2-26 Home, and Hospice Care February 27, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilyltripp @ 5:12 pm
Tags: , ,

Yesterday we brought Cynthia home. She has been getting weaker and more confused every day at the hospital, so we have decided along with her doctors that the best place for her to be is resting in her own bed. We had planned to make that move sometime this weekend, but her condition is such that being at the rehab facility no longer makes sense. Last night a nurse from Alive Hospice came to our house, and we set up a plan with them to receive care and to make her as comfortable as possible going forward.

The diminishment of her health in the past 6 weeks has been drastic. Most of the time, she does not remember her own name. She is unable to stand or move without assistance. She cannot recall from one second to the next what is happening, and always feels like there is a step that has somehow been missed. (We feel that way too.) Every once in a while, generally in the morning, she has a good spell. This morning–after babbling in her sleep through most of the night–she woke at 7 and looked at me and said, “My name is Cynthia.” She does not have any recollection of yesterday, which is a blessing. We ate yogurt and strawberries and English muffins, and laughed with Abigail when she came in to wake up Gamma. No matter what, that sweet girl is always able to bring a smile to her face. After lunch, things took a turn–the past few hours have been more like yesterday was–and now we know that this will probably continue. Good moments will be peppered into each day, we hope, and we will treasure each one.

We are going to try to get through the weekend (to see how to schedule each day), but once we have a handle on that we will be welcoming visitors. As always, text me if you would like to set up some time to sit with her. Some of you have asked if we are receiving food right now, and we are–a dear friend set up a schedule HERE. The last name is Tripp, and the password is 1234. Please take note of the dietary restrictions–she is still on a diabetic diet, so heavy pasta dishes and super sweet desserts are not something she can enjoy right now.

I know without a doubt that my mother is deeply loved by so many of you, and our family has felt that love and support throughout every step of this. We ask that you pray now for peace–for her to feel safe within her mind. She has said many times in the past few days that she is not afraid, and that is truly the thing we are holding on to.



2-22 Pulling back the curtain (from Emily) February 22, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilyltripp @ 1:27 pm

It’s hard to know how to start this. My mom asked me yesterday to pull the curtain back for all of you, reveal the reality of our situation. Since all of this started three years ago, she has been so transparent on here about the difficulties she is facing–the setbacks, her fears, the ways she copes. But when, on January 14th, we found out that the cancer had spread into her brain, our first reaction was to circle the wagons. This has always been her greatest fear. While her body has been ravaged by both the illness and the treatment for it in the last three years, her mind has been a safe space, free of disease, able to allow her to continue with her work, go on with her life as usual. She is a warrior, and physical pain is not unfamiliar to her. But this was something different. We pulled in close, and I was intentionally vague in my first post to you all at the end of January.

This week we asked for no visitors, because while the physical aspect of rehab is difficult, it’s the mental, the emotional, that is far more challenging. But she asked me yesterday to let down the barrier, to show the truth to you all, because we do want you to come visit. But you need to know that when you do, this is different than it ever has been before. This is the hardest thing she has dealt with, as someone who is no stranger to dealing with hard things. Many have commented in the past few years that she hasn’t ever really looked sick–that is no longer true. The pictures I posted earlier this week were taken at the beginning of her steroid boost, which lasted a few days and has now faded.

It’s terrifying to face this. There’s more to say in that regard, but I struggle to find the words to do so. Sometimes the fear and grief is overwhelming, for all of us. Some moments are better than others for her, and those are so, so precious.

The weekends are slow at Southern Hills, and are a good time to visit. Her therapy each day is intense, but generally over around 4. Please, as I requested before, text or call me before you come up. For now we will try to keep visits brief, to conserve her energy.



2-19 Post-blizzard update (from Emily) February 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilyltripp @ 3:46 pm

Today is day 3 of Cynthia’s rehab schedule, and the first day that I’ve been able to be with her throughout each session. (Our hill at home turned into a solid sheet of ice on Sunday night, so it wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon that James was able to safely get the car down the drive.)

The team here at Southern Hills is allowing me to get involved with her therapy, and let me tell you–it is no picnic. Each moment is challenging, but she is determined as ever. I’ve gotten questions about how long this will take? and, when will she be home? Right now we are not on any kind of time frame at all. Each moment dictates the next. While we are eagerly anticipating bringing her home, it is incredibly important to not rush, to be very deliberate with each step of this process.

For the time being we are going to put a hold on visitors, just until we get the rhythm of each day worked out.

We thank you so much for your encouragement, and for your stories! I’ve loved hearing them more than you can know; keep them coming! Here are a few photos from this weekend of Cynthia with me, Sarah James, and Abigail, and another of Cynthia and her Aunt (who is really more like a sister) Ilona, who came to visit from New Orleans for the week.


IMG_5548 IMG_5564


Friday the 13th Update – Improvement, and a location change (from Emily) February 13, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilyltripp @ 9:54 pm

Much has changed in the past few days! On Tuesday morning, after being admitted to Centennial hospital, we spent most of the day running tests and doing scans and then waiting for the results of those tests and scans. Wednesday bought the first glimmer of hope, as Cynthia was more alert, more like herself than she has been in weeks after being on a boosted dose of steroids for the night. The results of the MRI came in and showed no new growth in the existing lesions in her brain, which is fantastic news! What that told the doctors is that the decline we have seen in her since the end of her radiation is not being caused by the cancer continuing to spread, but rather by other factors. The MRI also showed severe swelling in her brain, which is now being controlled by increasing her steroids. The increased steroids have caused increased blood sugar, which means she is also taking insulin injections with every meal. They are treating this as a sort of temporary diabetes, and we have been assured that her blood sugar will return to normal after she is tapered off of the steroids.

The turnaround in her cognition, mood, and physical strength has been varied, but overall positive since Monday. We were blessed this past week that many of her caretakers happened to have personal connections to our family that were both surprising and so, so welcome. She was well taken care of by a staff with a true heart for service. This afternoon, we were transferred to TriStar Southern Hills Rehab Facility (and greeted so warmly by the staff here as well) to begin the process of returning her to herself – independent and capable. It will still be a few more weeks before we can know the effect that the radiation has had on the tumors, but for now we are counting this as progress.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and also 3 years since Cynthia first noticed a lump on her throat, which led to the path we have been on since. We are struggling with the cumulation of these years, and where we are now, but looking forward each day. Tonight as we were being admitted, one of the questions asked was “What is your goal?” Her response was that she knows that she may not be able to return to things exactly as they were before, but she just wants to get back to herself. (Which is all that any of us can ask for, I think.)

Starting on Monday, visitors will be welcome in the afternoons and early evening, but please check with me before stopping by to make sure that she has finished her therapy for the day and has had an ample amount of time to rest. (They discourage visitors during therapy time, as they need to be focused completely on her.) She will be working hard to make progress and get home as soon as possible, so her days will be filled with activities to that end.

In the meantime, does anyone know of any yummy diabetic-friendly cake recipes? I know a lady who deserves something delicious with a candle on top for her birthday in 2 weeks…



Share your Cindy Tripp stories! February 11, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilyltripp @ 4:57 pm


Sarah James and I are putting something together for Cynthia’s birthday on March 4. If you have any funny/strange/sweet Cindy Tripp stories, we’d love to hear them–particularly the things we have never heard before. In addition, pictures would be great, if you have them! We want to create a book that evokes great memories for Mom, not so much a “get well” book.

Please feel free to share this request with anyone you think might like to contribute. You can send them to with the subject line CT STORIES.

Thank you all so much,