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March 10th 2009

from the “Friends of Sol and Monica”

Whether you’ve known Monica and Sol for decades or you’ve just met them, you can’t help but love them.  Their story has touched us all!  That said, I’d like to invite you all to check out a special link which will give you an incredible opportunity to give in a tangible way to the Rodriguez family.  Please take a moment to see how you can show love and support to this amazing family at

What a privilege it is to be posting on this website!  Thanks for taking time to read this all-important update!

Keri Miller

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February 9th 2009

Just an Update…

To put it briefly, this has been a very emotionally difficult week.  When the doctor tells you that there is nothing he can do for the fever and cough you suffer from, it takes it’s toll – physically and emotionally.  It is the strangest thing, between the hours of 4-7 I get a fever of about 102.0.  Nothing seems to help, but we still take the tylenol.  The cough doubles me over in pain and my back and sides have had enough.  The appetite stimulator doesn’t seem to be doing anything – I’m still not eating much.  I’ll go 5 days constipated and then three days of diarrhea.  Each day has been a copy of the day before.  I take the Nexavar now at 8:00 am and as close to 8:00 pm as I can. 

It was good having Martha here for those few days.  She helped around the house a ton and was available for whatever I needed.  Thanks, Martha.  My parents are coming to visit on the 20th for a few days, and my sister (+baby) will come with them and leave a week later.  

The big news here is that Sol finally set up our 50″ plasma TV.  We’ve had it since December, but thought we’d be moving so never set it up.  For his birthday, Sol bought himself and X-Box 360, so he was motivated to set up the TV.

So I said this has been an emotionally difficult week.  I mean it.  It is so hard to fight each and every day.  One day, I just said to the Lord, “Heal me now, or take me quickly.  I can’t take this anymore.”  But then I begin praying for the strength He seems to think I have to fight this.  “He never gives us more than we can handle”.  Hey, Mom, remember when I’d punch Janelle for no reason and get in trouble for it? – Here’s that fighting spirit (ok, so it’s totally not the same)!  🙂  It was good having Martha here also because I wasn’t alone with my thoughts.  It’s so easy to think the worst especially if all you’re feeling is the worst.  Please pray for my thoughts and fighting spirit.  

It goes without saying that I married the best man alive.  Let me paint you just one small picture.  Last night when trying to lay down, I had so much pain it must have looked and sounded like I was possessed or something.  I threw my body in convulsions to the side trying to relieve the pain.  Sol, terrified for me, waited until I asked for his help.  Unfortunately, I’m a Lepper girl and we don’t ask for help easily, but I did.  The codine hadn’t kicked in yet, but I was trying to get to bed.  I was so humbled by his patience and gentle care.  He put his arms around my whole body and just said, “Relax, I’ve got you.”  I felt safe – still in pain but not as scared of it.  My body was crooked, and he wouldn’t let me move a muscle.  “Let me do it,” he said.  So I let him and he did.  He gently lifted my hips and with no additional pain he moved my body.  In that small moment, the love of my husband wrapped all around me, and I felt peace.  The codine started kicking in, and I knocked out.  He feels really terrible that I’m feeling this way, but he feels good being able to do something to help this once Lepper girl. The love of my life!

Oh last thing…I have a CT scan scheduled for March 2nd at 9:00 am.  I’m going to try to change the time to a little later so that I can keep the Nexavar on schedule.

Thank you for the encouragement posts and comments, I read them all.  They inspire me and bring my heart joy and tears to my eyes.  I miss so many of you and wish you could all be closer.  




January 20th 2009


I woke up this morning excited to finally get something going in terms of treatment.  My side has been aching, I’ve been on pain meds for a week, and I want to see those tumors gone!  My drugs were being delivered today – I was happy.  At about 9:15, I got a phone call from Florida.  The lady on the phone was calling to let me know that for some reason my prescription wasn’t sent out yesterday, so I wouldn’t be getting it until tomorrow.  I started crying.  I was so angry.  How does that happen…and why does it have to happen to me?  I even called yesterday to make sure they were open and would be sending it out!!!  I asked if they could same day deliver it to me; she said no because they’re in Florida.  (I’m sure there is a way!)

Anyway, I sit here now, frustrated and upset that I have to wait one more day.  It has been over 4 weeks since my last treatment!  This cancer is so aggressive, that I know the tumors are growing as we wait!!!  What a frustrating beginning to my day!  

