Monday, September 27, 2010

Funeral Arrangements

Raymond Allen Vitkus

A visitation will be held at Williford Funeral Home, Wednesday, September 29, 2010 from 6-8pm. 
201 E Academy St
Fuquay Varina, NC 27526-2248
(919) 552-2211

Funeral services will be conducted at Fuquay Varina United Methodist Church on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 11am. 
100 S Judd Pkwy SE
Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526
(919) 552-4331

Interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery on January 5, 2011.  Further details to follow closer to the date. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Legion Scholarship fund in the name of Raymond Vitkus. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Well Done

Well done good and faithful servant - well done.

Ray Vitkus went to be with the Lord peacefully on Saturday September 25, 2010 at 5:45pm.  Mom, Mary and I were all there with him as he passed.  

Dad slept all day today and was never conscience.  Last night before bed he said he loved us, kissed mom goodnight and wanted his picture taken with a big smile on his face. 

Throughout this whole process he has been the example of what it means to faithfully chase after God.  Even today we had nurses coming in wanting to talk about dad's faith. Amazing!

Mary and I are spending the night with mom at mom's house tonight.  Tomorrow we will start to get things together and organized.  Monday we will finalize the funeral and burial arrangements.  I will let you all know the plans once we have them set. 

We continue to appreciate your prayers as this will be a long process for us all.  We are happy for dad but sad for us. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

A different day

Dad has been in the hospital since a week ago Wednesday, so this is day 10.   Mom, Mary and I have all been here since Monday.  The week has been a blessing for us.  Our family has been able to come and visit dad and say their goodbyes.  We have had great talks and laughed a lot.  The last four days have been such a gift!  It is time we will never get back and always remember.

God has also been present this week in everything.  We have had several God moments where it was clear He is in control and using dad for His glory.

Today has been a different day that last last few.  Dad is showing signs of wearing down.  He has been tired and a little fuzzy headed.  We will see what the next few days bring.

We continue to feel your love and prayers.  It has been such a gift to talk to so many of you via email, facebook, and phone calls.  We feel so loved.  

As this journey comes to an end, know that we are all confident in God's plan and know that He is in control.  

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hospital Party

Even though we are going through this really hard time we have been having a party here at the hospital.  It seems strange to be on a cancer unit with people who are at the end of their life and we are laughing.  Dad has so much joy and peace about his situation.  He is witnessing to anyone that will stand in the room long enough to listen.  We have even had a Dr. come in and say dad's attitude encouraged her to have a religious conversation with her mom.  Mom has also "friended" one of our nurses on Facebook.

This has been a roller coaster of emotions.  At the beginning of the week we thought that it was over.  So we all came to the hospital, said our good byes and tried to prepare ourselves.  But God isn't done with dad yet.

We have really been blessed with this opportunity to be together as a family.  Mom, Dad, Mary and I haven't been just the four of us since 1999.

Dying is a very difficult thing, but dad is doing it with style.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Staying strong

We are lucky to still have dad here hanging out with us.  His breathing has finally stabilized and he doesn't have to think about breathing anymore.  He is on 100% oxygen with a face mask and morphine.  The combination seems to be working wonderfully.  Part of "comfort care" means no IV fluids or TPN or vitals being taken or blood drawn.  So at this point he basically just gets oxygen and antibiotics.  He says he isn't in any pain and that we are "partying". 

Mom, Mary and I have all been here since Monday afternoon.  It has been really good family bonding time.  We have watched movies, laughed, and reminisced about family adventures.  Our wonderful husbands have been taking over full time kid care so we can be here with Mom and Dad.  They have brought the kids to visit each day. 

This whole process has been hard, wonderful, and a blessing.  Each day is a gift.  Dad has been sharing his faith with everyone.  It is clear that God is using dad even now.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.  They really do make a difference.  It is so amazing to know we have friends all over the world who love us and who have been impacted by dad. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Comfort Care - A Dad update

Dear ones,
We have been assured that the doctors have done all that can be done for Ray. There are no other procedures that can be done at this time that will cause Ray to regain his breathing health.  The girls are spending the night with us here in the hospital.  Ray consented to comfort care that will remove any further testing and treatments other than what is needed for his comfort.  The TPN will be discontinued after tonight so that it does not add any extra fluid to his lungs.

Ray is at peace with all of this and feels the love and joy from his family, friends and mostly his God.
We have been and are still so grateful for your prayers and continual concern for Ray and our family.  God has blessed us through this season of cancer by your prayers, words of comfort and reflections on how this season in our lives has affected yours.  God does make good out of evil and that is so true in this case.
Ray is not and will not be in any pain, but our prayer is that he will remain comfortable as long as he is with us.  He is currently enjoying some yummy chocolate ice cream and juice.  It is the first food he has had in a few days.  

We have all decided to have a service here in NC and burial at Arlington National Cemetery when the time comes.  We will advise you at a later time.

