All posts by Lesley Dort

I'm Tracy's sister - the middle one.

Leaky Roof

Late Sunday they had to move Tracy from her nice bright room in the CCU to the area where people having day surgery recover. She’s in a different section, but there are no windows and it doesn’t have a good smell. The roof in her room was leaking – apparently bad plumbing.

Her infection seems to have subsided with the antibiotics, and when I was there late yesterday the nurse said “no more fever”.

Mom and Lynn brought the boys in to see her after school. It went well – as well as it can go when you’re a kid visiting your Mom in the hospital with a life-changing prognosis. One by one they went to visit their Mom. First Christian who gave her a big kiss on her forehead and announced “I love you Mom”, then Malcolm who came out saying “well that went better than last time”, followed by little Thomas who brought his Mom his special blanket.

Prior to the boys visit, Tracy was anxious and emotional. The respiratory therapist put her back on full oxygen/vent, and she told me to “stop talking” – as I was trying to offer comforting words of wisdom – saying how resilient kids are, and that her boys are strong just like her… bla bla bla. She clearly did NOT want to hear it. So, I stopped. I guess it was my way to ease my own trepidation about their visit.

After the boys left, I had only planned to stay with Tracy for a little while longer, and told her that she needed to rest. She agreed, but somehow my “little while” turned into several hours. I realized on my way home that her only control right now is to ask the people who visit to do things for her – water, hair brush, rub shoulders, scratch nose or cheek, fluff pillow, bed up, bed down, read, don’t read, …

I read to her from a book written by Chelsea Handler. It’s kind of crude, and very funny. At one point she made me stop because she wanted to laugh and couldn’t breathe!

I was tired. I went back to work yesterday and then went straight to the hospital in the later afternoon. I hadn’t eaten and I just wanted to go home. But each time I’d come close to the end of the chapter she would look at me with a little smile as if to say thank you and please don’t go. So what if I was tired and hungry?…. I thought to myself. …and so I read on…..

KUDOS: To all the freinds who have spend time with Tracy recently! Thank you for all your caring and help.

VISITS: Email Lynn – she is the keeper of the schedule

REMEMBER: To be grateful for each day.

GRATITUDE: to my sister Lynn – she is the leader, the decision maker, the planner and most of all the most loving sister ….! anyone could have! thank you Lynn!!

With gratitude,

Les xo

Tracy’s Trache

Tracy Dort-Kyne and Lesley DortOn Friday September 16th in the late afternoon Dr. Peter Chu performed the surgery for Tracy to have a tracheotomy. We are all so thrilled as the tubes for intubation were very bothersome to her. We can now read her lips.

Dr. Chu came into her room that afternoon and apologized for not doing the procedure earlier in the day as planned. He went on to suggest that he was called into two emergency surgeries, and I should listen to the radio on my way home to hear the details. I did. It was a shooting and the boy who jumped off the Mavis overpass onto the 401.

Today Tracy is fighting off some infections and has been put back on more breathing support, although she gave it her best shot!! Yesterday with Cash she was feeling and doing better with her breathing and the new trache. Everyday is different.

CENTURION: Luck and best wishes to all the riders this weekend!!

VISITING TRACY: If you want to visit Tracy please send Lynn an email with “VISIT TRACY” as the subject line  Be advised that “Visiting” Tracy involves helping her. It’s not a sit down, read a magazine kind of visit. It’s hard work some days. It’s giving her water, rubbing her shoulders, putting cold cloths on her head, brushing her hair, getting nurses or doctors as requested.

Please don’t forget to send a card or a note in the mail, as per my previous journal entries.

Cherish today and every move you make.



Les :-)


Tough Day


I’m sorry I didn’t write last night. Yesterday was a very hard day with Tracy. Here are some of the highlights, if you can call them that…?

When I first got there she was sleeping. I can’t tell you how much peace it gives us to see her resting. It has been so rare for me on my visits with her. Not long after she quickly awoke asking for water, a cold cloth for her head and that that she was hungry. This is a common complaint for her, but according to the nutritionist she is getting a whopping 1700 calories a day. Probably more than Tracy’s had in a very long time, given her strict diet and work out regime. “Paulie” the nutritionist explained to me that the hungry sensation coming from her brain is because there is no longer any signals to do with chewing, taste buds and swallowing. Her brain doesn’t think she’d gotten 1700 calories!

Shortly after this the physiotherapist (Shelley) came in to do her daily movements and ‘wrap’ her legs. They moved her to a special “chair” – really it’s just a smaller version of a hospital bed that is more upright. The process of moving her can be very painful and uncomfortable for Tracy. They closed the curtains so I don’t see her grimacing.

