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2005-2011

 

Amber Lee Rocha

June 26, 1990 - April 26, 2011

 

 

In May 2010 our daughter, Amber Lee Rocha, noticed a bump on the side of her neck that looked really awkward. She contacted me in Europe so I called back to the states to find out what was going on. She told me that this bump was not looking normal and that it hurt for her to turn her head and felt tired. I told her to go to the doctor immediately and to have it checked out. Our daughter had joined the Air Force in Oct 2009 and was stationed at Lackland AFB, Texas during this time. Well she went to the doctor and after examining her neck and the symptoms she was having, they assumed it was Mononucleosis (Mono/the kissing disease). She was told that there wasn’t much they could do or give her to cure this that it was up to her body to make it go away on its own. Well time is passing and still, she wasn’t feeling any better. In fact she was getting worse. She started feeling very tired, blurry vision, light headed, dizzy, and the bump on her neck was getting larger. She went back to the doctor to see if they could examine her again. They decided to give her a shot of steroids to see if the swelling would go down and some pain medication for her headaches and pain in her neck; still nothing. Once again my daughter goes back to the doctor because she now has all the symptoms as stated plus nasal stuffiness and a cough that the doctors thought she had allergies because my older daughter and I have them. She was given medication for that. As time is still passing, were now in July 2010. During this whole time her doctor had her on convalescent leave because of all the medication and illness she was having. Once her leave had expired she returned to work and her supervisor noticed that she was not looking good and the bump never went away. She was scheduled for an appointment to see her doctor that same day. After seeing all that had been done and still no change for the better she was then ordered to go to the emergency room and to check in there to being seen; this was a Friday (30 Jul 2010). She was admitted into the hospital to do a biopsy on her neck and nasal passage. She was released the next day and was told that the results would take a few days. Well by that following Tuesday she was called by her doctor and was informed to come into to speak with him. At this time she was informed that she was diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer. When we was told of this, I was totally lost and in Europe asking myself, “HOW?” (We are military as well so we had to submit a compassionate reassignment to SA, TX) She started Chemo treatment right away (that Friday) and it lasted up until about Oct/Nov time frame. Treatment was stopped because they thought it was all gone according to test and X-rays (We were with her, finally). About a month past and she started having fevers, cold/hot flashes, tired, dizzy and the bump on her neck came back. We called her doctor right away to inform him and he had us come in to see him. The cancer came back. At this time, the worst came to mind. “Not my baby girl.” Well we went on with starting treatment again, but a stronger one. She had to go through 4 appointments for this treatment and during the last one she would be hospitalized because her immune system would be gone. This is where it starts to get worse. It’s bad enough that we had to see her go through all these treatments and seeing the sickness and crying from the pain. All we could do was comfort her and give her strength and walk with her every step of the way. “We will get through this Amber, you’re my brown girl.” She would just smile and say, “Ok.” Well right before her last treatment, they pulled some of her bone marrow so that it could be returned into her system so it could start reproducing cells. All this was done and once they returned it they said she was ok to go home and to come back on a daily basis for her checkups, tests, and so forth to be done. Well she was released from the hospital on 25 Feb 2011, but we returned every morning at 0700 for her daily checkups. By 28 Feb 2011 she had a small cough and a slight runny nose. During her check up the doctor asked how she was feeling. She would always say ok, but MOM would always jump in afterwards with what I noticed. I told the doctor of what I noticed so they decided that she could not go home. They swabbed some fluid from her nose and the results from that were that she had the flu. So they watched her closely for any infections. By that