Friday, April 29, 2011


Visiting the cemetery has become a weekly trip for the boys and I.  And surprisingly we all seem to enjoy our time there.  Walking around looking at all the headstones seems to spark conversation that we probably would not have had otherwise.  And of course the occasional game of hide and go seek makes the trip even more memorable.

Just a few days ago the boys gave me another memorable moment that I thought you might all enjoy...
Me     "Look boy's someone moved the old flowers from Grandma's grave."

Tyson "Oh no, now we don't know which one is Grandma.  We lost Grandma!"

Me     (laughing) "No Ty, her gave is still right there."

Tyson  "Oh, phew.  That was a close one."

The boys then went up to Adele's grave with some gifts and as always told her they loved her and blew her kisses.

 The wind was beginning to pick up so Tyson and Bryce ran back to the car while I took one last photo.

As I began to turn around and head back to the car, Bryce came running back yelling.

Bryce  "Wait, wait I have more kisses for Grandma."

After he blew a few more additional kisses he walked right in the middle of the grave and stomped his foot down twice as hard as he could. 

Me    (a little shocked)"Bryce why did you just step on Grandma's grave?"

Bryce  "I made an X with my foot so we won't lose her again."

Me       "Bryce, I promise we will never lose Grandma.  Remember I told you the cemetery is just where we come to visit Grandma's body, her spirit doesn't live here.  Grandma's spirit is alive and always with us."

Bryce   "Of course I know that.  I just don't want to lose her so I make an X and tomorrow we will know right where she is.  But maybe we can get a big rock like that (points to a neighboring headstone) with Grandma's name on it.  Then we will never lose her."

Me     "Great idea B, I'll look into that!"

The next day Bryce upgraded the stomped X with an engraved X in the dirt thanks to a near by stick.

"Gone yet not forgotten, although we are apart, your spirit lives within me, forever in my heart."

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Two weeks ago today Adele found peace and we all fell to pieces.  The last fourteen days have been some of the most difficult and yet beautiful days of our lives.

Adele's calling hours took place on Monday, April 18, 2011 from 4:00 - 7:00 pm.  Friends and family began to arrive by 3:30 and continued to visit until well after 7:00.  We were all overwhelmed by the amount of visitors that stood in line to say their final farewells.  People came in from all over NY as well as other states.  Some drove hours, others had to fly but everyone came together because Adele had touched their hearts in one way or another.

The flowers at the calling hours took my breath away.  They were all stunning and I know Adele loved them.

"To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat." 
~Beverly Nichols

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Will go on

Some have asked if the blog will continue and my answer is yes. Adele is very much still a part of our life's and always will be.  The updates will not be as regular as they once were but there is still much to be said.

As our family struggles to find peace with the loss of Adele we would just like to thank everyone again for all of the food, flowers, cards, donations, and kindness that you have bestowed upon us. 

It's very rare that I am speechless but here I sit at a complete loss of words.  So I'll try again later.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Love is stronger than death

Thank you to everyone for all of your love and support.  We apologize but at this time there are just no words...only sweet memories and the comfort of great friends and family. 

Information for the calling hours and funeral can be found in the link below.

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death.
~Robert Fulghum~

Thursday, April 14, 2011


In the warm embrace of her family Adele peacefully passed away on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 12:15am.

Her body was just too tired and needed a well deserved rest.  But her heart and soul live strong in us all and that is something cancer can never touch.

Although it's difficult today to see beyond the sorrow,
May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

With her

Last night Adele's right lung collapsed due to the enormous amount of pressure from the tumor.  She is on 100% oxygen from the ventilator and the doctors have her under sedation for comfort. 

Today is a day for her family to be with her.

Love is stronger than death even though it can't stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can't separate people from love. It can't take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death. - Author Unknown

Monday, April 11, 2011


Forgive the bluntness of this e-mail. 
Something's in life just suck, there is no other polite way to say it.  This is one of those things. 

Life, everyone's life has a beginning and an end.  That's just a fact.  But if we are lucky there is also a really great middle filled with countless smiles, laughs, tears and anything else you decide to squeeze in.  Adele's beginning was sweet, the middle was lived to the fullest and the end will be because of stage four lung cancer. 

No matter how "normal" her blood counts get, or how low her dependency becomes on the breathing tube she still has a very large tumor that is not going away.  There may come a time when the doctors advice will be to do no more chemo, no more blood pressure medicine, no more breathing tube.  This is just the reality of the situation and it wouldn't be right not to share the good as well as the bad.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.  ~Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spa Day

If you happen to visit Adele and find yourself wondering why she looks so pretty it's because we had a "spa day" today!  A little hair wash, manicure ( a little too short for her taste but they look great) and some wonderful hand and foot massages.  Also, if you happen to notice a few more stray hairs on her pillow than usual that's okay.  Hair loss was a symptom the doctor told us about when she started chemo. 

With all things considered today was another good day.  Adele's oxygen is at 50 with her oxygen saturation at 96%.  She will be having some testing done tomorrow so if you are planning a visit she might be out of the room during the morning/ afternoon hours.

