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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Marking the final days

When Cancer strikes it becomes a family affair.

The final walk 

This entire department is serene
Very welcoming
And the staff are very encouraging and caring.
We have never seen anything like it  

But first, a little thought processing has been going on....

You might not like it...or admit it...or deal with it...but it is the truth, Cancer is a family affair. 

Most of us know that if your Mother or Grandmother have breast cancer, then all you girls need to get mammograms early and keep checking.

But did you know that if your Dad has prostate cancer, then you girls should also get started early with mammograms? 

I didn't know that.  I have three daughters.  So, early is now.

There are other things I have learned during these 44 days of treatment.  I have been along with my hubby for 42 of those days.   Some things were hard, but others just plain facts.

One thing that people often say is " it's the best cancer to have".  
 Well, I have never said that and I never will.   When prostate  cancer hits your loved one,  it is cancer.  It is hard. 
There are decisions to make. Friends and family have advice for you and stories to share.  You get emails from people who know a cure. And even when you have talked to several doctors and your plan is in place, there is still someone who continues to "share"

Lesson:  do not minimize any cancer. It is no respecter of persons. Age, gender, nationality...
It can strike anyone.  
Lesson:  There are ways to show your concern. Rides, a listening ear, prayer

The first day in the green room there were at least 10 people.  I brought a book but when I saw the puzzle table, I sat down and got busy.
It took me a few days, and Leo helping with the puzzle, to feel comfortable chatting with anyone.

Then it was time for Emma to ring the gong.  She was ready.  But I was not ready for the emotion.
My emotion.  When the journey is ended, it is emotional, it is a big moment. I had a little gift for her.  She hugged me and our eyes were swimming.  

Through the next couple weeks, two ladies joined the 8:00 hour .
Since I am feeling more comfortable in the green room, I introduce myself.
Tina has had Chemo and lost all her pretty red hair. But she is smiling and likes my shoes and ruffled skirt. We talk fashion. 
Jessica has had Chemo but still has her cute red hair.  She is smiling and is helping me with the puzzle.
Their treatments were much shorter than hubby's and their day came to ring the gong. 
This time I was prepared for the emotion. I had a little gift for each of them. It was a strange feeling to say goodbye, but so glad they were done with this chapter in their life. Eyes swimming.
Those girls gave the gong a good hit. It was a very exciting moment. In fact, one of them was so excited she walked out of the department in her blue dressing gown.  ( She didn't get far )

Lesson along the way: It is a good thing to be friendly. Get beyond that shy, protective  wall and step into that new situation with a smile. 

The 8:00 hour has two new ladies and a gentleman
One lady comes in a wheel chair and has been through Chemo and is struggling with side effects. 
The other lady caught her cancer early and no Chemo.
The gentleman is friendly and chats with hubby.

Their day for the gong is next week.

But our day is today.
And I was ready. A little treat for the three 8:00 "friends" who have a few more days in their journey.
Muffins for everyone.  

Sweetest surprise, daughter and her little man came in time for the big event 

They brought balloons and treats 

did not get permission from everyone to names   
Our journey is over.  We have learned some things
You do not know what a day will bring forth  ( Proverbs 27:1)

All the things you hear are true...we just forget, we are in such a hurry..
BUT,  spend time with those you love..tell them you love them... do not waste time on meeting the expectations of others.... love more..... pray more....listen... sing and dance ! 

The rest of the story.
1.  Gentleman with wife and two grandchildren, no energy
2.  Lady formerly from Cherry Crest. Alone 
3.  Emma and Leo
4.  Gentleman with throat cancer, never alone
5.  Stocky man, comes back for coffee sometimes..Alone 
6.  Sometime early, sometimes late, always alone 
7.  Laura, on her phone, always Alone
8.  Tina, chats about fashion, Alone, except final day
9.  Jessica,only 26 years old, very happy,  works on puzzle with        me,   always Alone 
10. Red Jogging suit, never sits down, always Alone 
11. Claudia, always cheerful, always Alone 
12. Leona and Tom, in a wheel chair. struggling with side effects
13. Jasper always early, always cheerful, always Alone 
14. Hubby...always cheerful, always early,  never alone.

So, out of 14 patients, 9 are always alone. 
And several patients were alone because they were able to keep working. Just two patients expressed extreme tiredness and that is one of the most common side effects.
Thankful, my hubby came through strong !  

the women patients, chat easily with me about life and some personal things

the men patients talk about cars and work to the group.until the final days when hubby and one man were the only ones in the room

( I was there working on the puzzle).  They talked about what was going on in their treatment and the typical side effects that occur. At one point our new friend says " I can't believe I am having this conversation".  But it was good.  Really good.  

We are at  the end of our journey.  A follow up in a month.   
We have much to be thankful for and hope we remember lessons and keep learning

Blessings abound !


carlislegramma said...

Thank you for this post, Kathy. You are so right~cancer is a family affair and affects you for the rest of your life. Having walked the road twice (successfully) with my mother, once with my mother-in-law (unsuccessfully), and parts of the road with several friends & family (some successful & some not), I am changed forever. One thing that hurts me so deeply are those that walk alone. Even if there is family, there must not be the understanding that "pop-in-and out," "How are you doing," "See you later" is not the same as "being there" day after long day.
I have missed our emails...but am so behind with "communicating" as I am trying to "be there" for Mom without neglecting the others the Lord has given me. Love glad Darrell got to ring the gong, and prayers that his will be a most successful treatment! ~KAREN

Lisette said...

Will pray for you.

Anonymous said...

family...comes first