Please pray that the drugs get here early tomorrow and that I can move past this oversight and not be angry about it.  It’s not healthy to carry that with me.  



October 16th 2008

Chemo #10

 So far, I’m feeling pretty good.  My new friend Shelley went with me to chemo.  She is a teacher, too, so we spent time counting ballots and grading papers!  Today actually went very quickly.  I was done in three hours.  Then I came home, finished the movie I had started and did laundry for our trip.  I guess I’m feeling ok.  I am excited about the trip, so that keeps me going – doing what I need to do.

I am so excited and a little nervous!  We are leaving in the morning for Redding, CA to see my friends and family.  It is my 10 year from college and my friends and I are hanging out.  We haven’t seen each other in a little over 4 years or met most of the kids who’ve joined the XV clan.  I am nervous because I don’t know how I’ll be feeling.  The side-effects tend to hit the morning after, and that’s when we’ll be on the plane!  

I realize that a while has gone by since I’ve posted pictures, so I am going to attach a few pictures of our recent activities: 

This is us at the Fresno v. Ucla game!  Fresno won and it was a blazing 96 degrees!  Yea and Yuk!  Notice the sea of red behind us!  🙂

Sol and Monica - Go Fresno State! 

These pictures are of Kai cooking and learning that the pan can get hot!  He burnt his finger!  🙁

Cooking Chorizo with Dadoo 

Burnt Finger 

This is us at the Hollywood Bowl.

At Hollywhood Bowl Mom and Dad at Hollywood Bowl Fireworks

This is Kai Cousin and Athailai Cousin!  Kai LOVED having her here!  He wouldn’t leave her alone!

Close Up of Cousins 

And my favorite picture from our trip to the zoo on Saturday is this one:

Kaimingo 1 

After looking at the Flamingos, Kai wanted to get down.  he said, “look Mommy…I Kai-mingo!  He thought of it all on his own.   I know, I know he’s a genius.  I was so proud of him playing with language already.  A little joke from my little guy!  🙂  

There are more photos in the photo section of the site, if you’d like to check them out! 


Right now I am doing well, but you can pray for the plane trip.  The side effects from Chemo tend to hit hardest, if they hit at all, the morning after!  I am glad to have an aisle seat just in case!  🙂  Thank you and I’ll be posting when I get back about the fun times we had up in Redding! 

Oh one last thing…We put an offer on a house and should hear by (now they’re saying) Monday.  We’ll keep you updated.

Thanks, the morning is going to come early, so off to bed we go!  Hope you enjoy the pictures!



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September 26th 2008

Chemo #8

Well, we had answered prayer today, I actually received my chemo!  I am still sick, but don’t have a fever or chills, so they were able to give me chemo.  My temperature was actually only 96.6 degrees!  I was praying for no fever, so the fact that it was that low was so great!  I did only have Taxol this week and am feeling pretty good.  I don’t know if last week was a combination of coming down with something plus chemo, but I felt awful!

Tomorrow is the big game.  We are still planning on going to the UCLA v Fresno State game!  A bit of sad news is that my in-laws did not come down after all.  My father-in-law fell off a ladder and was in the ER yesterday for the pain.  He wouldn’t be able to make the trip and while he were here, would just be miserable.  Please pray for his healing.  He’s been having a pretty tough time.

Pray for little Kai.  He’s been getting “Big Time Outs” at school – going to the office.  Going to daycare in the morning has been quite the emotional time.  They say he’s been fighting more and getting very emotional about everything – even things that don’t happen to him.  We think he’s growing (he’s eating a ton!) and could be having some hormone issues related to that, but we really have no idea.  A good thing he’s been using the potty more regularly, but still needs his diapers.  He’s 27 months old, and this could be the beginning of the terrible twos, but we really don’t know.

Anyway, I am hoping to have such a wonderful day tomorrow!  We have a sitter from 8-5!  (Thank you, Shelley!)  I am tired of missing out on things because I don’t feel well.  I need some fun!  😉

Good Night Everyone!


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August 22nd 2008

Back to Work and Chemo Schedule…

Tonight we spent some time with friends, eating dinner and hanging out!  I am so grateful to be feeling so well right now.  After working all day, my body is a bit sore, but I’m hanging in there.

