Funeral Services

Thanks to everyone for your kind wishes for our family during this time.

The memorial service for Franklin will be held at 10am on Saturday, August 25, at Silverdale Lutheran Church, 11701 Ridgepoint Dr NW, Silverdale, WA 98383. This is the home church for Franklin’s sister and mother. As you may know, Bethany Lutheran Church on Bainbridge  is Franklin’s long time home church. We wanted to make sure the venue was large enough to accommodate everyone, however, and we also did not want to interfere with a wedding held at Bethany the same day. Bethany’s pastor, Paul Stumme-Diers, will be presiding at Franklin’s service.

The memorial service will be followed by a reception at Silverdale Lutheran. At the reception, there will be an opportunity to share stories and remembrances of Franklin. A viewing and  graveside service will follow at 2 pm at Haven of Rest Funeral Home and Cemetery, 8503 State Route 16 NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332.

In lieu of flowers, Franklin has designated four charities that he would like to support: Bethany Lutheran Church; Compass Housing Alliance; Church of Steadfast Love; and ELCA’s Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service.

We are working to arrange an electronic guestbook. In the meantime, if anyone wishes to share thoughts for such a guestbook, please feel free to leave them in the comments on this blog. Additionally, if you have any photos of Franklin that you think the family would like to have, please email them to me at marco.b.simons [at] gmail.com with the subject header “Photos of Franklin.”

Franklin’s passing

Yesterday afternoon, August 11, 2018, Franklin passed away at Virginia Mason hospital, surrounded by family. At the end, his passing was peaceful and he was not in pain.

Earlier this week we had still been optimistic that he might recover enough to begin the clinical trial; Dr. Picozzi said that Franklin still had a spot saved. Franklin was still having considerable trouble breathing, however, and was also eating very little. On Thursday, he had a CT scan to determine whether fluid (ascites) was causing pressure on his lungs, and whether this could be relieved. The scan showed, however, that while there might be fluid, there were also metastases in the lungs.

Franklin continued to receive visitors throughout Thursday and Friday; he was alert much of the time but also sleeping a lot. On Friday, the doctors met with the family for a care conference. The result of this was a decision to evaluate the next steps over the weekend – whether Franklin would stay where he was, move to hospice care at Virginia Mason, or move to in-home care.

One of his last wishes on Saturday morning was to wear “regular” clothes rather than a hospital gown. So Linnea found him a soft fleece shirt that he could wear, which made him happy.

Linnea and Franklin at 7:20am, 8-11-18

He then asked to be removed from supplemental oxygen and other support except for his morphine drip. He told Linnea that he was ready, and that he was not afraid.

Over the course of Saturday, he quickly slipped into unconsciousness and his breathing became shallower, but he did not appear to be in pain. He was attended by Linnea, his mother, his son David, his sister Elizabeth, his niece Kimberly and nephew William and his family, and Linnea’s sons – my brother Matthew and me. David’s, Matthew’s, and my families were also able to come in briefly to say goodbye. Franklin’s daughter Catherine, who had been in constant contact with Franklin’s doctors since she had to return to Boston, joined by phone.

Around 4:30pm, Pastor Jimmy Hao from Grace Chinese Lutheran Church began a commendation service for Franklin. As we held hands and prayed, Franklin took his last breaths.

My mother and Franklin’s entire family are extremely grateful for all the support that you all have shown over the past three years. Franklin would not have lived as long as he did, with the quality of life that he had, without your love and assistance.

We will post details about services and other memorials in the coming days, but the tentative plan is to have services the weekend of August 24-26. For now, the best way to contact Linnea is via text or email (or mail); she is exhausted and is not receiving visitors or calls at the moment.

Yesterday’s date was a palindrome – 8-11-18 – which Franklin would have appreciated.

Health Update 9 August 2018

This is Bill Chu, my sister Kim and I are visiting to Uncle Franklin. I been invited to share this update with the blog community. Please pray for healing.

Franklin is currently in Virginia Mason Hospital room 1822. He is having severe respiratory distress and a lack of appetite. Franklin is hoping to get on a clinical trial a new oral cancer treatment. The clinical trial board is holding a spot for him; however, given his compromised state he does not presently qualify.

Franklin has been in hospital for several weeks with a variety of compilations including infection, bowel obstruction and respiratory distress.

He has friends and family surrounding him. Jenny, Catherine, David, Matthew and Marco are showering him with love and care.

 

July proved to be a challenging period. Franklin spent the first week in hospital for an infection. He was released once infection was under control, however he had to return to hospital after only one day at home. This time Franklin was unable to keep anything down, having difficulty breathing and was retaining water.

Radiologic evidence indicated a obstruction in the distal end of the small intestine. Franklin was treated with a nasogastric tube to release pressure from his belly, and medication to promote clearing of the obstruction.

For two weeks Franklin took nothing by mouth. The internal medicine team was at a standstill and the surgical team elected not to take Franklin’s case given the his current cancer status. Dr.  Catherine Chu was on hand to intercede both as a patient advocate and as a medical consultant. She and Franklin suggested that the Gastrointestinal Team might employ a stent to relieve the obstruction.

Under the pressure of persistent requests for consult from the Doctors Chu , the GI team sent Omar the GI Physicians Assistant to make an initial assessment. The PA thought the stent idea might be fruitful and ordered a Cat scan to determine a more precise assessment of the blockage. Was the there a single blockage or multiple sites? Was the blockage due to impaction within the bowel or were metastatic tumors strangulating the gut? These were the salient questions that the cat scan would answer.

It was determined that the blockage was internal to the bowel and located a single site in the ilium or last part of the small intestine. While this is just outside the typical colonoscopic range, Dr Steven  Ross the GI surgeon felt confident that he could reach the site and repurpose a stent for this “Hail Mary” procedure. Dr. Catherine Chu was pleased that Dr. Ross was Mass General Hospital trained. Furthermore Dr. Ross was able to demonstrate that his hands were steady.  Linnea was satisfied that the surgeon was confident and simultaneously realistic.

On Wednesday Aug 1, the stent was successfully placed in Franklin’s ilium. Within two days x-rays showed contrast dye in the sigmoid colon. These findings were consistent with a successful clearing of the obstruction. However, Franklin was still unable to have a bowel movement, had very little appetite and continued to have a distended belly.

Three days later Franklin had a bowel movement. His first in several weeks.  He still needs to get his appetite up before he can go home or begin the trial.