospice will get involved at some point, but I want her home with me and Molly.
So my job now is to make sure she feels only love and safety and comfort from here forward. Her mother and I agreed that all crying should be done outside her presence, and believe me, plenty was done yesterday with lots more to come. I would like friends to visit her and touch her and smile and kiss her, but I will let you know when that can happen, and you will have to be stout of heart. "Thank you" is so inadequate to say to all of you for these past three years of love and prayer and favors and everything else, but if she could, Danielle would say the same. We have been blessed with something far more valuable than material riches, and that is the wealth of your love and friendship--we couldn't have soldiered this long without you.
Last night I crawled into Danielle's hospital bed and she fished her good hand out from the blankets and grabbed mine in a tight grip. Then she let go and reached over to stroke my cheek. My heart was too full to do more than whisper, "Thank you" in her ear.
Here's an Christmas update from Richard:
This morning, Christmas Eve, was bittersweet for me because Danielle was discharged from out-patient rehab. She has reached "Plateau in functional progress", which means they really can't do much more for her at this point so there's not much reason to continue rehab. She isn't making any gains so they feel a period of "rest" will be okay right now. By that, they mean I will continue to do her exercises at home, paying close attention to frustration and fatigue levels and not overdoing it so that she starts to dislike the work. The chemo being administered through her chest port has robbed her of much of her energy, therefore she flags in rehab. Her rehab doctor says that even doing 50% of her previous level is better than doing nothing, so we will keep a home regimen in place. She has tapered off on the longer naps, so maybe her body is becoming acclimated to the chemo and she will begin to gain more stamina. Some days she will do better and I always hope this is the beginning of an upswing, but the next day she might not do as well.
She has now had 4 brain infusions of chemo (these don't seem to have any effect on her) and a new MRI will take place soon. She is on steroids to prevent swelling in the brain, so she has the round cheeks again and stays hungry. I am trying to keep her on a healthy food path for these cravings and she doesn't need to re-gain the 40 pounds she lost since March 2013. That's 40 pounds she would have to carry as she tries to do exercises, and 40 more pounds I have to catch if she buckles at the knee.
She remains generally silent, but speech exercises of course force her to talk, and she understands more than you realize. She will laugh at a wisecrack, so I know she's listening and comprehending. Sometimes she will say "Thank you" if I do something for her, and even when she gets frustrated and yells "NO!" I don't mind because I love to hear her voice. Last week we were in my van and bumping along on a brick street while Danielle was playing a game on her phone, and she suddenly says, "Love, you drive like a nut!" Hey I'll take anything I can get.
I often wonder what goes on in that little round head. She will look around as though seeing the room for the first time, and will look at me between every bite when we're at the table. I look right back and try to smile at her. Today as I was getting her dressed, I said, "Tomorrow is Christmas," and she laughed at herself and said, "I didn't even know!" Definitely not our best Christmas, but I am thankful I still have my girl with me. I hope your Christmas is your best ever.
I am soooo sad and sorry for your loss of your beautiful wife. Hugs to you during this difficult time. Jill + Morgan Firestone
My heart is breaking as I see this. I'm so sorry you are going thru this. You have always entertained my son Joey growing up and we have always thought so highly of you. My thoughts and prayers are being sent your way while you go thru this heart wrenching time. The love you have for Danielle is beautiful. So devoted and dedicated. God Bless you.
Thank you for all you have done for the wee ones in Central Florida
Mr.Richard my heart goes out to you. Praying for many lovely moments.
Love and prayers of strength sent to you both ♥
My thoughts and prayers go out to you and Danielle. You have brought so much joy to do many people including me and my daughter ( such fond birthday memories!!) It breaks my heart you are going through this. Sending many many prayers to you and your family.
Danielle, me and Kennys hearts go out to you and Richard. You have been on my Bible study groups prayer list and we'll continue to be. Soooo glad you are improving. Keep it up. And Rich, you keep your head up. Danielle's blessed to have you. Hope to see you guys next visit. God Bless!
as I was placing my hand on Danielle's picture and praying for her, on the radio a cicada symphony played accompanied by a clarinet player. I asked for healing to this symphony. God Bless you ALL. Faith and Strength and kick cancer's @ss!
Still praying for you, Peeples! I have the TpT community praying for you too! Love you!!!
I'm really sorry to hear this. My son Tito loves Mr. Richard's performing and songs. God Bless you and your beautiful family.
My heart breaks as I read the updates. I had no idea of this page and did not know of the current medical status. Mr. Richard you will always hold a very special place in our hearts. Thank you for caring for our daughter, Shellee Grace. I cannot fathom what you are going through and how hard it must have been to do what you did for us today. We are forever grateful. Michael and I are praying for you every single moment. Danielle is loved by so many and we are praying for a pure miracle. Please PLEASE let us know if there is anything we can do to help. 407-474-3340 and 407-951-5583. LOVE, The Deals *Summer, Seanna 7, Shellee 3, Michael Deal*
Thinking of you Mr. Richard and Danielle, you are in our prayers tonight.
Hello, where can I mail a Holiday card and a donation for Mr Richard and Danielle? Our Moms group has raised money for them. Thanks! : )
thinking about ya.....glad to see all the donations! keep them coming....great job Viva!
you are in my prayers
Our Prayers are with you and your family!
Praying for God's healing hand to touch your life in a powerful way and give you strength and comfort for the journey.
My prayers will be rising for y'all constantly!
Richard and Danielle, prayers for you both!!!