I had Chemo on Wednesday and was at work today getting ready for school which begins on the 3rd.  There is so much work to do; it’s really overwhelming actually.   I have to get my room set up, move my office and get materials delivered to teachers before the start of school.  Oh yeah, and have chemo, recover and rest!  It feels like such a huge task to get it all done.  I have already been asking people to help me on days I know I’ll feel ok!  My room might not be totally ready by the time students come, but if that’s the worst of it, then we’re good to go.

I am trying to do what I can to keep up my chemo schedule and be at work when I need to be there.  It’s important to me to keep life as normal as possible for me, my students and my co-workers; and to not miss too much work, but I also need to live a quality life.  I am struggling to decide between taking time off of work for chemo and recovery or having chemo on Fridays, possibly sacrificing my weekends to recover if I’m not feeling well.  It’s a tough decision for someone who wants to be everything for everyone!

As of right now, I only have two more chemos scheduled.  One for next Wednesday, the 27th, and one for Friday the 5th.  After chemo on the 5th, I will be having a CT scan to see if the chemo is shrinking the tumors.  If they are shrinking, we’ll continue this treatment, although I don’t know for how long.  If the tumors are not shrinking, we’ll be trying something else.

Please pray for peace in all our decisions regarding work/disability, chemo, medications, and house hunting.

Right now, I’m feeling pretty great; thanks for all your prayers!



P.S. Kai has been sleeping much better.  Thanks to all of you who have been lifting up his precious little soul.  He’s such an amazing blessing in my life!

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July 29th 2008


Wow!  We were shaking pretty hard, but we are ok.  It was a 5.8 located in Chino Hills about 10 miles from here.  I haven’t been able to get a hold of Kai’s school, but I’m sure they’re fine.  It felt like a truck ran into the house.  It knocked pictures down and things off of shelves.  It was very strong.  Sol works on the 6th floor of a building, and I was on the phone with him while we were shaking!  He said he was going to get out of the building.  I was talking to him while he was under his desk.  It was really scary and we just felt a pretty good aftershock!

Hopefully everything is ok.  It’s not too big, but was centered in a pretty populated area.  The news is saying that it knocked out phone service in the Inland Empire.  You’ll see it on the news if you’re in CA.

Got to go, leaving for the hospital soon.



July 25th 2008

Woke Up Feeling Better…

I was feeling so terrible after attempting to eat lunch, that I laid down to try to take a nap.  I woke up not even knowing that I had slept.  Hours had passed, but I don’t remember dozing off.  Thank you for all of your prayers as I woke up not feeling ANY of the symptoms I went to sleep buried under.  The rash is gone, the hot spot cooled, no diarrhea, and I can breathe!  God is good and he heard your cries for me!  Please continue to pray as the days go on that the symptoms stay at bay!

Thank you, Jesus!



July 21st 2008

No Port Today…plus some great news!

Well, there is no port today.  I am very disappointed.  I got up this morning, checked into the hospital, changed into my beautiful gown, and was about to get pricked for a blood draw and an IV, when they stopped everything.  They told me that they don’t do Power Ports at Presbyterian Hospital.  I was being told that if I wanted a port today, it would have to be a regular port – meaning that they will still have to find a vein when doing CT scans.  Sol and I were on the phone for the next 2 hours figuring out what our options were.  Did I need to get whatever they offered because of the urgency of the situation or could we find a hospital that could do the Power Port and change the authorization in time to begin chemo on schedule?  It was a horrible time of asking questions and weighing the options.

Finally, the doctor who was going to put the port in, came and talked to us.  He puts in Power Ports everyday at a different hospital.  He said that Power Ports really are better and called the other hospital himself and talked to someone in charge of scheduling and she said that she could probably get us in tomorrow, but by Wednesday for sure.  She took the information and called my oncologist and had them begin the process of transferring the authorization to their facility.  She is supposed to call me back today to let me know when the appointment will be.  Praise the Lord for a doctor who is looking out for patients and not just money or protocol – someone who was willing to make a simple phone call to help us out!  I will be forever grateful!

The great news that we heard today (in the middle of all of this), was that the anti-angiogenesis drug has been approved!!!  🙂  I am so happy about that.  They will not postpone chemo because of the the Power Port delay, but will begin on Thursday at 8:45 am, no matter what.  If the Power Port isn’t ready to be used due to some swelling, then they will do the chemo through an IV this week and begin using the port next week.  I am so relieved to hear that this ridiculous delay in the Port won’t delay my treatment any!

I will be writing a letter to Presbyterian Hospital and my oncologist about this whole ordeal.  Someone should have caught the mistake before I checked in to have the procedure done.

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