The Memorial

Firstly, thank you to all for your continued condolences. In the last post, I wrote that I would blog about my Mom’s memorial in this one.

In seems fitting to first provide some context on how we decided on a memorial for my Mom. During the last month of my Mother’s life, she was absolutely clear with us that she did not want a funeral or service. When my Dad first broached the subject of having something small to celebrate my Mom’s life like a memorial, I wasn’t 100 percent behind the idea. I thought this would go against my Mom’s wishes and to be honest, I personally didn’t feel up to planning anything. I know that sounds horrible but I suppose I just wasn’t ready for the finality of it all. I think I was still caught up in the whole care of my Mom over the last while. My Dad told me that towards the end of her life she agreed to something small and that he needed closure.

I finally relented and told my Dad I would be happy to help plan or do whatever was required. He certainly deserves closure after being with my Mom for 50 years. I then called the funeral home to see about adding the details of the memorial to the obituary. The Funeral Director advised against sharing that type of detail to the public. The reason he gave is to prevent unwanted guests. Refer to an earlier post on how to write an obituary for more details.

I have to admit that all last week I felt uneasy about the whole thing. Then Saturday finally arrived and it was time. Time to share with the world what we had been dealing with and to utter one final goodbye. When I first arrived it seemed a little surreal. I had to keep asking myself, is this really happening? I had been so immersed in this little life we created I just couldn’t believe the end was here.

One by one, people started arriving. I really didn’t know what to do or say. I was frozen. CRAP! Why didn’t I look up memorial etiquette? In case you are wondering, here is what I found online according to everplans. The key tip they listed that resonated with me was to remember that the simple presence of a friend, a hug, or a kind word can go a long way towards making someone feel comforted. So I did my best to make our guests feel welcomed and comforted.

Somehow I found the right words and took my place as a greeter. Sort of like at Walmart! There were far more people than we anticipated. Some guests I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager. My Dad had asked his friend who is a pastor to say a prayer. It was beautiful. He talked about the idea of my Mom crossing over. Then we ended with us all signing this inspirational song. Take a listen, it is quite moving!

In a blink of an eye, the memorial was over. We had survived. Well most of us. Unfortunately, one of our guests drank one too many! My Dad turned to me and said “who spiked the punch?” I am glad he found the humor in it. Not to worry, I checked in the next day and the guest was fine.

My brother, Dad and I are all at peace. The following day my Brother and I had a good visit and talked about things and how to move forward. And we will. This journey will forever change our family. It will forever change me for the better. There are lessons still to be learned and to pass on. There are also a lifetime of memories to continue to share.

Stay tuned, in the next post I might try to broach the subject on how to talk to your children about death.

Thank you for following and for all of your wonderful comments. Ever plan a memorial where a guest acted slightly inappropriate? Let me know, I’d love to hear about it. A xo

 

Lessons Learned

Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful cards, phone calls and even tweets! I was so moved this week by my University of Toronto social media classmates. They gave me a card in class to express their condolences, thank you!

I have had a little time, well 2 or 3 days to reflect on this experience. Below are a few quick lessons learned for anyone going down this road. Especially the road of homecare:

  1. Make sure you understand as much as you can about the disease and what’s to come at each stage.
  2. At the beginning, get their name of hospice waitlist just in case you need it at some point. For us it was too late. At the end, it was too difficult for my Mom to be at home and our case nurse really advocated that she would be better there than at home. Emotionally this takes a huge toll on the family.
  3. Get in touch with your insurance provider as early as possible when costs could be incurred. Not everything is covered and eventually the hours for care run out. As they did in our case when we moved to 24/7 care. You could be looking into thousands of dollars per day that is not covered or is only partially covered by insurance and for only a certain number of hours.
  4. Be an advocate for someone that is ill or make sure you have an advocate when you are ill to fight for you and learn as much as they can about the illness and what is involved with the care. It took me 8 people and days to sort out our insurance. This is also an example of where the Power of Attorney is key. The insurance provider will not disclose anything without documentation.
  5. Try to take the emotion out when making care decisions. Be practical and anticipate what will come with the disease. Having my Mom at home for the first week worked well but the last week was extremely difficult.

Tip: Take a look at your insurance policy and know what it provided.

Stay tuned, in the next post I will share stories from the small memorial service.

Have you ever had a terrible encountered with an insurance provider? I’d love to hear about it. A xo

The picture below is the card the class gave me.

