In Memory of Janet
Loving Wife and Friend to All who Met Her
1948 – 2014
2014-07-27 – Sunday, 7:00 PM – Janet’s Ashes Have Been Scattered
We (a collection of Janet’s
friends and family) pretty much followed the plan below and scattered Janet’s
ashes. Many of the tributes made during
lunch may be found at this link. Both days (Saturday and Sunday) were
beautiful. The lawn and daffodil garden
were nicely trimmed (thanks Josh), which made access easy. Most of the ashes were scattered along the
stone wall that Janet was working on.
Here’s a photo by Colin:
Thanks to everyone who helped
say goodbye to Janet,
2014-07-21 – Monday, 7:00 PM – Updated Plans for Scattering
Folks, thanks for all of your
visits, calls and e-mails – they all helped working through the grief. Here are the final plans for Janet’s
Friday, 2014-07-25, 5:00 PM. – Ray leaves for
WV. I have to leave on Friday as there
is just too much preparation to do. The
three dogs and I will be driving alone, leaving two seats empty for anyone who would
like to travel with me – it would be nice to not travel alone. BTW:
Driving directions may be found at www.CherryEngineering.com/WV.
Saturday, 2014-07-26, Noon. We will have a picnic-style dinner on the
back porch in WV. I hope that everyone coming
will bring a dish. I will provide
charcoal, drinks, etc. At this dinner,
we will share memories of Janet.
Currently, the following folks are expected: Ray, Barbara & Colin, John & Shirley,
Zia & (his) Janet. If you would like
to join us, please let me know immediately so that I can ensure that we have
Saturday, 2014-07-26, 2:00 PM. We will scatter Janet’s ashes on her daffodil
garden, which is next to an amazing stone wall she was working on. We will share some of the remembrances that
we discussed at lunch. This “ceremony”
will be short, as so many beautiful things related to Janet will be well within
view, e.g., flowers, trees, brilliant friends and the house that she
Saturday, 2014-07-26, 7:00 PM. We will have a dinner delivered from the
Italian Touch, eating on the back porch.
Saturday, 2014-07-26, Night. Barbara & Colin have the bedroom facing
the road. Zia and Janet have the bedroom
facing the spring. If anyone else plans
to stay the night, please contact me
immediately. We have plenty of room in
the house, and two excellent local hotels are close by.
Sunday, 2014-07-27, Breakfast. Belgian waffles and other goodies for
breakfast. Perhaps we’ll eat the peach
that we found last weekend – first peach from the tree that Janet planted.
Sunday, 2014-07-27, 2:00 PM. A second ceremony for Leo
and Pam, plus anyone else that shows up.
We’ll save some of the ashes for this.
Before or afterwards (depending upon Leo’s arrival time), we will have
some kind of snack.
Sunday, 2014-07-27, 6:00 PM. Everyone will be on the way home, and the
“trailer” will be a quiet and lonely place.
If you want to stay later, please let me know as soon as possible. We can arrange this, but one must be
cognizant of everything that must be done when locking up.
Soon, this link will
connect you to a collection of remembrances of Janet. These remembrances were harvested from a
flood of wonderful e-mails sent by friends, family and colleagues.
2014-07-07 – Tuesday, 8:58 AM – A Few Pictures in Remembrance of
Thanks for all of the
e-mailed references of Janet. I will put
them into this page soon. Here are a few
pictures that you might enjoy. I hope
that her warmth, humor, charm and sweetness come through.
in 12th grade - portrait by Ray. Janet the French teacher. She later became a computer programmer, a
linguist and finally a retiree. Always a gardener. Always an artist.
portrait by Barbara.
Front porch in WV during a visit by the Pages, Leo and Pam. Janet loved WV.
Married 1969-2014. (45 years!)
A candid photo from one of the later annual World
Class Picnics. After the photo
was taken, we had to go back to work getting guests to interact. A very happy time. More picnic pictures from links on main
CherryEngineering.com web page.
by the spring in WV. Making Paper Mache flowers in WV kitchen. Janet had a life-long interest in art, and
she was quite good at it.
with a very wide-angle lens at breakfast with friends in WV. Janet and Barbara after
the 2006 Xmas lights on 34th street in Baltimore.
with image manipulation.
2014-07-16 – Janet’s Take on Software Engineering
During a long, boring lecture
at work one day, Janet summarized the software development process used at her
agency (and many other places). Please
study, as there will be a test. All of us
loved Janet’s drawings.
