The Cancer Won But…

Yes, the Cancer finally claimed my beloved Lyn…  BUT NOT without a fight!.  This women gave it her all for the better part of a year!   This will be one of the hardest things I will write, next to her memorial page.  Please bare with me…   we ended last month with her in the hospital.  I will be sharing my daily Facebook posts….

 

April 1 – Happy Easter – Quiet weekend at the hospital.. Lyn is doing well, though a bit apprehensive with the procedure coming up in the next couple days but that is normal. We are both hoping that this will bring some relief and provide a feeding access. [This procedure was to put a stent through the tumor to allow her to eat and therefore be nourished] On the plus side, the hospital has lifted the flu restrictions which means the grand kids are now allowed to visit.

I got a few things done later in the day, paid some bills etc and got some reports done. Today I will test and adjust the aquarium water. I also want to finish updates to the family web site…

April 2 – Morning Everyone… Happy Monday! Strange for me to be sitting home this time of day but we are preparing for Lyn’s potential procedure. The stent materials are sched to be in by noon and if he can, the Dr wants to install this afternoon. My plan is to go in a bit later and plan to stay for the duration if they can get it done today. If not, since all materials will be here, I would go home and we would have a more firm sched for tomorrow.

Things were quiet for Lyn over the weekend… she felt good as usual… Though nervous, I know she is ready for this procedure as a way to be able to eat again! [and for us to get her home]

Will keep you all posted as things unfold the next few days… Thanks for all the support!!

April 3 – Morning All – Happy Tuesday
Today is the day of the procedure, Lyn just called and they are taking her over for radiation at 8am and then down for the stent placement at 11am. She indicated they poked, prodded and tested all night so she did not get much sleep.. I will be heading in shortly!

Watched Michigan lose to Villanova… not the outcome I wanted but Villanova earned the win!  Today looks like a long day at the Hospital with my Bride!

April 4 – Good morning all… there is really no happiness in our day. The procedure was unsuccessful, due to the condition of the tumor and stomach, placing a stent was not possible. At this point, there is no other way to introduce nourishment in a natural way.

I had already spoken to the doctor… she was recovering from anesthesia… when she returned to her room she did not know what happened… I had to do the hardest thing ever ever in my life…

She asked me “How did it go??” I had to be the one to tell her it did not.  This shattered all of our hopes!

April 5 – Morning everyone… Lyn was resting well yesterday and we are both coming to grips with where we are in this journey… she coping way better than me…   [at this point, there are no other options for her other than making her comfortable]

So much to think and deal with… it was a productive day in sorting through things and making decisions. Blessed to have Scott here to help with this and the other kids ready by phone to consult and give me a shoulder to lean on…

We love you all!!!

April 6 – Hello Everyone…. many have been following Lyn’s epic battle with cancer for the last year. It has been full of ups and downs and getting hopes up only to have them dashed again. It should be clear to most that we are nearing the end of battle from my previous posts. I have notified most all the family and many of my old time friends but now is time to let everyone know the decisions that have been made.

It has been a hard year but we never gave up the fight… I tried to remain positive each time we got kicked back and tried to strong and supportive for her. Recently, we knew we would not beat the cancer but still believed we would be successful in recent treatments such that we would get her home for months of quality time. Even as recent as Tuesday morning we were talking about what we were doing TOGETHER this summer.

With the fail of that procedure, we have had to admit that the fight is over and the end is near. Lyn is alert, feeling good and not in pain. Though weak she is still somewhat mobile. We have met with Dr’s and family and she has made the decisions herself as we move forward.

I have a heart catheterization scheduled for Monday and assuming I am out by Tuesday we will be moving her to a Hospice Facility in Savannah. This was Lyn’s choice vs at home and though I was surprised, in hindsight it does make sense. Please know that her physical and mental condition has not changed lately, She feels good, is comfortable and is more mentally alert than she has been in a long while but she is surviving on IV only. She will fade fairly fast when we move her but it has been a blessing that she has never been in pain.

She will have family close by as we follow road to its end… Lyn has chosen to be buried here in Savannah, though only here for 4 years, she stated “This is my home now”

April 7 – Morning Everyone… I have a hard time writing my usual phrase ™ of “Happy Saturday” etc… cuz I am just not really happy.. but I am sure that you know that… Each day is a bit harder and hurts a little more yet I have to maintain some order and sense of positive for my bride (and my sanity).

