Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

Just wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas!

Now that all the chaos is over, and I can't sleep on this Christmas morning, I wanted to send out my thank yous to everyone that made Leo's memorial such a success. I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family that were able to make everything go as Leo wanted it to. Some of you may know that Leo had me plan all the details of his funeral several months ago, so when he passed on Saturday, Celeste and Christine were there immediately to make everything happen just as he wanted it. After we finished business at the hospital, we spent the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday booking places, hammering out details, just doing everything so that Leo went out in style.

To the project management committee: Celeste and Christine-you guys are awesome. I know how exhausting it was and how difficult it was to plan such a sad event, but you got the ball rolling like no one else could.

To the pinoy snack committee: Patrick-what can I say? Everything was AWESOME! You really out did yourself and I can already tell that Jun is right there behind you patting you on the back for a job well done! All the pastries for both evenings of the wake were such a HUGE hit.

To the floral committee: Arvin-beautiful, just beautiful. Every last orchid and every last lily...just as Jun wanted it. The arrangements were beyond my expectation-thank you so much.

To the dessert committee: Octavio, Marissa, Fevin and Myleen. Everything came out perfect. I am still in awe of the beautiful Bears cake! I know that Leo was looking above with a huge "hell yeah!" for that cake. And all the other pastries were just as awesome-thank you for being such wonderful friends!

To the audio visual committee: Octavio and Fevin-Thanks for putting together the wonderful slideshow of photos that we showed for the three days. I still cry when I watch it. It was such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful person and I think that everyone that saw it felt the same way. Thanks also to you, Fevin, for your amazing negotiating and interviewing skills in getting the photographer and videographer. Those guys were awesome and now I know how a movie star feels! Thanks also for putting together the programs for the funeral. Good thing you don't sleep much....There are just not enough thank yous for what you've done for me. :)

To the thank you card committee: Sheryl-I LOVE, LOVE LOVE the cards you chose.

To the IT support committee: Andrew-thanks for making sure our wi-fi was at top performance so everyone could get all their things done. :)

To the posterboard committee: Marissa and Vanessa-wonderful job on the photos. I'm so lucky to have such crafting experts on my side, especially during a crafting emergency such as this one! The posterboards came out awesome!

And of course, thanks to everyone for attending the services and paying your last respects to my wonderful husband. I can't say it enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I already have the photos from the wake and funeral. But there's over 600 of them, so I will go through and pick out my favorites to share. I'm also uploading the photo montage that Fevin and Octavio put together for those that weren't able to come to the services. It's a great collection of pictures of Leo with family and friends. It's about 30 minutes long.

Merry Christmas again to you all. It will not be a great Christmas for me, as I can already feel the emptiness of Leo being gone, but luckily I have my family and friends to help fill that void. Thank you all so much.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Details for the Wake and the Service

Thank you to everyone for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

Visitation will be at Willow Funeral Home:

Monday, December 21, 2009 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 3:00pm – 8:00pm

Willow Funeral Home
1415 West Algonquin Road
Algonquin, Illinois 60102

We will meet at Willow Funeral Home at 8:45am before heading over to the church for the funeral mass:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 10:00am

St. Catherine of Siena Church
845 West Main Street
West Dundee, IL 60118

There is a reception immediately following the services:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Biaggi’s Ristorante
1524 South Randall Road
Algonquin, Illinois 60102

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The fight is over.

Leo's fight with Leukemia ended this morning around 10am. The last week has been horrible for him. They were able to control the bleeding, but were not able to drain the fluid that was collecting in his lungs, so he was having a more and more difficult time breathing. He was going back and forth from the ICU whenever his heart rate would increase. On Friday morning, I got a call from one of the doctors on Leo's oncology team saying that his heart rate was really high again and his breathing was very labored. I made an attempt to rush to the hospital, but was stuck in downtown traffic. Thanks so much to Fevin for giving me the advice to ride on the shoulder with my hazards on, as this got me through the worst part of traffic. As I was waiting in traffic, his doctor called again and said they couldn't control his heart rate and breathing pattern, and he was estimating that Leo had 24 hours to live. He was about correct, as this was around noon on Friday.

We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family that showed up to the hospital that night. Leo was on the bi-pap machine but on some morphine to make him comfortable. So many friends and family came by that night to see Leo and have some final words with him. He was still responsive to people as they spoke inhis ear. His eyes still opened as they heard familiar voices. We took over the entire 6th floor at the hospital. Thank you so much to everyone and I know that Leo appreciated seeing everyone for one last time. He saw the girls and smiled at them all and the girls all said their goodbyes to their dad in their own way. Most stayed until around 2 that morning and a few of us stayed the night. Around 9:30 in the morning, his doctor spoke with me and said that the oxygen machine was not helping him anymore and we could take the mask off at anytime, but that he would be gone soon after. We stopped the machine around 9:40 and he was gone around 9:45. It was horribly difficult in ways I cannot explain, but Leo was ready to go and was just so exhausted. He is finally at peace.

