This blog is coming to you today, courtesy of Amy. Jim is here next to me as I type, and will add his contributions if he is able.
As many of you already know, Jim was taken to the hospital via ambulance on February 2nd. He was extremely ill, and after consulting with multiple doctors with conflicting advice, he had a procedure to determine what was causing him to be sick. They discovered a bleed in his esophagus, which is apparently common when your liver is involved with your cancer. The doctor was able to fix the bleeding, at least for now, and initially, Jim perked up. However, we were told this bleeding could reoccur in as little as 2-3 weeks. Additionally, he started declining pretty quickly. After talking with each other and consulting with his oncologist and the doctors who were treating him, Jim made the decision to transition to hospice care. That was not an easy decision, but it was becoming clear that the chemo was no longer working, and he was out of options. He had also lost a lot of weight and become very weak. So, after 6 days in the hospital, he came home to be with me and the girls. We have been surrounded by family who have been helping immensely with Jim’s care and with keeping the girls’ lives as normal as possible. Our friends have set up a meal train and have just generally been wonderful. It has been pretty much the most difficult week in this fight so far. But we know the worst is yet to come. His hospice nurses and aides are great. They have been kind and have assured him that he will be taken care of and his pain will be managed. It is still scary.
Hospice and Valentine’s Day make strange bedfellows. Yesterday, I went out to get cards for the girls and for Jim. It was tough reading all of the happy husband cards out there. “I am so happy that I get to spend the rest of my life with you.” “What a wonderful life we share. I can’t wait for our future together.” You get the idea. They don’t make Valentine cards for people who are dying. I found one that was simple enough to say what I wanted to say, but it was a tough first trip out of the house since he came home. On the upside, we ARE getting to spend this Valentine’s Day together. It may not be the way we imagined, but had we listened to the first doctor we talked to at the hospital, I’d be spending this day alone. Instead, I gave him the card that I got for him and we shared a special donut date while the girls were at church with my parents. Jim used to always go out on the weekends and get donuts for breakfast. It’s something that we haven’t shared in the last year and a half since he stopped driving due to his medications. It just didn’t feel right for me to go get the donuts because that was his thing. Last night, while I sat next to him while he slept, I came across a Facebook post from our new hot fresh donut shop that was offering 4 free Valentine donuts to the winner of the contest. I shared and tagged and shortly after, went to bed. I got up this morning to find out that we won the contest. So, I went out and got our special donuts, and we enjoyed some special time together. It really is the little things that mean so much. We don’t know if he has days or weeks left, but we continue to live with fierce hope for peace, comfort, love and happiness.
With Fierce Hope,