October 29, 2010
Dear friends, we are very grateful for all of you and deeply appreciate your concern and prayers. Two and a half weeks ago, when we first learned of her terminal illness, Roberta said that wanted to visit and bless all of her friends. As you know, her cancer has been extremely agressive, and she weakeded so rapidly that she was only able to visit with family and a few friends. We are very sad about this situation, but trust that you will sense her blessings even though she may not have been able to visit with you. Roberta's health has declined significantly in the past few days, and last night she entered a coma. Tonight Marten & Christiana, Stephen, John, and I gathered around her bedside to pray, sing hymns and talk about her legacy. Although she is still here with us, we know that she will soon return to her Maker. We entrust her to our Loving Heavenly Father. Although she has been unable to communicate her love to all of you, I will make an attempt to do so by sharing on this website, writing emails, and posting photos
that can be accessed her. Love, Norm & Roberta, Christiana & Marten, Stephen, John.
The last few days have been very quiet and we enjoy spending time in silence holding Roberta's hand and stroking her hair. Although she has discomfort, she has never complained. Roberta has very little energy, but uses it wisely to say a few words of great blessing. Today, these words were ones we have heard many times before, but they resonate more now than ever: "I love you with all my heart" and "God will take care of you" are words we heard her whisper today. It is difficult for her to move more than an inch or two, and she is using hand motions to make her needs known. These are very painful and sorrowful days, but they are also filled with peace and joy. Tonight Stephen showed her some photos of our family over the years. Although she could focus for only a few minutes, the smile on her face brought joy to our hearts. Her last words tonight were "It has been a nice day". Indeed, it has been a nice day, as every day together has been. We thank God for the tremendous outpouring of love and concern for Roberta and our family. She is, and always will be, the love of my life, and it brings great comfort to our family to hear of your thoughts and prayers. Our sorrow is profound, but so is the peace we have received from God.
October 22, 2010
Roberta came home from the hospital on Friday, October 15. Christiana, Stephen, and John have been a tremendous help, and Roberta enjoys being with the family in her own home. We thank God that Marten (Christiana's husband) arrived safely from Uganda on Tuesday. It is wonderful to have all of our children at home during this difficult time. We have set up Roberta's bed in the dining room and she has a view out the large sliding glass doors to the hillside in our backyard which is very colorful as the lantana and cape honeysuckle are in full bloom. Roberta continues to have a bright smile and a good sense of humor. We enjoy being by her bedside and helping her through this difficult transition. Roberta is on oxygen and confined to her bed, but her spirit is not confined. We are blessed by her wonderful presence. She very much wants to see all of her friends, but realizes that she won't be able to. She has very limited energy and gets exhausted quite easily, and hopes you understand. She is very grateful for the many wonderful messages that have been left on this website (see sidebar), for the emails, cards, meals, and offers for help. She prays that you are blessed and wishes that she had energy to visit with everyone.
October 16, 2010
On Sunday, October 10, Roberta complained of severe abdominal pains. She had first experienced these pains 6 days earlier, and had visited her primary care physician. It was originally thought that she had an infection as was given antibiotics, but the pain did not subside. On Friday she had an ultrasound because it was thought she might have gall stones. The sonogram showed negative for gallstones, and the doctor became concerned that there might be an unusal infection. Roberta's blood test from Wednesday showed elevated levles of liver enzymes (alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase) and she was given another blood test on Friday. Her physician said that she was free to accompany me on a trip to Florida where I was scheduled to present a paper, providing her liver enzyme levels did not increase. On Saturday we reviewed the results online and noted that the enzyme levels remained relatively unchanged.
On Sunday afternoo, Roberta experienced severe abdominal cramps and I took her to the emergency room at Kaiser Hospital. The radiologists performed a CT scan on her abdomen and it revealed massive lesions in her liver. Roberta was admitted to the hospital and began a series of tests including 2 CT scans, a spinal MRI, a liver biopsy, a bone scan, numerous blood tests, and a variety of others. On Friday she was transported to colonscopy room when the physician said that it was determined there would be no need for a colonoscopy. She was in stage IV cancer, and the colonscopy would pose risk without benefit for treatment. You can click on the diagnosis link to read more about her condition.
