Sunday, July 25, 2010

Going Home to Live

Hi all. This is Nini posting. I am close family friend of the Newbury/Lepiane clan. I feel beyond blessed and honored that they consider me 100% family. For the past 15 years they have welcomed me and loved me like one of their own...with Rene at the forefront of that love and affection. She is simply amazing -- in so many ways! Aren't we all a bit like that with her though? Who among you has met Rene and not INSTANTLY felt drawn to her, loved by her and felt as though you have known her for years?!

I had the privilege of spending some time with Rene yesterday. The moment I saw her I was overwhelmed with who she is. She is amazing and such an important person in so many of our lives! As Kristen mentioned in the previous post, she was quite tired and pensive. She has been on quite an emotional roller coaster. The ups and downs that come with such a heavy diagnosis are taxing. Not to mention having to wait on test results, doctors, news...any news of what the next best step will be. Needless to say, she has handled it with such strength, perseverance and grace.

All of this brings us to sharing the next step for Rene. Late last night, her team of doctors gave her some tough news. The diagnosis of her cancer is not good. The cancer is very advanced and spread throughout her body. Initially they believed that chemotherapy would be able to possibly help kick this cancer into remission. However the latest test results have shown them that while chemo may extend her life, it may not extend it for much longer than if she were to forego chemotherapy treatment.

If you know anything about chemotherapy, you know that it basically poisons the cells in the body -- both good and bad in hopes of killing off the bad cancer cells. This makes the body extremely weak, fragile, and prone to sickness and/or infection, not to mention the possible side effects that Kristen laid out in this previous post.

With all of this news on the table, Rene has weighed her options, with full clarity of mind and heart. While neither of these options are ideal, Rene has decided that she will not move forward with chemotherapy. Since it has been made clear to her that the chemo will not necessarily prolong her life, she wants to live her life to the fullest -- in the best physical, mental, and emotional health she can. And, in order to do that, she wants to be at home, in her own environment, surrounded by family and friends. If she were to do chemotherapy her immune system would be greatly compromised and she wouldn't be able to see her grandchildren, go out to public places, enjoy a good party...all of the things she loves to do.

As soon as she arrives at home (she will be staying with her parents for a while), Hospice will come in and educate Rene (and the family) on how to continue and provide the best self care. They will be available for anything she needs and will help get her set up so she can live life as she wants to -- to the fullest.

There are many mixed emotions swimming around in all of us right now. We are sad that Rene is having to battle this, yet we are encouraged by her fighting spirit. We are hurting because of what may come, but we are thankful for the time we get with her, regardless of how long it may be. To be clear, there is no time line right now. We, along with Rene, are choosing to live every day to it's fullest and for Rene, that is in the comfort of her home, surrounded by all of us, and you, who love her.

Rene is EVER SO GRATEFUL for your love and support. Your prayers, your love, your words, your presence, your time...they have been and will continue to be life-giving for her. She will be heading home, most likely, on Tuesday. That being said, we do ask that you give her some time to rest in the hospital tomorrow and to get settled at home for a day or two. That means, no visiting please. If there is an immediate reason to contact her, please contact the hospital by calling the nurses station and seeing if she is available, or by calling Chris. We need Rene to be as strong as possible to fight this cancer and in order to do so, she needs her rest, especially in the next few days.

We will be updating the blog as often as we can, especially in the next few days to let you know how everything is going and when Rene gets to go home. She is so looking forward to being in a comfortable space, eating what she wants to, and moving forward with her life. She is one amazing woman and she has more amazingness to give!

Please continue to keep Rene, and her family in your thoughts and prayers. She has a long road ahead, but with your love and support she will travel it well.

Much love,



  1. Landscape of the Heart
    'It is still so new & all we see is the empty space, but that is not how it is in the landscape of the heart. There, there is no empty space & she still laughs & grapples with ideas & plans & nods wisely with each of us in turn. We are proud to know her. We are proud to call her friend.'

  2. Thank you for this blog. I woke up this morning to a voicemail from John Bracco about this. I'm down in L.A. right now, but please tell Rene that she is in my prayers and that I want to visit as soon as I'm back in town. I spent some time crying this morning; I want to spend some time laughing with her.

  3. Dearest Rene - having gone thru a similar health issue recently with another family member I want to support you completely with positive thoughts. You've always been a positive person and I wholeheartedly respect your decision to live life fully and completely. Listen to your heart. Remember than anything, anything is possible and the gift of daily miracles will become even more visible. Most of us hustle and bustle along missing so much and taking life for granted. You've been given a gift to see everything for what it is.

    If I could repeat the last few months I'd plan Christmas in July! Go for it my dear. Whatever makes you happy and gives you joy. Therein lies the true "cure". I for one am so grateful to contribute to your prayers and witness the love you are receiving.


  4. Dear Rene,

    I wanted to let you know you and all of your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for all of you.

    You are the most wonderful, dear friend. You are an amazing mentor to me and you cared so deeply about everything that was going on with us. I loved our chats about Tanner and Roma and about your grandchildren and of course, Miles.

    Please let me know if it would be possible to come see you when you are settled back at home.

    We love you.

    Stephanie, Jeff and Tanner

  5. Dear Rene and Family,
    My family continues to keep you in our prayers both day and night(and every time in between). May the peace of our Lord comfort each one of you throughout the day.

    Yours in Christ,
    Anna Quinones and family.

  6. Dear Rene,
    We want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. We continue to pray for small and big miracles during this challenging time.
    With heartfelt prayers,
    Bridgit, Meaghan, John (Archie too!)

  7. Dear Rene,
    First Nini - what a wonderful letter you wrote! Thank you for all of the feeling within it.

    Rene, you continue to be an amazing person and will be even a greater role model for all of us on how to live fully and with grace and ease. We are all praying for you - my parents also want you to know that they are praying for you.
    Sending you lots of big virtual hugs.
    Mark, Cheryl, Steph, Matt, Nicole, Les & Elaine

  8. Rene,
    I cannot tell you how much better you make my life. I feel so blessed to know you.
    My prayers are with you and your family.
    All my love,

  9. Dear Rene and family,
    Thank you for this blog to keep everyone updated. I am praying for you all and thinking about all those fun times planning Spirit Week craziness together! I know how strong of a person you are and that your smile and sense of humor make everyone comfortable around you. If there is anything we at ND can do to help out, please do not hesitate to ask. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Lauren Cymerys

  10. Auntie Honey, Unkie and Rene,
    I am overwhelmed with the news. I will place you in my daily prayers and my church will also pray for you. I really miss my family and wish we could be close to comfort and support you. I love you all and miss you too.
    Christine Hoover.

  11. Thank you for the updates, please let us know if and when Ms. L can take a visitor.

    We love you Ms. L, live in technicolor, okay?


    - Kimbo.

  12. Pam and Bill PabstJuly 29, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Rene, you and your family have always been there for Bill and me. Just because I was with Bill I was A-OK in your books and that has meant a very great deal. Even more important is the laughter and love that simply ooze from both you and your parents and that is the most precious gift of all. You all simply enfolded us into the family circle. So, now it's time for us to be there for you, all of you! Just whistle and whatever you need or want will be done, just because we love you all!

    Hugs and more hugs,

    Bill and Pam