Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cathy Jo "CJ" Tuomala

Cathy Jo "CJ" Tuomala, loving mother, grandmother and wife found peace on Wednesday January 2, 2013 at the age of 55.

Cathy was born in Chicago, Ill on December 26, 1957 to Joann and Roy Christensen. She grew up in Des Plains Ill and graduated from Maine West High School.

Having received the gift of life twice through organ donations, Cathy was committed to her roles as an Ambassador for OneLegacy/Donate Life and as an educator on the benefits of organ and tissue donations.

Cathy is survived by her daughters, Rebecca Gupton, Jessica Tuomala and Kaitlyn Briggs; her husband, David Briggs; her grandson, Miles Abbot; her brothers, Roy and Larry Christensen; and her sister, Sharon Christensen.

A memorial service for Cathy will be held on Thursday, January 31st, 2013 at 6 pm at Trinity Community Church, 3645 Telegraph Road, Ventura, Ca. with Pastor Mark Corbin Smith officiating.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the OneLegacy Foundation.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Routine Re-Visited

Today was Cathy's first 'post-transplant' clinic visit. We both enjoyed the cruise down to UCLA in the morning - sippin' coffee and listening to oldies. Prior to becoming to sick, Cathy and I used to make clinic days a little extra special by visiting a museum or having a special lunch after clinic. One of our favorite places to have lunch is a little diner in Toluca Lake, near the Warner Bros. and Universal Studios. It is a great place to people watch. I was a little choked-up as we walked into the diner together this afternoon. Cathy was also a little overwhelmed with the moment. The moment became even more special as I watched Cathy completely enjoy her patty melt. I could almost use the word Ecstasy to describe her expressions as her devoured the sandwich. (I guess my cooking this past week has a little ways to go before it compares to this diner's fare). Today alone made the past six months worth while: A warm & sunny So. Cal. day, a pleasant drive (read - no traffic), a good meal, and conversations about absolutely nothing.

Cathy is doing very well. She is tolerating her medication schedule well, her pain is manageable and subsiding, and her appetite is good. She is still dealing with numbness and tingling in her legs and feet. We are in a 'wait-and-see' mode to determine if this is a permanent or temporary condition. The pulmonologist at clinic today has referred Cathy for some additional physical therapy. Both he and the nurses at clinic were surprised to see Cathy walk into clinic today. Next week Cathy's G-tube may be removed and soon after the first of the year she will have the cancers removed.

We return to clinic next Monday - getting back into the routine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Home For The Holidays

Cathy made it home yesterday in the early afternoon. It was a very exciting, emotional and busy day for her. It is going to take a few days to get settled into a routine. Monday we return to the hospital for Cathy's first post-transplant clinic visit. There are also follow-up appointments to be made in the near future to address the cancers and the feeding tube.

During the next few days, I probably will not be posting a daily update as I have for the past six months. I know that there are over three dozen followers of Cathy's Updates that read the blog daily and another three or four dozen that have been following on a less frequent routine. To each of you we would both like to express our appreciation for all the thoughts, prayers and positive energy. I am at a loss for words to describe how much this has meant to both of us. I am sure that many of you have never met Cathy or myself, yet we still felt the the support of your prayers: Thank you.

Tomorrow is Christmas, here again I cannot think of the words to describe our appreciation of that early Christmas gift Cathy received last month. We pray that the family of Cathy's donor has found some peace.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Check Out Time Is 11 AM

I was asked to be at the hospital early in the morning for 'training'. So I am spending the night at the hospital. It is looking like tomorrow is going to be The Day. All the girls are healthy. Miles had a few sniffles last night, but no fever.

Cathy did very well today. On two occasions she was able to walk two laps around the unit. The occupational therapist washed and braided her hair again.

Cathy is excited about going home. The girls and I are so looking forward to having her home with us.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fresh Air And Starbucks

This evening Cathy took her first breaths of fresh air in six months. We took a ninety minute tour of the hospital, making a final stop in the cafeteria for a Starbucks.

It is now looking like a Tuesday or Wednesday discharge for Cathy. The bug seems to have camped out at home. The doctors are adamant about not allowing Cathy home until the infections there have run their course.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Don't Bug Me

Not much new to update this evening. Cathy is walking and eating more and taking less pain medications.

The kids are still fighting the bugs at home. It doesn't sound like there has been much improvement there.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Last Weekend?

The tube feedings have been DC'd. Cathy is now taking in all nutrition through her meals and protein drink snacks.

Cathy walked a complete lap around the unit, on room air, on two occasions today.

Our hope is for Cathy to be discharged from the hospital and go home on Monday. Unfortunately, the bug at home is spreading to new victims. She has been here for 174 days, a few more days, if needed, should be a cake walk. Speaking of cake walks, Cathy has been given patio privileges. Sometime this weekend Cathy is going to have a chance to breathe some fresh air. The extra time here will give the teams more time to work on some of the 'issues' Cathy is still dealing with.