Share. Connect. Love.

Posted 2019-06-20T21:33:38Z

Signing Off

This post is going to be the most difficult to write; it will also be my final. I want to, again, thank each and every one of you for your love, prayers, flowers, cards, gifts, donations, food trains, vibes, and friendship. I have been wrapped in love from each of you and it has made this journey so much more bearable.

I was recently admitted to the hospital, for the second time, for not being able to eat, orally or through my feeding tube. After running some tests, they found fluid in my peritoneum (stomach area) that has tested positive for cancer cells. In addition to this, the cancer has made its way to my bowels, where it has decided to slow everything down to a crawl. This means I am able to take very little food in and am not able to get rid of it very easily.

In addition to the bowels, my kidneys have decided to join in the competition. One has decided to drop to 22% functionality and the other to 78%. The doctors have offered up stints to help this, but I have declined – by my calculations I have 1-full kidney and, hey, that’s more than a lot of people are operating with.

I have transitioned to in-home Hospice care this week and have been meeting with them to manage my nausea and pain. Once we get the medications worked out, I’m hoping to be a lot less groggy. I am still getting around pretty well, but tire out rather quickly with the lack of calories.

I want to send out a very special to thank my husband who has, wholeheartedly, taken on the not-so-fabulous job of being my primary caregiver. He has offered unyielding support – rubbed my stomach and back when I’m feeling sick, prepared special meals, brought me heat packs, held me as I’ve cried millions of tears and helped to reassure Bouden.

I’ve had a lot of questions about Bouden. We have been open and honest with him and have answered any questions he’s had. He seems to have a thorough understanding of the situation and is processing like the rest of us.

I’ve also received questions about flowers, gifts, etc.. In lieu, I ask that donations be made to the GoFundMe account to assist with medical bills. If anything is left over, it will be moved to Bouden’s college fund. Work friends can also make PTO donations. Additionally, I would love if you would share any fun memories in the comments below. Please just keep them PG or G-rated. :) 

Again, thank you for all of the unyielding support throughout this journey. I could never have made it this far without my family and friends. As we move into this next chapter, I am comforted to know that I have you with me.

In love and gratitude,


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Comments (42)

  • Rebecca Nassif
    Rebecca Nassif

    Much love to you!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Donna J Parrish
    Donna J Parrish

    Kari, I’m so sad to hear of all of these latest developments that you, Adrian, and Bouden have been dealing with! You are the strongest person I know and have been demonstrating that strength to all of us throughout this fight! I will double down in my prayers for all of you strength, peace, comfort, and no pain. You are all loved by so many. Blessings my sweet friend and much love to you! 💕💕💕

    one year ago · Reply
  • Kristin Fonseca
    Kristin Fonseca

    You are a strong person and perfect mother and wife. Thank you for sharing your journey Kari. I know this wasn’t easy for you to post today. I’m in tears wanting to hug you. I love you Adrian and Bouden.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Stacy Henderson
    Stacy Henderson

    Kari, I’m so thankful to have met you and your family. (Including Bentley and Hopper!) I know you have brought so much joy to my sister Marcia and I only wish I would have met you sooner to be in on all the love. 😊 May His Peace and comfort be with you, your family and friends. Barely know you, but love you so. 😘💓🙏🏻

    one year ago · Reply
  • Erin

    Kari, You are truly one of the kindest, funniest and thoughtful person I've ever known and literally every time I am around you, I'm laughing. I've never met a more positive person and it's truly heartbreaking for something so bad to happen to someone so good. Although we never got to do our juggling routine or blow up car dealership balloon dance at the Christmas party, the thought of it still makes me crack up. Thank you for bringing so many great laughs into my life. We love you so much and our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Laura B Cole
    Laura B Cole

    Kari- it breaks my heart to read this. You have been the epitome of strength and courage and I am so grateful for your friendship. I am proud of you for the decisions you have made and the courage to take this path you have chosen. I am also thankful for all the times you have bailed me out of demos where the darn phone or iPad wasn’t set up the right way and I would have looked like an idiot in front of a bunch of doctors without you! You are an amazing woman, friend and mother and I am privileged to be able to call you a friend!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Leah Schonfeld
    Leah Schonfeld