2014-07-07 – Monday, 3:58 AM
At 3:20 AM this morning,
Janet passed away in her sleep.
Thanks to everyone who helped
Janet and her family in her passage.
More details to follow.
If you would like to send a
remembrance for this page, please e-mail to rcherry@CherryEngineering.com,
and I will post.
2014-07-02 – Wednesday, 6:30 AM
Janet is spending nearly all
day quietly sleeping. Consumption of
food and water is near zero, although we have major celebrations when she is
able to eat or drink. She is suffering
no pain. She is suffering no
anxiety. There is a loving, caring and
talented person with Hospice experience by Janet’s side 24/7. Friends and relatives visit, although she
generally is asleep. The three dogs also
keep her company and guard her. She saw
the Hospice nurse yesterday and will have some drug adjustments tomorrow.
This status is likely to
continue indefinitely, so updates will no longer be every day.
Rosemary and Christine
visited yesterday, but Janet was asleep.
Leo and Pam are visiting this weekend.
It will be good to have the company.
Everyone who knew Janet loved
her, and is having a sad time. Will let
you know when the status changes.
2014-06-30 – Monday, 7:30 PM
I (Ray) tried to go to work
today. That sort of worked until I got a
call from Louvinia indicating that Janet was very awake, a bit agitated and
starting to be in pain. Medicated with 2.5
ml Morphine and all was well. Meanwhile,
back at work, I was too agitated to fully focus, so I left work to get a (rare)
haircut, thence to COSTCO for NSAID medication for Comet and finally back to Relay. I’ll try work
Janet continues to be without
pain. We have very good help for her
24/7 – they keep her clean, hydrated and fed to the greatest extent
possible. They also know how to move her
without hurting her. I will spare you
the details of the decline, but know that every day she gets a little bit
weaker. The oxygen level in her blood is
between 87 and 90, which is OK. Pulse
continues at 69. Her eyes are always
open about 20% - we are seeing if a cold compress helps. Janet’s respiration and
temperature normal (enough). She
had some difficulty taking her Morphine by mouth this evening, so it may be
time for the “pump”.
She can no longer take
telephone calls, but if you have a message, I will relay it for you. Any cards that you mail to the house will be
shown to her and then read to her.
Unfortunately, she does not always understand.
It is breaking everyone’s
heart to see Janet fade away, as she was so generous, kind, intelligent and
universally loved. This is really tough
on all that know her. If you are reading
this note, then you are likely suffering as well. We see the Hospice nurse tomorrow. Leo and Pam will be this weekend to help out.
2014-06-29 – Sunday, 7:30 AM
Janet’s temperature all of
Saturday was normal. She was not in
pain, and did not require Morphine. She
slept most of the day, guarded by Comet, Tennille and Captain. Her arms and legs shook only rarely.
Yesterday was a tough day for
Janet, as she is no longer able to use her potty, even with assistance. Fortunately, Vida was able to change Janet’s
absorbent underwear (provided by Nancy), so Janet is comfortable and dry, as is
the bed. Vida continues to be magic, as
she was able to get Janet to eat, drink and talk. All of us watch Vida in wonder, trying to
take mental notes regarding her technique, but fully knowing that we will
likely never be a perfect master. Vida
left at 7:30 this morning and will not be back until 7:00 PM. The rest of us will somehow manage in her absence.
The assistant nurse from the
Hospice did not work out, mainly because the only service that she offered was
bathing, and Janet did not want or require a bath.
In writing today’s entry, it
occurred to me that I’m documenting a decline to a state that all of us know is
coming. You, gentle and dear reader, are
well aware of this, so, rather than focus on the depressing details; I will
focus on general news, with only hints of what is to come. BTW:
There are no predictions except that the decline will continue.
Nancy and Dan are still
visiting. Zia and (his wife) Janet,
friends of Janet from work who also visited us in WV, stopped by. Leo (friend since high school) and Pam (Leo’s
friend) stopped by and stayed the night.
Janet was happy to see everyone, although having several folks in her
room was tiring.
Janet is too weak for phone
calls, although if you would like a message relayed to her, just give me (Ray)
a call or e-mail.