Friday, March 4, 2011, she was having trouble breathing. They rushed her down from the Bone Marrow Ward to the ICU and inserted a breathing tube into her mouth. They noticed fluid in her lungs and diagnosed it to be pneumonia. (During this WHOLE time; we are stressing, crying, praying, and asking every question possible) Doctors said that this normally happens to cancer patients and it would be ok, that she’s young and strong, she just needs a little help with breathing for now. By March 10, 2011 the tube was removed and she was a bit coherent due to medications. She was quick to try and speak and asked for a Big Red soda. I laughed and said, “Yeap she’s ok, she’s back” We sat in her room talking to her and smiling thinking everything is ok now. She was even dreaming that she was driving in a fast car and she was looking for the brakes (her foot was wiggling in her sleep and she woke up). Well visiting hours were over at 2100 so we told her we would be back in the morning to spend the day with her as we had been. Who would have known that that would be the last time I would hear her voice. I kissed her goodnight and said, “I love you mama” she said, “I love you too” with a smile. I walked out and went home. Friday morning I walked into her room to find the tube back in. She started having trouble breathing again so I started asking more questions. The doctor said he couldn’t really say what was going on. It was hard to tell from x-rays. It was either pneumonia, inflammation in the lungs, or ARDS. From this day on up until 26 April 2011, as we all know it to be, the “Roller Coaster” mode kicked in. ARDS!!! We were told 4 times that she was not going survive. We spent every night in the hospital, talking to her, praying with her/for her, reading to her, trying to show her pictures WHEN she would open her eyes. She was so heavily sedated (self induced coma), even paralyzed at one time for 3 days, so we really didn’t know if she could hear us or recognize us when she saw us. Her lungs collapsed 3 times and she had 3 chest tubes (right lung twice/left lung once). Her kidneys were starting to have problems to her liver enlarging. Her stomach started to bleed to where they had to stop the feeding tube. They could not perform a trach (tracheostomy) because her oxygen level was at its max and she was even on Nitric Oxide. She started to have blood in her urine and her heart was 3 times larger than a normal heart. She was on soooo many medications, versed, propofol, all these antibiotics, meds for ulcers, steroids to help the lungs heal. All these medications would help one thing, but hurt or cause side effects for another. The doctor said they were working with a double dagger. They asked us to call the priest for her last rights. At one time one of the doctors even asked us to turn off the ventilator. NO!!! We all kept praying and hoping for a miracle because our big chance of her “Being Ok” went to a VERY, VERY, slim chance to none in surviving ARDS. On 24 April 2011, on Easter, the doctor asked us not to leave anywhere because he did not think she would make it through the night. Well Monday morning he noticed in the x-ray that her heart seemed a bit smaller than before. I was like, “yes, she’s turning back around, she’s going to start getting better.” Well that night or early morning of 26 April 2011, Ambers blood pressure starting dropping, her heart rate started slowing down, her oxygen dropped into the mid 20s. We were at her bedside, holding her hand, in shock that our baby girl was leaving us at that moment. I looked at her and rubbed her forehead to notice no reaction, I knew then and felt that she was gone (She was walking with our Savior into heaven). I looked up with my eyes full of tears to look at the doctor, he looked up at me and said, “her heart has stopped, I’m sorry for your loss.” Our quiet little girl has been called on to come home, Heaven. She was/is a very talented young lady. She loved to draw, read, and listen to music. She has 2 cats, which we have now and were named, by her, Ninja and Gunner. She was a Pharmacy Tech in the Air Force. We are very proud of her. We will miss you dearly, Love Mom, Dad, only sister, Amy, and niece Amylia. We all are having a very difficult time with understanding all that has happened. We only have/had 2 daughters so we are struggling to face the fact that our youngest is no longer here physically. She will ALWAYS be in our hearts, mind, and Soul. She has touched many lives in this very short time with her smile, quietness, love. (Until we meet again, fly high my Angel)    