    From the first day I met you when you joined The Citadel in 2011, you exemplified resilience, tenacity, and a great sense of self. We had some interesting conversations about our campus characters and you always found the humor in every situation. I am sad to hear this news and know that you will face these next challenges with the same grit and spirit. Your Citadel family stands with you and your family in the days ahead. Much love to you and yours, Kari. ❤️

    one year ago · Reply
  • Cindy Schick
    Cindy Schick

    I’m so thankful for you and the joy, honesty and complete love you bring to your family and friends. Our love and devotion to you, Adrian and B will never waiver. I love you

    one year ago · Reply
  • Cindy Schick
    Cindy Schick

    There are too many fun memories to list but our Memphis card games and spontaneous get togethers were always full of love and laughter! My recent favorite was Mardi Gras, it was absolutely perfect ❤️. And you will always be the Queen if Hearts.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Lisa Baker
    Lisa Baker

    Kari, You have always been so special to me. Your spirit is loving and vibrant (and will live on forever). I miss laughing with you and Rebecca. I’ll never forget the time you told me I needed a “houseboy named Raul.” I still chuckle about that. Sending much Love to you and your family. Godspeed, my dear friend. Xoxoxo Lisa

    one year ago · Reply
  • Bob Warren
    Bob Warren

    Dear Kari - Your note is SO you ... full of grace and gratitude. I - and all of us (I mean all the folks writing and all others who love you) shall miss you and your joy of life so much ... and yet ... I think of life as ripples, always flowing outward. Your ripples shall always be with us. And now ... well, maybe you’d like company, and maybe you won’t, and whichever, I bet it changes often. Whenever you do want company, I hope you’ll be you, and pick up the phone right then. We’ll be there as soon as we can. Blessings and Love and Tears - Bob

    one year ago · Reply
  • Tris Rockwell
    Tris Rockwell

    Kari, you've made this world a better place just by being in it. You have always been kind, sweet, smart, upbeat, bubbly, and just fun to be around. Loved when our families got together when we were young because the three Smith girls and myself outnumbered the boys for once. Those were such fun days. Sending you and your family love, hugs, and prayers. Will think of you with fondness always.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Janet Martin
    Janet Martin

    Kari, You have touched my life in such a positive way! I love your strong positive spirit and kick butt attitude! We have had many laughs to include crazy eye pics, Costco lunch runs, our Epic zoo at Halloween and our annual Angel Tree parade full of bubbles courtesy of your bubble machine. Best hire ever!! My life has been blessed with your friendship! Much love, hugs and good vibes flowing your way! You will always be in my heart!! 😘 Janet Janet

    one year ago · Reply
    • Erin

      Janet, Remember looking over to her cube to see her tall giraffe head 5 feet above the cubicle on Halloween? Haha best costume ever, Kari!

      one year ago · Reply
  • Katheryn Brown
    Katheryn Brown

    I am lucky enough to have only had R- rated memories with you ; ) well maybe a few PG.... I love the memories of us all hanging out at Cielo after hours, even during work hours were the best. Taking the time to sit around Momma Price at her piano while she sang to us was especially amazing! Our stops at Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch. Her doll/fan museum is so weird. Dancing at your house. New Orleans...Playing Elvis on the jukebox at the Bucc while making up our Indian names, which I will not say 😉 Yours was the best by the way. Adrian’s comes in second place. .. You are such a beautiful person and I’m so thankful to have shared such amazing times with you. I love you, Kari ❤️ meow

    one year ago · Reply
  • Tara Semm
    Tara Semm

    Hi Kari, All my love to you, your husband and son. I’m so blessed to have known the Smith family. What a wonderful family you all are. My heart aches for you and all of the pain u have dealt with. What a strong woman you are. Please know that I have been thinking of you very often this past year and keeping in touch with Kelly through this journey u have endured. I’m praying for comfort and peace for you Kari. God bless you. Much love, Tara (Lund) Semm. 🙏🏻

    one year ago · Reply
  • Susan Martinez
    Susan Martinez

    Hey Kari, Traci told me what was going on. I talked to Doug and Gary last week and they both cried. You have touch so many people with your infectious laugh and fun loving personality. Aside from the memories of you at our house all the time, I had a blast with you at Traci’s bachelorette party. We will all keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. You know mom will be looking you up for a hug. Hugs from Lincoln Nebraska and the Wahlstrom’s. Susan Wahlstrom-Martinez.