Each day we are forced to discuss painful things that must be talked about/handled. They do hurt but on the positive side, Lyn is able to be a part of these discussions and wherever a decision is to be made, she is expressing her wishes and we are able to be sure everything that is done is as she wants it… Not everyone has that chance. In between that we talk about my fears of being alone (and I am afraid, she has been my Rock for 41 years!!) we also talk about our many friends and things we have done.

You all have been a blessing, more than you realize. In addition to responses to “my stuff” here, I posted the End Of Trail post on her Facebook and all of her friends from growing up and through our years in Mich and NH put notes and memories. We sit and I read these to her each day… and we talk about the the people, what they said and memories & fun we had with them. A lot off hers is me asking “who is that” and even this late in the journey I am learning about work and childhood friends of hers.. Please know that words and thoughts you share are making a difference for Both of Us!

Today…. my one day to get out (pretty much that way for most of a year). I have breakfast with my ham radio buds which gives me a break, a meal and some camaraderie. Since it is an early gathering, I get to the hospital to see Lyn about 8:15….

Thanks to all for the support!

April 8 – Morning Everyone… not much to add today. Lyn had a good day alert and all. She declined therapy today which was ok. I verified (with pictures) that I had gathered the jewelry she wanted to wear to Heaven.  She has made all the decisions regarding these things.  We both had a blast going through the comments and memories from everyone on Facebook. So many great memories and some things we had even forgotten.  This reading of the Facebook comments has become part of each day.

You all would have laughed as she is telling me where to go to get Maggie’s tags after I get her shots in June, and where the extra checks are etc… She is still trying to take care of me!! (and I likely need it!)

She had 2 other comments today:
“I really want a Milk Shake” 
“I will never see my house again” 

Leesa will be in tonight and tomorrow I go in for my heart catheterization.

April 9 – Morning Everyone… Today will be My day.. I go in to Memorial Hospital in Savannah for my Heart Catherization Procedure. It will be completed this morning and hopefully provide all the info to plan for my heart health including a valve replacement at a future date. I should be home later today unless there is an intervention. That would be a possible artery blockage that he can repair with a stent. At that point, they would likely keep me over night for observation.I am having some issues and really hoping it is a fixable artery and gets done today! 

Lyn had a good day yesterday… feeling good though having some vomiting. That is to be expected as stomach fluids have no where to go. It has been mild as she is not consuming anything orally except ice chips. We again enjoyed all your comments and memories …. Thank You so Much!!!       Morgan was by with Claire, a friend Yvetta came by and Scott stopped later with Harper. Leesa flew in last night (staying here) and will be with her today and tomorrow while I am having my procedure.

A couple of funnies:
1. Lyn called me at 10:30 at night… thinking it was 10:30 am she wondered where Leesa was!! 
2. I woke up in the middle of the night, sitting on the edge of the bed, my back was itching… Not fully awake I said “can you scratch my back”.. then almost immediately realized and thought “No, you can’t, you are not here…..”

UPDATE April 9th – Hello everyone. Seems like we cannot catch a break. My procedure was cancelled this morning because I have extremely low hemoglobin. They were surprised I was even walking around and I am now receiving a unit of blood to be followed by another one. I will be in the hospital at least tonight and hopefully with some tests we can figure out what’s happening. Thanks for all your support

April 10 – What a circus…. ok, catch up time. I am still in memorial but hopeful I will get out tonight. Back to me later…

Lyn is well, for those who do not know, today is her Birthday… happy Tuesday. I called over to her hospital early this am and sang her happy birthday. She laughed!!!.

Leesa (daughter) flew in and is staying at the house. She is with Lyn as we speak and the plan is still move her to hospice in the next couple days. We are hedging that I get out tonight.

Regarding me, hemoglobin down to 5… they gave 2 units of blood last night. They expedited an EGD this morning and no stomach issues so not losing blood there. Waiting to hear now if I am getting a couple more units of blood and then hoping to go home tonight.

April 11 – Good Morning everyone – I am back home… felt better last night but still not there. I ended up getting 3 units of blood and a unit of Iron.  It appears my iron was at zero.   Dr thinks the hemoglobin will rise naturally with the taken of the iron pills he prescribed.   I do not know what else to do as we need to get started with everything else. I will be following up with weekly hemoglobin tests and will inform my Dr of how I feel. Difficulty sleeping/breathing when I lay down. Enough of me for today…

Lyn had a pretty good day yesterday on her birthday, some gorgeous flowers and overall felt decent. The plan today is begin the process to hospice.