With love,
Ray, Kerry, Mary & Pam

Saturday, September 18, 2010

An update on my dad

To this point I have kept this blog about our happy family adventures and about our sweet princess.  But since many of you also know my parents I wanted to post this email update my mom wrote about my dad's current health (see below).  

A short summary is that my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004.  He had surgery and did chemo.  In 2008 the cancer came back and they did more chemo.  He had a very big operation in early 2009 that took out most of his small and large intestines and some other organs.  Dad had a bad infection from the surgery and it has taken over a year to heal.  The cancer is growing and has attached to a number of organs.  He has been doing well and has had good energy until recently.

My father is a Christ follower who loves the Lord.  He is a glass "half full" kind of guy.  Even cancer can't get him down!

Grandpa and Cali watching cartoons together 2 weeks ago

Precious Friends and Family,

Ray and I want to thank you for your great faithfulness in your prayers for Ray.  After the July diagnosis, Ray was doing very well but showed increasing signs of tiredness.  We assumed it was due to the medications and ofter affects of the new chemo treatments. He also had a decrease in appetite and he was always cold.

This past weekend was my last weekend at our sweet church in Henderson due to Ray’s declining health. During that weekend, Ray starting to experience some acid reflux, vomiting and severe pain. On Monday, our local doctor ordered x-rays, but by Wednesday morning, we had not gotten authorization from our insurance company so I asked the doctor for authorization to go to the ER.  From Western Wake Hospital all day to a transport late at night to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill Cancer Center until Thursday morning where Ray was showing some respirator difficulty we ended up in the MICU in the main hospital at UNC for a day and a half.  Ray returned to the Cancer Center yesterday and will stay here for several more days.

The status now is antibiotics to fight the pneumonia, oxygen to keep his oxygen level above 90% (low was 78%), no food by mouth to rest the bowel and evaluate on Monday how to proceed from here.  The attending physician for the weekend and our oncologist are considering a G tube to drain the gastric fluid out of Ray’s stomach.  This would be a permanent change and that would have Ray on liquids from now on along with the TPN and IV saline. This is a big change for Ray, but he is already thinking about all of the liquids he can enjoy and many of them start with the adjective, chocolate. 

Ray no longer has any pain, is breathing better and resting well. He is also the favorite patient on the floor.  I heard that MICU did not want to let him go.  I think this is true for all that know him.

Please continue to keep Ray and our family in your prayers as we face the days ahead.  God has blessed us with these extra special months with Ray and memories have been made.  It is my hope for at least one more Christmas as it is Ray’s favorite holiday.

God’s Richest Blessings on all of you!

We have a Facebook Group page for dad if you want to join.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Nick took Cali for a Playdate with my sister and nephew. They met at the mall to play in the indoor toddler playground. After playtime they had lunch and walked around. The kids look so big here. Nick said they had fun and the kids did great together.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.4.9

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Retro Pics

We have an app on our phones that lets us take fun Retro Pictures.  Here are some favorites.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nick's Birthday

Nick's Birthday was Friday. We tried to go out for dinner to celebrate but Cali had other plans.  So we got take out and ate at home.

Saturday we had my side over for a birthday cook out!  Here is the birthday boy.

The 3 cousins had a blast playing together.  I think Mary's kids loved having different toys to play with.

The kids eventually pulled out ALL of the toys in the playroom.  It was awesome!  They had a blast!

Happy Birthday my love!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Water time

This is how Cali and Nick entertained themselves this afternoon.  A plastic bin, cups, water, bath toys and a bathing suit!  They had a blast!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wedding Weekend

Our good friends Eric and Allison got married this weekend.  You may remember this post about their wedding shower.  Friday night Nick went to the bachelor party with the rest of the groomsman and ushers. They had a wild night of dinner and bowling.  I love the integrity of these Christian men!

Saturday was the rehearsal.  Nick, Cali and I spent the morning setting up for the rehearsal dinner.  Cali was uber helpful and even helped carry in the cars.  After a lot of hard work Cali had a picnic lunch on the floor.  

Cali played with a babysitter while Nick and I attended the evenings events.  Here we are with our friends Jon and Cory.   While the boys learned where to stand on the rehearsal, Cory and I helped clean up the dinner.

Sunday Nick had more groomsman duties so Cali and I went to church on our own.  

Here is a picture from the wedding.  It was a really neat ceremony and they did some things I had never seen before!  It was very memorable and touching! 

The reception was at an old mill in Greensboro.  It was a great party!  It was so much fun to see so many people from church all dressed up and having fun.  We are a jeans and t-shirt kind of church so it was a nice change so see everyone in dresses and suits.   The reception had good food, drinks, music and a super fun photo booth.  

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Park

Cali has really enjoyed the park lately and it is a great way to get her tired before bed!
Here are some cute pictures of our little girl.

Resting on the slide
In the big girl swing