Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29 NIV)
It is with a saddened heart that I share with you that Mrs.Barbara's health has significantly declined. As of today, she is home resting and under the care of her family and Hospice. She was discharged home from the hospital yesterday. The doctors, though not able to know the exact time the Lord will call her home, have mentioned that her time with us may be less than one week.
On Sunday and Monday we had discussions with the oncology team regarding the CT scan from Friday night. Her tumors had grown 2cm each. That, in combination with her level of pain and discomfort led them to believe that her symptoms were a result of disease progression and not a "tumor flare" as was hoped. She was too weak to consider other forms of treatment or to continue on her clinical trial, so there was nothing else the doctors could do for her. After speaking with the hospice representative, we elected to bring her home and have visits by hospice nurses to help with her comfort and care.
She has a PCA pump since she has a chemoport, which makes it easier and faster to give her the pain relief she needs. She has experienced quite a bit of pain, and that has been very hard to watch. Her regimen at home seems to have helped her pain, and her nausea has basically gone away. She sleeps and rests most of the day. She gets up to use the bathroom but does have a catheter to relieve some pressure on her bladder. We have her in her own nightgown with her own blankets, in her bedroom, surrounded by her pictures of family and grandchildren, memoirs, and cards. Though very sedated, she will still talk with us when we are with her. We have had some very special and wonderful moments with her when she is more alert. We take advantage of these times, letting her know how loved she is, how proud we are of her, praying for her, even singing (though we've apologized for none of us being gifted with singing abilities).
This is very tough, to be completely honest. I am sure there are many reading this who have intimately experienced the loss of someone very close by being along side them as their body, mind, and spirit transition from this life to the next. For me, this is a first, and as hard as it is, it has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. To love and to have been loved by someone enough for them to bring you along on their journey is a wonderful gift. For the caregiver, dying is not pretty or appealing to the senses or the emotions. As I have accepted the reality of what is happening to Mrs. Barbara, I have had a single phrase that keeps coming to me. "God created death." Just like he created us in life, he created our death, or this transition into life eternal with Him. It was designed by Him, so there must be beauty in it somewhere. I have been seeking that beauty in Mrs. Barbara's transition. I have embraced every emotion and tried to allow each one whatever time it has needed in the moment. In that, I have found that "peace beyond all understanding" and know that He is with me, and I know He is right here with her.
I, along with her family, are heartbroken right now, at times to the point of physical pain and anxiety. I have no idea what the coming days will look or feel like, but I believe in the healing power of Jesus Christ and that God's Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Please continue to lift Mrs. Barbara in prayer...for mercy from the pain, a miracle that only God can provide at this point if that is His Will, and that if He is calling her home, that the transition be a comfortable and peaceful one. Also, lift up Coach, her children, and family in prayer as they prepare their own bodies and minds to assist her during this time. Pray for the beauty in the process and the acceptance of God's Will.
Heavenly Father, my heart aches for my sweet Mother-in-Love!! Lord, I pray for her pain relief and comfort. I pray for her to know our love. I pray for continued strength and peace as we travel this portion of the pilgrimage with her. Your Will be done as we patiently wait for her ultimate healing. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.