I had planned to post after Chemo 2, which went quite well, but just as I was on the upswing and feeling pretty good at about day 9, my dad’s condition worsened. I was able to spend several days with him, and the day before Chemo 3, I kissed him goodbye and told him that I’d see him in a few days. On August 23rd I did Chemo 3, and my mom called and told me that it looked like we’d only have about 2 more weeks. Dad had other plans, though, and at 4 am on August 24th, he passed away. It was while he was still mobile, mostly aware, and not really in pain. He died in his own bed with his beloved wife of 57 years at his side. It was quick, and although we miss him terribly, we could not have asked for a better ending to the long and happy life of a wonderful man.
Mom called at 5 am to let me know, and told me to go back to sleep. No way. We drove the 25 miles to their house and I had a chance to say goodbye before they came to take him away. Hospice was wonderful, and had cleared everything away and left Dad tucked into bed, just looking like he was sleeping. One of Dad’s sisters, who’s a nurse, was staying at the house and had been a great help to Mom when it happened, and the parish priest was there before any of us arrived. The strangest thing for me was how quiet it was without the puffing of the oxygen machine.
Through some miracle, I had virtually no nausea in the first few days, so I was able to get a lot done to help things out, including making a lot of calls to the family (which I have virtually no memory of!), doing the first draft of the obituary, and preparing the slideshow for the vigil at the funeral home. My family was great about keeping me involved but making sure that I went and rested as much as possible. The day of the funeral was a bit hard to get through as it was a long day and quite exhausting, but it was a lovely service and all 8 of his grandchildren participated in it. We had family from the East Coast, Canada, England, and Ireland attend, so we all helped out with the family dinners that we hosted at my mom’s house every night. My two sisters and my brother and I, along with our spouses, really pulled together.
It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two weeks, but life goes on. I spent the last few days really resting up since I had pushed harder than I liked. Since Monday was a holiday, I did my blood work a day early (on Sunday, rather than Monday), and while my white count was in the normal range (barely), the red was low, which probably explains the tiredness. I did Chemo 4 yesterday, and it went well. The line in my port seems to have shifted a bit, so they had me recline the chair and the flow was better. That suited me – I actually napped a bit during the treatment. This is my final AC dose, so in two weeks I change to another drug – Taxol – which is supposed to be somewhat easier to tolerate, although it does have potential for allergic reactions so my first dose is scheduled for 5 hours, just so they can go slow and check for any reactions. I’ve had a bit of nausea yesterday and today, but it’s also been very hot here which never helps. It should cool down tomorrow. I also had yesterday’s chemo at 3:15 instead of my usual 10:15. While it was nice to have the morning to run up to my mom’s house and say goodbye to the last of the relatives, it definitely threw off my usual schedule of napping and eating. I will be back to the 10:15 appointment for my next treatment.
So, all in all, a busy few weeks, which is why I haven’t had a chance to update this. I got through it, and am doing fine. I am so grateful for many things, including my wonderful family, that the last thing that I said to my dad was that I loved him, and that his passing was peaceful. I am still fighting the good fight on the breast cancer front, and hopefully, am through the worst of the chemo.
It won’t be up for much longer, but my dad’s obituary is here.