Once she was in the chair she quickly wanted to ‘talk’ – mouth words to me. More water, brush her hair, spray in special detangler, cold cloth not cold enough, move head, etc etc.

But then there was a moment where as I was brushing her hair and telling her about how handsome Christan looked in his new Crestwood uniform, and how well the boys were doing. TEARS started flowing from her eyes. I must tell you that up to this point I had not seen Tracy cry. I had thought I wanted her to cry, but then when it was happening I realized I preferred the non- crying Tracy. She sobbed and mouthed to me “I miss my boys”. I fought back my tears to stay focused and strong. I validated her feelings and said they missed her too, but Mom and Lynn were doing a stellar job.

In the late afternoon yesterday we had a “family meeting” with the head doctors, nursing staff and extended team – social worker, respiratory therapist, etc. It was like a full court press. I had a feeling the purpose of the meeting was to “scold” Tracy for some of her demands or objections, and I was right.

There were three things they wanted to convey:

1. Tracy was to allow them to “ween” her from the vent – it would be very hard work but if she continued to refuse the lessening of oxygen she wouldn’t get moved to a trache. More about this….

2. No more water! The little spongie stick like things that we put in her mouth had been soaked with water and she was sucking on them. The doctor informed us all that these are just meant to brush and wet her lips. There was water getting into her lungs. Although Tracy vehemently disagreed!

3. Objecting to be repositioned or moved. Several times a day they need to move Tracy’s position in the bed to alleviate bed sores or pressure sores. Their believed that she was objecting. I quickly interjected to say. She’s not objecting to be repositioned, what she’s objecting to is being handled roughly or mishandled. I went on to tell them all that I’d seen it happen. Not everyone takes care and compassion to move her! I could scream!

There are so many things I want to say about how the Doctor handled this conversation with Tracy. The biggest one is that I wanted to YELL at her and say she’s paralyzed NOT retarded, braindead or deaf!!!!! I couldn’t believe the slow, condescending way this woman was speaking to Tracy. And I could tell Tracy was as much in awe as I was!

At one point, wiht regard to the vent – she said “Tracy, it’s like running a marathon or a race”…. this was her analogy!!!?? Tracy started crying (…btw… she had not cried throughout this entire “meeting” – which ended up taking 1.5 hours!) Tracy mouthed the words “I so wanted to do the race”. Everyone was quiet.

At first I started crying, but I stopped myself and reached over to touch Tracy’s head and whispered in her ear. “You have a new race sister!” It’s called the Centurion Breathing Race! Use that same drive and mental capacity to win this race. I know it’s not the one you wanted to be doing, but it’s the one you’ve got to win!! We know you can do it.

In that moment, she looked up at the doctor and mouthed “do it now”. So, with us all standing there, they decreased her oxygen level and adjusted the settings so that in essence she was (with some pressure support) breathing on her own. We all waited.

I asked her “are you ok?”. Now, she needed the board. No longer able to mouth words because all of her energy and focus had to be on the breathing. We got out the board with the alphabet, and she spelled. “I’m scared”. The doctor asked “scared of what”? – her lips moved slightly of dying.

I could hear my Mom starting to sob. I quickly leaned over to her and said. Ok, seriously Trace they are NOT going to let you die! They are monitoring all the machines. The doctor interjected and told her about the alarms that would go off if her breathing was in trouble.

I asked the respiratory therapist if, when they made the adjustments could they please stick around to see how she was handling it from now on. Tracy also expressed that she wanted to see the oxygen monitor. Somehow if she could see the numbers – (Peep, volumes, etc – we’re learning what they all mean) ….she feels better. They agreed.

ON THE LIGHER SIDE: Ok, put the tissue away. Here’s the funny part of yesterday’s conversation. When talking about the repositioning and mishandling of her when being moved. She was desperate for me to spell out. “They need to be more organized”! and “They should have an agenda”. I laughed. Here’s Tracy running the show. The good news is that the nurses agreed to put up a daily schedule for Tracy on a white board so she could know what was happening when.

HAIR: What keeps me going is to know that my sister is still who she was. She’s a beautiful woman who takes incredibly good care of herself. She had me spell out. Please call my hairstylist and ask him to come in and do my colour. I love it!! We hope to make this happen this week. :-)

BEDSIDE MANNER: You can teach and educate people about medical science, research and facts. You can teach and educate numbers, figures, stats and rates. You can teach and educate procedures, policies and practices. You CANNOT teach the ability to communicate with empathy, understanding and compassion. This,…. I’ve learned is an innate skill.

