Adele was diagnosed with stage four gallbladder cancer about five weeks ago (July 15th). The cancer had already spread to the liver and several lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis. Surgery and radiation were ruled out immediately, but there was some initial hope for chemotherapy. After a couple weeks of waiting for her liver function and “numbers” to improve (bilirubin, hemoglobin, etc), this past Wednesday we met with our oncology doctor and it was determined chemo would not be an option, and hospice care was initiated.
This cancer is aggressive, we were told initially we might have 4-6 months, however it sounds like we may only have days or weeks now.
We are making plans to help her stay in the comfort of her home for as long possible.
Blessings (in no particular order): --Her wish has always been to “go” before my dad. She knew my dad could navigate on his own much better than she could have (and she is right about this!). --She always said she hoped she would “go fast”. In fact she had told my brother she hoped it would have been a plain crash that took her home. He told her “this is not quite that fast...but pretty dang close.” She will not suffer long, and we have been told by nurses that we should be able to manage her pain successfully. --My dad is running on all cylinders. He had not been himself for a couple years (tired, no energy, mentally foggy sometimes). He had a pacemaker installed a few months ago and after a little hiccup with meds, he now has all his energy, wit, and is mentally as sharp as ever (and if you know my dad..that’s pretty sharp!!). --Our entire family is within a couple miles of Mom & Dad’s. All four children, and all the grand kids have been able to spend good quality time here. --She was here for the birth of her daughter’s (Joy’s) 1st baby... “Grace Adele Horsely”, born August 5th, 2016. --My Mom & Dad will be able to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary tomorrow (Saturday, August 20th). --She can be at home. My folks have recently completed a home remodel and it is a beautiful, peaceful setting with views of the gardens from every window, and rich with amazing memories.
How she’s doing:
Physically: --We are amazed at the speed of which this cancer is taking it’s toll. Noticeable change can be seen each day in her ability to stand, walk, even stay awake. To think that five weeks ago she was walking 3 miles or more a day, and today she can’t even sit up on her own, let alone stand up, or walk, or... it’s just hard to believe. --She is comfortable. Pain is being successfully controlled with a Fentanyl patch and oxycodone as needed. As expected however, this leaves her mentally “foggy” all day. --She sleeps a lot, 16-20 hours a day. And when she is not sleeping she is half sleeping on a couch or recliner for an hour or two at a time.
Emotionally: She is amazing. Calm, honest, sad, realistic, patient, gracious and even thankful. She knows exactly what is going on. She comments frequently on how this is going “so fast”, “hard to understand”. But she doesn’t complain.
She is disappointed she will miss out on time with the grandkids. She and my dad are such intentional and giving grandparents. They made quality time with grandkids such a priority. That was going to be front and center for the next 10 years. They thought about downsizing their home and moving into town, but the deciding factor was....grandkids. They thought about a winter home down south but decided against it, “we don’t want to miss any time with the grandkids” they said...
Spiritually: She’s not afraid to die, she’s confident in her relationship with her Creator and knows she will be in heaven soon. A little too soon.
How the family is doing: --We are in this together. We have found many opportunities to laugh. Even more to cry. We are here for mom, whatever that takes. Ardy (Adele’s sister) has been here a lot, right by her side. She is amazing!
--I’m not sure how my dad is holding up as well as he is. He’s a rock star. 24 hour care-giver, managing mom’s medications, phone calls, finances, family... he’s been so strong, and so caring and compassionate in his care for mom. Pray for his continued health and strength.
Thanks to all our caring friends and family for your kind words, prayers, love and support, it has been felt.