We all live expecting life to continue as it always has. We dream, make plans, say we’ll do things tomorrow. What if tomorrow never comes? What if you find out your tomorrows are limited? That is when you begin living day by day, one day at a time.
If you have been a reader for a while you may remember when I wrote in January about my husband’s Slippery Surgical Stress where due to a large tumor and cancer he had a transhiatal esophagectomy in which they removed his esophagus then raised his stomach up and attached it where the esophagus once was. The surgery went well, he had a speedy recovery and it was believed he was cancer free.
Then at Ron’s three month post-op checkup they found cancer in his lung, which they related to the esophagus cancer. He began a round of chemo, wearing a chemo-pack for 48 hours every two weeks. After that round they did another scan, the cancer had gotten worse and they changed the type of chemo and he did another round, which he completed on November 19th.
Ron had a CT Scan on Monday, November 30th. The cancer has spread. Chemo is not working. Treatment is being stopped. Ron is down to 99.6 lbs and is unable to eat or drink much. He is very weak and exhausted all the time. We inquired as to whether it would be beneficial to have him hospitalized and put on a feeding tube to get nutrition into him. The answer was devastating. A feeding tube will not provide him with an increase in energy and will not enhance his quality of life, instead it could deplete it due to potential complications.
So, I took my husband home and we take it day by day. The oncologist will have hospice contact me. We plan for his passing. I pray he makes it through Christmas. Once we hit Christmas, the next goal is our grandson’s birthday in January. We will set goals one-by-one.
Emotionally this is very trying. I have spent more time in tears in the past 48 hours than I have in years. I feel horrible that he and our son (who is in prison), only have telephone contact or letters for contact during this time. They are very close and this is hard on both of them. I feel crushed that our youngest grandchild, who will have her first birthday on the 12th of December, is too young to remember her grandfather. I worry about my two grandsons, ages 4 and 9 who are very close to him. I could be a fly on the wall, it is always “where’s Papa?” when they come through the door.
So, this has been a rough year, but it has also been a good year because when Ron got the diagnosis that his cancer was back he took a positive approach and lived like he was dying. He took 2-1/2 weeks and drove west to Sante Fe, New Mexico and back, making numerous stops along the way and doing things he had never done…a hot air balloon ride, a glider ride, and more. The two of us flew to Albuquerque and attended the International Hot Air Balloon Festival. We drove north and toured the Michigan State Hospital, went up into the UP and visited our son. Ron walked the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day, and old tradition of ours. He drove to Tennessee and checked on property we own there, taking a side trip to Nashville where he had never been. Ron attended his 45th Class Reunion, we went to a BBQ where he saw some of his old high school friends. He took pictures, he planned for the future. He spent this past year the best he could.
I am trying to maintain as normal a routine as possible. Friends and family have been supportive. We have people scheduled to come visit him. I dread the day he is no longer here. In some ways it feels lonely already.
I have adopted the motto of my teenage nephew, who a few years ago was battling cancer and facing imminent death. His motto was “Every Day’s a Bonus.” I’m borrowing that motto. Every day that I have Ron here with me is a bonus.