2014-06-28 – Saturday, 6:32 AM
First thing in the morning,
Janet reported 9/10 pain, which is very serious. So, we treated with 2.5 ml of Morphine. After 30 minutes, Janet reported that she was
no better, so – with the Hospice nurse’s permission and suggestion – we gave
her another 2.5 ml. As a result, Janet
slept for the next 12 hours. When she
woke up, she had a good dinner (thank you, Nancy) and a good deal of
liquid. Vida kept an eye on Janet all
night. (BTW: Vida has a BS in Biology, and is working on
her nursing degree. She is kind and
gentle with Janet.) Unfortunately,
Janet was not able to “potty” all by
herself, and needed assistance getting in and out of bed – not a good
milestone, but inevitable. Around 1:00
AM, Janet reported 9/10 pain. We again
treated with 2.5 ml of Morphine, and that worked quite well – as of this
writing, Janet is sleeping without pain.
Louvinia will be here from
7:00AM – 11:00 AM today, with Vida taking over again at 7:00 PM. The rest of the time, I (Ray) will be taking
care of her, along with her sister and brother-in-law. Leo is scheduled to visit today.
Ray and Dan are being challenged
with a broken recliner and a broken bathroom exhaust fan. What fun!
Dan is so good at this sort of technical work that he should have his
own TV show.
2014-06-27– Friday, 6:50 AM
Janet is OK, but is very
weak, and is getting weaker every day.
Just one week ago, she could get around using her walker, this is no
longer possible. Nancy and Dan are here
which ensures that Janet is eating wonderful meals, and the additional food and
water seem to help her to maintain her strength. Janet’s magic button (worn around the neck,
and, when pressed, sounds an alarm on the box being carried by her helper)
works well – at least when Janet can find the button.
We have hired a night nurse, which
should help the family to get some sleep.
Janet is without pain – whenever it flares up, Morphine seems to
work. Hospice nurse is doing a great
job. Janet needs a single Tylenol around
noon to control a low-grade (101) fever.
a short note today, as I must head for my physical exam and then to work for a
few hours to see if they still recognize me.
2014-06-26 – Thursday, 4:21 AM
Janet’s sister Nancy and her
husband Dan arrived safely from Florida yesterday. The quality of Janet’s food has gone up quite
a bit. Janet’s brother left about 10
minutes ago to fly back to San Diego.
Having Steve and Dan both in the house helped us to get to a few
backlogged tasks, such as installing LEDs all over the ceiling fixtures. We learned that just because a light is
“dimmable” does not mean that it matches the dimming patterns of other lights –
some of the fixtures now have an odd assortment of colors and brightness levels
– especially the fixture with 7 lights.
Having three guests (and 1 guest dog) is a bit of a challenge, but they
are great dog walkers, and Captain (now 15) and Tennille (now 13) were really
panting after they were walked around our block (1.2 miles). The dogs must
know that something is up, as they all gather around Janet’s bed at night.
Janet just “relieved” herself
with encouragement, but without assistance this morning, continuing a trend,
the end of which will be traumatic.
Yesterday, in the late morning, Janet had a temperature of 100.8, which
is a cause for some of concern, especially as her immune system is practically
not there. Tylenol helped a bit, but
after an hour we also gave her a Motrin, after consulting by phone with her
(excellent) Hospice nurse. Midafternoon,
everything was under control. Our
working theory was that it was the
Morphine that was causing the temperature rise, but she had no Morphine
yesterday (no severe pain), so perhaps we’re looking at a circadian rhythm.
I’m (slowly) learning to
spell Louvinia. Hopefully, I’ll get it
right tomorrow. She continues to do
great work, and is a great comfort to Janet.
Janet’s comfort was increased (we hope) by a special air mattress that
continually changes patterns to relieve bed sores. The motor hums away, and it appears to work
OK. This was ordered by the Hospice, and
was delivered by Johns Hopkins the next day.
We are currently trying to find the right setting for soft vs.
hard. Between Louvinia, Janet’s sister
and her new “Sippy cup”, Janet is starting to eat a bit more and to drink
more. This is good.
Tomorrow, Janet’s call button
should arrive – The button is worn around the neck, and the receiver unit is
kept next to the person responsible for attending to Janet. Sort of like a token.
Tomorrow’s report will likely
be delayed because of my physical exam.
2014-06-25 – Wednesday, 7:21 AM
to do great work: She is magic with Janet and can get her to eat,
drink, dress, undress, pee and poo. I am trying to increase the amount of time
that she has for Janet’s care. Janet
looks good in the clothes that Levinia
laundered. The bed is nice and crisply
clean, as is the rest of Janet’s room.