We wanted to share a portion of an e-mail received by Lisa Kurtz (One of Adele's loving nieces).  It brought a smile to our faces, hopefully it will do the same for you...

"Okay last night when I was with aunt deedee, her night nurse came in and introduced herself to me and she was so nice. She talked to aunt adele not in a 3rd party, she told her it was nice to see her more alert and what day it was and how she sort of slept thru the last few days, and asked her if she was in pain. Then she said I love to look at pictures, and then she stopped in her tracks and said oh is this adele doing a "oh boy" yup shot. I said yes. She said this is a fun aunt, I said you have no idea!"

" When I got there Sheri Bistrovich was there visiting her and patsy had just left.. Jimmy Daly and Ruthann came in also.  The nurse said holy cow do you have a big family or is she a politician. I said she could be the mayor of Nedrow and she does have a huge family that loves her so much."

Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


The sun brought with it a breath of fresh air, literally!  Although Adele was very tired and not as alert as she has been, her oxygen levels were much better today and the doctors were once again pleased with what they saw.

"Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no delay, no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today."-- EARL OF CHESTERFIELD


Friday, April 8, 2011


Today was another day full of visitors and we are pretty sure Adele is loving all the attention!  She was more alert and responsive which gives us many reasons to be hopeful for the days ahead. 

Once again the doctors were pleased with her blood counts.  And we love having nothing more to say on this news is good news!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend filled with good friends, warm weather and beautiful pictures to capture each moment.  You can never take too many pictures, you just never know how meaningful they are until you can't take anymore. 

Grandma and Tyson

    Adele becomes a Grandma!  November 15, 2003

Adele becomes a Grandma again!  October 24, 2005

Sexy Mama ;)

Thanksgiving 2005

The most important thing in illness is never to lose heart.
Nikolai Lenin

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Yesterday the nurses told us Adele must have had over 50 visitors throughout the day.  Although happy to hear that we were not at all surprised.  She has touched so many hearts along the pathway of her life; of course they would come to see her!

The oxygen levels through Adele's breathing tube have been fluctuating anywhere from 90 to 60.  This evening they are holding steady at 70.

Adele has routine blood tests to stay ahead of any infections and also to check her blood counts.  As mentioned before, chemo destroys the cancer in ones body but also a lot of the good stuff too.  Such as the body's production of blood cells.  So it's a good sign when the body begins to produce those healthy cells again.  Today the doctors were very pleased with her numbers.  And any good news is always welcomed!

Below there is some additional information on blood counts just in case you have any questions.

Blood Counts

The goal of cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy is to destroy cancerous cells in the body. However, some of the body’s normal cells are sensitive to these treatments and may also be damaged in the process. In addition, some cancer treatments can interfere with the body’s production of blood cells. For instance, chemotherapy can cause white blood cells to be destroyed faster than the bone marrow can make new ones.

Types of Blood Cells

There are three basic types of blood cells, each with different functions in the body. White blood cells (WBCs), also called leukocytes, fight infections in the body. Red blood cells (RBCs), also called erythrocytes, carry oxygen from the lungs to cells throughout the body. Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are involved in blood clotting.

Nadir: A Drop in Blood Cell Counts

Nadir is a term used to describe the point after cancer treatment when blood counts are at their lowest. The nadir for each blood cell type will occur at different times. For instance, WBCs will usually reach their nadir within seven to 14 days following the last day of chemotherapy treatment. A person is most vulnerable to infection at this point. Within three or four weeks, the blood counts will slowly rise again to a normal level.
During cancer treatment, your doctor will do routine blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC), to check the levels of WBCs, RBCs, and platelets in your blood. Sometimes, a sample of bone marrow may be taken as well.   

Low White Blood Cell Counts (Neutropenia)

White blood cells help protect the body by fighting bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders that cause infections. One type of WBC, neutrophils, make up the majority of WBCs and are the body’s main defense against infections. Neutropenia results from an abnormally low level of neutrophils in the blood.
When your neutrophil count is low, your doctor may delay further treatment or recommend a lower dose until your WBC count returns to a normal level. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics as a preventive measure and recommend a variety of precautions, such as hand washing.
There are also certain drugs or other therapies that may be used to treat neutropenia. For example, growth factors (also known as granulocyte-colony stimulating factors, or G-CSFs) may be used to stimulate the bone marrow to produce neutrophils. Some growth factors include Neupogen®, Neulasta®, and Leukine®.
WBC4.5 - 11.01.5 or below

Low Red Blood Cell Counts (Anemia)

