Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The week so far

Our neighbor two doors down passed away Sunday. Eddie was 42. He was diagnosed earlier this year with cancer.

He and Jenni were foster parents to Labradors. He was a top-notch runner. He was always smiling.


Steve is having a rough week.

He had a slight fever last night, which resolved quickly with Tylenol. He's developed a rattly, raspy cough and has chest pain when he coughs or breathes in.

We are changing one of the two antibiotics he's been taking. And he'll start taking a cough medicine to help as needed.

He's having severe bladder spasm pain that isn't alleviated by the bladder spasm medicine, so he's taking pain medicine more often. You know Steve is in serious pain if he asks for something stronger than Tylenol.

One of the hospice nurses who was here this week speculates that his kidneys just aren't functioning well. That's why there's sediment in his urine -- the kidneys aren't able to filter waste as well as they used to.

He has very little hearing remaining in his left ear. He can still hear with his right ear, but if you talk to him, it's best to have eye contact and speak a little loudly.


Our Steve is still in that declining body.

Last night, friend, neighbor and nurse extraordinaire Tisa came over to listen to Steve's lungs and offer some advice. She commented on how much knowledge Steve and I now have about medical issues.

In his halting, labored voice he said, "That and $4.50 will buy me a latte."


Sen. Edward Kennedy passed away last night. He, too, had an incurable brain tumor.

This article talks about quality of life in brain tumor patients as well as the role of Avastin and Temodar in extending life.


When Cooper learned of Eddie's death, he and I had a long, quiet talk.

"Eddie had cancer, and he died. Daddy has cancer, and I'm afraid he's going to D-I-E," he said.

With all my courage and a huge lump in my throat, I pulled him closer and told him: "Cooper, we can't fix Daddy's cancer. He is going to die. I don't know when. Only God knows."

Cooper told me that he would be miserable and cry every day for the rest of his life without Daddy.

We held each other and cried together.


Meredith said...

Oh Tyra! My prayers as always. God will be there for your children and for you. He's with you now.

Laura said...

Big hugs to you all, Tyra.

Darla said...

My heart breaks for Cooper, for Katie, for you and Steve. I just don't even know what to say. But you're all in my thoughts and prayers, all the time.

Marci said...

Tyra, thanks as always for your honest, beautiful words. Praying for your family and for sweet time together.

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Dear Tyra,
When my young (7 y.o) daughter asked me if I was going to die from my cancer, I told her that she would always miss me, but she wouldn't feel as sad after a while. And I reassured her that she would always, always, always feel my love.

Wishing you peace and strength through these days and nights.
With hope, Wendy

(P.S. This conversation took place when my long term prognosis was terrible)

Martha said...

I love you-all for sharing your experiences. I can feel the love in your family as I read your words. That love will never die. With a hug, Martha

Anonymous said...

Mojo, prayer, voodoo, and a random Nebraska "Bushels of Cash" scratch off game I just found under a wet newspaper for you, my friend.

If I had fashionable red glittery shoes, I would close my eyes and click them together for you in my best "there's no place like home" voice.

Let me rephrase....

If I were forced to admit that I am currently wearing fashionable red glittery shoes....

Peace to you good man, peace.

With all our love - Briscoe, Janell, and several unquantified children

Anonymous said...

Hard conversations - something we never want to do. Glad to see that Steve still has humor through all of this - laughter is good for the spirit.Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this time.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tyra, I'm so sorry you are all going through this. My mom died when I was 13. It feels like you will cry forever and never be whole again. It takes a long time but one day the anguish will be a little less and sometime later a little less still. I have a happy life now and Cooper and Katie will too. The future may not be as you hoped but it is not hopeless for them.
Love and prayers,

Chitnis and Chahal said...

This was heart wrenching to read. I thought of Steve all day today since I have been hearing about Ted Kennedy. In fact Bob Novack had passed away just a few days ago and I thought of Steve then.
Remember the line from the movie, braveheart, "All men die, not all men really live"! Steve really knows how to live and so do you. Your spirit is what will guide the kids. I promise I will always be part of your life and no matter what the future brings, as long as I am here, I will help you with KT and Cooper and between all of us who care for you guys, they will grow up into fine individuals and have a good future. I hate to think about missing Steve, I am just happy to focus on each day and pray that he has more time with all of us.

Anonymous said...

Your family has been in my thoughts and prayers since Steve's diagnosis. We don't know each other, but that doesn't matter. We are kindred spirits in suffering. I can't imagine having to tell my child that her father was going to die. Please make sure they receive grief counseling for as long as they need it. It is so very helpful to small children.

May God bless you and strengthen you tonight.

Dusty said...

Tyra, your post brought tears to my eyes. I know how heart breaking it is when you have to tell your child that his father is going to pass away from this dreadful disease. If Cooper needs a friend to talk/email to, my son is a great boy. He was younger than your son, when his dad died, but he knows what it feels like. Please feel free to email me anytime. thedustylife at gmail dot com.



Anonymous said...

You are having to live a very bad dream in broad daylight. But your children....and you....will not be destined to hopeless, terrible lives. You will move through the loss, keep journeying on beyond the valley of the shadow. And there will be miraculous ways in which the undying love of your precious husband will still be evident.

Your children will forever benefit from the all-too-few years they will have on this earth with their dad. He has given them more in their short lives than many, many, many children get in decades with other fathers. Well done, good and faithful servant Steve--may God grant you relief from pain so that you may savor each moment given to you.

And Tyra? There are no words to describe you. Your husband and your children have hit the absolute lottery when it comes to you. You are so strong, so loving, so powerful and generous. A force of nature. You simply cannot know what your example has meant to so many of honestly and truly I wish you did not have this journey. But you are walking it well----far beyond well, in fact. Amazing. By amazing grace, you will continue to walk step by step. Your family is surrounded by a cloud of witnesses....

God. Bless. You.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tyra - I have been following your blog and I have never known how to put in to words how this makes me feel but I feel now is the time to try. I don't know you well but I know you started this journey around the time we met. All of you have faced your challenges with amazing courage and grace. You have captured so many beautiful and touching memories here for your children and for yourself. I only wish there was still a way to turn things around and I do continue to pray for a miracle. I find this so heartbreaking - no one should ever have to face this with such a young family (or ever really).

Thank you so much for sharing - you help me put my own life in to perspective when I am out of sorts about something. Enjoy each day that you have left together.

Anonymous said...

I'm now 35... my daddy D-I-E-D a little over 6 years ago... I don't cry every night... but I cry plenty. Daddies are supposed to be forever... kiss your sweet boy for me. My family and I are praying for each of you. What a strong show of faith you have been to us all. May God continue to bless you.