It looks happy.
We met the official Hospice
nurse, who is doing all sorts of things to make Janet comfortable, e.g.
Morphine for leg pain and Tylenol to reduce the fever that could have been
caused by the Morphine. (More on that later, as we research.)
Janet’s brother made it here
safely from CA, although he can only stay a couple of days.
Janet is OK, but sleepy. I hope that she can get well rested so that
she will be ready for her sister’s 5-day visit, starting tomorrow. Some of you will get me (Ray) on the phone
when you call, and I will tell you that Janet is sleeping and cannot be
disturbed because she really needs her rest.
I know that this can be disappointing, and I’m sorry for that, but she
is so tired and is getting more tired.
She did not wake up for dinner last night until 9:00 PM.
2014-06-24 – Tuesday, 7:21 AM
Yesterday (Monday) was quite
an ordeal – although Lavinia (our wonderful help from Griswold) is quite
strong, it was all that the two of us could manage to get Janet into the
car. (Reason, she has very little
strength to get into the car and any way we grab her to lift her hurts. I’m about to go to Harbor Freight to get an
engine lift!) Fortunately, all went well
at the hospital and Janet was a little stronger after the transfusion of 2
units of blood. We didn’t get home until
9:00 PM. The hospital took about 4 hours
to get her the right blood because of antigens that she had acquired that
needed a careful check to ensure that the blood that she was to get was
acceptable. This is more complex than in
the past – perhaps as a result of previous transfusions. She had a bit of a fever after the transfusion,
but Tylenol seems to have worked. She
had shaky limbs and leg pain, but a small dose of Morphine seemed to help. Likely more of the same
Here’s the conflict: Sunday afternoon, Janet was fading really
fast, and I was gravely concerned that she would not be able to lucidly
interact with her family and friends who want to say goodbye – they could be
wounded for the rest of their lives if they could not say farewell to a
wonderful and beloved person. That’s why
I wanted Janet to get a transfusion, on the hope that it might work. As you likely know, there comes a point in
AML patients where transfusions no longer work. (a) The Hospice folks focus on death without
pain, and would be happy to see Janet never leave her bed at Relay. They do not “cure” disease in any way. They do not do transfusions. They are good at what they do, e.g., getting
a “potty” for Janet in just 4 hours when she became unable to get to the
bathroom by herself. They will be of
tremendous value when the “end” comes.
This is why folks speak so highly of them. (b)
Hospitals normally cure disease.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for AML, the
clinical study of which Janet was a part of did not help her and she
does not quality for additional clinical studies. Any additional chemotherapy would likely kill
her quickly. Transfusions can only be
given at the hospital – there is no home service. So, the hospital has no problems providing
Janet with a transfusion, but she (somehow) needs to get to the hospital.
To make matters more complex – and to really piss me off – both organizations
failed the “$1000” test in which I asked “Who can I give one thousand dollars
to in order to get Janet a transfusion today without me having to lug her to
We have not given up on this yet.
Lavinia is doing a great
job: She fed and cleaned Janet. Bathroom and kitchen are clean. Laundry is drying – and all of that is just
after Monday. Today, we’re getting ready
for Steve (Janet’s brother), who will arrive sometime after noon.
All of this is taking a toll
on yours truly. I asked the nurses at
the hospital if a prescription could be written for me to get as many hugs as
required. They noted that the
prescription should be marked “PRN”, and then said “No.”, and wondered how the
prescription would be filled at the pharmacy.
2014-06-23 – Monday Early AM
Lavinia arrived this morning
and prepared breakfast for Janet, which she was able to eat all by
Janet’s doctor indicated that
if she was unable to get to the hospital for a transfusion then the transfusion
would likely not be of benefit.
2014-06-22 - Sunday
Janet started out this
morning OK – we had orange juice, ceareal with strawberrys, and milk for breakfast. Janet was able to get to breakfast all by
herself using her rollerator. Unfortunately, this afternoon, Janet was very
tired and pale. I had to hand feed her
in bed and I had to hold her water bottle for her. She soiled a pile of clothes which are washing
right now. Called in the emergency
Hospice nurse, but are not quite sure how we will be able to get her to her
transfusion appointment tomorrow. Her
“potty” is being delivered at 9:00 PM, so we’ll see if we can avoid walking to
the bathroom. Ray is not happy. Nancy is coming Thursday. Steve is coming Tuesday.
