Sunday, August 23, 2009

The long goodbye

My father in law is dying. He just turned 60 on August 14, a day he spent in the hospital, the day he was told that there was nothing more that could be done for him. That he has 2 to 6 months left.

16 Months ago he was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer. His wife and children were told that he would never leave the ICU, that he would pass in the drug induced coma. 16 Months ago he didn't give up, he just kept on fighting. After recovering from surgery that left him with a stomach the size of a walnut, and most of his large intestines,most of his small intestines and part of his colon removed, he went home. We were amazed. He suffered through months of radiation and chemotherapy that left him bald and battered, but he still kept on fighting. Even after bouts of being bed ridden he still wasn't giving up. Even after he could no longer eat and vomited nearly around the clock, even after they couldn't find what was causing all the pain and couldn't figure out why he couldn't poop, he didn't give up.

His iron will to live will never give out, but his body is quitting on him and I am saddened. My children are losing their grandfather, my husband is losing his dad. I am losing the man who danced with me on my wedding day and told me he was so glad I was his daughter in law.

We are left to stand by and watch as the cancer that has returned eats away at him. The tumor on his liver devouring him from the inside out. We are left to watch a once strong and hardworking man wither down to less than 90 pounds. He is on a constant morphine drip that will eventually suppress his respiratory system and he will be gone from us. Gone to be with his mother and his father.

Now we wait. We wait for his end to come, we wait for his peace.

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