Sunday, March 18, 2018

Thanks to Everyone

The memorial service for Kay Saturday at Celebration Lutheran Church was a wonderful outpouring of love.  Kay touched the lives of an incredible number of people and many of you gathered to share your prayers, your support and love for Kay to be there for each other.  Pastor Paul led the service as not just our pastor of many years, but a close friend.  Paul's words, along with the words of family and friends, the shared stories, the incredible music of the CLC choir with added voices of many musical friends and the beautiful table of cookies and goodies together made an event I'm sure Kay looked down upon with pride and her big smile.
Through my tears I was able to feel the caring and love of so many people from so many different aspects of Kay's life.  I want to send a sincere thank you to everyone who was able to come Saturday, to the many others who could not come but whose support and love was felt in other ways.  Kay fought an extraordinary battle against her cancer, but her longevity, the energy to keep up the fight so well, and our wonderful years together after her diagnosis would not have been possible without a great team.  The first rate medical care, the prayers and support of such a fabulous network of friends and family, and our love for each other carried us both through that time as though we had a tail wind.  Even Kay's death came on her terms.  She was able to pass peacefully and mercifully quickly. I am convinced that this was possible in no small part to her confidence in God's salvation and to knowing that we will all be there for each other now and going forward.  You are all beautiful and appreciated.  Thanks.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Memorial Service

We have been getting a number or inquiries as to the time of the memorial service for Kay.  Now that I've arranged for someone to keep a close  eye on the condo, I feel I can publicly put this out for everyone. 

Kay's Memorial Service
Celebration Lutheran Church
2500 Shaw Road SE
Puyallup, WA 98374

All continues to go appropriately well.



Sunday, March 11, 2018

Coping OK

Just a shout-out to everyone.  Jean Louise, Brett and I are coping well overall with the loss of Kay.  Alan has been here with Jean and is of great support to her.  My brother Bill has been staying here too, and he and I have been having good "brother" time.  Brett is sticking close and doing OK too it seems.  Anyway thanks for all the prayers, notes, calls etc. 


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Blessedly Quick

Kay passed peacefully about 9:45PM Wednesday night.  Although she had felt like she was ready to go for at least a few days, I believe she needed to hold her daughter one more time, and to see her last artwork project, the remodel of our new condo, completed in order to let go.  Jean came home Tuesday night, and spent the morning cuddled up with Kay and they had a nice morning together.  The inspectors came for final electrical and plumbing inspections that morning also.  As the afternoon approached Kay became more somnolent, and about 4 PM dropped to sleep for the last time.  She passed quietly about 9:45.
This has been an incredible last almost 9 years.  Kay was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer about Easter time 2009.  She was training for a half-marathon at the time, and it seemed to come out of nowhere.  The prognosis was dismal, and to have had this long together since then has been an unexpected gift and we have taken full advantage of the time. 
Our 33 1/2 years of marriage have produced two wonderful children and more joy and memories than one man deserves.  We were both blessed with families that made biological vs. in-law terms that have little meaning.  Her family has become mine, and mine hers.  Our friends have been a constant source of support and enjoyment throughout the years, but have especially stepped forward over the span of Kay's battle with cancer as rock-solid.  The prayers, meals, phone calls, lunches, parties, and innumerable other acts of friendship have sustained Kay and my spirit.
Kay wanted you to know that your love, prayers and help have been instrumental in her unexpectedly long survival and in the quality of those years.   We both thank you with our whole hearts for everything.  Kay will live on in my heart, and I'm sure in many of yours as a source of energy, inspiration, creativity, love and passion. 
Pray for each other and for Jean, Brett and me over the next days, weeks and months as we learn to live without Kay's physical presence.  Pray that her passage into Heaven is as joyous as she knew it was going to be.  You are invited to join us at Celebration Lutheran Church on Saturday March 17th for a memorial service.  If you wish to commemorate Kay she would want contributions to ovarian cancer research at the U.W with Dr. Swisher at or to the Tahoma Audubon Society at 

Thanks and love to all.