DR. ZOE UNGER: She is a resident in the CCU. Tracy values Zoe’s opinion and guidance. Tracy trusts Zoe and Zoe has taken the time to understand Tracy. Zoe is a young woman who is going to go far in her profession! Zoe was with me on the first night and has stayed with us ever since. She is Tracy’s new ‘friend’. She is to be commended. She is an exceptional doctor and human being. We all love Zoe.

We’ve created a Trust account for Tracy and her boys. To help, visit any CIBC branch and tell them you’d like to make a donation in Trust for Tracy Dort-Kyne to this account: #00002 / 60-47599.

WWW.TRACYDORTKYNE.COM: is under construction. We hope to have a link to make online donations by next week. In the meantime, go to the bank! :-)

With love and gratitude,



Disappointing Day

Today they were supposed to do a tracheotomy for Tracy, but were not able to do the procedure because her breathing had worsened, and she has some fluid in her lungs/chest. The good news is that they moved her to a much quieter area of the critical care unit which seems to have helped her to be a little less anxious. I wasn’t there for very long today as Lynn did a long stint from 6 30 am to almost 3 pm and then Tracy’s friend Shirlee came in with Mom followed by Cash joining Shirlee into the evening.

FRIENDS: We laugh, we play, we gossip, we joke, we cry, we party, we hug, we cheer, we sing, we praise, we part, we reunite….but what I’m learning is that true friends are brave – they LOVE, SUPPORT, COMFORT, CARE and CHERISH each other!!!

RANDOM ENCOUNTERS: I have had some very interesting and poignant encounters with strangers since this horrific accident happend. Yesterday I was in the elevator leaving to go home after a very hard day with Tracy. It was just myself and another lady who was already on the elevator. Out of nowhere she looked at me and paused for a moment and said “I bet you wish you were at the place where you got that terrific tan, right now”? It was as if she knew … I replied by saying “yes, I also wish I could rewind the clock”.

It’s Tuesday – Day 9

It’s Tuesday! Day 9

TODAY: Tracy’s day today was one of discomfort, pain and anxiety. She keeps us busy as we tend to her. And the process for her to communicate is the most frustrating part for her – and us! It can take several minutes to get to the right word or sentence. She is much sharper than all of us! We clearly need to take a few spelling lessons. There are times when she desperately tries to mouth words, but because of the intubation it’s hard to read her lips. So at one point today, she scolded me as she had me spell out “Don’t say ‘ya’ if you don’t understand me”! I was busted. I apologized saying I was tired of spelling out the words, trying to figure out what she was trying to say – and then quickly stopped myself! Who am I to complain? I have nothing to complain about.

CRITICAL CARE: The Critical Care Unit at Sunnybrook is a place of sorrow, pain, suffering, triumph and miracles. Everyone has a story to tell. We have met some of the families whose loved ones are also spending time in critical care. Several who haven’t or won’t make it out, and others who have or will be moving on. Today they moved out the  young man who was pronounced braindead yesterday. Sadly he was only 28 years old but the good of this story is that the family agreed to donate all of his organs. The nurse said he will likely save at least 4 lives, and enhance the lives of several more.

FAMILY: The respiratory therapist today asked me how I was related to Tracy. I said I’m Tracy’s older sister and I’m in the middle – Lynn is the oldest and Tracy is the baby. She asked “you must be close”? I thought for a moment “Were we”? ….I replied and said we weren’t close enough, but we definitely are now!

LESSONS: So many lessons to be learned. So much to be grateful for. So many things we focus on that don’t matter. So quickly it can all change. So many devastated hearts. So much more to learn!

Good night and God Bless


Update on Tracy from Lesley

Thank you all for the incredible outpouring of love and prayers for my sister Tracy. We have all been overwhelmed by your compassion and caring!

It will be a week tomorrow that Tracy had her cycling accident. Tracy remains in the critical care unit at Sunnybrook Hospital where she will be for several months.

Our family has rallied! Mom and Dad flew in from Ottawa on Sunday night, Lynn flew in from St. Louis on Monday afternoon, followed by Darren on Thursday night, and luckily Robert and I live here – so I was able to be with her after she was airlifted to Toronto on Sunday.

Mom and Lynn are living at Tracy’s house taking care of her boys – Christian 13, Malcolm 11 and Thomas 7. Lynn has done a terrific job of organizing the boys with back to school and trying to normalize things with routine.  She is amazing! Thankfully Gladys – Tracy’s nanny/housekeeper – remains a constant.  They are a loving handful those 3 little guys!

