Sunday, August 16, 2009


Mom had told us she wrote her obituary on her 'computer'. In her passing we searched her account on our home computer trying to find it. Well, today I(Tara) found it. On her personal LAPTOP! So here I am posting the obituary she wrote for herself all the while hitting myself on the forehead . . .

Lori Lea Ludman (nee Lumley)
March 4, 1964, to __________________, 2009

When you read this, you will know that my struggle against pancreatic cancer has been lost. Don’t mourn for me too much; I have been delivered from a life of pain and have gone for my Big Sleep.

I was born In Lloydminster, SK, to Cynthia (nee McLaren) and Melvin Lumley, the first of two daughters. I had a wonderful childhood, living in town and yet being able to spend lots of time on my grandparents’ farm. I had the best of both worlds.

I graduated with honours from high school in 1982 and went immediately to work for D.A. Cleal and Associates as an optometric assistant. In 1984, I met Cliff, who would be the love of my life. In 1986, he proposed both marriage and moving to Winnipeg, both of which I agreed to, and we arrived here in August of 1986, marrying on August 2. My first few months here were tough because I was very homesick.

My first job here was at Overhead Door of Winnipeg where I worked until 1990 when my eldest daughter, Kyra, was born, and I quit to take up the very best job I ever had – being an at-home mom. Tara was born in 1991. The pay was lousy, but the perks and rewards were precious indeed. I consider myself very fortunate to have been involved so closely in their early years.

In 1999, I started working as a casual clerk for Transcona-Springfield School Division. After TSSD amalgamated with River East SD, I was hired permanently and worked at the Administration Offices up until my cancer surgery. I can honestly say I have never worked with a nicer, smarter, friendlier group of people, and I regret that my time there was so short.

I leave this world believing that I have had a good life, an interesting life, and I hope I have had a positive impact on others on my journey. When you remember me, I hope the memory brings a smile to your face.

Flowers are a nice gesture, but they only touch the family. Your donation to CancerCare Manitoba will touch many, many lives, maybe even the lives of people you know, so please give generously. Donations can be sent to:

A celebration of Lori’s life will be held ______________________ at Wheeler Funeral Chapel, ___________________.

I feel bad that her own written obituary never made it to where it really should have been and so I post it here so everyone can read it. I left the blanks mom put empty because, well, it's how I found it.

I believe this may be the last entry in this blog but I won't delete it; not now, not ever. This way we can all look back at these entries in the future and one day smile at the memories of Mom.

I hope everyone is doing well.
Best wishes to all!
Tara Lin Ludman

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ends and Beginnings

It was a rough fight, but mom finally passed away. This morning I was woken by Nana and informed that mom was unable to speak or move. Family members rushed from here and there to be there with mom (Dad will probably have several speeding tickets... atta boy). The nurse came in and informed us that she had slipped into a coma and was passing away. Tara and Auntie Berta were both in the room when she passed away very shortly after the nurse left.

Thanks goes out to everyone who kept up with mom during this tumultuous battle. She really appreciated the visits and in her illness truly came to see how loved she was by her friends and family.

There will be a "Memorial Tea" on Thursday at 7 PM at Wheeler Funeral Chapel on Regent. All are welcome.

Thank you for coming with us on this difficult journey. While we heal and grow, we will never forget her.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tara's Update

Hey everyone!

It's been awhile since Mom last posted on EvictionTeam. She hasn't really had the strength to do it so I decided to take over keeping everyone updated in her place.

Over the past few weeks Moms been feeling weaker and weaker. She's always tired but has been having trouble sleeping. She's having alot of trouble getting around the house on her own and has to use a cane, someone as support or use the 'patient chair' (a small version of a wheelchair in case people don't know what a patient chair is). She's been spending her days watching TV, speeling and, I don't know for sure, but I would imagine reading the days away. It's a struggle for her to get up and only does so when necessary.

I overheard Nana saying we were getting a walker for Mom sometime but I don't know the final verdict on that notion. I was eavesdropping when that was discussed but they weren't talking quietly so it wasn't my fault! I was going downstairs to the kitchen to make myself some tea! It's not my fault they were at my kitchen destination!

Her throat is also weaker aswell. When she talks it sounds like she's about to cry. And I quote her comment about it to Steinhilber when he came to visit "It sounds weird to you but it feels weird to me!".

Her chin/jaw is much better now in case anyone was wondering. Her jaw can chew chewy food again but her stomach is very small now and she can't stand hard food as much anymore.

But on another note Mom is still in pretty high spirits all things considered. She is finding it harder to control her emotions lately. Any agitation in our house can cause her to become upset so it makes her happy to see smiles and whatnot all around. I'm actually tempted to go buy a 'My Little Pony' banner and tape it to her wall in her bedroom but I doubt she would find it funny for long. As much as she likes smiles and rainbows and ponies/horses (can't forget those!) she can only stand happy bright colours for so long. We are the same that way. We both prefer the stronger colours.

