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the end is so very near..but he still keeps fighting (long)

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My dad went in to the hospital for a "tune-up" (iv fluids, rehydration, etc) last week Tuesday. His PET scan was due on Friday so they decided to do it inpatient on wed. (Mind you, he hates going to PET or MRI scans cause of his claustrophobia...CT scans were okay though ). I spoke with him Tuesday night and our last words were I love you.

Wednesday I called my mom at the hospital and she said he was breathing kinda of crackly and lungs were full of fluid so they gave him some lasix. He was feeling better and wanted OJ and potato chips (what a combo), but he had to go to that darn pet scan. My mom went down with him.

A few hours later, I was about to get in the shower and then go try on wedding dresses with a friend, but I figured I would call my mom to see how the scan went. She answered and told me something was wrong and that there were a ton of people in the room. She said on the way back from the pet scan, his breathing was horrible. He went into full respiratory arrest. I was so terrified and full of panic. I was thousands of miles away in california (they are in wisconsin).

My dad never wanted to talk about death or what to do when he got to that point. "I'm not there yet" he'd always say. He just wanted to fight, fight, fight. In the room, I could hear in the background, was total choas. My mom found a MD to talk to me and they thought they he was pulling through, but he wasn't. He started to code again. They got the attending oncologist on the phone and gave me his blood gas results...he was in bad shape. They had to intubate or pretty much let him go. They wanted to let him go, but I wasn't ready. I needed to get there. So they moved him to ICU and started up all the meds....while I ran around like a crazy woman packing up my bags and quickly getting a flight that would leave in 1.5 hours. I was such a mess at the airport..i have never been so dyfunctional in my life.

When I got there, he was sedated, intubated, on meds for his falling BP, his kidneys were failing,...it was bad. I slept there that night with my mom. The next few days he improved a lot. All we wanted was him to get a chance off the vent and maybe get to talk to him for probably the last time. As they weaned his sedation, he communicated with us through his eyes, his eyebrows, and his hands. He got to reconnect with children he had lost touch with from his 1st marriage. He was encircled with love and prayers. We laughed and joked and talked with him about so many things, even though he couldn't technically speak back. We knew deep down he was scared to die and we tried to our best to comfort him. Sunday was his 75th birthday which he told me mom earllier that week he really wanted to make it too....and darn it he did,

We withdrew support on Monday...his family at his side. He was awake and knew we were there...he agreed to have the tube out....but I know his plan was to still fight. He wasn't ready to give up. We took it out and his throat was too sore to talk, but when my brother and I told him we loved him, he mouthed it back. He slowly lost consciousness as his struggled with his breathing. We gave him some sedation and pain meds as needed to comfort him and moved him to the pallative care unit....where he continues to fight to this very moment.

I'm sitting here watching him breath comfortably for the first time in a long time. His mind is not really with us...but his is calm and peaceful. I think I'm ready. He won't make it to my wedding after all (we moved it up to this september...but he still didn't make it) We continue to gather in his room and tell stories, laugh, and encourage him that its okay to go.

So far, after we pulled the tube, I have felt the weight of the world lift from my body and an inner strength I never ever imagined I would have. The funeral may be a different story, but for now, I feel at peace. I wanted to write all this to let out our story and to let others know....that we all find peace and inner strength when we need it most. The last four years of my life have been such a rollar coaster and I never wanted to let him go. My dad's fight with cancer will soon be over, but it is not lost. Please keep us in your prayers during this time and pray for him to let go and enter the kingdom of heaven. Thank you all for your time and wish me luck with my wedding....I'll be back for more support when it draws near this fall....I can't imagine it without my daddy.

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Here I sit weeping... I recall the panicked trip from Ohio to Arizona where my Dad was. Knowing the end was near and yet so very deparately not wanting it to be so was pure HELL! And then suddenly from no where in the last week while Dad was in a hospice inpatient facility..we found PEACE...an overwhelming and very comforting sense of peace that is really hard to explain to those who have not experienced it firsthand but it was SUCH A BLESSING! We had the best week just spending time with each other and cherishing each and every second. My Dad too never talked of death and said the same "it's not time yet" right up until the bitter end. But those last few days were remarkable for our family as I am sure they are for yours. Cling tightly to them in the days ahead, these memories and the love of your family will see you through what is to come.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May your Dad find comfort in his family and peacefully make his way to heaven. I'm too am SO VERY sorry that you must go through this..but very glad that you are able to be there.

May the peace of God's grace be with you always!


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