On Friday, May 31, our father, John B LaLonde had a gastroscopy and colonoscopy due to some gastric problems, weight loss and fatigue. Prior to this event he had become severely dehydrated and nauseous…and hadn’t eaten much in the last several weeks. He had been in to see his doctor the previous week for dehydration and given several liters of IV fluid.
We were worried he had a stomach ulcer. Dad thought he was only getting the colonoscopy, and found it was both as they were wheeling him down to his procedure. “I’m getting both?” he asked. “I’ve been duped!” He hasn’t lost his sense of humor.
The gastroscopy uncovered a 3.5 centimeter lesion in his stomach. Some of the staff in the procedure room worked with our dad when he was a surgeon. His doctor said the air in the room changed when they found the tumor, people started telling him about what an amazing man dad is and how great he was to work with. After the procedure, the doctor told Teri that someday he hopes people speak of him the same way.
When we were told it was stomach cancer, we were stunned. Our mother, Kay LaLonde, was diagnosed and died from stomach cancer on August 26, 1995 – almost 25 years ago. How can both of our parents (from different gene pools) contract the same rare, deadly disease?
He met with his oncologist and was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma of the gastric mucosa (stomach lining). This is a different stomach cancer than our mom had, hers was an adenocarcinoma of the stomach. Either way, the outlook is not good.
The plan is for Dad to receive IV fluids, anti-nausea meds and steroids which should help with his energy level and keep him comfortable.
He is still sharp and able to make all his own decisions. He doesn't want to prolong things if he’s going to feel as miserable as he did this past week. All five kids have circled the wagons around dad to make him comfortable. We all want to support whatever decision he makes.
He has met with a priest and received his last rites. He feels like he is set and says “my bags are packed.“ He is 89-years old and has had an amazing life with limited health troubles. No regrets.
So many people tell us stories of how dad saved their life or the life of a loved one. He is our hero and his superpower was saving other’s lives. He has touched so many lives.
We all will be heartbroken when he is gone but the thought that he will be reunited with mom makes us happy. What a homecoming that will be!