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Ann Jane Alexander

Modern are the times! The funeral home was so efficient today. They even made my Mom her own webpage!

Below is her obituary. As strange as it seemed to work on it before her passing, as the funeral director suggested, it certainly made today much easier with respect to completing the logistics.

Loving grandmother, Ann Alexander, of St. Catharines, died peacefully on November 22nd, 2015. Ann was born to the late Sterling and Murdo Sinclair, April 1, 1939, in Halifax, NS. She married Ron Alexander in 1967. They recently celebrated 48 years of marriage. Ann was an employee of the Royal Bank of Canada until her retirement in 2000.

Ann is survived by her two children Ronald Alexander Jr. and Allison Patterson and her husband Harry Patterson and their three children: Harrison, Abigail and Rebecca, and her brother Bill Sinclair and family, and best family friends the Mareks.

A private family service was held. Memorial donations to the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated by the family. The arrangements entrusted to the HULSE & ENGLISH FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 75 Church St., St. Catharines, Ontario (905-684-6346). Online tributes may be made at http://www.hulseandenglish.com

 

Bye for now

When the phone rang early this morning, I didn’t even have to answer it to know what news was waiting for me. I just knew. At 4:05 am on Sunday November 22, 2015 my Mom, Ann Jane Alexander, peacefully passed away and lost her heroic battle to cancer. We couldn’t have asked for a better end to her life. She was at home with my Father as she had been for the last 48 years. All she wanted was to be at home with her family for her final days. She got her wish.

When I spoke with my Dad first thing this morning, he sounded at peace. He explained that he woke up in the middle of the night and just went straight to her. He made it in time for her final breath.

As he always did, he went out early in the morning and got them a few coffees and the paper. He was greeted by his regular server at Tim Hortons and he shared his sad news with her. The server said “this one is on us for Ann”.

They had their last coffee and conversation together. Just the two of them as the sun started to rise and before any of us knew of her passing. I know my Mom would have enjoyed that time with him.

My family had spent yesterday with her. Although she was unresponsive I felt she knew we were there with her. How could she not with three young children playing around her! I put my youngest daughter on her bed beside her and I swear she moved her head the slightest little bit towards us. Then I noticed there were tears streaming down her face. She knew we were there. I do believe that she knew.

It is hard to believe that this part of the journey is over for us. The original intent of this blog was to document the waiting that went into trying to find a diagnosis for an aging and unwell parent, hence the waitgame. I had no idea this is where we would be now, tonight as I write this memorable post. Even on Friday, I felt that I was waiting to hear back from insurance and scheduling of nurses and so on. We were deep into this game of waiting for the next thing. There was such a sense of urgency. I had purpose in all of this sadness.

For the first time in the last few months, the wait is over. I don’t feel I need to call anyone, arrange anything, get ready for the next day and make sure my folks are OK for the night. It is quiet. At least for us. This journey has taught me that there is a lot to know about the healthcare system and navigating it successfully. And that everyone needs an advocate. Especially the elderly.

I also want to thank everyone for their love and support. It has been appreciated. Thank you to my husband for holding our family together when I had to make those quick and unexpected trips down the QEW. A lot has happened in just a few short months. It is hard to believe it’s only been 4 weeks since her diagnosis of lung cancer. Some days seemed so long but today it was like it all happened in a blink of an eye. I am grateful I was able to take part in this journey with my parents. It was tough but we did it.

Tonight, I have no tips and I can’t promise what you should stay tuned for in the next post. I hope my Mom is at peace. Her she is full of life at my son’s birthday party not so long ago. Bye for now. A xo

I took this picture of my Mom at my son’s birthday party almost two years ago.

AJA pic

Celebration of life: How to write an obituary

Just the very tittle of this post sounds so doom and gloom doesn’t it. However, I have decided to approach this as a positive part of our journey and think back to the wonderful things my Mom accomplished during her life. After speaking with the Funeral Home Director, he suggested to start the process now so we don’t have to worry about it later. My Father asked me to write it so I am delighted to do anything to make it easier on him. This task at hand has also provided me a sense of purpose and something to distract me in this helpless time.

Before I get to the topic at hand, I owe you an update now don’t I. My Mom is very fragile and not able to verbally respond now. We had a wonderful weekend with her. Each day with her has been a gift. Her grandchildren (my rascal children) were drawing pictures and writing their initials on her hands. She absolutely loved it. She kept looking at her hands and showing us. She shared a new way to communicate with us now that she was unable to speak. She is alert and I think comforted to know we are with her.

