Life and Death

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Life and Death

Postby mackswife » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:00 pm

My beloved husband passed away on Aug. 20th. He stayed so very strong until the last few days. The events of the last few days are something my family will never forget. The previous week had been full of opportunities to say "good-bye" our 3 oldest granddaughters (ages 11, 12, and 13) who live in another state. The last visit together to our church, the one my husband Pastored until his "retirement" last January. Friends and family members dropping by for the unsaid but understood "last" visit. We could all see that Mack's health was declining rapidly. Hospica had been called in, and DH was spending more time "napping". And yet, he rallied with every visit, generously giving words of encouragement and love.....telling everyone how much they meant to him. Such a bittersweet time.

A little back story - our son and daughter-in-law have been married 18 years. They have struggled with infertility for many years, and have one amazing biological daughter who is 7 years old. They all live in Italy, but had arranged to come to the states for 2 months, mostly to spend time with Mack. They''ve been working with an adoption agency since January, and we were all hoping a baby might come into their lives before Mack passed away.

So, on Sunday 8/16, Mack laid down for an afternoon nap and woke up about 30 minutes later. He seemed confused, and was looking for children....looking for the baby. it was the first time I had seen him confused. We arranged for our daughter to fly home to be with us, and our son and daughter-in-law arrived from Tennessee to be with us . On Monday, a hospital bed was delivered, and Mack agreed to lay down on it "just for awhile". On Tuesday he stopped eating and drinking. His brother and sister-in-law arrived and his 88 year old mother came to kiss him goodbye. On Wed., the family gathered around his bed multiple times, thinking he was getting ready to leave. His favorite music was playing. We all whispered words of love and gratitude. Tears flowed as his heart would slow way down....and then he would rebound. We all lamented the fact that a new baby had not yet found it's way into our family.

Thursday, 6:00 am - I was so confused. All night long, Mack had episodes where his breathing would stop for 15 seconds, and his heart beat would slow down to 30 beats a minute. I didn't know how in the world he was hanging on. And then, our son arrived in the room where Mack and I were "sleeping". David told us that the adoption agency had called at 2:30 am and a birth mother wanted them to adopt their baby! He told us the the birth mother was in labor, 3 weeks early! At this news, Mack's eyes flew open, and his hands began to move. He tried to talk, with his mouth moving a mile a minute. Shortly after that, the social worker sent a picture of a newborn baby boy and Mack was able to open his eyes to see his new grandson! What had seemed absolutely impossible 24 hours before had come to pass. We all believe Mack heard and understood what had happened. Indeed, we believe it was the news he was waiting for!

Mack passed away about 10 hours later. Our son and daughter-in-law flew to Reno, Nevada to pick up their new baby and brought him home 5 days later. Mack's Celebration of Life service was held at our church this past Saturday. It was streamed live and congregations in Tennessee, Florida and Italy watched it on the big screen. I was told that more than 1,400 people attended the service. I share this only because I recognize the outpouring of love we have received is a tribute to the wonderful man I was married to for 44 years....he leaves a legacy of love. And love never dies.

Thank you all for allowing me to share the story...of the day my husband was healed, and the day our new grandson arrived.

With love and gratitude to everyone on this board who have offered words of wisdom, encouragement and concern.

Husband IIIC;
7/12 - resection; 12 rounds folfox
CT/PET scans 4/13, 9/13 - NED
CT scan 3/14 - liver/LN mets
5/2/14- failed liver resection - peri. mets.
6 rounds of iri/avastin
8/26/14 - failed liver resect/HIPEC. dse. progression
9/14 - 3/15 - progression on chemo
3/23/15 - treatment stopped; working the bucket list

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Re: Life and Death

Postby weisssoccermom » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:12 pm

Pattie - first of all, THANK YOU for taking the time to let us know what happened and for expressing so well all that transpired. That must have been very difficult for you and I appreciate it very much that you took the time to post.
Next, please accept my deepest and sincere condolences on the loss of your husband. From everything you have written over the years, but particularly what you wrote in this lovely post, he sounds like an absolutely wonderful, fantastic and well loved man. You were lucky to be married to someone like him for 44 years.
Congratulations on your newest grandson. I truly believe that God worked that 'miracle' to allow all of you to 'see' that new baby one first and last time on this earth. What a wonderful last gift for Mack and your family to have!

