Hello friends, I want to share this very special post with you. When I left you a few weeks ago I told you that my sister Pat was in the hospital and had pneumonia and maybe some more serious issues. Well it turns out that is was much more serious than we thought. She went into the hospital on March 18th, many many tests were done. She was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer that had metastasized to her liver and possibly other places. This is a very fast growing cancer. Without treatment her life span would be two to three weeks. With treatment possibly six months to two years. She was prepared to fight. She was a breast cancer survivor of twelve years and she knew she was in for the fight of her life, again.
For three weeks my sister Sandy and I and my nephew, Pat’s son, was with her at the hospital every day. They transferred her to a larger hospital where a strong regimen of chemo could be given. After a short time we knew, and yet we didn’t want to say it or even think it but we knew we were going to lose her. Tiny bits of good news was given to us only to have something worse slap us in the face. It was hell for three weeks, for us that is. She didn’t complain, she took everything in stride. The day she left the hospital she thanked all the nurses and doctors for taking care of her. But I am getting ahead of myself.
She started Chemo on April 1st. There was three rounds of Chemo, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. By Monday the doctors could tell that her kidneys were in distress. She was a diabetic and not in the best health to start with. But the Chemo was the only hope at this point and she wanted to give it a try. On Tuesday her body was retaining so much fluid they had to add an additional drain to her lung where the tumor was present. Wednesday and her kidney function was getting worse. She was not a candidate for dialysis because of her health issues. Thursday morning we met with the Oncology team and they let us know that nothing else could be done. Her kidneys were basically not functioning. Pat was conscious some of the time, she recognized us, she could not talk because the tumor was pressing against her vocal cords. She could only whisper. She wanted to go home more than anything. She wanted to be with her loved ones and have them around her. We decided on Hospice Care. They could get her home the same day.
We were able to get her home on Thursday evening almost three weeks from the day she first went to the hospital. Many family members and friends were there to talk to her and hold her hand and just love on her and tell her how much they loved her. The Hospice nurse was there to go over all the meds. We were given a lot of information in a very short period of time. Medicines were discussed, how to change her bedding if needed, how to move her from side to side, lots of things. As it turned out we wouldn’t need any of it.
After everyone left for the night it was just us two. I had planned to be with her that night. I guess we were naive in not understanding how close the end was. Her breathing was very labored but it had been for several days. She said she was not in pain. I sat beside her bed with her, holding her hand for a long time. We watched Everybody Loves Raymond. She kept reaching for the sky. It was like she was reaching for someone. I asked her if she was trying to dance? She had also been looking past us like she was seeing things we could not see. And she was. I asked her once if she needed her glasses and she whispered “no”. She fell asleep. There was a large chair beside the bed and I sat there and looked over the information the nurse had left us.
Around midnight I checked on her, her breathing was still heavy but she seemed to be resting easier. I sat in a chair beside her bed and slept a little. I woke up suddenly around 1:00 AM and noticed I didn’t hear her labored breathing. At first I felt relieved that she was sleeping better and then I jumped up realizing what it could mean. I ran to the bed and she had slipped away. I know now that she had been reaching for loved ones and seeing angels.
The Hospice nurse had provided us with some literature about what to expect in the coming days or hours, as it turned out. The poem below was in the booklet that was provided. I read this just an hour or so before my sister passed away and I cannot tell you how much comfort It brought to me. Thinking about loved ones who had gone before anxiously awaiting her arrival made me want to celebrate, and scream and cry all at the same time. I didn’t want to let her go but I knew she was at peace and happy and wouldn’t come back to us if she could.
Let me tell you a few things about my sister Pat
She was just the best sister, daughter, mother, grandmother, aunt, niece, friend in the world
She loved everyone. She was described by a loved one as “Pure Love”
She celebrated her last birthday in the hospital and said it was her best Birthday ever.
She was funny. She was funny without trying to be funny.
She made everyone around her feel comfortable and needed and loved.”
She instantly put you at ease.
She made you want to share things with her, Life goals, secrets, hopes, dreams, because she would truly listen.
She didn’t care about the latest fashion or what was in style. She knew what she liked and that was all that mattered.
She loved with all her heart she was Pure Love.
Yes she is gone but her memory and everything about her will live on in my heart, my head and my very being. Goodbye sweet sister until we meet again.