Update Folks: at Noon
We have signed all the papers to transfer Lyn to Hospice House. All arrangements have been finalized and transport should be here at 2 pm to move her.

April 12 – Morning all this wonderful Thursday.. Leesa just left the house, gonna stop for breakfast and then on to see Lyn (her mom). I am running a bit slower but will be bringing her walker and her dog Maggie. She has not seen Maggie in over a month…

By now you should know that Lyn is now in Hospice Care and they have 24/7 access, I can even sleep there. They also allow pets to visit 

Yesterday went very well. The move transitioned very smooth and we met all the staff and they made us and Lyn feel welcome. We got the room decorated, family pictures up and then Leesa and I visited. Then Scott showed up and a bit later Morgan and Jack (Grandson) showed up. We all sat there and visited with her. They asked her what she wanted to eat and fixed it… She has her order in for breakfast too! Room has french doors to the outside court, with feeders and birds and all.

She seems happy there and it is great for visiting her too…. Unfortunately, the countdown clock has now started as she is no longer on feeding tubes.

April 13 – Good Morning All, made it to Friday…

Lyn was feeling decent yesterday. She attempted to eat a little, have eggs and bacon for breakfast… and a taste of chicken noodle in the afternoon. She got very sick in the evening, bringing up everything in her stomach.

She received some more flowers, from Ronald McDonald House Charities, also one of the girls that works there, Rolling Thunder NH and Bruce Gary.   Plenty of visitors during the day and the star was her dog Maggie. Very excited at first but once all settled down she just lay on the bed with Lyn.

It was an emotional day for Lyn. She started to break down a bit from the strong stoic self and the emotions flowed. That will surely get worse as the time passes and more family visits. It is a good thing that she gets it out and shares her thoughts and feelings… but it is hard for us all..

 

April 14 – Happy Saturday – Wow, so wrapped up in everything that I never even noticed yesterday was Friday the 13th!!!

Lyn had a pretty good day… still feeling decent, today will be day 4 here… Hospice House has been great… they have really been accommodating and keep her comfortable. Though she gets no real nourishment from eating (stomach fully blocked) she is enjoying the “taste” of food. She gets the regular meal and samples a few bites for the flavor. Yesterday she had some egg, bacon, toast w/cheese for breakfast and drank 2 OJ’s!!

At lunch they had BBQ chicken and she had a few bites of a drumstick (her favorite) and some rice… Dinner was a a breakfast (pancakes sausage etc) which she did not bother with but they had peach cobbler which she sampled! She also snuck in 2 mini Milkshakes!

Loads of visitors… Leesa and Joe were there… Morgan stopped by then they went to lunch… Later they (Leesa & Joe) returned and our Neighbor Michole stopped by and then teh Grandson Mark from TN made it in. Scott stopped by and then all the kids went to his place for dinner. Two more grandkids made it in later and will see her today, Lindsey (FL) and Stephen (NY).

If that was not enough, some friends from the CARS Ham Radio club stopped by… Russell Pierce and his wife Lynn in the morning and later in the day Jere Connan and his wife Conni. Thank you to my friends….

April 15th – Good Morning Everyone – Looks like a wet Sunday in GA….   Lyn had tons of visitors sitting with her throughout the day. Leesa, Joe, Mark, Stephen, Lindsey all family. Russ and Lynn Pierce stopped by again in the morning (from Ham Radio Club) and mid day I picked up her cousin Patricia Graef and her husband at the airport and (from TX) and surprised her. Lynn Reeves and her mother stopped by also but Lyn was sleeping and Morgan was by with Ella after her soccer game.

One of the volunteers stopped in the room and presented her with a crocheted blanket from her church group…  Lyn told me to be sure I took it home …   [I brought it home after she passed and it sits prominently on the love seat that Lyn sat in the most of the years.]

Lyn was not feeling as well yesterday. She did not eat at all as she was throwing up quite a bit throughout the day. She was also very tired. She said that she slept well the night before but there was also a room full so she did not nap during the day Friday. Yesterday she slept quite a bit in spite of the crowd and noise. I hope it is just catching up. Today I will be bringing Maggie in for another visit

April 16 – Morning Everyone, back to another Monday. Heavy storms yesterday (we got an inch plus of rain) and today it is only 47.

