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Walking Toward Eternity; Journal of a Caregiver

Walking Toward Eternity; Journal of a Caregiver
Author: Henry Wren Language: English
ISBN: Item No: 00000000163

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Description:

      Having the opportunity to care for a loved one is an honor that should never be taken in a negative way. In more cases than not, the end result is neither easy nor pleasant, but given the passage of time, knowing you did something for someone else is very rewarding.

Sample Chapter:

      Losing one spouse is heartbreaking and leaves a huge void in your life; but the loss of a second spouse is unthinkable. When I lost Carolyn in 2005, I thought the world would end; but alas it did not. I quickly learned that I had to deal with my grief, for other than my kids, the loss of Carolyn would be remembered by many, but would not be constantly on their minds.       And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest; but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart and failing of eyes and sorrow of mind. (Deuteronomy 28:65)       My story begins in 1990, when Carolyn and I received the shocking news, that Carolyn had breast cancer. The word cancer struck a chilling fear in both of us. Cancer was something that you read about but the disease was always associated with someone else. How could this be happening to us was the question that kept going through both of our minds? Beyond the fear factor, anger consumed our emotions. How could God be doing this to someone as devoted and loving as Carolyn. With these emotions having run their course, the realization of what could eventually happen forced us to look back on our lives and reflect about everything we had done together; and looking forward, the things that might be missed if the disease progressed.       My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people (Psalm 22:1-6).       After being given the choice between two oncologists, we chose the one with the more vigorous treatment plan. Carolyn’s Oncologist decided to treat this first cancer very aggressively, since it was growing very fast. During this first episode with breast cancer in 1990, chemotherapy was used to shrink the mass. After shrinking the tumors, the doctors did a lumpectomy (the cutting out of what remained of the tumors), followed with more chemotherapy and radiation. While receiving the initial chemotherapy treatments, Carolyn was very nauseated and suffered many other side effects. The first round of treatments and surgery began in the fall of 1990, carrying through till the summer of 1991.       After one year of reprieve from the feared disease, the cancer returned. This time it moved to the lymph nodes in Carolyn’s neck. For the first two months Carolyn’s Oncologist chose to treat the cancer with a new chemotherapy drug. After this treatment the oncologist advised us, that our best hope for curing this disease was to have a double Bone Marrow transplant, a treatment that was not commonly used. We chose to have this procedure at Community Hospital East, in Indianapolis Indiana, which at the time had an association with Indiana University Medical Center, whose doctors would perform the procedure. Carolyn underwent the Bone Marrow treatments, when they were relatively new, and still in the experiential stage; thus requiring a great deal of work with the insurance company before she could get approval for the procedure. One of the biggest drawbacks for us and the insurance company was that the procedure required two months of isolation, in the hospital.       Back then, the transplant process required the removal of some of Carolyn’s bone marrow, followed by aggressive chemotherapy. This chemotherapy would obliterate Carolyn’s immune system; destroying the newly forming white blood cells, along with the cancerous cells.       After one month of aggressive chemotherapy treatments, one half of the bone marrow, which the doctor had initially removed, was injected back into Carolyn’s body. After a week of rest at home, Carolyn went back into the hospital, to have the procedure repeated. After the second month, the remainder of the removed bone marrow was injected into her body. There were many scary moments during the procedure, and at one time Carolyn had been given so much pain medication that we thought we were going to lose her.       Carolyn started the first Bone Marrow treatment in Nov. of 1992. She was allowed to go home for a week in Dec., returning to the hospital before Christmas. Carolyn finished the second treatment, in the middle of Jan., 1993. This last phase of treatments was followed with another round of radiation, which we finished in April, of that year.       The Bone Marrow Transplant was successful, and Carolyn went seven years, cancer free. During this period we returned to a somewhat normal life. However, in the back of our minds Carolyn and I continued to wonder if the disease would return.       During one of Carolyn’s many exams, we received the devastatimg news that the cancer had returned. This time the disease was detected, in the lymph nodes under Carolyn’s left arm. In Dec. of 2000, Carolyn had surgery to remove the tumors, and surrounding lymph nodes. This was followed by a new chemo drug, in Jan. of 2001. A few cancerous cells reappeared in the fall of that year, so it was decided to again try radiation. After the radiation treatments, the cancer appeared to be gone, but reoccurred in the fall of 2002. This time, using yet another type of chemo treatment, we again battled the disease. After deciding that the new cancer treatment was not working, we switched to yet another. Carolyn continued with her chemotherapy treatments until early 2005.       Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll-- are they not in your record? (Psalm 56:8)       During this entire process Julie and Brian, my daughter and son, had to deal with me being the homemaker and the person that was responsible for them. Brian did not show as much emotion to his mom’s illness as Julie, but being in middle school and having no previous exposure to the disease, this was to be expected. After Carolyn’s first round, with the disease, we all thought that would be the end of it and prayed that the cancer would never come back. When it did return, Julie was a sophomore in high school and Brian was just finishing up middle school. Even though she attempted to hide her feelings, I could tell that Julie was feeling helpless. What I could not tell was that this feeling of helplessness had led to a deep depression, to the point where she needed professional help to get through the emotional letdown.       Seven years passed and five months after Julie got married, Carolyn had another reoccurrence. This time, Julie, who was living close by was a big help and it was at this period in their lives that mother and daughter became best friends. During this third fight with cancer, Brian was living in Chicago, and by not constantly having to deal with the disease the effects on him were not as devastating. Julie was a big help; taking her mother to her appointments and staying with her, as much as possible, while I was traveling.       Battling cancer for almost fifteen years, Carolyn fought as hard as anyone could expect, and put on a front to everyone but Julie and myself. I know just how much she suffered, and I more than once wondered just how she managed the pain, and more than t


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