We are making arrangements for a wake for this Monday and Tuesday and a funeral mass on Wednesday, but we're still confirming plans. I will post the arrangements at some point tomorrow. Thanks so much to everyone for your calls, texts and IM's. I can't respond to you all now at this point, but know that all your kind words will help me and the girls through this difficult time. I hope to see most of you in the next week to pay your final respects to my wonderful husband. Take care and I love you all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Just because so many people are asking, I just wanted to let you know that Leo can have visitors, but as before, if you are sick, or have any sort of cough, cold, sniffle or fever, please stay away. Also, if anyone is pregnant or might be pregnant, you cannot come to visit either as Leo has a virus that if pregnant women are exposed to it, might have some bad effects.

He is out of the ICU now, so the visiting rules are not as strict. Visiting hours are generally 9am-9pm. No kids, no flowers or fresh fruit.

Thanks again for all your support.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Out of ICU

Leo at U of C is like "Where's Waldo?", you can't keep track of him because he moves around so much! After all the craziness of yesterday, he has been fairly stable today and he was moved back to the oncology unit, but still constantly monitoring his heart rate and oxygen levels. He has to use the bi-pap machine for a couple hours each night so he doesn't have strain that much. He's been breathing today fine with just an oxygen mask and it's not nearly as labored as it was yesterday. They have increased his medication to help drain the fluid around his lungs and in his whole body and he's significantly less swollen than he was yesterday. Plus we've requested never to be assigned that nurse that upset him in the first place. So let's hope it's all good news from here on out.

Thanks to everyone that was praying and sharing your thoughts throughout the day. Sorry I couldn't get back to everyone. But I got all your messages and I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family. Thanks so much!

Back in the ICU

Leo has been having a difficult time breathing over the weekend, likely because of all the fluid that he's been getting (medications, platelets and blood). He is really swollen, but the bigger concern is that there is fluid collecting around his lungs that is making it very difficult for him to breathe. Throughout the day yesterday, I was having conversations with a lot of doctors to make sure there were aware that Leo does not want to be intubated. They will all follow his wishes, but were very concerned because he was really struggling to breathe. they had also started him yesterday on low doses of Morphine to help with his breathing.

So around 9pm last night, he was struggling an extra amount to breathe and his heart rate was in overdrive. It seemed to me to be triggered by this nurse that was being kind of snippy with him (really...if you don't like people, you shouldn't be working in a job where you help people all day. But that's just my thought.), but they could not control his heart rate and his oxygen levels were dropping quick. It was very scary, because in a matter of seconds, there were 4 doctors, 4 nurses and a chaplain that had rushed into the room to get things under control. Given the do not intubate instructions from us, they tried a bi-pap machine on him instead, which is a machine that is used by those with sleep apnea to help them breathe. It's basically like an oxygen mask on steroids. It forces the oxygen into his lungs so that he doesn't have to work so hard physically to breathe. The mask got his breathing under control after a little while, but his heart rate was still quite high. They did an EKG of his heart, an x-ray of his lungs and a million other things to see what was going on. They admitted him into the ICU immediately and he is here now until his breathing is under better control. I'm still waiting for the doctors this morning to see what they've found over night. I will be sure to keep you posted as I learn more.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Today was a fairly uneventful day (thank God!!!!). Leo's counts are holding ok. His hemoglobin dropped a bit, but nothing crazy, so he needed 2 units of blood today. The doctors aren't too concerned about the drop and they think the bleed has been controlled pretty well. Leo is pretty swollen from all the fluids he's getting and they have at least allowed him to start drinking water today, which is good. They are going to start him on some IV nutrition in the next couple days to help bring his strength up. They can't do it right now because he doesn't have enough IV points. By the way, he's got the three IV's in his central line, 2 in his arm and one in his neck. And that's not enough. Amazing. Just goes to show really how much medication he is on. He is still not taking any of his pills in fear of irritating anything, so they're just giving him anything they can via IV.

The best news of today was that the girls were able to see Leo in the hospital. U of C has a VERY strict policy that they've implemented form his last stay that no kids under 18 are allowed to visit patients. But I think that since Leo's case was deemed fairly urgent, the doctors made an exception to let the girls see him. So they hung out there most of the afternoon. He slept through some of it, but I know that he truly enjoyed having them there and just holding their hands and hearing their voices. I'm glad they had that opportunity, since I don't think they will let the girls come back. So it was a good day.

Anyway, hope everyone enjoyed their weekends. Leo's out of the ICU and I'll take that as a success. Let's hope it's not much longer after this. :)