Now to the obituary. I had never thought about the cost of an obituary but apparently it is about $200 per obituary per paper. Who knew! There is also a bit of a technical aspect to writing an obituary. Naturally I went straight to the Internet to get some advice. According to this how to write an obituary site, here is what they suggest in just a few easy steps. I thought I would share some guidance today incase you find yourself in a similar situation.

  1. Grab a copy of your local paper. Most newspapers require obituaries to be written in a specific style, so take a look at your paper when looking for a guideline on how to write an obituary. You also should ask your funeral home if they have templates. If you plan on submitting to other newspapers, try to get a copy, or check to see if they print obits online. If you don’t follow the newspaper’s style, they will likely rewrite your obituary, which could introduce errors into the write-up.
  2. Set a price limit if you’re on a budget. Most newspapers charge by the column inch, and lengthy tributes can cost you hundreds of dollars. Many funeral homes will include a basic obituary as part of the funeral package. If your funeral home will be submitting the obit, ask them what the word limit is, and how much it will cost you for each additional inch. Because the word count per inch varies depending on the column width and font size used in the newspaper, call your funeral home or local newspaper and ask them roughly how many words are in a column inch for obituaries. Also ask them if there are any length restrictions. This will give you a rough idea of how much you should write.
  3. Ask for the deadline time. Most daily morning papers have a deadline of 4 or 5 p.m., so you’ll want to submit your obit as soon as possible to ensure accuracy, especially if you want it to run the next day.
  4. Decide what you want to include. If you don’t have all of the information you need, you’ll want to make phone calls and gather these facts as soon as possible, preferably before you start writing. Again, if you’re in a hurry and want to skip ahead to the templates, go straight to item No. 5. The basic obituary usually includes:Full name of the deceasedAgeDate of BirthCity and state of residence where they were living when they passed away —Name of significant other (alive or deceased) —Time, date and place of viewing, burial, wake and memorial service arrangements–If you don’t have this information yet, you can always write something like, “funeral arrangements are being made by ABC Funeral Home and will be announced at a later date.” That way those who are interested can contact the funeral home for more information. If you plan on repeating the obituary, you can include the details in a future issue. Other things you might want to include:City and state of birthCity and state of other residences–You may want to include this if: most of the person’s life was spent living in a different place from where they died, they lived in a town or city that was important to them or if they were well known or did something notable in a previous town. —Parents’ names and residences–Some people only include these if they’re still alive, but others give tribute to a deceased parent (ex: “daughter of the late John Smith”). —Children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s names and residences–If this list gets two long, you can eliminate the names and locations (ex: “five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren”). —Other family members (nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, etc.) and special friends– Again, this can make your obituary quite long (and can get political if you include some names, but not others), so you may want to leave these people out unless you have a small family or are prepared to pay for a costly obituary. —Special petsActivities–Include churches, clubs, organizations, volunteer groups, hobbies and other things that were important to your loved one. —Vocation and places of employment —Notable accomplishmentsDegrees and schools attendedMilitary serviceDate of marriagePersonality traits and anecdotesHow they died–Most people don’t include this information, but it’s up to you. Use good judgment, especially if the death was gruesome, involved illegal activity or was a suicide. However, if someone died while in the war or during a major catastrophe, you may want to include that information. —Where people should make a memorial contribution. If you’d rather people not send flowers, tell them where they can make a contribution. Again, think about what your loved one, not you, would want.
  5. Write the obit. Now that you have all of the information you need, it’s time to sit down and write the obit. Here’s a basic template that you can use to get started. I’ve also included a sample obituary below to help you out. Basic Obituary Template NAME, AGE, of RESIDENCE, died (passed away, went to heaven, etc.), DATE (cause of death optional). HE/SHE was born (PLACE, DATE OF BIRTH, PARENTS). NAME graduated from SCHOOL and received DEGREE from SCHOOL. HE/SHE was married to SPOUSE’S NAME (date of wedding optional). INSERT OPTIONAL BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION HERE: Employment history, accomplishments, organizations, activities, etc. HE/SHE was survived by CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, ETC. (Make sure to separate each entry with a semicolon or it can get messy. See the example below.) Funeral arrangements will be held TIME, DATE and PLACE. Here’s a sample obituary Mary Jane Smith, 88, of Miami, died Wednesday. She was born to the late Donald and Rita Green, Nov. 11, 1919, in Savannah, Ga. Mary graduated from Memorial High School in 1938 and received a BA in English from the University of Georgia in 1942. She married the late John Smith in 1943, and they lived together in Athens, Ga., before relocating to Miami in 1960. Mary was a high school English teacher until she retired in 1984 and was passionate about making a difference in the lives of her students. She founded the Miami Reads program for underprivileged children in 1968 and was honored with the Dade County Teacher of the Year award in 1966 and 1970. Mary was an active member of First Baptist Miami Church, Miami Rotary Club and the Dade County Book Club. She loved to travel, and took 20 cruise trips with her husband in her lifetime. Mary is survived by four children: Jane Doe and Samantha Andrews, of Ft. Lauderdale; Jennifer Brown, of New York City; and Mike Smith, of Miami. She also is survived by eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made out to Miami Reads. A viewing will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Green Family Funeral Home. Burial will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Oakland Cemetery. Most obits follow a very basic noun/verb format. This may seem dry and boring, but this is the style at most newspapers. However, if it looks like your newspaper offers more flexibility and you feel like being creative, by all means go for it. The example above is just an example, and styles differ from paper to paper. Try to mimic the style of other obits in your newspaper so it will not be rewritten. Just focus on getting the format right and don’t sweat the small stuff such as abbreviations, days vs. dates, courtesy titles, etc. Editors will fix these things to conform with the newspaper’s style rules.
  6. Have someone else, preferably a close family member or friend, proof the obituary. It is always a good idea to have someone else read the obit before you submit it to the newspaper. This person should not only check for spelling and grammatical errors, but they also should make sure you didn’t leave out important family members or anything else that was inadvertently excluded. As you’re writing and reading the obituary, think about how your loved one would want others to remember him/her. If fishing was his life, you should include that. But if he was in the chess club just to pass the time, you might want to leave that out. If she was close to her extended family, you might want to make an effort to get those names in and leave something else out.
  7. Submit an electronic copy via e-mail or CD. I can’t stress this enough. When I worked at a newspaper, 90 percent of all obituary errors started with people (or funeral homes) who submitted a typed or handwritten copy. Even if you type it on your computer and fax it in, someone at the newspaper will have to scan it in or retype it, increasing the chance that errors will be introduced into the obituary. If the funeral home is submitting the obituary on your behalf, make sure that they plan on e-mailing the announcement to the paper. If not, you should submit it to the newspaper yourself.
  8. Request to receive a proof from the newspaper before your obituary is printed if you’re worried about mistakes. You probably don’t have the time or energy to worry about it at this point, but if you’re concerned about errors, ask if you can see a proof before it goes to press. Most newspapers won’t allow you to look at a final copy, but if you put up a big enough fuss, many papers, especially small-town papers, will honor your request (we did). You may have to come into the newspaper office or have a copy faxed to you.
  9. Submit the obituary to other newspapers. If there are other towns where your loved one lived and had a number of family or friends, you may want to submit the obit to those newspapers. Just check those newspapers’ guidelines and modify the style of the obit as necessary.
  10. Check the obit when it prints in the paper. If there are errors, call your newspaper to let them know. Again, if you put up enough of a fuss, they should reprint it the next day for free. Believe me, we did free reprints all of the time.

