30 December 2016

Cancer - - I hate you

We are taught not to hate, it is evil and wrong.  Hate is such a strong word which is why your encouraged to use it as little as possible.  However, I am human as are you and we experience a wide variety of emotions.  Hate is one of many and there are other things and yes even some people that I apply that word to.  One of those things is cancer.  It robbed me of my grandmother, shaved years off of life of my late partner and has impacted so many people that I know. It has brought fear and depression into my life.  While I have seen my share of success stories, sadly the failures outweigh those that have beat it.  I hope that one day very soon we will have a cure for all cancer and that no one else will have to die because of it.  

Last night the phone rang, it was my friend.  I just knew before I answered the phone that I wasn’t going to be getting good news.  Probably explains why he and his wife were on my mind all day long.  I wanted to call but just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  They got bad news yesterday, this was news that I half way expected to surface but not so quickly.  They have reached the end of the road and there is nothing more that can be done to treat his wife for her condition.  The cancer cells have grown in her intestine an they have caused so much inflammation that there is food impacted in the intestine and it can’t pass.  They are discharging her from the hospital and she will be coming home on Saturday.  Hospice has been called and hospital equipment is being delivered today to their home.  The goal is to make her as comfortable as possible, until she dies.  She won’t die from cancer, that will be a side effect of her death.  She will die from starvation.  She can’t eat or drink anything, as she will just vomit it up.  IV’s will be discontinued upon discharge.  So they are going to give her Morphine and another medication as a mood stabilizer.  They will be tablets that you place under the tongue and they will be absorbed orally.  This sound like a less than humane way to die.  If I were in her shoes I would demand an IV and medicine given that way.  It’s quicker and much more effective.  I would want to be out of it most of the time, as being lucid just wouldn’t seem to be a logical choice. 

I was told that she is at peace with all of this and she has resigned her self to accepting it and wanting to move forward.  He on the other hand will be left behind and he said this is the hardest thing that he has ever had to do.  I sympathize with him and know some of the pain he is experiencing.  When they got married as most couples do, there were vows exchanged.  Part of your duty and promise is to be there in good times and in bad.  In sickness and in health, until death do you part.  In short it’s what we signed up for, nothing thinking about death or negative events but thinking about how positive life would be now that were married to the love of our life.  Death is very much a part of life and it’s something that everyone has a hard time dealing with.  It takes a special person to sit idle and watch the love of their life pass away.  While I offered my sympathies and inquired if there was anything that I could do, I knew in my heart that I was useless and powerless.  I was told thank you but not right now, a typical response.  I only offered because I care and I was most sincere, this was not just a perfunctory gesture. 

I gave what I considered to be the best possible advice.  That is hold nothing back, say everything you need, want and have ever wanted to say.  For soon you won’t be able to talk and the worst thing is living your life with regret.  It’s simple common sense advice that we all take for granted.  So often we suppress what we really want to say be it out of fear, sadness or because you simply don’t want an argument on your hands. 

Through this entire conversation I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  I tried to reason and rationalize a solution but he was quick to shoot me down.  Surgery would be the best fix in a normal person.  However, they are afraid she would die on the table.  I said well your already at no what is there to lose.  You will either speed up the process or she will get better.  Frankly it’s not a risk anyone wants to take.  I would want it though, I don’t believe in giving up.  If I gave up would I be where I am in life today?  Not a chance.  The only reason why I chose to end my late partners life is because the chance for a meaningful life and recovery wasn’t possible.  I knew that he wouldn’t want to be trapped in a non-functioning body.  In my friends case her body is fine and functional, she is just sick.  I think that surgery and anything else that could be a viable option should be explored.  I mean she could die in the process, hell we all could die just crossing the street.  However, what if she didn’t die but it gave her a new lease on life and she was able to walk away from this?  While I understand the problem I don’t agree with the solution.  Giving up seems so wrong in this case. 

It is anticipated that she will last 6 to 12 weeks.  You can go a long time without water, but you can go a very short time with out food.  My guess is that is a best guess estimate and that she will likely pass away much sooner.  Time will be like a airplane going 200mph and before you know it she will be gone. 

What do you say to someone that is preparing for the death of their spouse?  What do you do?  I think back to my experience.  What I enjoyed and needed most was people to talk to and people to listen.  To talk about memories and to process what was going to happen.  Most were genuine and real, others were fake and their true colors shined through after the event was over.

It would be great if a miracle would happen but it is not likely.  He is taking time from work.  He remarked last night there is so much to do.  I’ve got to plan a funeral.  Right but that won’t take more than a couple hour at best.  I get that he can’t work from a mental capacity it’s hard to concentrate on anything and a lot of things go by the wayside for a while.  I understand that his life is turning upside down.  Staying busy helps, but you have to do simple stuff and nothing that requires any brain power. 

Much to my surprise this news shook me.  Brought back unpleasant memories and even now I am thinking about no so good times past.  I would walk into a room and forget why I was there.  I knew I wanted to do something else on the computer but couldn’t remember what.  I was mentally flustered.  Even this morning it was tough to get out of the house but I managed to do it in record time and got to work super early.  That gave me time to talk with a co-worker.  Then to get started with this day. 

Things are going rather well concerning my day and the departures.  I will be here past 6 but I expect to be gone by 630p unless something comes up.  My reward will be waiting for me at my local Taco Bell.  That is how I plan on treating myself.  There is work to be done at home but unless I feel a sudden urge I will likely spend it with the kids.  No cuddle time for Bear last night, he wasn’t happy about it but he accepted it.  I am looking forward to taking a break for 3 days.  I hope that on-call proves to be quieter than normal with the holiday mixed in, but only time will tell.  I would rather not think about work after I walk out of the office tonight. 

I will try to post a little something tomorrow but can’t say that for certain.  So just in case things don’t go the way I expect they will, I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.  May 2017 bring good to all of us and may our president elect not get us all killed or in a world of trouble.  2016 I think everyone agrees has been a shit year.  The only direction to go is up so 2017 here’s to you and the future.  May it be as bright for all of us as a shining star.    

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