Linda Kay Dodson Slates

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Linda Kay Dodson Slates of Kansas City North passed away on Jan. 11, 2013, after developing a brain tumor in 2009. Born Oct. 13, 1952, Linda grew up in Kansas City, Kan.

Linda is survived by her husband of more than 30 years, Leonard Slates, formerly of Sheldon, who became her caretaker. Her dad, Robert Dodson, preceded her in death. Linda is also survived by her mother, Ruby; sister, Janet Taylor and her husband, Steve; and nieces and nephews, Brandy Dodson, Zach, Stephanie, Cailey, and Jake Taylor of Kansas City.

Survivors in the Nevada area include parents-in-law, Frank and Floris Slates of Nevada; brother-in-law, Max Slates and his wife, Toni, and their children Benton Slates and Ashley White, Ashley's husband, Derik, and their daughter, Ryelyn, all of Hume and Nevada. Linda is also survived by Leonard's cousin, Carla Jett and her husband, Dennis, of Sheldon, Mo. Carla became Linda's best friend, after coming to the rescue and assisting Leonard with Linda's caregiving.

Linda earned a master's degree and was an RN for more than 40 years. She was very proud of her nursing career, having worked in pediatrics (at KU Med Center) and in home health care, med-surg, case management and quality. At St. Luke's North, she was responsible for the hospital maintaining its accreditation and meeting NCQA and Joint Commission quality standards. She always enjoyed teaching everyone how to provide the best possible care, and ensuring that mistakes were not made.

When Linda started recovering from her first (of three) brain surgeries, she had a problem. She no longer knew the words associated with her surroundings. She had to relearn most of her nouns. Linda would put her hand on a pillow or a pen, and say "what's this?" After she was able to start walking somewhat, she would put her hand on a chair, a table, a window...on everything...and say "what's this?" She tried to learn three new nouns a day; then added them to a giant list that she studied extensively each day. Most Glioblastoma 4 patients are never able to go back to work. But Linda relearned most of her language skills, and was able to go back to work in a brain intensive job. It was important to her to be able to accomplish returning to work. When she came home, she was usually exhausted, but she was so proud of what she accomplished in her recovery. Everyone was so proud of her for what she accomplished. After returning to work she saw a doctor (cancer specialist) who was a friend of hers. He said that he had not seen her for awhile. Linda told him what had happened. He asked her if it was a Glioblastoma 1 or 2. When she told him it was a Glioblastoma 4, he was amazed at what she was able to accomplish.

Most Glioblastoma 4 (severity level of 1-4) brain cancer patients survive a maximum of 12-18 months. Even worse, because of her DNA status (unmethylated MGMT) her body's response to treatment was predicted to be dismal. But through aggressive treatment designed through her husband's extensive research, she enjoyed life longer and became a long term survivor (over 40 months). Linda had a positive attitude for much of this time. When Linda was nearing the 12-18 month period when most people die, she was excited. Excited that she was getting closer to getting through 18 months.

A profound moment affected Linda while she was working full-time taking care of a little preschool boy with cancer, more than 20 years ago. The cancer had come back, and his mother asked him if he knew what that meant. He replied, "No more Louie." After 30 months of beating the brain cancer, Linda's tumor came back. Recently Linda realized she had reached the time of "No more Linda."

Linda had a seminary degree (Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) and had a strong belief in God, but a dislike for organized religion. She prayed very much for God to get the brain cancer out of her head.

Laughing was something Linda always enjoyed; she maintained her sense of humor and wit until the end.

Linda always enjoyed the outdoors. She spent many hours with the bright colored and unique flowers and plants in her yard. She always enjoyed seeing deer in her back yard, even though they constantly ate what she planted. Linda enjoyed walking and going driving with Leonard while looking for bald eagles, heron, buzzards, whooping cranes, swans, snow owls and other birds and animals.

There were no memorial services or funeral. Linda chose cremation.

Only a small number of cancers originate in the brain. Glioblastoma has no cure and no remission. Most of the money raised for cancer is for those cancers that have gigantic numbers of occurrence. Tax-deductible donations may be made to the nonprofit Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research & Information at or (516) 295-4740.

Condolences may be expressed and an extended obituary may be viewed at