My SIL, whom I've been taking care of since Aug passed away on Oct 25th in the hospital while I held her hands and told her she was one of the bravest persons I know.
As you may have read my story about my caring for my SIL whose diagnosis of MBC in August took all of us by total surprise. I went to help her, to take care of her, at my in-laws' home since then. She's the only sibling my husband had and I was the only person who could be there to help her. And also for my husband since I knew how much he wanted to help her but he couldn't physically or emotionally. So I was the obvious choice. I took care of her at home as best as I could since being a hospital wasn't the answer.
I had to call 911 on the morning of Oct 15th because of excruciating pain that left her paralyzed in one position for 3 hours, crying. I could no longer care for her and she knew her time had come and so did I. :(
Her MO wanted to see us BOTH that day (I knew deep inside why) but obviously, we never made it. Instead, he came to the hospital to see both of us and told us the devastating news that the treatment was not working and he wasn't going to recommend chemo either. And that he recommended palliative care at the hospital and wanted to see how she does there. He didn't even recommend moving her to a hospice. Outside her room, I asked him if he thought she would pass way in the hospital and he said, "yes"...maybe within a week.
I was crushed but I expected it as much. She was put on Morphine and Ativan. She was comfortable, pain-free, but became not very coherent pretty fast. She stopped recognizing people and started to get confused. Due to COVID, for being the caregiver of a Comfort Care patient, I was allowed to stay in her room all day and I wasn't allowed to go back and forth. I stayed in her room every day until 9PM. But on my birthday, Saturday 24th, when I went to her, she didn't recognize me. She was breathing very slowly and I knew her time had come. I asked to stay and the night nurse agreed that she shouldn't be alone. I played music, read to her, gave her a mani/pedi, combed her hair, gave her a facial, and held her hand until she left the earth side on Sunday morning.
I wasn't *that* close to her (she was a VERY private and reserved person who never wanted to impose on my family even though my husband was the only sibling she had) before this but I felt like I was the only person who could help her so I dropped everything and came to help. Besides, she took care of our in-laws for the last 4 years due to their failing health. At least I can do was to help her now. With my Chiropractic background, giving medical attention was no problem. I drained her lungs via Pleurx system weekly, cleaned her malignant chest wounds twice a day, changed her Depends, cleaned her bottom, cooked meals that she actually enjoyed despite her nausea and vomiting, and listened to her stories day and night.
HOWEVER, SHE was the hero. She was so brave, strong, and optimistic until the end. Yes. She made mistakes in not addressing her condition earlier but she tried, in her own certain terms, to be responsible for her own health. And I respect her for it.
She will be missed.
Thank you to every one of you who read my story, commented, gave advice but mostly, for allowing me to learn about this special community of brave women and men who defy the odds and fight daily.
Lastly, if you there is an organization that uses all the donations - I mean, MOST of it - for breast cancer research you like, please share in the comments.
I gave a plaque with the phrase below to my SIL when I first got here and I placed it in her casket.
And I want to share it with ALL of you because......
than you believe
than you seem
than you think
more than you'll ever know
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