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danuelletx's Message Board Messages

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Thank you so much. All of you. 

And thank you to Cancer Compass for removing those posts.

I sincerely thank all of you.

I'm very sorry you all had to be exposed to all the hatred.

But, I will be moving on with my life...without the negativity and hatred. I loved my Grannie and my way to honor her is to live the way she lived her life...loving the people that loved her back.

Helen Maxine Clepper, my precious and beloved Grannie, went home to the Lord today, January 11, 2011. She took her last breath at 6:21 pm and I was there holding her hand. It wasn't nearly as scary and tramatic as I imagined, but it did completely break my heart. I don't think I have ever hurt so much in my entire life. I cried so hard, didn't want to let go. It was so strange when she finally let go. Like it wasn't real.

I checked on her every hr throughout last night. Got no sleep. And today, held her hand and talked to her throughout. Even made a CD with her favorite songs on it so she could have something pleasant to listen to...she absolutely loved old country music like Bellamy Brothers and Dolly Parton. Her favorite song though, was Yellow Rose of Texas. Anyways, the nurse came today because I called when I couldn't feel her pulse. She was still breathing, but her fingers turned blue and cold, her feet and knee caps were very blotchy. When the nurse examined her, she couldn't get a blood pressure reading and her heart was only beating 32 bpm. About three hrs later, 45 minutes after my fiance got home from work, I went to check on her and give her her medicine again. As soon as I went in the room and turned on the light, I could tell it was the very end. Her face didn't look like Grannie. It startled me. I jumped back and hollered for my fiance. As he came running to me, I went to Grannie and held her hand. At 6:21 pm, Grannie took her last breath. The hospice nurse got her and pronounced her at 6:30. I'm so thankful I got to be with her during her last weeks...and hold her hand as she left this world. My favorite memory from this time is when I would wake her up every morning, I would gently touch her face and say Good morning Grannie..and before she even opened her eyes, she would smile the sweetest smile. As she opened her eyes, she would say Good morning back to me. I miss that smile so much already and its only been 7 hrs.

This has been a long and emotionally exhausting journey, but I wouldn't trade it for anything...well, maybe more time with Grannie...but I know you all know what I mean. Even though it was tough and heartbreaking, I haven't got one regret regarding Grannie. I know I did everything I possibly could to take care of her as best as I could. And I told her a million times every day how much I loved her. I know she's looking down on me, proud of me, and loving me just as she did when she was here. I'm just gonna miss her so much.

Well, we had a great New Year'sEve and Day...but then it has all went downhill rapidly. She quit eating four days ago. Has drink 3/4 of a bottle of water in the past two days. And tonight, I had to call the hospice nurses in a panic. I couldn't wake her. And she was gurgling as she was breathing. Scared me so much. When the nurses got here, they were able to stir her but she wasn't coherent. As for the gurgling, got atripine drops I think its called. And got a suction machine. Its really hard though. I'm afraid I'm gonna make her gag or something. And her mouth is so dry its hard to get to the back of her mouth to actually do any good and get the mucus she is coughing up. And her breathing has slowed...big deep breaths, but time passes between each breath. I know the end is close...really close. My brother wasn't able to come down this weekend because he had drill. He was very upset when I talked to him this morning and told him her condition. He wants her to hold on til this weekend but I'm not sure thats going to happen. I want them to come down tomorrow, but of course, the one time my area gets snow is during the worst possible times!

As for me, how I'm doing...I'm very lucky to have such a wonderful fiance. He holds me when I need to cry and knows when to leave me to myself. I couldn't ask for anyone better to be my rock during this time.

I love my Grannie so very much. I know the next few days are going to be the hardest days of my life. I thank each and every one of you who have read my posts and those who have replied. Trust me...I will be back to post again soon. Its nice to talk to people who understand exactly what you're going through.

Happy New Year! Today is a good day!

I am so happy that Grannie made it to see 2011! She actually stayed up with us last night to ring in the new year and watch fireworks. My brother and sister-in-law came down...gave me kind of a break last night and this morning. And she actually slept all night without waking once. Lol! And now she is sitting at the kitchen table just talking away. Thank you all for your prayers.

Thank you so much. Every one's words are so kind.

She is doing a little better today, I think with that sleeping pill out of her system. I let her sleep in her recliner last night because that's what she likes to do; I usually have to make her get in the bed. I figured she had been through enough in the past 24 hrs with that stupid sleeping pill, I'd let her sleep where ever the heck she wanted to! And she actually asked to have something to eat...at 4:30 this morning, but I was more than happy to fix her something. She only ate a few bites, but she didn't eat a bite all day yesterday. And she is more awake today. She was just singing "Jesus Loves Me". And since she was awake and somewhat lucid, I told her that if she was ready to go home to the Lord, that no one would be mad at her if she decided to let go. And that the family will understand. I told her we know she is suffering greatly, in a lot of pain, confused, uncomfortable,  tired, and just plain don't feel good at all. And that when she's ready to let go of all the suffering and go home, that I would be right here for her to hold her hand.

