Topic: Thoughts about this experience

I wasn't quite sure where to post this.  I write this to you as my mom's battle is coming to an end.  When this all began on December 10th, 2007, I was a completely different person.  Hearing the news that my mom had cancer, when we were told all she needed was her gallbladder removed, made me literally fall to the floor.  I was sick for weeks, exhausted, terrified, my faith shaken.  Everything about those days was dark - the weather, the situation, the hospital rooms, my thoughts, mood... everything.  We watched as she went through chemo, three chemo-embolizations, the incessant vomiting, losing her hair, her appetite.  After mets to the bone, a broken arm, radiation, and just recently hemorraghing from esophogeal varices.  Her fight has been valiant, her humor and faith radiant.  Never once a complaint came from her mouth.  She is now in a Hospice Care Center near death and we are all changed forever. 

I write this to encourage you all - patients suffering the same effects from this disease, spouses to those affected, caregivers, children, grandchildren, friends.  My mom is winning - she is so comfortable.  She is resting with a room full of family around her, smiling when we speak to her and even kissing my dad when he is near her.  She is dealing with the effects of the encephalopathy - confused at times and very near death.  But it is not tragic, not scary and not the dark situation that had engulfed us all at the beginning of this journey.  I have been given the grace to see so many things through her suffering that I never imagined would bring me to this sense of peace, complete trust and faith that God loves her and is holding her so close in His loving arms. 

During her stay in Hospice, we have been touched and blessed by so many.  There is a book that was given to me by one of the nurses after talking to her about the unbelievable atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  The book is called "A travel guide to Heaven" written by Anthony Destefano.  It is so comforting and eye-opening - I recommend to all. 

Our experience with Hospice has been nothing but positive.  My mom is in absolutely no pain, she is comfortable and when she becomes agitated she is given Ativan which has helped her tremendously to relax.  The nurses are caring and attentive and the doctor couldn't be more compassionate and honest. 

The most comforting truth I have come to accept and understand is that this is not the end for my mom.  Not even close.  I was raised a Christian and have always believed that those who accept Jesus Christ will go to Heaven when they die.  But I never really fully understood, or thought out exactly what would happen.  To know that my mom will go on and be in such a glorious place and that one day I will physically be able to hug her again, laugh with her again, eat with her again... when I fully comprehend that, this isn't so tragic anymore.  I will miss her while I have to battle my way through until that time, but I know that anything that I want to say to her, or ask her about, or make her laugh with, I will be able to do one day.  And I'll be able to understand why this happened to her.  Her suffering is so brief and the reward so great when I truly grasp what is happening. 

I by no means discount the horrors of this disease and all suffering that seems to come to everyone in one form or another.  But to know there is a God who loves us, comforts us, and will one day raise us from the dust gives me the ability to see through the darkness and still look up and rejoice that this too shall pass.  There are many good days to come and many reunions to attend - here or there. 

Blessings and peace to all of you.

Re: Thoughts about this experience

Thank you, hopeandgrace.  That was beautifully written.  Truly your mom is in the arms of Jesus even right now.  My faith gives me comfort and peace, knowing that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  I grieve not for myself, but for my loved ones who will miss me when I'm gone.
I pray that their lives will be transformed by faith as yours has been.

God bless you,
Lisa

Re: Thoughts about this experience

Hopeandgrace....Wonderfully written.  I can feel the comfort and peace.   Lisa, all I can say is dito girl.

Bless Ya!
Jeff G.

Take it to the Limit,One More Time! (Eagles)

Re: Thoughts about this experience

HopeandGrace,

I can't tell you how moved I was when I read your post today.  I was feeling sorta of lost and down this morning.  I asked God for some peace of mind  and then I logged in and saw your post. 

You will never fully know how you have touched me today.  Your post was an affirmation that there is a silver lining in this monster of a disease.  I also believe that I will be with and see my Mom after she completes her journey on this earth.

You've said what I fervently believe so beautifully.  I wish you love and joy and comfort in the coming days with your Mom and family.

Again, thank you,

Hugs,
Pam

My Mom lost her one year battle with CC on April 3, 2009.

