Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Gloom and Doom visit - or Comfort Care (you pick)

A few days ago, Tim asked me to be a guest writer on his blog, and so, after a visit with hospice and a social worker who assessed Tim's condition (terminal cancer), I bloged from his computer...

Sunday, December 23, 2007 6:35 PM CST

Hi everyone...this is Erin (Brockway) Collins writing for Tim and Beth today.

I was asked to come to the Fadel's home this afternoon while a social worker and hospice nurse visited and gave information regarding Hospice care. I took notes and so I thought I'd share them with everyone.

The first thing we all think when you hear the word "hospice" is death...unless you're a hospice nurse or someone who has dealt closely with the hospice system. But, who are we kidding? Death is the yucky connotation associated with it.

Well, they consider themselves "comfort care." A nurse visits 1-2 x weekly to give an assessment and distributed the needed medications. A nurse is also available 24 hours a day via telephone if there are questions or if an emergency arises.

The hospice 'team' is as follows: Social Worker for counseling needs for the family and patient, Chaplain, 2 doctors on call for home visits, and physical therapist for music therapy and massage (which is the only person that Tim and Beth feel excited about visiting the house), and someone to sit in and stay with the patient if the spouse needs to run errands or if she needs light housework done.

When is the best time to start hospice? Well, in Tim's case, it's odd, because he looks so good. (He loves that, by the way.) As you know from the previous entries, He had the episode of coughing up blood and someone telling him that he could die any a doctor laughing at that negative diagnosis and deciding to start an agressive round of radiation which should shrink the areas of concern; the tumors that bled during the coughing episode.

After Christmas, he begins radiation, 10 - 15 treatments in a row, minus weekends and holidays. This will give him a better quality of life. That's the focus right now.

As I sit here typing, Tim is banging out praise music on the keyboard with random drumbeats in the background. He's flipping pages and making a very long medley out of it. Singing. Not coughing. Not laboring. As the social worker and hospice nurse said today, he doesn't physically look like someone in need of immidiate care. He looks healthy.

However, they recommend coming in earlier rather than later, so the team can get to know the patient and family well. Most people hire hospice when the patient cannot express their needs. The minimum requirement of hospice, if Tim and Beth decide to go that route after the new year, is a nurse visit every 14 days. Tim and Beth would be in charge of everything. Meaning, a hospital gurney and IV pole would not be wheeled in on day one unless that is something they wanted. The decision for hospice care after the new year is not set in's a decision that Tim and Beth need time to prayfully think about.

None of us want a number hung over our estimation of the time we have left on earth. It constricts our hope. Last week it was "any day now," and another doctor proposed "1 - 2 years." Well, Tim could get hit by a car and be dead tomorrow. Any one of us could be.

We had a lot of information thrown our way today and are still reeling from it. Could it be true that someone thinks hospice is necessary right now? Is he dying? From what I am dealing with at this moment...the noise level very loud and Tim singing even louder than the keyboard he's pounding, he is very much alive!

The focus is family and the holidays and the kids and praising God for the ways He has intervened. Let's look toward praying and being specific in the ways we can help Tim and Beth. Merry Christmas everyone!

Thanks for reading...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fresh Faith

We had a neat service at church today. By church, I'm referring to Fresh Faith in Portland. I usually only attend when my daddy is preaching there, and then try to attend New Heights in Vancouver with Chris on the off weeks. This week, however, Jeffy (my brother) and Andy, (my second cousin/adopted brother) read scripture before the congregation and lit candles for advent. Then, Andy played Jingle Bells on his Cello and I didn't want to miss that.

Sadly, two days ago, a member of Fresh Faith, Felix, passed away. He was about 80 years old and had been on dialysis and had just undergone an operation to remove a baseball-sized tumor. He didn't last through recovery. But as Peter announced, he has received his reward.

Everyone made sure to hug John, Felix's son, and his wife Jody...and Felix also has 2granddaughters who attend Fresh Faith. We hugged and cried and came alongside each other for comfort. Felix was loved by everyone. He was a sweet old man who sometimes fell asleep during the sermon while leaning forward on his cane. He had a wry sense of humor and a big heart.

Fresh Faith is a small church of about 40. Offerings barely support our senior pastor, Peter Warner, who has been my mentor since I was 13 years old. (He officiated out wedding in 1998.) Every couple months or so, a new face appears and we grow in size a bit, but mainly, it's just our tight knit group. This is especially wonderful when someone passes, or if there is a tragedy in someones life. We love each other and we cry together and it's just what we do.

2 years ago, when Laurie began chemo, Fresh Faith put a basket at the front of the church for people to fill with food, toiletries and even gift cards for Laurie and her kids while she was out of work. Laurie didn't attend the church and only my parents, who attended, knew her. They didn't care. There was a need.