Seems simple enough, right?! I sat down the other day to write it but was a little too emotional. Pace yourself. It will take more than one attempt. Today, I took some time and put it together. I have asked my husband to review and make changes. He loves to correct me anytime he can!! So I feel as good as I can that this logistic is as complete as it can be for now.

Tip: Be sure to know what kind of coverage you have for additional care for yourself and loves ones. I spoke to 8 different people today to get the information needed.

Stay tuned, in the next post, I will continue on with our journey.

Have you ever had to write an obituary for a loved one? Do you have any tips to add to the list? I would love to hear from you. A xo

Below is a picture from a newspaper of an obituary.

obit

Coping as a family

FamilyCartoon-BW
In the last post, I mentioned that I would talk about how our family is coping with my Mom’s diagnosis of Stage 4 terminal lung cancer. Before I get to that, let me share an update on my Mom. Since last night there has been the most dramatic change that I have seen in this entire journey with her. She is barely responding and she is on the highest amount of oxygen possible which isn’t enough to keep her going for long. The home palliative care she has received and is still receiving is absolutely amazing. Thank you to those who have cared and are still caring for her. We now have a nurse with her 24 hours a day. We are on what they call extreme comfort measures. I am pretty emotional today. I know the end is drawing near.  Yesterday my Father and I started to make the arrangements with the funeral home. That was pretty real.

