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Going back ........... August


stand4hope

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August! I hate August! I will ALWAYS hate August! Don was diagnosed August 7, born August 4, died August 5.

Going back to August 4, 2004. . . .

As much as he hated this whole routine for 36 years, I walked in with his cake, candles lit and sang Happy Birthday To You. He obligingly blew out the candles. He opened his gift. He liked it. He didn't eat the cake. He never did. He didn't like cake. He was stable.

Here's what I said to all of you on August 4, 2004 in a response to someone:

...... one more thing, in exactly 15 minutes, my husband will be one year older and Sat. will be one year since he was diagnosed. When I remember the severe headaches he was having this time last year, and the terrible time he had with chemo and radiation last fall, I am even more thrilled with his status today.

Good night, now

Love, Peggy

Going back to August 5, 2004 . . .

Back to work. He was stable. Life was good.

Going back to August 4, 2005 . . .

No cake, no candles, no gift. But there was a great big Happy Birthday banner hung on the wall in ICU, and he knew it was there. He was responding and still had his good sense of humor. Here's what I said to you that day:

Thank you, Fay. I'm here. The ICU visiting hours are limited, even for wives: 10a to 6p, and 8:30p to 10p. I got home at 6:45, took care of the dogs, got the mail, and sent an email update to family. I then crawled in bed at 7:50 with all my clothes on and woke up 45 min. ago - 3:00 a.m. I was so exhausted, I couldn't keep my eyes open. I didn't even eat dinner. I wanted to take the phone off the hook, but couldn't in case the hospital called. Nobody called and I was grateful for the sleep.

Don is doing really well. He's still heavily sedated, but he is responsive to their questions, can raise both arms and legs on command, and was able to hold onto the rail to support himself when they changed the sheets. The nurse asked him to open his eyes, and he did - about half way. She said, "Oh, you have pretty eyes" and then he popped them open great big like "you want to really see them?" It was really funny - we all laughed.

The only problem they had during surgery was with his breathing. The surgeon said his lungs didn't like the procedure at all and they had him on 100% ventilator support. When I left, he was down to 50% support, and I called the nurse when I woke up and she said respiratory had reduced it some more. The plan is to remove the ventilator today to see how he does.

He has a chest tube, is receiving constant sedation (can't remember the name - it starts with a "p", like propanol, or something like that), and a morphine pump. He denied pain all day yesterday, but she said he pushed the button twice during the night. I guess he automatically gets so much every hour without pushing the button.

He's also hooked up to everything else you can imagine, including numbing medicine that goes directly to the two incisions. This procedure was the VATS procedure, I didn't know that was what it was called until yesterday.

The surgeon took two sections instead of one as planned, one from the upper right lobe and one from the lower right lobe. He said he couldn't see anything with his eye, but he did say that his lung was quite stiff, not pliable like a healthy lung. If I'm correct, I think the alveolitis is probably causing that.

The real test will be today when they stop the sedation and remove the ventilator. It will probably be a rough couple of days for him, but after seeing how strong he was yesterday, I'm hoping he will do ok. Of course, the breathing will not have improved yet, but hopefully we'll have some results soon and they can treat this problem. His platelets are a little low, probably from the Alimta, but not low enough to be a problem.

Well, that's it so far. I felt good about him when I came home, and he is getting constant attention, so I suppose that's why I was able to sleep so well last night. I think I'll go eat now. I'll keep you posted. Oh, and today is his birthday. 57 years old. Happy Birthday to Don!

Love to all,

Peggy

Going back to August 5, 2005 . . . . .

I walk in to ICU. They tell me, "He's had a bad night." The doctor walks up to me: "It's not good. We tried removing the ventilator. I don't think we'll ever be able to remove the ventilator. I'm sorry. It doesn't look good."

Here's what I said to you that day:

I still can't believe it and I am in shock, but Don died at 2:30 this afternoon. I'll write later when I can.

I love you all and thank you for all the gazillion responses this past week or so.

Love,

Peggy

I HATE AUGUST . . . . .

Love,

Peggy

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(((((((Peggy))))))))

As I read this post, I could remember each of the other posts, almost like they were yesterday. I think you and I were able to "connect" because Don and Dennis had so many identical character traits. Honey, I can certainly understand why you hate August! It's definitley allowed! I am so glad that you are now able to talk about all of this. My advice...talk to anyone that will listen. I think the more pain we are able to release from our hearts and souls via words, the more we will heal. You know, I just can't help but picture Don, Dennis and lots of other loved ones from this MB all celebrating Don's birthday together this year!!!

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Peggy,

I hope you are following through on "the Plan" you formulated last month. If you are out and decide you need to talk, please call me. I'll be up late - and if I've stepped out to walk the dog, leave a message with a number and I'll call you back.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this and am glad you have made it to this point.

Take care.

xxoo,

Becky

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Peggy you have helped me on my journey through this job called grief. I feel your anguish and I feel sad for you. I wish I could be beamed to you and have dinner with you and just sit around and talk about our husbands. Cry a little, laugh a little in general rejoice that we were able to have them be part of our memories and lives.

Take care of yourself

Adela

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(((PEGGY)))

You are an amazing woman. So kind, generous, loving and STRONG. I know August SUCKS. I can't even imagine having to go through all those milestone dates one following the other. I wish I could take you away from all of it (want a road trip to Mukwonago?). I wish I could come there and just hug you and cry and scream with you.

I am praying Peggy for you to receive strength to plow through this crappy month head on.

Love you

Carleen

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Peggy, the year of firsts is almost over. And the year of seconds is a little easier.

August come she must, a phrase from a great Simon and Garfunkle song. My best and worse month. My Father's bday is 8/17/1900, my oldest grandson 8/21/1988, my baby girl 8/25/1964 = the best. Earl died 8/18/2004 at 4:30 am. Worst time of my life.

