Sunday, January 23, 2011

My mother's Obituary

by Rae Indigo on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 1:29am

Shelley Leigh Rodfong, age 55, from Fountain Hill PA passed on quietly in her sleep at 3:45 AM, Jan. 18, 2011 at St. Luke's Hospital after an 8 month bout with tongue and throat cancer. Shelley had lived her life spontaneously, and passionately.

She enjoyed traveling, and adventure, having spent time in Florida keys, Rock Hall MD, Reno NV, and various places in Colorado and Wisconsin. She loved autumn leaves, stars, magazines and sitting by the beach. Painting and journaling were two of her favorite hobbies. She was a great vegetarian cook and made exceptional tuna melts.

Most of all she loved to laugh and make others laugh. Although she was terrified of spiders she remained inspired by the natural world especially the great outdoors. Shelley loved to sojourn at high places with beautiful vistas.

Born February 18th, 1955 at St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill, PA, to Truman Rodfong and JoAnne Deutsch Roth. She is survived by daughters Rachael Mae Straub and Sarah Anne Straub, half-sisters Laurie Rodfong and Tina Ramus and half-brother Daniel Rodfong. In lieu of flowers, donations to her memory can be made by contacting her daughter Sarah Straub.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shelley's final hours...

This is the last moment when Shelley rallied (Sunday evening), we laughed together, and spent some really nice time visiting. From then on she slept most of the time, moving in and out of wakefulness, but she never fully engaged again. Photos from Sunday, January 16.

I returned to the hospital Monday afternoon, a bit surprised that Mom had made it through the night. Monday evening I got ready to leave, but when I said good-bye and hugged her, Mom woke up and opened her eyes for a brief moment. I asked if she wanted me to stay and she nodded. So I did. The nurses brought in a cot for me and I dozed off for a few minutes at a time. At 3:45 I woke up, looked over, and went over to the bedside. I said "Mom ... Mom," and shook her lightly. It seemed like she still had a faint pulse in her neck but she'd stopped breathing and I knew she was gone. It hit me like a punch in the gut.

This morning I've been over to her apartment to gather a few things. I made arrangements for cremation, and tomorrow I'll return and gather the rest of her things and deal with the final remains. Today I'm going to spend some time at my dad's on the farm.

January 18, 2011

Shelley died peacefully this morning at 3:45 AM. Sarah was by her side throughout the evening and night. Greta and Guy joined her at the hospital at 4:30.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

From Sarah

Doctors say she might not make it through the weekend, but nobody knows for sure. Her blood pressure, hemoglobin has all dropped to unsafe levels and she is under 70 pounds. She is in the terminal stages of her Cancer. Sad story. She needs a happy ending.

Holding my mom in my heart. Love you mom ♥

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rachael and Sarah

Rachael in the blue gingham and Sarah in the lacey pink on August 8, 1988, at the wedding of
Shelley's father, Truman Rodfong, and Greta Browne (yours truly).
The third girl in the background is my daughter, Sofia.

About 10 days ago Shelley's daughters, Rachael and Sarah, visited Shelley and accompanied her to the outpatient clinic where she got her PET CT scan for a more definitive treatment plan. After the procedure we all went out to lunch at the little Chinese restaurant on Broadway, just a few blocks from Shelley's house.

Two days later Rachael returned, accompanied by her friend, Cristina from Reading, to accompany Shelley to the ENT doctor who would interpret the results of the scan for us. The news was not good - the tumor has grown and it appears it has spread to the lungs. The radiation and chemotherapy plans will take this into account.

After that appointment we went to a Mexican restaurant for a late lunch. Shelley ordered seafood soup which she picked at while the rest of us enjoyed guacamole, tamales and vegetable fajitas. I must say that it was very pleasant as Rachael and Tina were excellent company.

Later Shelley told me that at home she put the rest of the soup in the blender and was able to eat it that way. She can eat whatever she wants but is supposed to take five feedings a day through the tube to her stomach in order to get adequate nutrition and put on some weight to better endure the treatment and fight the tumor.

As of today, June 18, Shelley is receiving her first full radiation treatment, after a dry run the day before. In the morning yesterday I took her and John to a hearing about the back payments in their rent - nothing conclusive that I could make out. But Shelley was in good spirits. She quoted her dad, and I'm not sure of the exact words but it was something like, "I just run with the punches." (Laughter)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shelley's walking to the bank

I can't believe it, but Shelley's walking to the bank today. I (Greta) don't have access to the car - my husband's driving today - so can't drive her. Tomorrow I'll take her to her appointment at St. Luke's and offered to take her to the bank after that, but she's determined to make it today. It's hot out there, so I hope she'll be OK.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Home from the hospital

After a week in the hospital, Shelley went home this evening. She has a lot of energy and is walking around and talking as much as ever. In fact, she seems rested and much better than when she went in last Tuesday. Her first radiation therapy session is scheduled for Friday.

She has learned to take care of her tracheotomy and tube feeding needs, but Visiting Nurses will be stopping in for any help she might need.