 

Evangelina Villela-Rocha
vangier@hotmail.com

 

 

Daniel T. Chegar

1951-2011

 

 

On May 2nd, 2011, my father was advised to go to the ER after unsuccessfully battling what was thought to be bronchitis since January 2011. Little did we know, this would, in fact, be the last day that he would actually walk on this earth.

Once in the ER, he was admitted quickly after it was determined that he had pneumonia. He remained in a regular room for three days, eating, talking and maintaining a seemingly normal daily life. On Thursday, May 5th, he began complaining of complications with breathing and agreed to have a breathing tube placed and then was admitted to the ICU.

In the days that followed, he was diagnosed with sepsis, kidney failure and eventually ARDS. He was heavily sedated with Propofol and chemically paralyzed. This was in hopes that his body would relax and the vent could provide his lungs time to heal. They began daily treatments of dialysis to help with the kidney failure. During the next two weeks, there were many ups and downs, several positives and negatives - the ever popular "roller-coaster" effect of this horrible syndrome. His oxygen levels varied along with his BP and heart rate, although his heart remained strong to the end.

His last day that he wasn't completely sedated was Saturday, May 7th and I am truly happy to have had to see his eyes sparkling and to hold his hand. I showed him pictures of his beautiful grandchildren and told him how much I loved him. Because of the tube, he wasn't able to communicate and when handed a pen, he wasn't able to clearly write what he really wanted to say...later, from the nurses, we found that he was asking "What happened?". We didn't know that this would be the last day that he would spend awake.

Throughout the next several days, things never improved, but they never worsened, either - again giving us hope. His chest X-Rays were always the same and unfortunately, the powerful antibiotics had no effect.

On Friday, May 20th, 2011, my mother had no choice but to agree to have the trach placed as he could no longer remain on the breathing tube. Although a somewhat successful surgery, they did warn us that his ARDS was extremely severe.

My mother and I took great pleasure in being able to see his handsome face again, though. With the tubes removed, he looked very peaceful.

It was the morning of Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 that he took a turn for the worse. His BP and heart rate dropped dramatically and we were immediately called to the hospital. My mother and I arrived around 9:30am to find him stable. His doctor suggested that his best chance for survival was to be life flighted to The Cleveland Clinic - a fifteen minute helicopter flight for him and an hour drive for us. We immediately agreed and they contacted the Cleveland Flight team. They did advise us that it could be dangerous, but it was his only hope. The team arrived and they told us that we could begin our drive and meet him at the Clinic. While half-way there, we received a call from the doctor - they said they were unable to stabilize him enough for the flight and we needed to get back to the hospital. On our return drive, we received another call from the doctor - she said that his oxygen was extremely low and she wanted to know if we wanted resuscitation or to simply keep him comfortable until we arrived, Because he was a DNR, we chose for him to be as comfortable as possible.

At 1:20pm, we got back to the hospital just in time, His heart rate was down to 20-30%. We are so very grateful that my mother and I were able to spend his last few minutes with him and say goodbye as he journeyed into Heaven. .He passed away at 1:30pm on Sunday, May 22nd, 2011. He was only 60 years old and relatively healthy.

This terrible syndrome struck so fast and is extremely vicious. My mom and I are still struggling with the reality that daddy will never be home, but we take great comfort in knowing that he never suffered and traveled peacefully to Heaven.

 

 

Tricia Dell
tdell814@gmail.com

 

 

Abraham (Al) Rothstein, the World is a Poorer Place...

Lost on March 27, 2009

 

 

My dad, who was 82 years old at the time, was taken to the hospital by ambulance on March 2, 2009 after being found on the floor of his apartment. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and sepsis, and was doing fine for the first few days. He was on oxygen, and then on the March 12th, he was struggling to breathe, and he was intubated. One of the doctors said he had ARDS, but unfortunately, it seemed like none of the doctors knew much about it, and it was too late to have him transferred to a larger hospital to be treated since he was on a respirator. Shortly after that, his kidneys started to fail, and they started dialysis. A few days later, he wasn't absorbing the food from the feeding tube, and was bleeding from his GI tract. It seemed every day, he just got worse, and a new problem occurred daily. His poor body couldn't handle it, and he died on March 27th, 2009. .

We're having a difficult time accepting this, and there is a lot we don't understand, except that he's gone. I hope that someday there is some sort of test that can be given, and treatment for this horrible syndrome. Pictured with my dad is Vivian (Dolly), who was his wife. Sadly, Dolly passed away just six short weeks after my father. While we were sad to lose her so close to my father, we are so glad they are now together. He was survived by his 3 daughters, 2 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren who loved him and miss him everyday.

