Friday, 26 July 2013

It's been a strange two weeks and each day gets stranger...

From a high to rock bottom...

My high has been the fantastic news of DS. and FDiL. getting engaged.

The rock bottom was and is this...

I was the 'nominated close friend' last week when a dear friend was informed they had cancer. They had thought surgical/chemical treatment would be offered and with luck, everything would be fine.

No such luck! The diagnosis, completely out of the blue and with very few symptoms, was end stage, terminal, metastatic cancer with possibly several months to live - although they say it could be more than that but looking at them, we and they think less but who knows! The team cannot accurately gauge the length of time left, due to the advanced state of the disease. Only palliative care can be offered.

There is nothing you can say in such circumstances other than "sometimes life is s--t and this is one of those times"

After the initial shock and then having to inform family, my friend has been remarkably stoic. Some would say they have given in but not so. Plans have been formulated, one of their children is moving in and the palliative care team have swung into action.

Things are changing rapidly - a brief hospital stay to receive blood, the beginning of low dose morphine - they are already at that stage rather than beginning with other pain alleviating drugs and progressing towards morphine.

We and a few other close friends, suddenly realised yesterday, that we have moved into a strange world of X time (not my friends real initial). Days are passing in a blur of either passive or active help. House cleaning, washing, ironing, gardening, mending, fixing, guiding through legal issues or simply sitting there, chatting (or not), quietly listening or answering questions as best we can. Help is required as the child who is staying with them, has their hands full taking care of their mother.

Changing patterns in breathing/eating/drinking are subtly observed, seeing and hearing that strange hiccup of emotion that flits across their face, then is hurriedly put to one side. Friends leaving the room when it gets too much and going outside to get on with something or the other, have a blow of their noses and then return, smiling once again. Don't get me wrong, we are all being upbeat and behaving as normally as possible, no point moping about, doesn't help anyone.

My friend is very well known locally and many are leaving messages, some are sending gifts but it is obvious, that visits need to be orchestrated as the effects of the morphine make them sleepy. Family must come first. They have at least, been granted time to assimilate the situation and say their goodbyes.

Friends also need to say their goodbyes and we, as close friends, also need to do so but in a supportive manner. We have come to terms with it. Our sole aim now, is to get our friend through it in whatever time is left. Be it weeks or months, our waking thoughts are always of them and this new time era we find ourselves living in - X time.

It is a necessary but temporary timespan and like them, we will get through it.

28 comments:

  1. Love and kind wishes to you at this awful time. I survived cancer in my early 20s and I am grateful every day for beating this horrible illness. I wish your friend peace in their final journey xxx

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    1. Thank you and I am glad you survived as have some of my family, but others have not. Dreadful disease.

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  2. Praying for your friend, that whatever time remains maybe positive, relatively pain-free and full of love- and maybe even laughter. Praying for family and friends, that they may have strength to support her, and one another, through these dark days.
    But grateful that you are there, to be with her, as she goes through 'the valley of the shadow of death' where 'time' has no meaning in the face of eternity.
    Love and hugs xx

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    1. Thank you Angela, I'm sure all prayers for comfort and peace will be gratefully received.

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  3. Dc, you are doing a wonderful thing for your friend. I hope for the very best of all possible outcomes - and we know how restricted they must be. I did the same for my sister - nearly 2 years ago -out of the blue,very quick, and devastating for the whole family. You live n a different 'zone' as you say, almost on auto-pilot. Do look after your own physical and emotional well-being, won't you.
    All my warmest thoughts, Lynne.

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  4. It is good that your friend has lovely friends like yourself to rally round.There are no words to help but take care.

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    1. Thank you and you too with your OH.

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  5. I know how hard this must be for you, as I helped my sisters to nurse my father at his home until he died of oesophageal cancer five years ago. As you say time telescopes. Kindest thoughts to you all.

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    1. Thank you. Nice to 'meet you"!

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear this Dc.... Sending love, light and strength to your friend and to you and her support network. xxx

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    1. Thank you Kim, much appreciated.

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  7. Blessings to all and you that care so much about your friend.

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  8. So Sad. I remember a few years ago my best friend Colleen was diagnosed with a brain tumour in July and only lived 3 months after diagnosis.The deterioration was unbelievably quick and it was one of the saddest times. She left 4 children.
    Thinking of you and praying that you are all given strength at this time.

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    1. Thank you Anne, I think we all need it!

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  9. I do read your blog regularly but don't usually comment. However I'm so sorry to read your post today and felt so sad for you both. My very best wishes to you.
    Judith

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    1. Thank you Judith, much appreciated. Glad you read my blog!

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  10. So sorry to hear your sad news - you are a good friend to be there and to be supporting your friend through this difficult time - sending hugs to you all xxx

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    1. Thank you Trudie, such things are hard and it is a strain trying to remain upbeat in front of them.

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  11. So sorry to hear of your friend. Have been through all of this with my mother the past year. It was very difficult but we had our laughs as well as our sad times and I am so glad I was there...bless you and stay strong....

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    1. Thank you Lynda, trying, but it is difficult.

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  12. I know this is a really hard time for you all, treasure each moment you have together and I am sure that the love and care of a friend like you will ease your friend's pain xxx

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    1. Thank you Fran, hopefully, it won't be too long, things seem to be accelerating quite quickly.

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  13. I'm so very sorry to hear your dreadful news about your friend. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family as well as you DC. Take care of yourself too during the following weeks and months. I'm thinking of you.
    Patricia x

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  14. Hi DC, just sending you my thoughts and best wishes to share with all concerned. You are doing the best thing you possibly could - being a good and supportive friend.

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  15. I'm so sorry to hear this dreadful news, and sorry that I was away over the weekend when you posted this.

    It's so hard to lose friends, after all we are 'given' our families and we get to chose our friends, they are so very special to us because of this. I'm sure your friend will be so glad that she has had you in her life and will continue to do so for at least a little while.

    Thinking of you at this dreadfully sad time.

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  16. Thanks Patricia, NYK Media and Sue, much appreciated.

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