Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011: The 3rd and last and hardest to swallow bite

So why Hospice? Why now? Well, Kristi asked Dr. VanderWoude "how long?". Dr. VanderWoude shared her opinion with us but I still haven't come to grips with it. Maybe I'm in denial, but I just don't buy it. She said 6 months but I can't believe that. 6 months doesn't work for us. That would fall right between Ashley and Nathan's birthdays and well, that just ain't gunna work.

Honestly, it's hard for me to come to grips with any amount of time. I can still talk with her, laugh with her, touch her, see her, smell her, make her mad, make her giggle, heck, we even went on a double date last night! So 6 months?! Nope. Say what you want, just don't say 6 months. But what about 9 months? a year? 15 months? Frankly, all of those options suck. If this were multiple choice I'd be looking for the D) None of the above.

But, taking her advice, we did get things started with Hospice. And can I just say, what a wonderful organization! When people hear of Hospice, they generally associate them with "end of life". They are so much more! We met with 2 nurses Thursday for more of a "welcome to Hospice" type visit. Then on Friday we met our nurse who will be visiting weekly. All of them were just wonderful. Very friendly, compassionate, good Christian people. They presented everything very eloquently, considering what they were sharing with us after all. 4 hours after they were here Kristi's wheelchair showed up. If you hear or read us referring to "Breezy", that's Kristi's wheelchair's name. Monogrammed on the back in yellow letters. So Breezy it is!

Speaking of morphine, Kristi is now on a low dose of morphine to try to mask her pain. We're still trying to get the dosage figured out yet so a couple of painful days for her. Kristi, the most straight-laced of all teenagers, the most angelic mother and most inspirational woman to many, is 'doing' morphine. Talk about irony.

After Dr. WanderWoude's visit last week we just came home and sat on the couch. The kids were all at school so the house was very still. It was a bit surreal. We've just been told my wife has 6 months to live, we're sitting on the couch looking through funeral home information, and Kristi says "I think I want the ala carte package." I said "uh uh, no way. There is not a funeral package called 'ala carte'." Yup, there is. We start laughing. Laughing. What the heck, if you can't laugh in a situation like this you'll go insane. "I'll take one of these, 2 of those thingies, 4 of that, and what the heck, throw in some of those for good measure." Wow, talk about a full service funeral home!

Kristi has chosen the funeral home in which she would like to...use? (not sure what to say there). Use? Doesn't sound right. We're not sharing that at this point because that seems so final. Just not willing to call it 'game over'. We still have fight. I'm not going to say she's stubborn (that would be on the list of things not to say to your wife), but she is just too damn stubborn to give up! She will fight this cancer with every ounce of her 105 pounds! (that makes up for the stubborn comment).

My intent with this post was to share the news; but share it in a way where you, the reader, don't lose hope. We're not giving up, and we'll need your prayers now more than ever. As bitter as it may taste, it's reality. Yes, we cried when we heard the news and I'm sure some of you may be crying. It's OK to cry. Well, unless you're in a restaurant full of construction workers, then you pretend you got some pepper in your eyes. But other than that one exception, it's OK to cry. We all need to cry. If you can't cry during a time like this than you must already be dead. So cry with us. Be mad with us. It's all good. must also laugh with us. Promise us not to stop laughing with us.

These next few weeks and months are going to be very challenging for the entire family. As we prepare for having a hospital bed in our living room eventually, I'm scrambling now to finish our basement that flooded nearly 2 years ago. Well, not just "me", I have the help of many many wonderful friends. I'm sure we'll get this basement done in no time! Then the kids can finally have their basement back...and we can have someplace to send them to when we want snuggle time on the couch! :)

We have shared this news with the kids. Of course they took it hard but rebounded as usual. I'm sure as Kristi gets worse it will sink in more for the kids. Right now Kristi seems pretty 'normal' so it's hard for the kids to grasp what's going on. So we are enjoying these days as much as we can.

Kristi is having a very difficult time with her senses. She is becoming very sensory sensitive. Noise, light, crowded or tight spaces, and even people just being close to her makes her very anxious; anxious to the point of nausea. Her blood counts are also very low and will continue to drop so she is very susceptible to catching any airborne illnesses.

So keeping that context in mind, I'll end with this...if you see her at school, at church, in the store or wherever, please refrain from getting too close. A gentle rub on the shoulder will work just great in the place of a hug. Please, no hugs! There are no exceptions. I know, I know. Easier said than done. She is just so stinking adorable, but you have to restrain yourself. She will also be avoiding any skin to skin contact as much as possible. So if she doesn't return a hand shake please don't be offended. Please help us by not attempting any hugs or hand shakes. We need to all work together to keep her as healthy as possible. The last thing she needs is a respiratory infection.

I think that was my longest post. Sorry to be so long, but how do you share information like this and not be?! Thanks for hanging in there and reading it all (assuming you're still with me). :) We'll keep you posted as things come up. In the meantime, have a blessed week and please keep our family in your never-ceasing and always felt prayers.