 

 

In Loving Memory of Lacey Jo Simmons

Lost on April 16, 2008

 

 

Lacey Jo turned 14 in February 2008. She was a beautiful, outgoing fun loving young lady. She loved riding her horse and any kind of sports. She played basketball, softball and ran track. Softball was her favorite. We were at a soccer match on a Friday and she started running a fever. I took her to the doctor on Tuesday because we thought she had mono. The test came back negative. The next morning she wanted me to take her to the ER so off we went. Lacey threw up for hours, but they could not find anything wrong. They took a chest x-ray but couldn't find anything. They kept us overnight and x-rayed her again the next morning. They rushed us off to St Francis in Tulsa. They had no idea what kind of pneumonia she had. We got to Tulsa on Thursday, March 6. They told us she Mycoplasma, part bacteria and part viral. Lacey stayed in the hospital ICU for 7 days; she was on oxygen, but she was talking and texting. I could tell she wasn't getting better, but I had no idea how bad she was getting. On Wednesday night, she was getting worse; her chest started to burn and they said her air sacks in her lungs had ruptured. The next morning they put her on an ECMO machine and thought after about two weeks she would be ok. After 14 days she started to bleed in her chest. They went in and tried to stop it , but it started up again the next day. We had to take her off the machine. No one thought she would make it without the machine but she did. It was a roller coaster ride. The doctors placed her on the oscillator thinking it would help. Lacey could not maintain high enough o2 sats without lots of oxygen. We would turn the oxygen down and she would do ok for a couple of days then she would go back down. We lost Lacey April 16, 2008 at the tender age of 14, but this young lady touch thousands of people during her 6 week battle with ARDS. She brought a town to their knees. There was not a sign or car in town that did not say "Pray 4 Lacey." They made Prayer Warrior t-shirts and had prayer meetings all for Lacey. I will never understand why the Lord chose to take my Lacey but I know she has a Crown of Gold.

Super girl's Mom
Leisa

leisajo@yahoo.com

 

 

In Loving Memory of Mark Gregory Ryan

September 18, 1974 – October 17, 2007

 

 

To the Family and Friends of Mark Ryan:


First I would like to thank all of you for your friendship, love and support during this most difficult year. It has meant the world to me. Mark would've turned 34 years old last Thursday, September 18th. I did a special little ceremony of my own at his brother, Aaron's grave site (Sudden Infant Death, 1973) at Oakwood Memorial Park, Chatsworth, California. It was Mark's wish to rest near his brother.


The family has found a beautiful resting place that Mark especially liked. It is at the foothills of the Santa Susanna Mountains and it overlooks the whole cemetery. It is located at the far northwestern part of Oakwood Memorial Park near his brother's final resting place in a section called Willows Heights.


Also as most of you may know, Mark was cremated and his ashes have been spread around the Island of Oahu in Hawaii and in the Rincon waters in Santa Barbara County. These were two of his favorite places. Mark was exceptionally talented at creating music and businesses. His vision was unique. He was also a avid Lakers Fan.


Mark got sick in February 2004 with sepsis and was in the ICU for seven weeks. He miraculously recovered against all odds but he also had RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) an incurable neurological disorder that has a pain level higher than cancer. Please visit www.rsds.org.


The family is having a fundraiser for a nice memorial marker in Marks honor. We are humbly asking for your help. Any donation will be appreciated. Our goal date is October 17th because that will be the one year anniversary of his death.


You may make a donation online by using Fundable.com, scroll down to the bottom of the page and type Mark Ryan in the search box or for your convenience click on the following link:


https://www.fundable.com/groupactions/groupaction.2008-09-24.4578584003/view?searchterm=mark%20ryan


Fundable.com is a trusted website tested by SafeShoppingNetwork.com, one of Mark's creations. If you feel uncomfortable doing this online you can use my home address and the amount will go directly into a special fund that we have started.


Please pass this letter to anyone you know that may be interested in helping with Mark's memorial marker. There are so many people out there that I do not have email or regular addresses for that were so gracious to me at Mark's memorial. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Thank You, Patty (Mark's Mom)


Patty Shennum - 5709 Calvin Ave. Tarzana, CA 91356 patty@safeshoppingnetwork.com

 

 

In Memory of Frances K. Powers

March 6, 1932 – November 8, 2007

Readington Township, NJ

 

Frances K. Powers, age 75 years, of Readington Township, NJ, died on Thursday, November 8, 2007 in the Hunterdon Medical Center, Raritan Township, NJ.

