Cancer (51)

Feb 16, 2020

Cancer (51)

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future

To a known God”

  • Corrie ten Bloom

My wife of 58 years (June 10) and best friend Eileen had been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the esophagus, in February 2019. This blog gives my thoughts, fears, prayers, and hopes during this challenging and difficult time.

I am writing this on Saturday, and for right now it is quiet and restful. Eileen had been in pain earlier, and most of the week she had 1 ml of morphine every hour and the bone cancer pain reliever every 6 hours. But yesterday (Friday) she refused all pain medicines, until about 3 in the afternoon on Saturday. We called the hospice center Friday eve and they came out to change the catheter, as it had stopped up. The nurse arrived at 11:30 in bitter cold (zero outside) and it was after 1 before she left. Karen stays up all night with her, beside my sleeping along next to her. There is nothing we can do except keep her comfortable with little sips of water and various meds if she lets us. At this point it is up to Eileen if any pain or other meds are used. Sometimes Eileen feels nauseous and we have used a suppository anti-nauseous med to eliminate that, since there is nothing in the stomach. That works almost instantly.

Eileen prefers sitting up at about 45 degrees or slightly higher during the day, and down lower during the night. As I reported last week, we keep some elevation to prevent pneumonia or chest congestion. Eileen has refused a hospital bed, as it would not fit the décor of the house! But with the special mattress and lots of pillows we can keep her propped up and positioned to keep her comfortable. It is very difficult to understand her as she speaks in a very soft whisper, but we manage to understand the situation eventually.

It is really good to have a house full, as when she is on the pain meds she gets them every hour. Hard to sleep much with the alarm going off every hour, but it is worth it. Barbara and Janet switch off, one during the day and the other during the night. We found it important that only one person be the one giving it so that Eileen does not worry about being overdosed.

This is a gentle time. Eileen asked for a priest, and with out pastor being on a skiing vacation, a friend of his came out and anointed her again on Friday, and she seemed happy and content about that. Sadness is present, but Barbara tells stories of us when she was small and other times in our time of parenting. And we all smile a bit. Eileen seems to enjoy them as well.

Our son Dan and Alisandra are now at 40 weeks and counting. If the baby doesn’t come by the 23rd, Alisandra will go in to be induced. That is still a week away.

We feel the presence of love constantly, filling up the time and keeping us busy. It is challenging, but I would not change anything in this process, as life and death are inter-mixed in a wonderful event of life. As it has been said, we are all dying, and it is only at the end that we understand that process clearly.


I bow my head in gratitude for this opportunity to walk this path with Eileen, and to see the love that flows through life so clearly. We are surrounded with love and goodness, and the goodness of humanity is wonderous to behold. Eileen is just one of thousands undergoing this process of life at this time, as shown clearly by the schedule of the hospice crew, one crew serving our small area. These wonders of compassion and joy are everywhere, a silent tribute to the goodness inherent in humanity.

9 thoughts on “Cancer (51)”

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience of this intimate time of life…life continues..and lovely to hear of your verification of goodness of life. I watched my Dad pass and I felt it was a passage of birthing into the next life..comfort and love to Eileen and David and all. Vera

  2. Eileen and her loving family continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Thanks for sharing this momentous journey.
    Your strength and beautiful meditation are most consoling to all who are praying along with you. God bless you all!
    Love, Joe and Mary Ann

  3. Thank you for taking a few moments to share with us . I know we all appreciate knowing what has been happening in your home. I am so glad that Eileen and you are surrounded with your family. Such love and support is immeasurable. I thank God they are able to be there. Bless you all.

  4. I’m very thankful that you have been sharing this process with us. It is good to.know that Eileen can still continue to express her wishes and have them carried out in a gentle manner. I’m also seeing the blessedness of your large family encircling you and Eileen with love. My prayers go out both and your family as the transition from life to a rebirth moves along.

  5. May peace and continued strength be with all of you.
    How wonderful that Barbara is able to tell stories tat give joy and comfort.

  6. You have such an exceptional family. A fantastic support system of love, understanding and sharing. How wonderful that you are being Blessed with a new Grand Baby at this very time. …the circle of life . God is amazing. You are all in my prayers. With love.

  7. We send you our love, our prayers, and gratitude for being a part of you and the family. The care you all are giving Eileen is inspirational and a tribute to her goodness. Please tell her we love her.

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My God has led me on an 80 year jaunt to ever more wondrous beauty. I am led to share this journey and gifts of God that have been showered upon me, not just for me but for whoever God brings into my path.

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