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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:46 am 
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She had one foot on the ground
And one foot in the air
(it seemed) the world held her cold hand
While the angels brushed her hair

"but that's how it has to end
On this side of glory,
Some wounds will never mend,"
Says the author of the story

I held one hand in the fire
And lifted one hand towards the sky
But the busy world still turned
And the angels passed me by

Sometimes there seems to be
No author of the story
These thoughts occur to me
On this side of glory

And I kissed the Lamb of God
And my fingers found the wounds
And the angels moved the stone
And I searched the vacant room

That's how it all begins
On this side of glory
"and you'll see her shine again,"
Said the author of the story

Words by T.S. Taylor

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:58 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
I received a text message from Vicki's daughter. Her suffering has ended, and she passed on this evening at 5 PM.

Vicki had a "bad stomach" for years. She in fact successfully passed her sandan test at Winterfest (2 years ago) while suffering from this "stomach ailment." She had seen health care practitioners about it for years, but nobody had done the right test. Finally she had an MRI (the only imaging technique capable of diagnosing her) and it revealed advanced pancreatic cancer. By the time it was discovered, it was too far advanced to be surgically removed.

Vicki went through a course of treatments at Johns Hopkins University - probably one of the best available places to deal with her advanced cancer. But they were not able to reverse its course.

It's difficult to say this but... this is not a pleasant way to go. When the pancreas starts acting up, bad things happen inside. It hits home for me. My mom suffered from her mid-20s on with severe rheumatoid arthritis. I remember her not having normal-looking hands, wrists, ankles, and feet. But she never complained, and she was perpetually pleasant. Her therapy? Aspirin and nothing more. But later in her life she came down with a case of ideopathic (of unknown cause) pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). I saw one of the most stoic people I know go from walking to dead in 10 days. And her suffering was indescribable.

In the last few days, Vicki's daughter asked me to pray for a quick ending. I did. She was mercifully relieved from her suffering, and with her immediate family around. If there was a way for the ending to be the best that it could be under the circumstances, well this was it.

We will all miss her. But her legacy will live on.

When Vicki could take the time to talk with me this last half year, her demeanor was upbeat. She knew she was going to die, and she was fine with it. Obviously she would have preferred to live, but she accepted her fate. She was at peace with her life, and was willing to go on to the next. She was proud of all her accomplishments. Towards the end, we still managed to stay in touch. Sometimes it was a few words in a text message. Towards the end it was garbled. The last text message was a single "P" as a response to having read this thread. From that point forward I was pleased with getting the Verizon-to-Verizon "D" that let me know my text message was Delivered to a phone that was on. In the last 2 days, her daughter picked up her phone and allowed me to be part of the end.

I have shed many tears in this last month. I will shed more in the coming days. But I am a better person for having been a part of Vicki's life.

I once knew Vicki. And now a part of her lives on in me.

- Bill


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 Post subject: All I can bear to post
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:43 am 
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:cry: :cry: :cry:


She had a unique personality...and did she ever love life. :cry:

Sorry about your mom too Bill. :(

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:44 am 
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Did heavy sedation help in blunting the pain?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:53 am 
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Quote:
Vicki had a "bad stomach" for years. She in fact successfully passed her sandan test at Winterfest (2 years ago) while suffering from this "stomach ailment." She had seen health care practitioners about it for years, but nobody had done the right test. Finally she had an MRI (the only imaging technique capable of diagnosing her) and it revealed advanced pancreatic cancer. By the time it was discovered, it was too far advanced to be surgically removed.


Simply awful...the doctors 'killed' her.

What kind of 'health care practitioners' do they have where she lived?

Would a c-scan have diagnosed the problem? Did she have it done?

They were probably trying to save money for the insurance companies in not ordering the tests.

Someone, somehow, should have been more pro-active in trying to get an MRI in the face of continuing problems :x

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:28 am 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Van

I was not directly involved in her care at any point, so I don't have all the details.

I do know Vicki had abdominal symptoms for years. And yet she pushed on. For better or for worse, she would enjoy doing kotekitae and ashikitae with me because it helped her deal with pain. She was an exercise junkie way back before she ever got intense with martial arts. She told me her husband used to complain about her washboard abs. Of course time and 3 kids changed some of that, but she still loved her workout high. And in the final years, she took a special liking to conditioning we did, as it gave her the medicine she needed to deal with her everyday pains.

I work with the claims data information of millions of people on a daily basis. I know of two people in my data who are 112 years old, and I also see stillborn births. I don't know, Van... Woulda, coulda, shoulda. How do you know the difference between indigestion and pancreatic cancer in a stoic person? It's not like they didn't try... But if you had to do an MRI on every person walking into a doctor's office who had stomach pain, our health care system would quickly go bankrupt.

Vicki was not bitter about it. Again... her courage and grace in the face of death was something I've never seen before. She inspires me.