Lyn did not have a real strong day yesterday. She is clearly weaker and her voice is real low. She is sleeping a good portion of the day away and there is very little conversation. It hurts me so much to see her like this. The blessing is still no pain.. She has lost all desire to eat too. The 1st 3 days, she relished in sampling food.

I had Maggie in for a bit yesterday and she was alert at that time and seemed to enjoy that. Maggie was good, even when she spotted the squirrel! (Her head pop up but she did not bark, just stared). She laid peacefully on the bed next to Lyn. Later, Lyn asked to have Maggie back up so she (Maggie) could “give her a lick!”

The 3 grandkids all had to return home yesterday but Trissy and Randy are still here. They will fly back to TX tomorrow. Leesa, Joe (and of course Scott and Morgan) are still here.

I slept better the last 2 nights … that was good… I am still fearing how will do when my bride leaves me and I was unsettled about that when I got home last night. Be heading in shortly…

UPDATE @ 2:30 – Lyn McGhie ‘s journey has ended… she passed peacefully today at 1:40 pm. She was surrounded by family… I was holding her hand as she passed…. it was time for her and I was ready today to let her go.

April 17 – Morning Everyone… Today is the “Day After”… Not a good day but I am ok, someone from the Radio Club asked how I was doing and after a short thought, I said “Medium”.

Lyn is in a better place … she fought a tough fight for a year and never got discouraged or gave up. She is now at peace..

Medium, what does that mean?? I accept that it was time for her to be at peace… she is in a better place and her struggles are over.. Yes, I breakdown a lot… I could feel buckets with my tears and grieving will be a long process.. BUT.. I accept she is at peace… that is my medium..

Thanks to all for the kind words and support… I could not have gotten this far in the journey and held up as well as I did without you all… Love you all… off shortly to visit the funeral home and make arrangements.

Lyn will be with me Forever

UPDATE – Hi again Everyone – thanks so much for all the kind words, comments emails and calls.. They are keeping me going.

We went out today and made all the arrangements including the cemetery plot.

This is a link to her page on the funeral home site with Obituary and the service arrangements for Thursday:
http://foxandweeks.com/memorial/Ethelyne-Lyn-McGhie/7030#sthash.nYIPZhXl.Yy5o268b.dpbs

It is with great sadness that the family of Ethelyne (Lyn) McGhie announces her passing after a battle with cancer, on Monday, April 16, 2018, at the age of 74 years. Lyn will be lovingly remembered by her husband of 40 years, Patrick and her children, Leesa Cooper (Scott), Joseph Ayres (Audra), Scott McGhie (Morgan), and her step-daughter, Sharon Kwolek (Richard). Lyn will also be fondly remembered by her twelve grandchildren, by her four great-grandchildren, by her siblings, James Polk (Dianne), Sharon Massey (Denny), and Ralph Polk, and by her sisters-in-law, Linda Manning and April McGhie.

Visitation will be 12:00 to 2:00 p.m., Thursday, April 19, 2018 at Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel.

Funeral Service will be 2:00 p.m., Thursday, April 19, 2018 at Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel. Burial will be in the Greenwich section of Bonaventure Cemetery.

Remembrances may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 13117, Savannah, GA 31416, or the Ronald McDonald House, 4710 Waters Ave, Savannah, GA 31404.

April 18 –  Morning Everyone… Well, I survived the night… My 1st REAL night home alone. Monday, Trissy and Randy were staying here but I dropped them at the airport yesterday to return to TX. Even the dog is not here (several times I looked over to her but then realized…) I arranged for Maggie to spend some time with our Dog Trainer Brian King. This will allow me to do what needs to be done without worrying about her. She will stay at Brian’s house and receive training. Thanks Brian King!

We had a productive day, Joe, Scott, Leesa and I met at the funeral home and finalized all arrangements. We then drove to the Cemetery and selected a plot. It is a double so I will join my Bride when my time comes.

Picking up my daughter Sharon afterwords we returned to the house and handled some business, then were joined by Scott who brought some food. Early evening, they departed and I settled in to the emptiness which is my home today. As I sit here typing, I have tears, I miss her so much… but I temper that with the fact that she is in a better place. She is at peace now and the cancer can no longer affect her.