That was swirling in my heart all day and night yesterday. I wanted to tell her so bad because I know in my heart she is hanging on for me and my brother; but at the same time, I was scared because I know I'm about to lose her. But I did it and I'm glad I did. I think she needed to hear it. Afterwards, thats when she started singing "Jesus Loves Me".

I love my Grannie so very much, and it is so difficult to watch her suffer so much. In my head, I think I'm ready for her to go, just because I know it will be better for her. But in my heart I feel like I'm desperately hanging on to her. When i first brought her home, I felt conflicted when I prayed, like I didn't know what to pray for. Up until that time, every night I prayed for God to take care of and watch over Grannie, to take her pain and confusion away, and to let me have one more day with her. But after the diagnosis, I just didn't know what to pray for anymore. Pray for her to be healed...but then what? Something else will just come along to make her suffer. Then what does that leave? Pray for Him to take away ALL her suffering and take her home? At first I would pray and just avoid it, but last night I finally prayed for Him to take her pain away for good. Its selfish of me, I feel, to ask Him to keep her here any longer on account of me. If she's ready, as she said she is, then I need to let her go. My brain gets it....but my heart is screaming no, please not yet. There's so much I wanted her to see of my life...so much more I want to do to make her proud. She's not going to get to see me get married next March. She's not going to get to meet my kids...my kids won't get to meet my most favorite person of all time, and won't get the chance to see why I feel that way about her. She won't get to see me finally graduate from college. She won't get to see me have my first class as a teacher. I feel like my heart is just screaming, throwing a tantrum, like a five yr old. But then again, I know she will see all that in my future, just not in the way I want her to. The tug of war between my heart and brain is so unexpected.

Thank you to everyone who has replied. I'm sorry it's taken so long to get back but it's been a long day.

Your responses have touched my heart and comfort me to know that there are people that do truly understand what I'm going through. This is very tough...way more than I ever imagined. Watching her slowly die in front of my eyes is heartbreaking,...the only thing that helps is to remind myself that soon she won't be suffering anymore.

She told me a couple hrs ago that she doesn't have much time left. I just held her hand because I didn't know what to say...felt like I had a frog in my throat. I really wish my sister-in-law was still here. Really really bad. 

As far as family helping...they all came around for Thanksgiving, but not much since then. My mother won't help, no. But like I said earlier...that's a whole different topic and it ain't pleasant. I have cousins and uncles, but my sister-in-law and brother have been the only ones consistent. 

I have to go, she's calling for me. But I will be back on tomorrow.

Again, thank you.

 

I am so sorry for everything that has happened. I too am only 25 and having to deal with issues similar to yours. Fortunately I was finally able to get my Grannie the pain medicine she needed, but the care came too late. Her Medicaid (or is it Medicare? Idk) lapsed for some reason that no one has been able to explain, everything got messed up, and she didn't have any coverage for over a month. If she was able to get in sooner, maybe it would have made a difference in options for treatment. I completely agree with you..and my heart goes out to you and your family.

Hello. I apologize up front because this is kind of long...I just needed someone to talk to that has been through what I am going through.

I am the caregiver for my 76 yr old Grannie. (I am 25.) She was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer two days before Thanksgiving. It is also in her lungs. We originally went to doctor because she was complaining of stomach pains. He sent us to get an x-ray of the abdomen to start with. I knew something was wrong when they called me back less than 24 hrs later to schedule an appointment to discuss the results. We went back and the doctor told us they had discovered many nodules in her lungs that pointed to lung cancer. I thought that was crazy...my Grannie has never smoked or anything like that. The doctor explained that it more than likely came from somewhere else and that because the nodules were so widespread and numerous (they counted at least 100), surgery was not an option and from his professional opinion from treating my Grannie for the last 12 years, her heart or body would not withstand chemotherapy treatments. So, Grannie decided to have the CT scan to see where else the cancer was. Again, the doctor's office called me back, this time within 30 minutes of the scan. That's when we found out about the pancreatic cancer. Her cancer is located on the neck of the panceas. When she asked how long she had to live, I could tell Dr had a hard time telling her...she is one of his favorites and one of his first patients...he told us 2 to 6 weeks if she didn't want to try chemotherapy. And of course she didn't. In the last 15 yrs, she has had 2 strokes, 3 heart attacks, 3 stints placed, carotid surgery, stenostic(sp?) surgery, two broken and replaced hips, blindness, diabetes, and on top of all that Alheimer's disease. She is ready to quit hurting and go home she said.