Please continue to stop by and visit whenever you feel like it. Your knowledge and insight will always have a place on this board and will be invaluable to people who will, ultimately, find themselves or a loved one in the same position that you were in with Mack and are now in. Reach out to the other survivor spouses on this board....they can help you out now as you travel down the road without your beloved husband. Finally, Pattie....take care of yourself. You have a new grandson that needs YOU and YOU need HIM.
Sending you prayers and hugs.
Dx 6/22/2006 IIA rectal cancer
6 wks rad/Xeloda -finished 9/06
1st attempt transanal excision 11/06
11/17/06 XELOX 1 cycle
5 months Xeloda only Dec '06 - April '07
10+ blood clots, 1 DVT 1/07
transanal excision 4/20/07 path-NO CANCER CELLS!
NED now and forever!
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Re: Life and Death

Postby mom_2_3 » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:20 pm


My sincere condolences to your family on the loss of your loving husband and father. Your story about your husband meeting your new grandchild was so moving and inspiring that it made me cry. My husband proposed to me the night before my father passed from lung cancer. I was able to tell my dad that after many many years I finally was getting married to a man my father had always liked and admired. My father couldn't speak but was able to shake his head "yes" and shed a tear of happiness. So your story brought back that memory for me. I agree with Jaynee that it was meant to be...

May your husband's spirit and love be with you always.

CC discovered during c-section (11/4/08)
Diagnosed Stage IV 11/10/08 -- Happy 39th Birthday! 5 bilobar liver mets
02/09: Colectomy, liver resection, HAI pump implanted, 7 of 42 nodes
7 months of FUDR and 5FU ended 11/2/09
10 years NED.

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Re: Life and Death

Postby bitchslapped » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:37 pm

A moving story on the circle of life, tears & joy. My deepest condolences to you during your time of grief in the loss of your DH, yet @ the same time...congratulations on the new addition to your family to help get you through.

Best Wishes
DSS,35YO,unresect mCRC DX 7/'14,lvr,LN,peri,rib
FOLFOX+Avstn 4 Rnds d/c 10/'14
Stent 9/'14
FOLFIRI+Avstn 10/'14
Gone From My Sight 2/20/15
Me:garden variety polyps + precancerous polyp, diverticulitis
Carergver x2 DH,DM dbl occupancy,'03-'10
DH dx 47YO mCRC,'04-'07 fried x HAI
DM dx CC 85YO,CC,CHF,stroke,dementia,aphasia

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Re: Life and Death

Postby Sleen » Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:54 pm

Thank you so much for sharing Mack's story--how amazing.

I am sorry for the difficult days you are now facing without Mack by your side, but surely not alone.
May Mack's soul Rest in Peace.

May you find comfort in the good memories of your many years together, and joy in the love of your children and grandchildren.

my blog: Cancer Riot

NED since April 2016!
April 2016: lower left lung lobectomy. NED
8 mo. f/u: 1 of 7 tumors progressed.
6 mo. f/u PR confirmed (Jan 2016)
Jul 2015: NIH TIL trial NCT01174121 NCI/NIH Surgery Branch FAQ
Dec 2014 confirmed stage IV w/bilateral lung mets
FOLFOX + Radiation (bladder)
dx Sep 2013 @47yo: IIIc T4b N2b MX [bladder invasion, 17/21 lymph nodes]

Married 28 yrs. kids: 24, 21, 17, 12, 10
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Re: Life and Death

Postby midlifemom » Tue Sep 01, 2015 3:04 pm

So sorry to hear of your DH's passing.
So happy to hear of your new grandchild.
The circle of life.
Stage 3 cc - dx Jan '14 age 53, cea 2.9
t2n2m0, KRAS mutant, MSS
Folfox Feb - Aug '14
Nov '14 cea 27.7 -2 liver masses
Dec '14 left lobectomy and HAI
Jan '15 FUDR and FOLFIRI
Aug '15 fudr done, liver clear, add avastin for lungs. Cea 4.3
Feb '16 CEA rising
May '16 2 wk break then drop Iri for 6 weeks.
Jul '16 cancer grew, constricted main bile duct. Stent inserted. On break till jaundice clears. CEA climbing. Doing reduced Folfox. Allergic to Oxali.
Sep'16 chemo failed. Trial or hospice?