Born in Perth Amboy, NJ, March 6, 1932, daughter of the late Joseph and Frances Kosturski, she had resided in Readington Township, NJ since 1973, having formerly lived in Woodbridge, NJ.

Mrs. Powers was employed by Van Sycle Auto Agency, Perth Amboy, NJ for fifteen years and later by Perth Amboy National Bank. She was a Communicant of St. Magdalen Church, Flemington, NJ.

Surving are her husband, Robert P. Powers; a son, John R. Powers of Hillsborough, NJ; two daughters and sons-in-law, Lynn Powers and Matteo Giordano III of Hillsborough, NJ, and Lori Jane and Steven Pasternack of Hillsborough, NJ; a sister, Valerie Kosturski of Perth Amboy, NJ; and nine grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday at 10:00 a.m. in St. Magdalen Church, 105 Mine Street, Flemington, NJ. Entombment will follow in St. Magdalen Mausoleum, Flemington, NJ. Calling hours will be Sunday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home, 147 Main Street, Flemington, NJ. Please visit www.holcombefisher.com for further information or to send condolences.

 

Memorial contributions may be made in Frances Powers' name. Please send to:

ARDS

Support Center, Inc.

7172 Regional Street, #278

Dublin, CA  94568-2324

www.ards.org

 

 

In Memory of Chanda Elaine Wheeler

August 15, 1976 – April 18, 1997

Indianapolis, IN

 

Chanda was born on a foggy August morning, she passed on a cool April afternoon. After a 7 week fight, ARDS had finally taken over her body. Her body went thought so many changes during this time, it was almost hard to tell it was Chanda. In the end as you could tell time was near, the swelling in her face and body went away and she returned to the beautiful 20 year old she was before this dreaded disease. We all miss you Chanda. If I could tell you just two things that I know you would hear they would be: One, I love you dearly, and Two, you have two of the greatest sons ever born. You will always be a part of our lives.

Love, Dad
 

 

In Memory of Gerald Franklin Harris

 

Gerald was my brother and a champion. In May of 2005 he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was devastated at first, but quickly recovered to announce that he would 'beat cancer'. The surgeons removed two-thirds of his stomach and part of the esophagus and put it back together. He came to my house to get his chemo and endured that for four months and gained 30 pounds due to my constant food pushing. He acted like I was a pain, but he really knew I was obsessed with him surviving. He returned to Wichita Falls, Texas to get radiation. When he finished his prescribed treatments, the radiologist asked him to come back eight times for more. Jerry did and ultimately ruined what was left of his stomach. He began to lose a lot blood and actually had 30 units of blood over a six week period. I brought him back to Richardson, Texas with me and he was admitted. His only choice at this point was to remove the stomach completely, and he was now in serious condition from blood loss and aspirating blood and gastric juices into his lungs. He went into surgery on April 13th, and came out and went directly to the ICU where I heard my first ARDS diagnosis. He remained there for almost four weeks paralyzed and sedated. When they discontinued the drugs, my brother never responded with much more than an eye lash twitch and a tiny reaction to deep pain. They said he had slow brain activity. My response was that runs in the family�he will be fine and if we have to help him for the rest of his life, we will. Jerry began to lose his ability to keep his blood pressure up and we had a frightening night on the tenth of May. Jerry died in my arms on the eleventh of May with me still telling him how loved he was and how valuable he was to all of us. He left three children: Gerald Harris Jr., Christopher Harris and Meghan Harris, as well as a lot of people who miss him dearly, including me. I swore to make ARDS my own personal enemy that morning and after he is resting, the war will begin. Never have I seen such a dreadful syndrome as this take the lives and energy from the patient and the family. Jerry, we know wherever you are, you are enjoying a good joke and feeling safe knowing all of us you left love you greatly and always will.

Ellen Crockett