"A prognosis is simply an audit of how truly precious each day is.  Live each day to the maximum, celebrate what was, and what is - Don't spend your life looking forward to what will or might be." .... words of wisdom from my beloved son on hearing of his grandmother's CC prognosis.

Re: Thoughts about this experience

HopeandGrace,

I can only echo what everyone else has already said.  Your post will touch a lot of people, myself included, and help them through their day & their journey with this horrible disease and the grief that follows.  I too want to wish you & your family comfort & peace.  I have no doubt that your faith & understanding will help you through.

Love & Hugs,
Darla

"One Day At A Time"

All of my comments and suggestions are just my opinions and are not a substitute for professional medical advice.   You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers.

Re: Thoughts about this experience

Oh sweet, sweet girl, you are so right...when I held Lee's hand on this past Friday as he took his last breaths, I told him that he had been victorious and he did WIN...just like your beautiful mother, they NEVER gave up, they fought a very courageous, brave battle that I believe only a true fighter could have fought....and I can promise you, you are so very right when you say that one day again you will be with her....as Lee left to be with our Savior, I didnt say goodbye....I whispered we would all be ok, and go help Jesus prepare our room in the mansion because we would be there sometime soon.  You are so brave yourself...and just know that God is holding you right now, His heart is breaking right along with yours...and you will make it through this and win just like your mom.

Love,
Heather

Re: Thoughts about this experience

hopeandgrace, The first thing that I want to say about your post is, "thank you!"  Mom and I have often talked about the fact that this disease will probably be what will take her life and it gives me comfort to think that I could possibly feel as you do when her journey here on earth comes to an end.  I have been so frightened and at times angry about what Mom has to go through, and I know that I have to get a grasp on that.  I can't change what has happened, and spending time being upset about it doesn't help any of us.

Going through this journey with mom has been such a growing experience for many of us in my family.  Like you, I have been raised as a Christian, but after this journey my faith has changed.  I know that there is more than our lives here on earth and know that Mom will go there, and I want to join her someday.  Of course I hope that it is a long time before either one of us have to leave.  I can see how at peace Mom is about her prognosis and that gives all of us so much peace and strength.

I have been touched by so many posts that I have read on this site, but I must say that yours REALLY touched my heart.

Sending lots of prayers and hugs to your family during this time.  Thank you again.

Much love,
Amy

Re: Thoughts about this experience

Yesterday was a month since my sweet Daddy took his last breath.  He was also in care of Hospice and I echo what Hopeandgrace wrote.  They made him so comfortable through the last moments of this terrible cancer.  Wednesday morning, January 14 around 11:00, the dr came in and told us the end was near.  Daddy's was only breathing 4 breaths per minute, but was comfortable to not gasping for air as he has been the night before.  This ugly, violent cancer had moved into both his lungs and he fought for air before we moved him to Hospice Monday night.  At 11:20, Daddy breathed 3 breaths about 75 seconds apart, I was counting with each breath.  My brother, my husband and myself were standing by Daddy's bedside, holding his hands and with his last breath, my Daddy smiled and he was gone.  I know that Daddy had just seen the most beautiful sight, His Savior and His Mother were waiting for him.  They took his hand and guided him into Heaven's Gates.  We cried selfish tears at that moment, but knowing, we did not want him to come back and go through the battle he had gone through for the last 15 months.
Thank you HopeandGrace and everyone else, for your touching posts and for reminding me of the Peace that only God can give during this time of missing my Daddy.  It was not goodbye, just see you in a little while.  Every day I feel my Daddy's loving arms around me, guiding me through the rest of this earthly journey.  I miss him dearly, but I know he is in a far better place than this, smiling down as I type this, comforting me not to cry, but SMILE, OPEN YOUR EYES, LOVE AND GO ON.

Smiling through tears,
Patsy

Re: Thoughts about this experience

I wanted to add this poem.  The day Daddy died, I searched and searched for the perfect poem to put in the obituary for Daddy.  I came to this site and found many comforting words. I am not sure if I found this particular poem on this site or not.  If I did, THANK YOU to the person who originally posted.  It has given my family great comfort, it is just like my Daddy is saying these words to us every time we read it.  This is exactly what my Daddy would say to us to comfort us while we grieve and miss him dearly.  I pray it touches your heart and comforts you as it comforts me.

He is Gone
You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want:
Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.