She had been living in a nursing home prior to diagonosis, but I brought her home with me because I could not let her die alone in a nursing home. It was bad enough she had to live there in the first place, but that is a different topic completely (my mother's decision). So I brought her home to live with me and my fiance until the end. I want her to be in a place where she can be comfortable and feel safe and loved. She is a wonderful person and has been given a terrible lot in life...throughout the whole thing. I just don't feel like its fair for her to have to suffer through this too. So I took a leave of absence from work so I could care for her 24/7. We have hospice, but its not really like what I thought it was. The nurse comes twice a week, checks her vitals and refills her meds, but I fill the pillbox. The social worker comes every two weeks asks her how she is and asks how I am..but I don't get the feeling she really cares...its a job. I don't feel comfortable talking to her. And the minister, who comes once a week, is nice, but you can tell he's got a lot of other homes to visit. My sister-in-law came to stay and help for three weeks. She was  a God send...let me tell you. She helped out so much. But she is gone now...and now it seems the hard stuff is beginning. Right before Christmas, she started showing signs that the cancer has grown on the pancreas and is either fully or partially blocking an important duct....increased pain, craving salt, severe itchiness, unpredictable bowels. The hospice gave me a book called "Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience". According to the book, she is starting to show the signs of being a week from death...she sleeps all the time, can't keep her eyes open, talking about things that no one understands, talks to herself, picks at her clothes and blanket, and when she's nots picking, she just kind of aimlessly moves her hands around. Her blood pressure is slowly dropping. Yesterday it was 110/67...still good but lower than it was four days ago. Her breathing has increased in speed but seems kind of shallow. I have done so much research on pancreatic cancer, its final stages, and now with this book, I know what to look for to get an estimation of how much longer...but, I'm still so scared. I kind of just go through the motions of taking care of her, trying not to think of what is coming, and life after her death. And this is what I need help with...the actual her dying and then being gone part. It seems unfathomable for my Grannie to not be here. She has been the one constant thoughout my entire life...the only one constant. Literally, if it weren't for my Grannie, I would not be here. My mother got pregnant with me at 15, and everyone, the father and his parents, my grandfather, even my mother, wanted an abortion, but my Grannie wouldn't allow it. So I literally would not have even been born if it weren't for her. She had me for the first 18 months of my life before my mother decided to take on the role. I lived with Grannie for another 10 yrs and then from then on, she as always been just right down the road from where I lived. And now, she's living in my home. Which means she will die in my home. When I first took this on, a bunch of people asked me if I was really ok with her dying in my home. But the way I see it, I wouldn't have it any other way. Maybe she'll hang around and watch over me and my future family (I'm getting married in March). However, I'm terrified of the actual moment when she dies. The doctor said it is likely that she will go in her sleep and I will just find her like that one morning. So I have this terrible anxiety in the pit of my stomach every morning I wake up and can't hear her breathing on the baby monitor. So far, its been because she was turned towards the wall or just breathing softly. But I'm so scared of finding her dead...only because I'll want to tell her I love her one more time.

I also feel guilt, because i get exhausted and sometimes get a little snappy. With her and my fiance. I am feeling extrememly guilty right now because the nurse gave me a medicine, temazepam, to make her sleep through the night because she had quit sleeping all night...she would wake up bout every 45 minutes and call out for me, so I would come running. But she would sleep ALL day long and could not keep her eyes open, no matter what we tried. So I gave her the medicine last night, and it scared the crap outta me. Within 20 mintues, she was slurring and sluggish. I couldn't even get her to cooperate with me to get her outta her recliner and into bed. I had to have my fiance just pick her up and put her in bed. It knocked her out so hard that she couldn't even move to get a tissue to cough into all night. When i went to check on her early, early this morning, I found her covered in the mucus she was coughing up. And she had pottied on herself. She hasn't done that one time since she's come home with me...she always lets me know. I cleaned her up the best I could, but she's got no energy to move and I can't get her out of the bed. And now, its noon and she still doesn't want to get up. I feel so terrible for giving her that medicine...for even saying anything to the nurse about it.

I didn't realize the range of emotions I would feel on this journey. And I thought I was strong enough to handle it all. But I'm scared and worried. And tense and anxious. And just needed to get it out. I needed to cry, which I have as I have typed this. I have been holding it in, trying to be strong for her, for family members that come over.

Thank you for reading my post because if you've made it this far, you must somewhat care...or just find my writing interesting. :-)

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About danuelletx

Caregiver
Lung Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer
Emotional Support, Spiritual Support

Hello. I am 25 yrs old. I was the caregiver for my Grannie who died from Pancreatic Cancer January 11, 2011.

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