Janet and I met with her doctors, social workers, Hospice
workers, Pain Team and Palliative Care team at length today. The bottom
line is that Janet’s health will continue to decline, but she will live out the
remainder of her life with dignity, without pain and in the company of those
that she loves. A few details:
Janet’s body cannot handle any additional
chemotherapy. More chemo is not an option. Bone marrow
transplant is out for the same reason. She will not be cured of
AML. Chemo did result in a couple of good months which were
enjoyed. She had a great time in WV last weekend with Greg.
The clinical trial, although hopeful, did not help Janet.
There are no other trials available for which Janet qualifies.
As many of you know, Janet fell down several times earlier this
week. On Tuesday, I came by her bedroom to wish her a good day, but found
her sleeping on the dog bed because she collapsed in the bathroom and could not
manage the strength to get back into her bed. On Wednesday, I picked her
up off of the floor twice. I believed that the problem was due to a rare
side-effect of Oxycodone, and so we stopped that drug at about midnight.
She is now able to get from her bed to the bathroom using her new, narrower
walker without assistance. She had no trouble using her walker to get
around JHU today. This is GREAT news, but please
remember that Janet is really weak. None of us are really used to
the idea the Janet could be weak, but now she is. Right now, Janet does
not suffer from leg pain. When/if the pain comes back, we will try an
alternative drug for which her pain doctor wrote a prescription today. (I
had to contact 5 pharmacies in order to get it filled.) If that has bad
side-effects, we will keep on trying new drugs until we find one that stops the
pain, but has manageable side-effects.
Janet’s doctor agrees that the time to visit her is NOW.
Please do not delay.
If you have a cold, her doctor suggests that you come anyway,
but be sure to take the standard precautions: Mask, gloves, Purel and gown. Janet has almost no immune system, so
the slightest infection could lead to disaster. You might want to stay in
a local hotel if you have a cold. If you do not have a cold, we have a
bedroom upstairs and a double bed in the living room.
According to her doctor, AML has resulted in her bone marrow
being unable to produce sufficient quantities of red blood cells and white
blood cells. This is why she received 4 units of red blood
cells this week. This will continue until the point comes that
transfusions are no longer helpful. We are jumping all kinds of crazy
legal/bureaucratic hoops in order to get her blood while in a Hospice status.
Janet’s doctors are making no predictions regarding how long she
will live. So, the time to see her is now. Please come as
soon as you can, and stay as long as you can. All of you are precious to
We have arranged for in-home Hospice care. We see the
Hospice folks at 3:30 PM tomorrow. Janet will never feel pain.
Because of her difficulty in getting around, I will hire someone to be with her
when I am not home. We are working on this and have three leads that will
be tracked down tomorrow.
In addition to Janet’s illness, and Comet’s bone cancer, I must
spend a little time each week helping a couple thousand users with the reality
that our project is being turned off, and that (starting Monday), I will be the
only person left to keep things running. Of course, Janet gets the
highest priority for my time, but if any of you would like to visit her, that
would allow me to catch my breath a bit. I plan to retire in July.
you visit, Janet will want to feed you and to make you comfortable. This
cannot happen, so please keep this in mind when you visit. Greg was the
perfect guest: Spent lots of time with his beloved sister, and made the
kitchen and laundry sparkle. I’m happy to order fine dinners from local
restaurants, and if Janet is as strong as she is right now, there are lots of
places where we can enjoy eating. Once again, I’ll pick up the check so
that we keep Janet out of the kitchen.
the end of the weekend, I will put up a Janet news section at
CherryEngineering.com. Please look for it late Sunday.
e-mail is going out only to Janet’s and my siblings. Please forward as
appropriate, or provide the http://www.CherryEngineering.com
link. I’m not going to send out updates every week as I did while
she was in the hospital, as I’m sure that some folks could not stand being bombarded
with unhappy news every few days.
you respond with “Please let me know what I can do…” in your e-mail, please be
ready to install new LED lights in the hallway, prepare meals, take Janet out for
a wonderful day at the Museum of Industry or the American Visionary Museum,
walk the dogs, do laundry, and especially just spend quality time with
our beloved Janet. (Thanks in advance. Yea, these are things that I
would normally do (and, mostly, enjoy), but my time is limited because of
you cannot make it, we can try Skype again.
All the Best,