Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

I had a lovely partner in crime today! I was visiting with Tom's support group for our Monday meeting and I mentioned to Tom did he need any chocolate? His answer was mmmmmmmm! I remembered a FB friend on his and now mine lives in Round Rock so I messaged her. Irene Shooter brought Tom 4 chocolate bars today! Irene you are my newest Tom's angel! Thank you. When I spoke to Tom a short while ago, I asked him did he eat any? Big pause.....he laughed and said MOST!
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Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

What can I say? Yahoo comes to mind. Tom's group meeting yesterday was the most encouraging yet. Tom has made improvements in talking, helping himself dress, walking, eating, and, did I say talking? He has better recognition of objects and the strength on his right side is improving daily! Tom is delighted and so am I.

He mentions every time we talk about how "beautiful" it is that he gets so many cards and when I told him there have been over 7K visitors on this site he was amazed and grateful.

There is also a surprise coming soon from the Austin American Statesman, so be on the lookout!

I am so appreciative of all of you!


Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

I had a delightful call with Tom awhile ago. I was fixing to call him and he called me. He had a great day of eating food and some fun shows on TV. He celebrated with me that I got to go play in the dirt in the garden and that I had dirty fingernails. Also, I did not have any Tylenol today! Such a great call

Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

Tom's support group had a phone meeting yesterday. So many good things to report!
Tom's physical activity is improving daily. More mobility in his right arm and leg!
Tom has been weaned off the medication that they believe was slowing his speech improvement with a new med. As a matter of fact his reading comprehension has improved to 75 percent! Despite that, his verbal comprehension is still low at about 50 percent. Let us continue with cards and letters as this seems the best way to communicate clearly with him. Not only that but he treasures each an every card!
Tom clearly misses his visits and I hope this will help him a bit since we are all in the same boat!
Depression - this was serious and I was deeply worried. I call in the morning and evening and this seems to lift his spirits. I still realize that his ability to express himself is not "tom" but I have been teasing him that every time he says "sorry" he owes me a dollar. Yesterday I told him I was going to be rich if he does now kick it up a notch.
Garden news. Supplies are coming in for the raised beds and we are in need of seeds/ or plants. Maybe we can send Tom a packet of Zone specific seeds that we love and attach a note to tell him why??? Just a thought.
Yesterday's call left me feeling very optimistic and very joyful as there were many "Tom" minutes where I got a real laugh. When they called they asked me what I was doing and I replied that I was stuffing my face with chocolate and I could hear a "Tom" groan in the background! (Teehee)
Keep those cards and letters coming and every time you go outside and see "Spring" say a little prayer for Tom.

Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

On Mondays Tom's team of caregivers has a conference call with me to let me know what is happening in Tom's world. This past Monday we had good news on the physical therapy and a bit of a set back on speech therapy. Tom is doing his best to overcome all obstacles.  Before the call was over I teased Tom to remind him my birthday was today and that all I wanted from him was to sing "Happy Birthday" to me....I got my wish! Best present ever!

Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

I had a scare last Thursday night. Tom was admitted into Seton Hospital because his speech was slurry and he was not sleeping. EKG, MRI, and Ct Scan all came back NEGATIVE for new stroke activity! Today they preformed a Lumbar Punch to check for bacteria and or micro-organism presence and that was also negative! The conclusion reached was Tom had a very minor seizure and that are changing his medications to prevent that from happening again. Yippee! Thank you all for your ongoing prayers and well wishes - they mean the world to us both. He is going back to Neuro Restorative this afternoon.

Journal entry by Carol McGuire

Tom would love to have your visit or Valentines at NeuroRestorative, 5150 N. A W Grimes Blvd., Round Rock, TX 78665. He is really working hard to recover from a severe stroke. Let him know he has many friends pulling for him! He was feeling good today & ready to watch the SuperBowl.

Journal entry by Diana Hoffman
Tom’s Story

Site created on October 2, 2019


Last week when I was in Austin, several words stood out in many of the conversations that I had… Icon. Treasure. Institution. Gift. 

Words that were used to describe my brother Tom Spencer. 

Sure, I could elaborate on the many places that through his efforts and leadership made Austin a better place to live, however I am going to take another route. 

When JFK was assassinated, Tom, a grade school kid, wept on the bus. He already at a young age had a sense of the world and how that charismatic man had made the world a better place. 

That desire to make the world a better place is something that Tom did in many little ways, not just on the public stage.

Our younger brother, Jeff, would have said Tom was a champion. Not just a hero in all their stories but someone who literally took his hand and walked him through scary places. Tom did that for the last time when Jeff died of cancer. 

Tom was an exasperation to me. He was an unwelcome intruder of my perfect world when he was born. He teased me, taunted me, fought with me and finally somewhere along the line we became friends. He was a treasure that I had at last found and my gift.

Last month Tom suffered a massive stoke. The articulate man that we all knew is silenced for a while.
He is struggling to regain the ability to express himself and let the world know that he is still here….

He is here and he needs your good will, kindness, prayers and what ever you call it to come back.

Here at Caring Bridge is a place where we can all find ways to help Tom return to self and to all of us.

Thank you,
Diana Hoffman (Tom's sister)