When our friend Amy Brown was ill with colorectal cancer, she visited Fresh Faith, where Peter and my Dad, along with others, laid hands on her, anointing her with oil as the Bible teaches and prayed over her with the congregation. No one knew her, they just felt the need and acted upon it.

All of this to say, I love this group of people and today was another reminder of how wonderful it is to gather with people who have a love for God. We might not have the numbers or the income, but we definitely have shown that we can be Christ's hands and feet to others. For this, I am so thankful.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Santa Baby

In an attempts to keep the Santa Claus dream alive for my daughter this year, I have purchased a roll of shiny gold wrapping paper, green shiny bows and green and gold foil tags that resemble nothing that I currently have in my gift wrapping station. So, the 5 gifts and the stocking gifts that appear on Christmas morning will be wrapped in gold and will obviously be from Santa. Like it or what?

Then, as I did last year, when she leaves a note for Santa with the cookies and carrots, (for the reindeer of course), the return letter has to be in Santa's writing. I write it on special paper that's decorated with swirls and glitter, and my (his) handwriting is curly...when she got his letter last year, she said, "I KNOW it's from Santa because of the fancy writing!"

With her cousins and school kids talking about him not being real, I just want to stretch it out a bit longer. When she questions it, I say, "Well, you believe in Santa. It's too bad some kids don't." And that satisfies her for now.

I like the magic of it all. It takes me back to when I was a little kid and truly believed. Of course my parents, (my dad being a Baptist preacher my whole childhood), mostly focused on Jesus and that because of Him, we celebrate Christmas -and we do that also, so don't get up on me for being a Santa freak.

I just want to keep the vicious lies alive in my daughter's heart as long as I can. ;)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree...Quiz


For you, the holidays represent a time of calm, understanding, and peace.
You avoid family fights, and you don't get too stressed out - even when things are crazy!

You like to make Christmas about making everyone's life a little bit better.
You don't get caught up in greed or commercialism. You're too sincere for that.

Your blue tree would look great with: Lots of silver tinsel

You should spend Christmas Eve watching: It's a Wonderful Life

What you should bake for Santa: Chocolate chip cookies

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I caught a bad cold...wicked bad, in Laurie's words...because she had it, then Chris had it (and is nearing the end of it) and now I have it.

I didn't sleep hardly at all last night between sneezing, coughing and going pee constantly (baby) but had promised Flannery that we'd go to "Hot Chocolate Church" aka Fresh Faith Sunday morning.

My alarm went off at 8:30 and Chris said, "Nope. Lay back down." He is so sweet. I felt like complete crap, but knew that if I didn't take her, she would be so ticked off at me for the rest of the day. Really, she just wants to see Grandpa Jeff and Grandma Janie and have that cup of hot chocolate...and the French Toast Sticks they bring her if she's coming...but I couldn't let her down. I got up.

I sneezed through my dad's sermon and blew my nose 100 times. I felt hot and then cold and wanted it to be over. When I got home, I made lunch, and fell asleep in my bed to the sound of football announcers. Two and a half hours later, I awoke, drank some water, used the bathroom and fell back asleep until 7:30 tonight. I then got up, made Flannery a late dinner, made dinner for myself and here I am, blogging, hoping that the tired thing will hit me again soon.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Back Stage Originals

We're on Etsy!!!

Back Stage Originals is Trish's die cut dream come to life. Becky Morris and I have come alongside her as co-designers, but who are we's her baby. And, since I've been prego, I've done little that merits any credit at all...I might have chalked an item or two, but this pregnancy thing zapped the creativity out of me up until a couple weeks ago!

Becky has been vigilant in helping complete sets, keeping inventory at A Joy Forever scrapbook stores in Milwaukie and Gresham, as we have a rack of the handmade beauties for sale at each store. (Sorry about the run-on sentence.)

The design team also includes Donna, Trish's mom...Jenny and Jessica, Trish's ultra creative daughters...and Crystal, a crafty dynamo, who never scrapbooked a day in her life, but makes cards, boxes and other paper crafts better than anyone I know. Meet everyone at

Anyway, I am so proud to be a part of this and hope you'll take a peek!

Friday, December 7, 2007


I got some old pictures from an old friend today. Xeandra, better known as Xea (Zee-Uh), is a photographer and had a bunch of old pics from the Sappo days. Sappo is a band that Todd and Tim Fadel fronted about 13 years ago, and I was lucky enough to see play many times at various venues and even got to sing with twice.
Todd and Tim Fadel

Anyway, figured it might be neat to make a Sappo memory book for Tim and Todd.
I'll add that to the vast list of things I want to create.

Me, singing BGVs - What is up with my hair?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Party Pictures

Who likes a little cracker with their cheeseball? Tim does!