Thursday, March 1, 2018


The last year has been a struggle for Kay.  After it became clear that her ovarian cancer had recurred Kay started to fight back with one treatment option after another.  Initially there was some promise, but every choice seemed to either not work at all, or work only very transiently.  The only thing that seemed to work was Taxol plus Avastin, but after a short time this led to a bowel perforation complication.  
Kay survived this in September with two hospitalizations, a drainage procedure and prolonged antibiotics. Kay was just starting to get a little better when she developed a partial malignant small bowel obstruction at Thanksgiving.  With this anytime Kay tries to eat she gets painful cramping and bloating.  This was initially only when she tried to eat larger meals, but has progressed now to where any food leads to hours of severe pain and eventually to vomiting up all she ate and more.
This bowel obstruction has been devastating, and has kept Kay from eating enough to maintain her weight and strength. 
Since Thanksgiving she has tried two more types of chemotherapy, neither of which seem to have even slowed the rapid progression of her cancer.  During that time she has lost a great deal of weight, has become very weak, and has had progressive pain when she tries to eat even minimal amounts of food.
We have prayerfully and thoughtfully considered options like TPN (total parenteral nutrition also called IV feedings) but Kay has chosen not to prolong her dying by this means.  Today we met with the Hospice intake nurse and signed up for home Hospice services.  Our hope is that the Hospice team will help us navigate the coming days.  Although Kay is having pain, her pain medication regimen is working pretty well at this point, and we are getting additional options set up with the help of the Hospice team.
Kay and I want to send our love, thanks and prayers back at all of you who have given us so much of these types of support over the last 9 years of fighting cancer.  Please focus your prayers and hopes on peace as the end approaches, relief from pain and other aspects of suffering, and comfort. Kay is being her usual self in wanting to hurry up and get on with dying, and we pray that all of you will respect and support her in this choice. 
As we see how this goes I’ll try to keep this site current.  We love you all.

Kay & Ed

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Year News on Kay's Status

As we enter the new year Kay and I look back on the last 8 2/3 years of living with cancer as time we had not expected, but are grateful to have lived and loved together.  Although there have been challenging periods, most of Kay’s days/weeks/months/years since her diagnosis have been lived comfortably and fully.  We are especially thankful for our family and friends.  From the beginning when the prognosis was grim, through her three major courses of chemotherapy and surgeries, in the 4+ years remission off treatment, and in the last year of sometimes frustratingly minimally effective treatments you have been there for us.  Sometimes it has been a phone call or letter, and sometimes a date for tea or lunch.  Sometimes a visit, a trip just together or with friends or family, and sometimes prayers we have palpably felt supporting us. Everyone’s love has been there for us without fail.
Now things are looking like we are nearing the end of effective treatment options for Kay’s ovarian cancer.  At a recent visit she told Rob McCrosky, her oncologist, that she felt like the time was approaching when her cancer was going to take over.  Kay has asked both Rob and Elizabeth Swisher this question many times, whether she was near the end.  Always the reply was certainly not, and that there were effective treatments ahead. This time Rob honestly told Kay that he agreed that the time of holding the cancer back may be past.
In the last year Kay has gone through numerous types of treatments. She has tried experimental studies with immunotherapy, as well as new and established types of chemotherapy, and none have proved effective for any prolonged period of time.  For 8 years Kay was a chemotherapy superstar, tolerating treatments well and avoiding complications.  This year has been different.  Kay had little response to treatments, then she had the bowel perforation complication from Avastin.  Since then the cancer has progressed despite continued Taxol chemotherapy, and Kay is battling a partial bowel obstruction which is  causing unacceptable symptoms when she tries to eat much at all.  Although Kay is not ready to give up hope of some more time with palliative chemotherapy, we understand the options are not promising.
We are going to take the next few weeks to see how the cancer responds to a bit of additional chemotherapy.  Last week Kay received the first dose of Topotecan, a new drug for her, that she will get as weekly infusions.   Although we are hopeful that it will be effective, the odds are not in her favor.  If as is most likely these treatments are not effective in stalling the progression of the cancer, Kay and I plan to work together to figure out the best way to live her remaining time as enjoyably and fully as is possible.
The good news today was that despite having to get new insurance when Regence dropped everyone on their individual plans, and having limited options available due to “market uncertainty” our new carrier, Kaiser, agreed to let Kay keep seeing Dr. McCrosky for 6 more months to allow transition to their system.  We are going to not worry about things more than 6 months ahead right now, and are grateful for that much of a reprieve.
We hope you all had a Merry Christmas, wish you a Happy New Year.  Keep the prayers for Kay going and live 2018 with vigor and joy.    

