The following contains excerpts from a 'Blog' that Hutch and his family published during his illness and immediately after his death.
Today. though our hearts are heavy without Hutch by our side, we give thanks for the love and support we have received from all of you during the past 18 months. Each of us, especially Hutch, gained strength and comfort from the many comments, stories and words you shared with him through this blog. When Hutch originally started the blog, it was meant to be a journal which he would keep throughout his journey. It turned out to be much more than that.....it became a major positive force in his fight. It lifted him up in some of his more difficult times, it made him laugh and it reminded him of the many friends and family that loved him. What a wonderful gift it was for him. Thanks to you for giving him that gift. On Monday night before Hutch drifted into his peaceful sleep, he asked me to read from the blog and other emails he had received. He loved it and listened for a very long time. It warmed my heart to see him enjoying the love, humor and encouragement from all of you.
The children and I now begin a new journey of our own. We ask that you keep us in your prayers as we find our way. We will continue to draw on the love and support of our wonderful communities of family and friends. Please know how much we appreciate each and every kindness that comes our way.
We hope you'll be able to join us for the celebrations of Hutch's life next week. I know he would love for you to be there. Children are welcome to attend either ceremony. On Wednesday evening, children (and adults) are welcome to bring a note, a picture, a poem for Hutch. These will be placed on his closed casket and go with him to his final rest. Thursday afternoon we will gather at Stanford for a Memorial mass at the Stanford Memorial Church. A traditional Irish wake is being planned for Thursday evening and details will be posted here as soon as they are final.
Hutch always found the positive at every turn in his life and the children and I will learn to find the positives in this, too. We love him so and we thank you for being part of his life.
I am Hutch's brother Mark (aka Hutch) and was asked to send this message after last nights activity. Myself, Mary, Jackie, Emily, Gavin, JoJo, brother Barry, Nancy and Grandma Jackie, spent most of the night at Bob's bedside. He was more alert yesterday than we had seen in a while. We held his hands, prayed over him, and read him entries from this blog and other e-mails. He thoroughly enjoyed this blog and hearing all of the positive uplifting entries. He never napped, or closed his eyes all day. When his breathing became difficult, we propped him up and turned up the oxygen. We kept him comfortable with the help of Karen from Hospice and an assortment of pain relievers and anxiety medications. He was so alert that he took a couple of phone calls, did some pull-ups on the bar, raised his arms in a manner similar to "Touchdown Jesus", and even started clapping for us to show his appreciation. When his speech became slurred, we devised a "Thumbs Up" or "Thumbs Down" communication method. Bob started responding with a double "Thumbs Up" when asked about how he was feeling. We knew he would be leaving us soon, but couldn't keep our own selves awake long enough. We couldn't keep up with him, his eyes stayed open and all of us went to sleep. Only then, around 2:00am when our host thought the party was over, did he retire from this life in his own peaceful and quiet time.
We all went to a church service this morning and afterwards TGIF's for lunch. The waiter wanted to know why the kids weren't in school today so we told him: "We were celebrating their father's graduation from U of E". He was either very confused or understood that we were talking about the University of Earth but he had no more questions.
Mary and the family would like to thank everyone who shared their supportive comments, stories and love to help them through these tough times.
We are working on the planning of the funeral service arrangements and will place a new blog with that information as soon as it can be confirmed.
When Hutch asked that I take over blogging for a while, he gave me a simple set of rules: Be Positive, Be Factual and be Funny. Right now, I can only be two of the three. The facts are that Hutch’s health is failing quickly. On the positive side, he is at home with his family and is comfortable. His mother and brothers, Mark and Barry, are with him in addition to Mary. His brother and sister, Tim and Kerry, were with him last week and took this beautiful picture with their older brother.
Hutch has extraordinary faith and believes in mind over body. And we all know that if anyone can pull off a miracle, it is Hutch. Please say a prayer and offer a blessing for a most wonderful guy and his entire family.
You ARE a Champion Hutch!!
I've had several requests for a blog update. I apologize for the delay. All I can say is "pain and fatigue", "pain and fatigue", "pain and fatigue".
Mary and I have been spending most of the past three weeks trying to balance my pain medications with my ability to function after taking them. I've learned one lucky and blessed lesson. DON'T DRIVE WHILE ON PAIN MEDICATIONS!!. Last Saturday Mary and I left the house to run some errands. Mary in the front car, I was following in the back car. As we were driving, I was hit with a bout of dizziness. Scariest thing in my life. I felt like I had no control of the car. I thought that I was steering left and the car was going right. I eventually side-swiped a parked car, that stopped my car. My daughter Emily was in the car with me and was as scared as I was. Mary was watching all of this in the rearview mirror and pulled over as soon as she saw we had stopped. Fortunately some good friends, the Bests were driving by at the time and were able to pull over and help us get help and call the police. Ilyssa, thanks for your loving help and support --- I was a mess. I turned my keys into Mary and she and Ilyssa figured out how to get the cars back to the house and dad back into bed. We were very fortunate that nobody was hurt and for that we are thankful.
Mary and I have had some interesting meetings over the past couple of weeks with the folks at the Stanford Cancer Pain Management center. We are trying to find a way to manage my pain without medicating so heavily that I am knocked out completely. My pain levels are also beginning to interfere with my ability to sustain a healthy eating regimen.....this is not a good thing when you're in middle of the fight. I need to keep my weight up and there haven't been many times in my life when I've had to worry about that....in fact, can't seem to think of any. There is a procedure that we're considering called Celiac plexus Block. Evidently, the Celiac plexus is the group of nerves surrounding the area of my liver tumors and can be treated in such a way to deaden the impact of the pain. I sure hope so. I've been pretty miserable over the past few weeks. We're not sure yet what the side effects will be of this procedure, we will find out this week.
Tomorrow, Mary and I are at Stanford most of the day to begin the next round of Taxol. Thursday we're back for the first phase of the Celiac plexus Block.
Luckily, during this -- my mom, Jo Jo, has been out here and it has been great having her around --- Not to mention that she is much better driver than I am.
We would also like to thank our many friends who have pitched in to help with chores, dinners and many other acts of kindness. Special thanks to the soccer and softball families as well as Mary's mom and sister, Nancy.
I'll check back in a couple weeks and bring everyone up to date on my latest progress. Thanks again for all your prayers and well wishes....it is particularly helpful and comforting right now. Love to you and all your families.