    one year ago · Reply
  • karen salem
    karen salem

    I just re-read your post for the third time. Even through difficulty your're an amazing writer ... because that's just who you are. One word keeps surfacing when I think about Kari Tippens... "ROCKSTAR"! What a privilege it was to work with you at The Citadel. Your work ethic, leadership, kick ass intelligence, and daily smile made the world a better place. If I have to say something funny .. it would be the name "little man" -- wink wink! But seriously Kari, you invested all your talents well and lived a life full of purpose. You leave a legacy that most people would envy. You accomplished way more than the average person in a short amount of time. And now you give the world a bright future through Bouden. You have made a tremendous impact on all of us and leave us laughing about something. Can I ever thank you enough for how you impacted my life !!!!!!! What's happening now truly doesn't make sense -- but I believe God is with you and will never leave your side. Sending heartfelt hugs, prayers and love to you, Adrian and B!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Allyson Rigel
    Allyson Rigel

    You are so brave and authentic to share your story. Sending hugs and thinking of you and your family.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Susan Walker
    Susan Walker

    Kari, Martin and I are friends with Chad (from high school days) and Kelly, and I have read your journal entries since Kelly told us about your cancer years ago. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing so much of your journey. I work for a cancer center and believe cancer just sucks. We had the opportunity to meet your other sister many times in Hendersonville, and meet your parents in St. Louis when Kel ran the half marathon years ago. They are so warm and wonderful and loving - just like you seem to be. We will continue to pray for you - for peace and for the end of pain. I will also continue to pray for your husband and son. You are an inspiration to me and I feel sure to everyone you have ever come in contact with. God bless you, sweet Kari

    one year ago · Reply
  • Marilyn Beal
    Marilyn Beal

    Kari, you were always an inspiration to me. Your grace, courage, and always-positive demeanor continue to be a guiding example for me. And yes, that giraffe costume was the best! Sending prayers for your comfort... Marilyn

    one year ago · Reply
  • Quintella G Grant
    Quintella G Grant

    As I sit here with teary eyes, I am in awe of your strength. I will continue to pray for you and all those you love. May the grace, mercy, peace, and abundant love of God be with you for the rest of your life. Quinn

    one year ago · Reply
  • Trista Hawkins
    Trista Hawkins

    Kari, We really don’t know each other but have had a few brief conversations. We first met when I was working as an infusion nurse at Hollings. I struck up a conversation about your name, also my mom’s name, and how unusual it is. I had never met another Kari before. Last September I then transitioned to the IS team as a Beacon analyst. I wish I had gotten to know you a little better, you have been in my thoughts often. I pray for many more good days for you and your family to share. You and your family will remain in my thoughts and prayers. Trista Hawkins

    one year ago · Reply
  • Kathy Moore
    Kathy Moore

    Paddle boarding and beer drinking on Wadmalaw while trying to avoid summer showers was lovely. I’d call it “Stand up” paddle boarding, but some of us were not standing up much. ;-) (And no, we weren’t drunk). Making plans to play the C card while racing through Target on scooters. Making our “good things about cancer” list. So much laughter, even on the darkest of subjects and in the darkest of times. My heart goes out to you, Adrian, & Bouden. Much love, Bad Ass [email protected]&$

    one year ago · Reply
  • Becca Anderson
    Becca Anderson

    Sending you so much love, Kari!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Ginny

    Kari don’t stop kicking ass, I believe in miracles and God won’t ever let go. You are an inspiration to everyone you meet… I honestly miss you, Janet, Melinda and Erin, it was so much fun working together maybe that will happen again. It sounds like you all had much more fun after I left. I am praying harder, much love. Ginny

    one year ago · Reply
  • Suzannah Green
    Suzannah Green

    Oh Kari, what a beautiful post. You did it all so good. And you still are every day. From what I’ve seen, as a mom, wife, friend, daughter — you knock it out of the park consistently. I hate that you are sick - for you and for Adrian and for Bouden. Adrian is one of my favorite humans. I’m glad he can be with you and take care of you - he’s always had good taste in people ;-) you are loved and admired and I’m rooting hard for you and your family. Sending so much love 💗 Suzannah

    one year ago · Reply
  • Margaret J Wheat
    Margaret J Wheat

    So terribly saddened to read your latest note. So inspired by your courage and attitude. Very grateful to have known you, if only for a short time in the scheme of things, and been blessed by your friendly personality. Thinking of you, Adrian and your family. Sending prayers and wishes for peace and comfort. xx

    one year ago · Reply
  • Katie Manning
    Katie Manning

    So heartbreaking to hear this, Kari. I so enjoy your down to earth nature and optimism. Hugs to you and the fam. Bouden is welcome over anytime he needs a friend to lean on.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Alison Spencer
    Alison Spencer