Mark my word... she will inspire more. George came to me with an idea this morning, about 8 hours before she passed away. We will run with it.

As for pain... she was on the best narcotics, and she had the love and care of a loyal husband and doting oldest daughter. Her sister was also there quite often. It was the very best that it could be.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:38 am 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
My Dearest Vicki,

I remember Summer Camp nights where I would be exhausted. You on the other hand... The Energizer Bunny went out with friends to the famous Bourne "biker bar." It was your time to be all you with friends who would protect you and look out after you, but let you shine like only you could.

Tonight a biker bar in Bourne is playing a song - in your honor.

Prince 1999

I was dreamin' when I wrote this
So sue me if I go 2 fast

But life is just a party
And parties weren't meant 2 last

War is all around us
My mind says prepare 2 fight

So if I gotta die
I'm gonna listen 2 my body tonight

Yeah, they say two thousand zero zero party over
Oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999



It is you, my dear friend. Somewhere in heaven, God just inherited a party.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:07 pm 
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Posts: 635
Location: Johnston, RI
I have a feeling this is going to be a very long thread. A testament to the amazing person Vicki is.
I was with her at summer camp last year (sooooo glad I went now) and we hung out and laughed about the same old nonsense like we always do. Had a great time. Never would have guessed a short time later I would hear she was sick. Never would have thought that was the last time I would see my friend.
After my wife, Vicki is, well, quite simply the best person I have ever known. People who never met her really can't appreciate the kind, warm, open and genuine person she was. I truly, truly believe I am a better person for having known her. Those of us who did know her understand exactly what I mean.
RIP my friend.
Raffi Derderian

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:36 pm 
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Posts: 84
Location: Central Kentucky
This is a response to one of my very first posts on the forum.
Quote:
If you cannot find Uechi right away, one option you may want to consider is to sign up for George Mattson's virtual dojo. It is designed for this very purpose and George is great!

I hope things work out for you and your Uechi.

Regards,
Vicki

PS If you are ever in the Richmond area, please look up Bill Glasheen's dojo and come work out. You can stay in my guest room.

I remember thinking what a kind, warm, and supporting individual she must be! I wish I had gotten to know her. I'm very sorry for the loss that Bill, and everyone else who had the good fortune to know her must be feeling now.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:46 pm 
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How do you know the difference between indigestion and pancreatic cancer in a stoic person? It's not like they didn't try... But if you had to do an MRI on every person walking into a doctor's office who had stomach pain, our health care system would quickly go bankrupt.


What I thought Bill. In my work as a professional claims rep/special investigator/general adjuster_ I have handled quite a few medical malpractice law suits...and what I have seen in doctors and health carriers 'holding hands' in horrible medical decisions was enough to make you want to puke.

A decent doctor would have ordered such tests that could probably have saved her life, after long term non stop pain complaints involving the stomach.

It makes me furious :evil:

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 Post subject: Web MD
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:50 pm 
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Quote:
Pancreatic Cancer: Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Because pancreatic cancer grows around important areas of the digestive system, gastrointestinal symptoms often predominate:

Abdominal pain. More than 80% of people with pancreatic cancer eventually experience some abdominal pain as the tumor grows. Pancreatic cancer can cause a dull ache in the upper belly and back pain.

The pain may come and go.

Bloating. Some people with pancreatic cancer have a sense of early fullness with meals (satiety) or an uncomfortable swelling in the abdomen.
Nausea
Diarrhea
Fat in the stool (steatorrhea). As pancreatic cancer reduces the pancreas' ability to secrete fat-digesting enzymes, more fat ends up in the stool. These fatty stools can be strange-smelling, and float more than normal.
Pale-colored stools.

If the duct draining bile into the intestine is blocked by pancreatic cancer, the stools may lose their brown color and become pale or clay-colored. Urine may become darker.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:22 pm 
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Location: Boston MA.
Goodbye, Vicki, may your journey be short and fulfilling!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:06 pm 
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My last long conversation with Vicki was back in late Spring, right after starting my new job. We met for breakfast at the Silver Dinner and as usual we had a great talk.
The very last thing we talked about before saying goodbye that day was about her favorite flower, the Iris. Each time I see an Iris I'll think of Vicki.

I grieve for the great loss of her family and friends, but I will also celebrate her life and the love of that life that she had.

I'll see you later Vicki, of that I'm sure.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:55 pm 
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Location: Massachusetts
She told me not to stop posting here, so I guess this is a fitting day not to stop. You could just tell by reading here that Vicki was a great person with an excellent sense of humor. I've already been missing her here on the forums for some time.

I knew what the diagnosis meant. Everybody dies, but I've been concerned about her pain since her diagnosis. Vicki seemed like the last person you'd want to endure that! And yet, I have been dreading the final solution, and hoping in silence that the narcotics would be enough to make her final days at least bittersweet.

Goodbye, Vicki.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:51 pm 
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:cry:

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