No 'adventures' have really happened since her last post. I graduated so Mom got her wish of being able to be there for it, and a bunch of her friends got to visit a few times. She really enjoys visits but the time limit has drastically dropped to forty-five minutes tops.

Speaking of visits Mom has recieved many bouquets of flowers and treats. She thanks you all for them! They are greatly appreciated!

One visit that happened today actually is my sisters friend, Cole I think it was, wants to jog from Mexico City to Winnipeg to raise money for cancer in my moms honour. Mom has never met Cole before, I don't know if he was at the house or if Kyra was just talking about it, and doesn't really know what to think about it. She is flattered, most deffinatly, but other than that has no idea how to react. I for one can't help but shed a few tears everytime that conversation comes to mind.

It's amazing how powerful the grape vine can be; It can wreak havoc in more ways than one but can give so much strength to the average man that they can something so magical for the less fortunate.

I don't know if Cole will really go through with it, just the fact he thought of doing such a thing brings joy to my heart. But if he's really going to jog, even if it's not the original distance he said, I for one will be forever greatful.

If anyone wants to drop by for a visit you'll need to book an appointment. I don't know the time of day that her strength is at it's fullest so drop us a call and we'll see what happends.

I won't post our number because I don't feel comfortable putting it on the internet and I don't know the privacy setting Mom set on this blog. And no we're not listed in the phone book so you'll have to get the number through the grape vine.

Oh the grape vine . . . such a complicated thing . . .

Posted by
Tara Lin Ludman

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Rough Couple of Weeks . . .

For the last four days I have been trying to log in and make a post, but I kept getting an error message. Finally I got on tonight. Lots of catching up to do.

On June 2, I had a CT scan and saw Dr. Cutie on the 4th. The results of the scan are not good. The tumor has grown to about 9 centimetres. The chemo I was on was not working either to shrink the tumor or to allay the cancer side effects (the fluid build up around my organs) so I have been taken off chemo. There are no other chemo drugs that will do anything for me.

Since there are no further treatment options, I have been referred to palliative care at St. Boniface General Hospital. I spoke to one of their reps today; sounds like an excellent organization.

The fluid buildup got bad again, so I saw Dr. Cutie again on June 8. This time they drained off 3.25 litres. Picture in your mind a four litre milk jug and take out three cups of milk. The milk left in the jug is how much they drained from me. You can imagine how much of a relief it was to have the burden of that weight taken off. It is coming back; I can feel it. I will likely have to be drained again next week. Lucky for me it's a very easy procedure.

I had an adventure last Friday. I went out into our backyard, took a couple of steps along the sidewalk, and keeled over. It was almost as if someone turned my legs off because they just went out from under me. I landed on my chin and split it open by about a centimetre and a half, and my jaw is out of whack right now, but otherwise I am uninjured. The worst part is that I can't chew because of my jaw; my teeth don't line up. This makes eating very difficult, doubly so because I am very hungry. Being off the chemo has brought my appetite back.

Anyway, my folks took me to Concordia's emergency room. I was seen almost immediately, was checked over, X-rayed (no breaks or cracks in the bones), and my split chin was fixed up. For those of you who have thought my use of Crazy Glue to cover paper cuts, guess what they used on my chin! Crazy Glue! Medical grade of course, in a sterile little bottle.

Well, that's all I have to report right now. Have a great weekend!

-- Lori

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What a Beautiful Day . . .

Hiya, folks!

It sure is a beautiful day out there with the sunshine, a light wind, and warmth. FINALLY!

I'm feeling better this week than I have for the last couple of weeks. I'm getting better sleep because of a very simple thing: I changed the sheets on my bed. Since I have no body fat, I get cold very quickly, so we put microfibre sheets on my bed and I have been sleeping in flannel pajamas. I was warm as toast all winter long. In the last few weeks, however, I have noticed that I was waking up every time I had to roll over, and I had a hard time rolling over. Not that I toss and turn much in bed, but I thought it was odd, waking up every time and finding it such hard work. Then it came to me: flannel and microfibre act a bit like velcro in that they stick together, so every time I tried to roll over, it was quite a chore. So we changed my bed sheets to cotton percale. Problem solved. I still wear my flannel jammies, though.

My hands are still tingly from last week's oxalyplatin treatment, but it is wearing off. I notice it most early in the morning.

I have been feeling much better since Dr. Cutie drained the fluid from around my organs. I used to feel about nine months pregnant; now I feel about six months pregnant. Probably the biggest difference is that it changed my centre of gravity. With the load of fluid, my balance was a little off and now I am a bit better balanced. Also, I was able to go and buy some maternity jeans that fit so I am no longer stuck in coveralls. Loved the coveralls, but they weigh about ten pounds and are trickier to get on and off than jeans, especially when you have to get to the bathroom in a hurry.