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas.

For the Pullen family of Washington 2017 has been a very eventful year.  We continue to be blessed with great friends and family, and many life changes.
Among the biggest changes for us is that Kay and I moved from our home of 30 years in Puyallup to a condominium in Old Town Tacoma.  Most of our time here has been living in a major renovation, and today we are sitting watching the water from a couch in our living room for the first time in over a month. We look forward to living here in the middle of most of what’s happening in Tacoma, easy walks to many places including the Ruston Way waterfront parks.  I saw my first of the year Sabine’s gull with my spotting scope from the living room.  A nice “yard” bird.
Brett continues to work on his home in the McKinley District of Tacoma, and I’ve been having fun working with him at times.  Who’d have thought that we would learn how to lay hardwood floors and tile floors and walls (mostly Brett on this).  Brett has also progressed in his soccer refereeing and is now one of the top high school refs in the area, doing lot’s of high level playoff games, and this year got his college certification. He did lots of local college games too and is enjoying the challenge and exercise.
Jean has moved to Costa Rica.  She travelled extensively for much of 2016 and the first half of this year, before coming home for a very nice 3-month visit home in the summer.  Her partner Allen joined her for the last half of the visit.  In September they left for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, CR where they have been living since, exploring options for developing a permaculture farm and lifestyle there.
Kay and I have travelled to Florida for a trip to the Dry Tortugas and to visit Bill and Carol in April.  Kay got 12 ABA lifers and Ed 3 on the trip, and we really enjoyed the visit at Bill and Carols, where Carol and Kay set up their studio in the Florida Room while Bill and I biked, walked, the beach, and visited. In June of us visited the SoCal Colmars. Scott arranged an Airbnb in Fullerton, Jean, Brett, Kay and me, and Scott and Erin’s family stayed there while Ken and Keith stayed nearby.  We had three consecutive celebrations.  First was Fay’s fabulous retrospective show at Fullerton College, where we all marveled at her body of work, partied, and told stories.  

Next was a graduation party for Mic (from the University of California at Santa Barbara) and Caroline from Fullerton High School.  We celebrated their success and loved the party at Mary and Jim’s house.  Last was Fay and Vince’s 40th wedding anniversary. They renewed their vows, and we had a great celebration in their back yard.  In October Kay and I attended the wedding of Morgan in Unity, ME.  It was a really great wedding set in Morgan and Kendall’s back yard.  The fall foliage was a great backdrop.  We had a fun but whirlwind trip scheduled between Kay’s treatments.
The year has been somewhat of a struggle with Kay’s health, and we are blessed that she has survived over 8 ½ years since her diagnosis.  I’ll post an update on that soon, but this is a letter of joy and celebration so not here.
A highlight of the year was giving much of our art collection to a fund raiser event called Art Beat's Cancer.  We put this on with the tremendous help of Kay's Celebration Lutheran friends at the Bird Cage in Kirkland.  The event raised $15,000. to support Ovarian cancer research at U.W. by Kay's U.W. oncologist Dr. Elizabeth Swisher. It was also really fun, and since then we've had the joy of seeing some or our art being enjoyed in friends homes.  The generosity and support from everyone in this event was overwhelming. 

May your holiday season be joyous, your new year filled with joy and wonder, and may our love for all of you be received and returned in full.