Thursday, October 20, 2011


Constantly, the days are full of blessings, which we really enjoy, and they are also packed with various responsibilities which are keeping us busy. God is indeed good, every day, and His people are remarkably thoughtful.

Let's start with an update on Betty’s condition. Most folk who know her are aware of Betty’s quiet and gentle spirit. It is even more powerfully displayed in her serene and peaceful acceptance of the cancer which has invaded virtually all her bones. She is completely aware that by opting against chemo or other aggressive therapies her journey will be terminal sooner than later. This choice she felt was preferable to undergoing the reported horrors of chemotherapy and its accompanying nausea and superior also to even surviving the cancer to linger in the wilderness of Parkinson’s disease. The only treatments she is receiving are a monthly infusion designed to stabilize her bones by locking in some of the remaining calcium and the collective palliative efforts of Hospice; however, neither of these plans can cure or control the cancer.

There is some solace in knowing that Hospice through the special ministry of Nurse Cathey is doing all it can to make her days comfortable, although that struggle has not gone well this week. For the most part, bone pain has been successfully managed; however, nausea continues to be a challenge not yet mastered. Various possibilities as to the cause have been explored, including varying the timing of medications, elimination of all non-essential supplements like multi vitamins, swapping suspect medications for others, and a wide selection of foods to try with the pills. We are hoping that the most recent change and manipulation of pills and times will result in less need for the pink bucket and the cool washcloth. (For the record, nausea is the top item on Betty’s list of personal things she hates, so she will literally do anything to avoid it.)

In other good news/bad news, the water damaged bathroom floor was finally repaired making showers possible again after thirteen days of bathing with wet-wipes and a pan of soapy water.

Best of all, during the past week, Betty was able to have all of her children at home and waiting on her, showing their love in words and deeds and lavish acts of generosity. In cooperation with a Bible Study LIFE Group, the owners of a lovely Beach House on the Oregon Coast made their cottage get-away available to our family for three days. Attending were all of our own kids. We even had one grandson and one granddaughter with us. It was a wonderful time of fun and memories and shared entertainment and good food (and no ringing phones with their sometimes annoying messages).

Our oldest son has been able to come from his home 200 miles away for six of the last eight weekends. Our youngest son from Alaska was able to come for ten days thanks to the availability of the compassionate leave provided by his school district. The middle child, our daughter, and her family live nearby and have been constant help and support on almost a daily basis. With astounding regularity, other friends and family have communicated their love and support and have made short visits, calls, sent cards full of love notes and encouragement, brought meals, provided “baby-sitting” and errand running, and have even wiped away Betty’s precious collection of dust on the household knick-knacks. Such thoughtful attention has been a joy to savor and to share about with others.

We do not know how long this portion of our journey will last. Neither the doctors nor the nurses know, and having no clear insight to the daily progress of the cancer, they are all careful to make no predictions. Certainly there is less time remaining than we would like, so we too are not going to second guess the unknowable. We will instead rejoice in having one another in each “today”. Should these final days last a month or several months, we will be grateful, and we will thank God for each day and moment we have to cherish Betty’s company.


At 11:36 PM, Blogger Kristi Weber said...

What is left to say? Love you all.

At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you and Betty, Dear John, and have you in my daily prayers. Only God knows what your time is, and he will take care of you. Hang in there. Love...Margaret Clark


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