So Peggy my dear friend, I am one year ahead but right there with you. Try to remember just how lucky some of us are to have had such a wonderful ride full of love and laughter. I will lift a toast to your dear Don tomorrow night. Wallow a little tomorrow and then continue your journey forward.

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Your words are so gripping, and I think do you realize how many people you are helping by sharing your grief so openly?

I have a beautiful 7 year old niece who is having her birthday today, the youngest of 18 cousins. She will tell you she is "Nana's precious"

I can feel your Don smiling at that.

gail

PS I sent your stage 4 grief post on to a good friend who lost her 25 year old son suddenly 2 Thanksgivings ago. You are helping her too.

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Peggy,

My insides are torn up reading your posts. I cannot imagine, or begin to imagine how you feel. I pray that you are granted peace this August 4th, and tomorrow, August 5th, and for that matter....forever. You are an amazing wife, and I am inspired by your Romans Quotes...thank you for those.

God bless you always,

Jen

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I remember each one of these posts and how my heart ached for you during this time last year.

My prayers and thoughts are with you- wish I could give you a real hug.

(((peggy)))

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((Peggy))

I can relate to what you are going through. The first week of August will always be a hard one for me too. Randy passed on August 6th. My birthday is August 8th, his birthday is August 10th, and I buried him on August 11th.

There are lots of good memories from past birthday's but I also have the memories of what he went through in his last days. It is hard to celebrate under the circumstances.

Keep to your plan.

Much love and many prayers.

Shirleyb

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I feel your pain as the tears fall. Maybe someday those aniversaries won't be so hard but so far you couldn't prove it by me. Love and prayers to you Peggy. I know August sucks for you but remember your Don was born in August and that was a very special gift to you. Can you even imagine never having him in your life?

Cry and scream at fate. It is allowed we all do it :!:

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Peggy,

I understand about certain times of the year, even though it's my b-day this month, 20th and my mom's 2nd, my memories of last August were terrible. Last Aug. my dad was home w/ hospice dying, each day a little bit of his life was taken away. I remember taking a few days off to go away w/ my husband and girls, I left every # imaginable for my mom to call me.... all during the time away I never really unpacked..... my dad died Aug 29th....even the weather outside reminds me of how I felt then. Please stay strong Peggy, I know you can.

Grace

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Thank you all so much. You are just the most wonderful people in the world!

The day has just about ended and I got through it just fine. Because of other things that got in the way, I didn't get to spend it exactly how I planned, but I did visit the cemetery and had a good cry. It actually felt good to remember.

I just cannot believe - it's just impossible to believe that he's been gone a whole year. I didn't think I would be able to make it six weeks, and here it is a year already.

Val, thanks for asking me to talk about us. Don and I attended the same high school and Don was a year ahead of me. He graduated in 1966, and I graduated in 1967. We started dating my senior year, fell in love, and got married on September 8, 1967. We were both just babies (I wouldn't recommend this). Don was drafted in 1968. During his OJT in Oklahoma, I quit my job and moved there with him. He made $98 a month, and I got a $100/month allotment. We had an $80/mo rent payment, and a $56/mo car payment. That left us very little for food, but we made it with a lot of commissary balogna. Nobody would hire me in an office, so I got a job as a cocktail waitress (under age) at the NCO club. That ended after three weeks because Don got in a fight at the Club with some guy for hitting on me. :) After that, I ironed army fatigues for $1.00 a set. We were rolling in money then. :roll: Don went to Vietnam in 1969 and was there for a year. I lived with his parents during that year.

When he got out of the Army, we lived in an apartment for a while and then bought our first house for $14,500 (can you believe that?) That same little 2-bedroom bungalow now sells for $90,000. I remember Don couldn't sleep at night because he didn't know how we would make a $168 a mo. house payment.

During this time we tried to get pregnant, but it didn't happen. After four years of infertility work-ups, fertility drugs, and seven miscarriages, we finally quit trying and started the adoption process. It took us 2 1/2 years, and along came Mike at 7 weeks old. At that time, we were then living in a tri-level.

When Mike was six years old, I suddenly got pregnant. I was 36 years old at the time. My body tried to abort the baby at 6 months, so I was hospitalized to stop the contractions. I became quite ill and was in the hospital for two months. After 8 months, I was pre-eclamptic along with many other problems, went into convulsions and John was taken by C-Section. He died several hours later. I couldn't even go his services because I was still too sick. Don and I really bonded deeply during that sad time.

After that, we had just a pretty normal life. A few different homes, and many bumps and bruises along the way, but we survived, we loved, we lived, we had a lot of really good times, and life was good - until lung cancer reared its ugly head and the rest is history that many of you know well.

One of my favorite times with Don would be when we would get invited to a wedding. Don hated to dance, but he would always dance slow dances with me at weddings. Oh, how wonderfully romantic those dances were.

Well, that's enough about us for now. It is good to write about things like this. Even if nobody ever reads this, it felt absolutely WONDERFUL to write this down. Very healing - thank you, Val!

Love to all,

Peggy

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Peggy, I did read it, and yours is a wonderful story. I can't imagine the feelings you had today, Peggy, just can't. You have come quite a way this past year, and hopefully will continue to improve. I am so glad you are here with us. You were one of the very first to befriend me here and actually call me 'friend' and for that you will always remain so special. I am sorry Don is not here with you. So many wonderful years together, it just must be very difficult. Keep talking and staying here, Peggy. You are loved.

Kasey

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I read it too! It is nice to hear about the good stuff. Refreshing. I'm sorry this is such a rough month for you. You do sound like you are turning a corner on this grieving process and that you are going to be okay. Prayers to get you through this crappy month and to a brighter future.

Karen

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