We have received excellent care from Kaiser Hospital. Roberta has received care from approximately 70 people including 7 phyicians. After 6 days in the hospital the physicans were able to develop a regimen for pain management that should work for us at home. She will be receiving palliative care to treat pain and will receive weekly visits from the palliatve team. I will serve as her primary caregiver and will be assisted by Christiana, Stephen, and John
Throughout all of the myriad of tests and procedures, Roberta remained very gracious. She continued to thank and bless everyone that attended to her. It is a tremendous blessing that our three children are now with her. You can read more about this by selecting the Family link on the left.
October 11, 2010
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ at Valley Presbyterian Church: It is with great sadness that I report that my wonderful wife, Roberta, is critically ill. We have been seeing a doctor for the past week due to abdominal pains which were assumed to be a gall stone. The ultrasound showed no gall stones, so when she was feeling pain again today, we requested a CAT scan. The physician said that her condition is "bigger problem than anyone thought" and her condition is "very advanced", "encompassing the entire liver". He said it looks "like a sponge" on CAT scan. He said "it is possible that nothing can be done". Tomorrow we have another CAT scan and a liver biopsy and will talk with the specialists. Roberta understood everything the doctor was saying, and took it with tremendous grace. We are trusting the Lord in this incredibly difficult time. I will let you know if there will opportunities for visitors. Currently it is just immediate family.
We are very grateful that so many friends have expressed a desire to visit with Roberta and offered to help us in many ways. We are very, very grateful and desirous of time with each of you. Unfortunately, Roberta must take very strong pain killers to deal with the severe amdominal pains she experiences. Currently her pain is controlled relatively well, but she is often exhausted as a direct result of the cancer and a side effect of her many medicines. Roberta is very eager to see all of her friends, but sadly we must manage the visits to protect her fragile health. Please understand that she desires to be with all of her friends, but we will have to schedule visits according to her strength and health. You can give me a call and I will be glad to let you know when it might be possible given the constraints of her situation.
Many have people have asked how they can help, and we are very grateful for all of the offers. Mary Beth Bryer, a friend at Valley Presbyterian Church, is coordinating dinners. This has been an extradorinarily busy time and unfortunatley we have not been able to do much planning to accomodate the help that is offered. Please be assured that your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated and felt.
Original Welcome page
Dear Family and Friends:
As you may know, my beloved wife, Roberta Herr, is critically ill. I have established this website as a way of communicating her condition to you. I plan to update this website periodically. The photo to the right was taken on October 2, eight days before we learned of her condition. Her sweet smile still shines, despite the pain and anguish of recent days.
wants to express our sincerest appreciation for your friendship, support, and expressions of love and concern. We are grateful for your prayers and have a deep sense of God's presence. This is most difficult experience in our lives, but God has blessed with His abiding peace.
On October 10, shortly after reporting to the ER for acute abdominal pain, Roberta was told that her condition appeared to be cancerous, was "very advanced", and "encompassed the entire liver" so that it looked "like a sponge". When she was told "it is quite possible nothing can be done", she calmly replied that she fully uderstood what was said, and that she was not afraid of death, and would continue to trust in God both now and in eternity. As a medical professional, Roberta is fully aware of the tremendous challenges that lay ahead of her, and knows that things will be very, very, difficult for her, her friends, and her family. On October 15 it was confirmed that she is in stage IV cancer. If you are interested, you can read about her diagnosis
by selecting the link on the sidebar. We are pursuing additional medical options and advice, but will accept our portion, however difficult it may be. Roberta is acutely aware of the brevity of life, and intends to continue to live each day for God. She sends her love to all. I will be providing updates
that can be accessed through the links in the sidebar.
With gratitude and love in our hearts,
Norm & Roberta
Christiana & Marten (son-in-law), Stephen, John
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38)
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)
P.S. Click on images to see them full-size. If you would like to leave a message for Roberta, you may do so by clicking on the "Notes for Roberta
" link in the sidebar.
In the love of Almighty God, Norm & Roberta Herr
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27