    I hate reading this... I’m glad you get to spend this time surrounded by B, Adrian, and of course your cat. F$&! Cancer (sorry I can only remain so G rated). Fondest memory is your laugh and laughing with you. Then the rest are kind of all bunched together over the last 10 plus years. My liberal allies at any of my parents parties. Me always hoping you guys would come by when I was in town. Being so proud of you when you went to pursue your masters. You’re sense of humor, confidence, fun, whits, and smarts were something I always enjoyed. ❤️❤️❤️

    one year ago · Reply
  • Margaret Goss
    Margaret Goss

    Dear Kari, so many memories when you would be at Jim and Sue's pool. When B was so tiny and you brought him over and he slept in my arms, and to have watched him grow has been wonderful. The talks we had about you continuing your education and how to proceed. So proud of you. I pray for God's mercies to rain down on you and your family. Know that we will always be there for B and Adrian. All my love. Margaret Goss, Sue's Mom.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Melissa Corbin
    Melissa Corbin

    My favorite memory that we share is that night in Key West for Dave’s and Barb’s wedding when I took a spill off my bike. You and I had been tasked with making a beer run, but I got the breath knocked out of me during my bike wreck. This Greek Adonis type came running out of the laundry mat nearby to help me. After it was all over, you helped me up from the ground and said “ I don’t know what you did, but the good Lord just sent you an angel.” We sat there in the middle of the street laughing until our faces hurt. Sweetheart, you were more than a ray of sunshine to me that weekend. While that was the only real time we ever shared, I am grateful. You and your family are precious and I love y’all so very much. ❤️Melissa Corbin

    one year ago · Reply
  • Christia Crook
    Christia Crook

    A/C with the top down... ‘cause we’re adults. So much love for you, dear friend!! Forever and always ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

    one year ago · Reply
  • Claire Chadwick
    Claire Chadwick

    Dear Kari, We have been so fortunate to have you all as our neighbors. I remember the day we met Bouden; we were teaching Benjamin to ride his bike, and Bouden rode alongside him, encouraging him. He's a great kid, and he has a great mom. You are the kind of person who lights up a room. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Arthur Ellis
    Arthur Ellis

    Kari, you've paid it forward. Thank you for being you.

    one year ago · Reply
  • John Keller
    John Keller

    Kari - What incredible courage - and an inspiration to all to face each and every day with hope and a smile. I will forever treasure the few, brief moments I had with you and your family last July 6 (2018) doing photos of your family. It was wonderful, and an true honor, to meet you, your son and your sisters and families. ....and you left me with an inarguable "command" I can always use photographing groups (mostly women) that will surely get a smile from each....although I'm not quite sure I dare to use it! Thank you so much for showing how to face the most seemingly insurmountable obstacles...with ever a smile!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Stephanie Anderson
    Stephanie Anderson

    Kari - You are amazing, the strongest and most positive woman I’ve ever met. You were the person I’d always go to when I needed a laugh during the most stressful days at work. I’ll never forget our random shopping for Christmas socks for the boys and our trip to the most wonderful French bakery in the world! You’ve taught me to smile and find a positive even when the world is fighting against you. Hugs those boys tight and find peace in knowing that you touched so many lives and made this world a better place by just being you. ❤️

    one year ago · Reply
  • Kathy Jones
    Kathy Jones

    Kari, I enjoyed getting to know you through our positions at The Citadel. Your sense of humor, vivacious personality, and friendship always got me to take myself a little less seriously. I think of you often; prayers and love. - Kathy Jones

    one year ago · Reply
  • Dondra Rodd
    Dondra Rodd

    I am continuing to pray with and for you.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Sherri Avinger
    Sherri Avinger

    Kari, I love you and I am keeping you in my prayers.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Kevin Harp
    Kevin Harp

    Hi Kari, It's Thor's Day! Much love to you and family. Just thinking about you and sending thoughts and prayers your way. “Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all.” ― Emily Dickinson

    one year ago · Reply
  • Eric Betzhold
    Eric Betzhold

    Kari - I'm sure you've heard it a million times but I figure once more wouldn't hurt. Your smile is one of the brightest I've ever seen and it lit up the ol cube land at South Park every time I passed you at work. You are loved by all who were fortunate enough to meet you.

    one year ago · Reply