Saturday, November 19, 2005


My Brother-In-Law passed away yesterday morning at around 8:10am in the hospital. We were not with him. My sister was doing her school bus run when the call came from the hospital. He passed within minutes of that call.

One of the nurses sat with him, holding his hand while he departed.

I didn't get there until just after 9:30am because I wasn't at my desk when my mom tried to call me.

I had been working on mail match because our prep unit is so backlogged. It's weird but my mom called me 4 times and then on the 5th attempt she called a telephone number of a woman that used to work in our office. She left our office in September and that desk sits empty. My mom knew that she didn't work with me anymore but that was the number that she decided to call and that is the desk that I was sitting at. Very strange.

I still cannot believe that Andy is gone. He had just turned 50 in August. He never missed a day of work and never went to the Doctor's. A few days after his birthday he began to complain about a pain in his stomach but it took until mid October and losing approx 35 pounds before my sister could finally convince him to go to the Doctor's. He worked in the morning of that day, October 19th, and Debbie took him to the family GP in the afternoon.

The Doctor ordered an ultrasound immediately and made an appointment to see Andy on that Saturday morning. During that visit the Doctor told Andy that there was something on his liver and that he wanted him to be admitted to hospital. Andy decided to wait until Monday to go to the hospital and spent the balance of the weekend at home resting but still functional.

That Monday he was admitted and a week of tests began. On Thursday night my sister called our home crying to tell us that Andy had cancer. They didn't know what the primary source was but it was in his lymph nodes and they weren't sure of the stage. They were going to do a biopsy the next day and they wanted her to be there. I took the day off to go with her so that she would have some support.

They didn't do the biopsy that day in the end, and Andy was like a caged animal. He was still feeling pretty good and didn't want to be in the hospital all weekend.

I can't remember the exact sequence of events, but Andy did manage to get home a couple of weekends during the next month and on the first one Andy spent some quiet time in the backyard garden sitting with his Father who lives down the street. The weather was quite warm and lovely. The next visit home was not as good. He was in a lot of pain and he couldn't stop vomiting from the bile that was building up in his body. His bile duct was blocked and he was waiting for them to put a stint in to drain it. He was hopeful that the pain would be eased and his appetite would return.

I'm not sure really what my sister was told and when; we would get sketchy details and it's only now that more information is being divulged by my sister. I'm not sure if that is because she forgot to tell us or if she just didn't want to talk about it. But at some point this week, Andy was told that the cancer was terminal and there was nothing they could do for him. He was told originally that he had maybe a year, then he was told 3 months, and then after the results from the biopsy she was advised that he would not likely survive until Christmas.

The primary source was his lungs which spread to his liver and lymph nodes. He also had spots on his brain.

My mom and I had visited my sister's on one of the weekends (I believe it was Sunday Nov 13th) that Andy was at home but he didn't wake up and we didn't want to disturb him. I was shocked by how yellow he was. He had been told that they would put a stint into him to drain the liver which would provide him with some relief. He was hopeful that he would regain his appetite and that some of the pain in his stomach would be relieved.

The stint went in finally at the beginning of this week, although I could be wrong with this date as well. Everything is starting to blur.

My next visit with Andy was Tuesday night of this week. My mother and I went. We walked by his room because we didn't recognize him. His face was just skin and bone. He had always possessed a very round, happy face. His entire body was yellow, but in spite of the pain, the discomfort, he smiled and brightened when we entered the room.

A couple from his work also came to visit and we talked and laughed for a couple of hours. Andy didn't speak much and when he did, his voice was very weak and faint. He seemed to have trouble following a conversation but you could tell that he was enjoying the company. When we left, I gave him a kiss and hug and told him that I loved him. He whispered back, "I love you too, sweetie."

That was the last time I would be able to converse with him. My sister told me that the next night he was delirious and was acting up. He was not speaking.

Thursday night I took Melissa to see him and she was totally shocked. She had been working during our other visits and we really didn't realize how quickly he was going to be ravaged by this awful disease. He did hug her back when she bent to say goodbye though, and he lifted his face for a kiss. He knew who we were and he knew that his family, my sister, her two sons - Derek and Matthew, Derek's girlfriend, Keelie, Melissa and myself were there to be with him. He was unconscious when Melissa and I arrived and although the nurse tried to wake him, she was unsuccessful. Melissa and I were going to leave, because we didn't want to disturb him. The nurse had told us that he had been awake most of the night before and had tried to escape the hospital. They found him in the lobby around 4:00 in the morning and he had been up all day with visitors.

Melissa and I were walking down the hall to the elevator when we ran into my sister with her boys. We went back to Andy's room with her and she woke him up. I'm glad we stayed. As I said earlier, even though he drifted in and out of consciousness, he knew we were there and you could tell that he was happy about that. We took turns holding his hand and talked to him as if he was a part of the conversation. He was dripping in sweat and we attempted to make him more comfortable by turning on the air conditioner, wiping his mouth with a wet sponge and cleaning the sweat from his head.

When we left that evening, Andy had laid back on the bed with his arms behind his head and was watching the hockey game on the television. He was content. We didn't know that was the last time we would see him.

His horoscope yesterday, from the Toronto Star read: Leo (July 23-Aug 22) Not all windows of opportunity are big enough to climb through. The narrow opening that lies before you now will enlarge with further inspection. There is a way to get through to the other side.

Rest in peace, Andy. We all love you!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Just A Quickie

I thought I should pop on and apologize again for my long absence. Many things have been happening in my personal life lately and as a result, I have not been in the mood for updating my blog or I feel like I shouldn't be spending time updating my blog.

My sister's husband has recently been diagnosed with cancer and it doesn't sound good. He is in the hospital and we don't know how long he has. It's in his lymph nodes, lungs and I believe his liver.

I will return but not sure when.

I hope everyone is well and I'll be popping in and out of your blogs for updates whenever I can.