Kissa and Bryan. Bryan always hides from the camera.

Kristen Burns and Kelli Schaffer

Joshua getting himself some cheeseball.

Kelli can make her chin disappear. Truly amazing.

Aecea Everett & Kimberly Griffith...amazement at the snowglobe white elephant gift.

Melissa and her coffee.

Kristen's white elephant steal was a picture that Chris scored at Goodwill.

"Nana...age 74 in 1984" reads the inscription on the back.

Eva, age 7, and her daddy, Tim Fadel

The stunning Beth Fadel.

My childhood buddy, Christie "Kwistie" Sims

Christie's husband and drummer for Gifty (back in the day), Ben

Casey and Laurie

Ben and Kori Jamison

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Xmas Party

We had our annual Christmas party last night and it was the perfect amount of people (21 with 7 children frolicking upstairs), the perfect group of personalities intermingling, and the best conversation I have had in a very long time.

I was most excited that Tim and Beth came. Tim looks great. Seriously. His demeanor and personality and everything is all Tim. Nothing is different from the outside. Maybe that's the hardest part of all of this. He doesn't look like the typical cancer victim. Maybe that's because he refuses to be a "victim." He's living life and wants to keep active and doing everything he has been doing because that's who he is. He makes cancer jokes (which I love to be a part of, since I haven't been able to joke about cancer since Laurie was afflicted) and he even goes as far as to make the death jokes too. It's great, it's akward and refreshing all at the same time. I love it.

Beth is a pillar of strength. Not because she's hard and stoic about the whole thing. She's an internal mess that tells the truth about it all..the pain, the struggle of losing the man she loves, the difficulty of resting in the arms of God, etc. She's amazing. I can't put it any other way. I adore her.

I will have party pics in my next post...and I am feeling better, by the way, since a great visit with Tim and Beth last night. I'm not so...emotional and weird.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


I'm having trouble breathing, so I thought I should blog it all out.

I hope this doesn't betray the friend to friend blog agreement, but I must repost his on mine, so you get what's happening. This is from Tim's blog...

Saturday, December 1, 2007 0:24 AM CST

I got tired of dealing with night after night of waking up in pain. I (with the strong encouragement of my amazing wife) decided to go get myself checked out. After all I don't think jet lag lasts for 2 weeks usually.

My symptoms were strange, like getting very winded after walking stairs or lots of aches in my chest. More pain than normal. After all my life has been full of pain but this seemed to be more.

We got to the hospital yesterday and I took some blood tests. I think I did well on them and only had to guess on some of the questions. They said it looked fine but my symptoms could be pointing to a blood clot in my lung. That is somewhat common in lung cancers. They said instead of waiting until Dec to do my scans that I should do them now.

So yesterday around 3PM I got a CT scan with contrast injected in to me and yes (for those that remember) I did throw up in the room. It was not fun but over quick. Kind of thrilling too. Not so much like skydiving but a good way to make you feel alive. If you don't believe me just think about it next time you throw up. Anyway.... they said if it was a clot they would call me back to the hospital right away and put me on blood thinners otherwise they would call me tomorrow with an update.

Tomorrow was this morning, if that makes sense. I didn't get a call so I called them. They said they would call back and they did. They said I did not have a clot but my scans were not good. It showed that from the dozens of tumors my September tests had, there was now a large number more. Like not able to be counted or numbered. They said it seemed to be going faster then they had originally thought. The doctor wants me to come in next Tuesday to talk about any remaining medical options and to consider starting Hospice care.

I thought that was incredible. I said that is really sad and hard to hear considering I was just walking 4 miles a day in Disney World a couple weeks ago. The nurse said she agreed since she just saw me yesterday and she thought I looked healthy. (She might have said I looked hot but I forget the details).

Any way now today is finally ending and we have told our children, family, and as many friends we could pass along the story to. That is what is good about this site. I can stop rehashing the last two days and just let people catch up. I hope you know I love you all and will let you know more info when I get it. I just got home from playing bass guitar at church and I had an amazing time.

Good Night, Tim

So...I am sad, overwhelmed, anxious and bordering on depressed. Not that if this happened in 9 months from now I wouldn't feel the same way. I just thought we all had more time. Plus, it's weird. I realize every cancer case is different. I just think back to Amy and she was sick all the time and super ill for 10 months, where we didn't know if she'd live one day to the next at times. Tim just jumped out of a friggin airplane, went to Disney World and the Caribbean and an Alaskan Cruise, and we made plans to go to the beach with their family too, and now...I just have a lump in my throat that won't subside. I ache.

Well, I have laundry to do and a few final touches before our annual Christmas party tonight. Tim, Beth and the kids will be there and I'm looking forward to being with them. I'llbe taking a ton of pictures.