We are all taking shifts sitting by Tracy’s bedside at the hospital. The good news is that Tracy is still Tracy!  She is definitely giving all of the nurses and doctors a run for their money. She does not like the intubation that is helping her breath, and has much anxiety. She is keeping us all on our toes! We’ve developed a way to communicate with her – it’s a bit tedious and slow, and she often gets frustrated with us but it is working – for now.

What you can do:

TRUST FUND: We are going to be setting up a Trust Fund for Tracy and her boy’s care. Tracy is a single Mom and her ex-husband does not provide her or the boys any financial support. . We hope to have the information for yoU by the end of this coming week.

GOOD OLD CANADA POST SNAIL MAIL: Please send cards and notes – and write down a memorable time you spent with Tracy – funny, touching, or otherwise. Include a photo. If you don’t know Tracy directly but know someone in our family – include the information about the relationship. We are going to take them to the hospital and read them to her – so please keep them UPBEAT!  MAILING ADDRESS: ATTN: Tracy Kyne c/o Lynn Pang, 121 RANLEIGH AVE, TORONTO ON  M4N 1X2

NO FLOWERS please.

VISITORS: We are allowing close friends and family to visit. The CCU is a very restricted area. If you would like to visit Tracy please send an email to me – And if/when the time is right we will make arrangements. We hope to eventually to use Skype and Facebook.

FOOD: Thank you! Yes we have already received some yummy packages along with many other generous offers to provide food for family and boys. We are accepting the offers but are trying to manage it. She does have a freezer.

With love and appreciation,

Lesley and Robert

Day 8

So here we are…..It’s Day 8

I spent the day with Tracy at the hospital – and we had a moment where I was able to ask her if I could share the truth about her condition and prognosis. A few days ago she did not want the details shared; today she agreed that I could let everyone know the details.

Last Sunday afternoon Tracy was training in Collingwood for the Centurion Bike Race that is taking place this upcoming weekend. She was on a mission to do well.  The accident happened when she was going down the Scenic Caves Road (near Blue Mountain). She went off the road and was found in the ditch. An amazing young man named “Mike Hermanovsky” (a.k.a. HERO) found her and stayed with her until the ambulance came to take her to the hospital in Collingwood. They immediately airlifted her to Sunnybrook Critical Care Unit.

I arrived at Sunnybrook on Sunday around dinner time. The neurosurgeon came to speak to me in the waiting area to explain her injuries. Tracy had broken her neck at her C3 C4 vertebrae – breaking the bones and severing her spinal cord. They were blunt and matter of fact – Tracy would be paralyzed from her neck down.

That night they put her head into a “halo” to prepare her neck for surgery the next day. They wanted to operate to stabilize her neck – the surgery took place on Monday – one week ago today. It took over 8 hours. They first operated from the front of her neck putting two screws into the bones to hold them together and then they turned her over and operated from the back, taking a bone graft from her hip to fuse C2 to C5.

She is recovering well from her surgery, although yesterday she spiked a fever with a bladder infection. We are told there will be many setbacks. They plan to put a tracheotomy into her neck on Wednesday which will make a huge difference for Tracy as she hates the breathing tube in her mouth.  We don’t know yet if she will be able to breathe on her own long term.

Tracy’s prognosis: Spinal cord injury “Complete” – meaning quadriplegic DEFINITION: Traditionally, “complete” spinal cord injury means having no voluntary motor or conscious sensory function below the injury site, in Tracy’s case C3 vertebrae in her neck.  Luckily, Tracy did NOT suffer any brain damage.

Her injuries are comparable to those that Christopher Reeves sustained.

I think it’s important for everyone to know the life-changing nature of this accident.

We have a very long road ahead of us. We are told she will be in critical care for at least 2 months, and hospital for at least six months.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE: Today the nurse wanted to wash Tracy’s hair, but she was determined that I needed to spell something out for her. So, after several frustrating moments of figuring out what she was trying to tell us we discovered that she did NOT want to use the hospital shampoo and I was to go get her shampoo and conditioner from home! Well, the nurse and I broke out into laughter! Only Tracy would demand her special brand of shampoo!

PRAYERS: YES – keep ‘em coming!! We want and need all of them.

KIDS: Her boys are doing great, all things considered. Mom and Lynn have created a routine with school and getting them into their fall programs. They are two amazing women – my Mom and older sister!

TRUST FUND: We’ll let you know this week once it’s setup.

God Bless

Be grateful for every movement.