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Re: Life and Death

Postby orcasres » Tue Sep 01, 2015 3:16 pm

My condolences to your family and congratulations on the new grandchild. Lois
63 yo F
Colon resection Sept. 2010
pT3N0M0 Stage 2A
Medullary Tumor 6.5cm long
Lymphovascular invasion
Lynch negative
12 FOLFOX 11/2010 to 5/2011 8 w/Oxi
NED so far

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Re: Life and Death

Postby teacher49 » Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:10 pm

My sincerest sympathy to you and your family at this time. Thanks so much for posting your story...very touching and beautiful. I have a firm belief in the cycle of rebirth and life goes on.
F, 62,CRC, Adenoca, mod diff
cT3N0M0 Stage IIA May 2011
APR on 9/27/11 Margins & Nodes Neg
comp.after surg/2 pelvic abscesses/Sepsis/Hosp 40 days
10th FOLFOX 6/6/2012 feet went numb
5FU to finish
NED 12/21/2020

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Re: Life and Death

Postby JudeD59 » Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:31 pm

Thank you for sharing your beautiful and touching story with us. I'm so sorry for your loss, but glad you have a new grandchild to help to ease the pain a bit. Please come back and let us know how you are doing.

56 yrs old, wife, mother to 4 daughters
RC Stage II T3N0M0 DX April 2, 2015
6 cm. mid-rectum-CEA 121
Xeloda and radiation finished 06/15/15- CEA 242
CEA right before surgery 81
LAR performed 8/12/15 Temporary ileostomy
CEA 10-21-15 1.6
PET scan 11-4-15 All clear
Port installed 11/11/15
Folfox started 11/18/15
Folfox stopped due to bad reaction
Reversal 2/17/16
CEA 2/3/16 1.7
CEA 3/31/16 1.3
CT Scan 4/12/16 All Clear
Port removed 4/21/16
CEA 5/24/17 1.4

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Re: Life and Death

Postby Danieljt » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:39 pm

So sorry for your loss! May many memories of your life together sustain you. Hug that new baby for me.
70 male stage 3b cc
Dx 5/9/14
Resection 7/1/14
dx 9/14
65 yr wife DLCl
Sct 3/21/19 Ned last 8 mo.

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Re: Life and Death

Postby Lee » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:46 pm

I agree, the circle of life. I am so sorry to read about the passing of your husband. Butt the addition of your newest grandchild is awesome. And the fact the maybe, just maybe, your husband had some inside knowledge of what was about to happen is truly inspiring and amazing.

Please accept my condolences on the passing of your husband, butt congratulations on the recent addition to your family. I have 2 adopted kids, so from one adopted family to another, CONGRATULATION!! :D

rectal cancer - April 2004
46 yrs old at diagnoses
stage III C - 6/13 lymph positive
radiation - 6 weeks
surgery - August 2004/hernia repair 2014
permanent colostomy
chemo - FOLFOX
NED - 16 years and counting!

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Re: Life and Death

Postby ozziej » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:59 pm

So sorry for your loss Pattie but also so glad you are able to welcome new life into your family. So poignant. ..
F 56 dx 11/14 Stage 1 RC (post EMR)
No neo-adjuvant or adjuvant chemo/RD
3/15 ULAR (open) temp loop ileo
5/15 ileo reversal
NED and hoping to stay that way!! : )

Posts: 140
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Re: Life and Death

Postby carrie » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:01 pm

Dearest Pattie, My heart goes out to you and your family on the passing of Mack. How absolutely beautiful and heartwarming to hear of the arrival of a new grandchild. Much love and blessings to you. Take care xxxxx, Karen.
Diagnosed March 3/2013 Rectal cancer
T1N0MX 15 nodes biopsied, none positive
Lymphovascular invasion present/moderate
July 9/2013 ultra-low anterior resection
Temp ileostomy
Rectum removed
2 liver lesions- probable cysts
Probable cyst on spleen

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Re: Life and Death

Postby Ajane » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:22 pm

Pattie, my deepest sympathies in the loss of your beloved husband. To think you'll someday be able to share the story of a grandfather's amazing love for his grandchild is so special. Prayers and gentle hugs for each one of you as you grieve the loss of such an amazing man, Jane
7/13, T2, G3, Ultra-low. CEA 5.7 KRAS Wild, MSS
8-9/13 6 wks Xeloda/radiation
12/13 TEM pCR NED
5/15 CEA 4.6 PET 1.5 cm met, UL Lobectomy
6-10/15: Rounds 1-2 Xelox+Avastin; 3-8 Folfox+Avastin
10/15-4/16: 12 rounds Avastin
9/2016 CEA 4.2, 12 mm AP node
11/2016 CEA 4.3. PET/CT. 16mm AP nodal met removed
4 wks chemorad
2/2017 NED CEA 2.4
Carafate to tx esophageal ulcers caused by rad
Avastin maintenance postponed

2 Corinthians 12:9

Nik Colon

Re: Life and Death

Postby Nik Colon » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:03 am

I am so sorry :(

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