As for the family. it certainly has been a journey for us but mostly for my Father. To see his soul mate of 48 years endure this type of suffering is unbearable.  I have to commend my Father for his total commitment to my Mom and being by her side every step of the way. In sickness and in health is certainly true here. My Father also has a great sense of humour which I think helps us to cope with what is happening. He has also started to clean out the condo. So each day my day makes a “garbage run”. His way of coping for sure. Some of the things he has come across are pretty funny so we have had a few good laughs. Yesterday was a tough day for him. Our case nurse was preparing us for the inevitable. My Father and I have always been close but I think this has brought our relationship to the next level. Having the grandkids around I think has also served my parents well to cope during this time. They bring them such joy. We are lucky.

According to the American Cancer Society, a diagnosis of cancer changes a family forever. Figuring out what’s for dinner or what your plans are for the weekend is suddenly less important. Family and personal values are questioned and priorities are tested and changed. Unsettled feelings and arguments may resurface during a family’s struggle with cancer. Often a family must sort out and revisit old, unresolved feelings before they can start to battle cancer together, as a family unit. This is certainly all true in our case.

Cancer can cause role changes in the family, too. The head of the household may now be more dependent on other family members. Others may need to work outside the home or work different hours. When family members take on new roles, the way they interact within the family can change. New responsibilities may overwhelm some family members.

Parents might look to their children for support. If the children are old enough, they may be asked to take on more responsibilities within the household. These requests often come when children themselves need support. Children might start acting younger and less mature in response to the stress on the family. Teens, who are often rebelling and spending more time with friends, may instead cling to their families for support.

As a friend or family member helping to take care of the patient, you also have needs. Taking care of yourself will allow you to care for others. When your needs are met, the patient will also benefit. Overdoing is different from doing. Know your limits and rest when you need to. This rule applies to both caregivers and patients. My Dad is certainly not taking care of himself. Sometimes I find myself missing meals because this is all consuming and you are so worried about everyone else. I came across the following scenario: Peter, caregiver for his wife:As a caregiver, your life is not going to be the same. It’s essential that you maintain a healthy, high-quality level of physical and mental fitness so that you can still carry on with your life, while also helping the one in treatment. Find compassionate and understanding friends who you can talk to relieve your stress. This way, you will be more available, physically and emotionally, to help your cancer partner and to have those candid discussions that are so important. In short, take care of yourself at the same time, paying attention to diet, exercise, and sleep, to better help others and yourself. While being realistic, try to remain optimistic.”

You can learn more about being a caregiver for a person with cancer by reading What It Takes to Be a Caregiver and What You Need to Know as a Cancer Caregiver.

Often families find themselves treating the person with cancer like an invalid, even when the person is fully capable of doing for him- or herself. Sometimes the person with cancer won’t want help with things like bathing and dressing. They may need to at least try to do as much as they can on their own. These wishes should be respected if at all possible. Although the person with cancer may not want to get outside help, friends and family members should look at their own limits and get any help needed. Certified nursing assistants, home health aides, and other resources can help care for the patient. Talk to the health care team about what you need and what resources might be available.

Tip: As the post suggests, as a caregiver and or family member you must remember to take care of yourself.

Stay tuned, in the next post I will talk about writing the obituary. My Father asked me to take care of this detail. To me I am looking forward to sharing my Mom’s story. Perhaps my way of coping. Helping in these situations with logistics is a small comfort.  

I’d love to hear your story as a coping family member. A xo

The above image is from the following webpage.

How does a portable oxygen concentrator work?

It the last post, I mentioned that I wanted to share more about the oxygen machine that my Mom is using. Gone are the days of the big old oxygen tanks that you need to change often. This machine is pretty cool as it makes its own oxygen on an ongoing basis. I think this machine is perfect for someone like my Dad to operate as he doesn’t have to worry about changing out tanks. CAMH did supply additional tanks just incase the machine breaks down.

According to the Oxygen Concentration Store (and where the image is from), portable oxygen concentrators are medical devices that assist people who have a low level of oxygen in their blood. They are powered by plugging the device into an electrical outlet or by using a battery. If a battery is used, then it will need to be charged by plugging it into an electrical outlet. Most concentrators also come with an adapter so you can use the device while you drive.