Red blood cells contain a substance called hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Hemoglobin and hematocrit are the tests used to evaluate RBCs. Anemia results from a low RBC count. Anemia is a common problem for people fighting cancer, particularly blood cancers like lymphoma or leukemia. Fewer red blood cells mean your body is getting less oxygen for energy and function.
When your RBC count is low, the body tissues are not getting enough oxygen to function properly and you may experience fatigue. If your RBC counts become dangerously low, you may require a transfusion (intravenous delivery of blood) to raise RBC levels and help restore energy.
Also, certain medications can stimulate RBC production, such as erythropoietin. These growth factors (e.g., Aranesp®, Procrit®, Epogen®) are generally given by subcutaneous injection (a shot under the skin). If poor diet is the cause of anemia, eating a balanced diet and taking iron and folic acid supplements may help.
Hemoglobin12.0 - 168.0 or below
Hematocrit38 - 47None

Low Platelet Counts (Thrombocytopenia)

Platelets help your blood to clot and prevent excessive bleeding. Decreased levels of platelets during cancer treatment can cause bleeding or bruising. Thrombocytopenia is a low blood platelet count.
Fortunately, platelet levels usually return to normal following the completion of chemotherapy. If your platelet count is extremely low, you may be given a blood or platelet transfusion to restore the count to normal.
Platelet Count150 - 45030 or below

Someone remembers, someone cares;
Your name is whispered in someone’s prayers.
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


There has been a pouring of friends and family visiting Adele in the ICU.  Nothing makes us happier than knowing she is surrounded by people who love her as much as we do.  I'll post the ICU hours again.  We should all try to stay within their recommended time slots but ( you didn't hear this from us) anytime you are able to visit you should do so.  The ICU is located on the third floor and Adele is in room 8, right across from the nurses station. 

Visiting Guidelines and Hours
Intensive Care/ Coronary Care
Limited to immediate family, 3 visitors (over 14 years of age) maximum :
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

snow, rain & tears

The snow and Rain seem to fit with the mood of the day.  Adele's health is deteriorating and because of this we as a family have put a do not resuscitate order into affect.   A do not resuscitate (DNR) order tells medical professionals not to perform CPR. This means that doctors and nurses will not attempt emergency CPR if Adele's heartbeat stops.   

The DNR was chosen after speaking with the doctors last night.  The chemotherapy was not successful in shrieking the tumor, instead there has been growth.  The tumor is causing extreme havoc within Adele's frail body.  This enables her to live the life that we all know she wants to live.  So if her heart did stop and CPR was successful in restoring a heartbeat this would only allow her to resume the lifestyle she is currently living.

Also with Adele's illness, CPR may not work or may only partially work, leaving her in a worse medical state than before her heart had stopped.  This is why the DNR was chosen.  We know that she would prefer to be cared for without aggressive efforts at resuscitation.

Some additional symptoms Adele seems to be experiences...

She remains under sedation in the ICU.  But does respond occasionally to friendly visitors with a flutter of her eyes, moving of her lips and movement in her arms and legs.

Thorns and stings
And those such things
Just make stronger
Our angel wings.
~Terri Guillemets

Monday, April 4, 2011

No Trach

After weighing all the pro and cons we, along with the doctors have chosen against a tracheotomy.  For now Adele will remain on the breathing tube.  She continues to be heavily sedated for both comfort as well as pain management.

We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, "Why did this happen to me?" unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.  ~Author Unknown

About the same

Today Adele is doing about the same as she has been.  This is not a good sign or a bad sign it just is.  We will post more later if things change.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.  ~Herm Albright, quoted in Reader's Digest, June 1995

A ray of sun on a rainy day

Sometimes it's difficult to remember why the dark rainy days are just as important as the sunny ones.  Without the rain there would be no rainbows, no kids splashing in puddles of water and no purple tulips to remind us that despite the darkness life will always find a way to go on.

Thank you for all the rays of sun you have sent during our rainy days! 

The only "get well soon" gift basket we have ever gotten that has
beer and chicken noodle soup side by side!
Thank you Cusimano Family!  Doug and I are feeling much better!

Thank you for the juice and water bottle Brenda.  This worked out great!

B and his amazing balancing bunnies (Thanks Yvonne)


Our wonderful neighbors made us dinner!

A box of love from Uncle Jake and Aunt Jean, with a BB on top!

Better than a box of love it's a box of food!
Thank you SO much, you guys are the BEST :)

The food was great but Tyson and Bryce
 found Mommy's dry ice trick
to be a whole lot cooler!

Casting spells over their box of dry ice!

It takes a lot of work from the face to let out a smile, but just think what good smiling can bring to the most important muscle of the body... the heart.  ~Author Unknown

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 3, 1975

36 years ago today Adele gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.  Douglas Robert Burdick gave her the most amazing gift, motherhood.  A few years later Michael David Burdick once again opened up her world to the joys of becoming a new mother.  Doug and Mike are Adele's heart and soul, she loves them with everything she has.  She is an amazing mother and I am personally honored to be the recipient to the years she spent investing in her son's upbringing.  Her compassion, love and dedication have been felt by us all and we are all better people for it.

Happy Birthday Doug!

You wanted toys right Dad?!?!?!?

Mike, Adele & Doug

Tyson's face with Bryce's hair....Little Doug

Mother, son & pony

 A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.  ~Irish Proverb