We got out to my sister's to see the horses on Saturday. Unfortunately, Pearl was a bit gimpy so we didn't even attept any riding. I wasn't feeling very strong myself, so I was happy to just give her a good grooming and lots of ear scratching.

I should tell you that Rusty has fast become a part of the family. He has exceptionally good manners for a dog that wasn't raised as a housedog. Now if only he would stop shedding.

Enjoy your afternoon!

-- Lori

Friday, May 22, 2009

Paracentesis on a Friday Afternoon . . .

This week's chemotherapy was the hard drugs that make my hands tingly and seizy, so I haven't been able to e-mail or update my blog. Today they are feeling not too bad, so I figured I'd better update the blog.

I have been feeling very tired and lethargic the last couple of weeks. The pain hasn't been too bad but it's still there, and being tired makes the pain harder to cope with. Monday after my chemo I had the worst bout of hand seizing I've experienced so far and it lasted into Tuesday, but it has since worn off. I still am getting the tingly fingers today, however.

The fluid buildup around my internal organs was terrible last weekend. The biggest my girth measurement had been was 35 inches. On Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it was 36 inches, and crept up to 36.5 inches on Monday. I was in misery! Every move I made caused gurgling and fluid shifting and pressure on my innards, so I phoned the doctor and got in today for paracentesis.

For those of you unfamiliar with paracentesis, it means draining off the excess fluid using a large-bore blunt needle. First Dr. Cutie thumped my abdomen all over to see where the best place to insert the needle would be. He injected some anesthetic, then poked in a small bore sharp needle to see if any liquid would come out and how fast it would drain. After removing the small needle, he put the large-bore needle in. The one used on me was about five inches long but I'm not sure how far they jabbed it in. I couldn't feel it at all.

The large-bore needle is attached to a length of medical hose with a needle on the end. The needle is inserted into a suction jar so that the suction in the jar draws out the fluid inside your body. In all, they took out a litre and a half of liquid from my abdomen. I feel much less pressure in my abdomen and just wish I could have had this done last Friday! It really is a simple procedure - practically painless - and doesn't take very long at all. I do have a bandage on my side where the needles were inserted, but that just means I can't bathe until Monday when the bandage comes off.

It sure is nice to walk outside these days and see the trees blushing green with their new leaf growth. I could wish for it to be about five degrees warmer out, but I'll be thankful for what we get as long as it doesn't snow again!

Have yourselves a great weekend.

-- Lori

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Tough Couple of Weeks . . .

I haven't posted anything since May 1 (shame on me), but it has been a very tough couple of weeks. I sat down at the computer a few times to write, but the words just wouldn't come so I never got anything written.

The first week of May I was in a lot of pain. Although I always seem to have pain in my abdomen in the upper right quadrant - around the liver area - this pain was more generalized through my abdomen and just sucked the life out of me. Some days I had trouble just getting out of bed because I knew a long day stretched out ahead of me. How much easier to just lie there and let the day pass without me. But, being a little stubborn, I managed to heave myself out from between the sheets, get myself dressed, and get myself through the days. An increase in my pain medications, with Dr. Cutie's approval, of course, got me over that, and the pain slowly has subsided. I still have it but I can bear it, and again, it is more localized to my liver area.

However, as the pain subsided, gastrointestinal issues arose and I was pretty much stuck in the house. I couldn't get too far from a bathroom for fear of having an accident. This is, I think, a side effect of one of the chemo drugs because it is always worse after I have a dose of oxylaplatin. The oxylaplatin effects the nerves, causing numbness and tingling in fingers and toes, and I firmly believe it effects other nerves as well making it hard to detect when you gotta go.

This last week I have been struggling with fatique. I feel wrung out like an old dishrag, tired, stupid, and generally lethargic. While my mom whips around the house keeping it in shape, I find it takes all my energy, sometimes, just to put my shoes on. Forget walking further than a couple of blocks; I just don't have the energy. But on days when the sun is bright and the weather is warm, I do make myself walk around the block, and I do go out in the backyard and soak up the sun.

It just amazes me how differently I feel when the sun is shining. On those dark, dreary days like the one we had yesterday, even my thoughts are dark and dreary, and my energy level is lower. Days like today, even though it's still chilly out, I feel much more energized and my mood is definitely happier.

Because of all this, I haven't been able to get out to see my sister and the horses, but I am hoping to get out again soon, maybe get in a little riding, maybe just sit in their yard and watch the birds and squirrels playing in the trees. They have some squirrels that appear to be grey/red squirrel crosses because they definitely have characteristics of both types of squirrel.

Anyway, that's enough for now. I'm off to have lunch. Fortunately, the kitchen is only 15 steps away.

-- Lori