A portable oxygen concentrator receives air, purifies it, and then distributes the newly formed air. Before it goes into the concentrator, air is made up of 80 percent nitrogen and 20 percent oxygen. After the air goes through the oxygen concentrator, it comes out is made up of 90 to 95 percent pure oxygen and 5 to 10 percent nitrogen. The nitrogen is separated to give the patient the highest dose of oxygen possible, as it is difficult to get that percentage of oxygen without the help of a medical device.

The whole process is worked out in five steps:
1. Takes air from the room.
2. Compresses the oxygen.
3. Takes out nitrogen from the air.
4. Adjusts the way the air is delivered.
5. Delivers the purified air.

a oxygen

This video provides more information, take a look:

Tip: Never smoke in the presence of an oxygen machine!

Stay tuned, in the next post I want to talk about coping as a family member.

Have you seen or used a new medical device, I’d love to hear from you. A xo

World’s Toughest Job

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To all the Mom’s out there, this post and video is dedicated to you. I hope you are as moved as I was when I first saw it. As a Mother of 3, it struck a cord of how much I LOVE being a Mom and how grateful I am of the sacrifices my Mom made for me growing up. THANK YOU MOM!

Tip: Thank someone today that you have been meaning to thank. It will mean a lot and you will be glad you did it.

Stay tuned, in the next post I will of course provide an update but share some cool technology we are using at the house.   

Do you have an awesome Mom video or story you want to share, I’d love to hear from you. A xo

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Welcome home

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In the last post I mentioned that we would be looking at planning the next stage of care for my Mom. Well so much for taking the time for thoughtful planning. A meeting was scheduled with only one day notice to discuss how to care for my Mom with Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and the hospital. Given my Mom’s terminal condition and the fact she does not want any type of life saving intervention, she was now considered an over stay at the hospital. That’s right, we are an over stay now. The nurses were incredibly sympathetic to us but it was clear that the bed needed to go to someone else in need.

We were presented with two options. Option 1 would be for her to go home with palliative care in place or option 2 would be to move her to a hospice. My Mom’s choice was to return home for her final days. How do you deny someone their dying wish? My major concern was for my 76 year old Farther who would now be her primary caregiver. I live over an hour away so I am unable to come over straight away if anything were to happen. What I learned is that when you have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) in place, you can’t call 911. There is another respite care number you have to call. My Dad of course wants only for my Mom to be happy but he is certainly anxious about his new role.

When I came down last Thursday, my plan was to organize all of the equipment such as the oxygen and bed (refer to the pictures to see what you receive) and the transfer for my Mom from hospital to home. I thought we had until Friday. Surprise!! They hospital wanted to discharge her that day!! Talk about a rush. We had nothing in place. At any rate, my Dad and I were able to organize everything and my Mom was home by dinner time. So far things are OK. She is happy to be at home but I can see the toll this is having on my Father. He is absolutely exhausted. But he never complains.

The Personal Support Workers (PSWs) have been phenomenal. Their role is general grooming and some housework. My Mom is entitled to 3 hours per day plus an hour visit from a Registered Nurse. You are correct, that isn’t much support. Over the weekend, they reassessed the situation and we are up to 6 hours per day. We are going to have to supplement with private care as well. My Mom is restless, a little agitated  and on a hunger strike. She refuses to eat or move. According to the American Cancer Society, this is very typical behavior. The only little bit of control she has left.

Tip: Ensure that you have a power of attorney in place and a will. The power of attorney kicks in when you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself but still living. It is important to note that your spouse does not automatically have the right to make decisions on your behalf unless specified. I didn’t know that so very important to note. Have the conversation now and hope you never have to do anything about it.

Stay tuned, in the next post I will share how our set up is working and talk more about the role of the PSW. And of course share how my Mom is making out at home.  

Have you ever had to make a tough decision in a short amount of time that was life altering for you and your family? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you. A xo

I took these pictures at my parent’s house.

Lung cancer patient stories – some inspiration

It has been a week and my Mom still remains in the hospital. Thank you so much for your visits and well wishes. We certainly appreciate it and can feel it. She had a rough night but this morning she called me and we had such a lovely chat about her grandchildren. Pretty normal. I will remember it fondly.

inspiration

In my research, I came across a few lunch cancer patient stories. I thought today would be good day for a little inspiration! Click here to watch.

Tip: As bad as things might seem, always try to find that silver lining.

Stay tuned, in the next post I think it will be time to make some decisions around planning.

Do you have an inspirational story you’d like to share. I’d love to hear from you. A xo

The image is from the following webpage.