April 19 – Morning Everyone – Thursday April 19th… Today it becomes final, I keep waiting for someone to pinch me and awake to find out it has all been a nightmare. I fear today for the finality of the funeral and burial. I am afraid I cannot handle it… I know I will because I have to, that is who I am. But trust me when I say it will not be without tears… prepare to build an ark…

Yesterday was terrible…. I was TOTALLY alone… the dog is not even here as I have her with the trainers. Very difficult to sit in the house alone… and I was alone all day… Painful, never saw a single person that I knew… painful, no one to share or vent or grieve with.. I do not know how many more days like that I a can stand… I know I will because I have to, that is who I am. But it will not be without tears and pain… Today I will be surrounded by people … then tonight and tomorrow back to solitude that scares me. I do not know how I will deal with tomorrow..

I maintained some sanity by driving around town… sitting on the river bank and actually going to the refuge and snapping a few pictures. Lyn and I had talked during the last few weeks and one of the things we discussed was my fear of being alone… It is worse than I imagined.

April 20 – Morning everyone – Today is officially “The Morning After” …. We laid Lyn to rest yesterday. As I write this final chapter, with tears in my eyes, I will be ok. Before we talk of me, lets look back at yesterday. On the way to the funeral home, I was telling my daughter how this was going to be a rough day… Up until today I was waiting for the “Pinch Me”, where I get pinched and it is all a horrible dream. Sharon offered to pinch me but also told me it was not going to do any good!

The chapel was beautiful, the casket we picked looked perfect, surrounded by flowers and the casket spray of red and pink roses from me. The 79 photos that I sent in were playing in a beautiful slide show on a screen above and behind the casket. It provided so many memories of a most wonderful lady, my wife and the mother of our children. (sorry, I am balling my eyes out right now..)

Walking up to the casket, I began to cry… there she was, looking beautiful, natural and at peace. She was perfect. Her hair was short, having just begun growing again from the chemo. She had several wigs but wanted to be buried in “Her Hair”. The dress, the jewelry, the makeup, all her, all natural and everything was as she had chosen.

For the next hour we laughed and cried and remembered and hugged with family members, my siblings, the kids, most of the grandkids.

From 12 to 2, was visitation and I was pleased with the amount of people that showed up, especially considering we were not that long in the area. Many from the community with ties to Scott and Morgan and Morgan Reeves McGhie’s family were there as they have been through this whole journey. There was a very nice showing of Ham Radio operators, many from the Coastal Amateur Radio Society. Neighbors, and others from Ronald McDonald House Charities (where she did volunteer work), Coastal Home Care (home care girls that helped provide care), Suncrest Home Health (Therapy and Nursing). Even a motorcycle riding friend showed up! The time flew by as I spent my time talking to everyone and sharing thoughts and operators.

At 2:00 pm the Funeral Ceremony began. It was performed by a Methodist minister selected by the funeral home. This was a point of it being the end for me.. The family met briefly for a prayer in a room next door before the ceremony. We were then led back into the chapel and seated up front. I saw the casket was closed and at this point my heart nearly broke .. (I am crying my eyes out again as I type..)

The service was beautiful, a lot of Lyn’s life and memories sprinkled into the religious portion. I thought a good balance. The family discussed it later and we thought it was well done.

The service at the cemetery was also very appropriate. It was a beautiful sunny day, wispy white clouds, nice breeze. Perfect day to lay my Bride to rest. From here we gathered at Scott’s house to lean on one another and break bread together. The entire day was near perfect, everything was handled professional, respectfully and when it was over, I knew that Lyn was looking down at us and smiling for she would have been pleased!

When I got home, I was drained, both physically and emotionally. I had a little trouble sleeping but overall, I was ok. I miss her so much (here comes more tears) but I know that she is at peace and in a better place.

April 21 – Good Morning Everyone… Saturday is upon us… I am going to the Ham Radio Breakfast this morning which will be nice, 1st ‘outing” since the burial.. On the way back home, grab groceries and then my daughter and I are going to lunch before I have to take her to the airport this afternoon.

Yesterday was an OK day… Sharon and I sat out in the yard a bit early in the day. It was nice out and Lyn liked sitting out on days like that. Later I visited Verizon and got a new Samsung Galaxy S9. My old phone was an S6. I also updated my account to remove 2 devices I no longer used. We spent the rest of the day just longing around the house and managed to accomplish a couple tasks here at the house. Sharon was thinking maybe some of the others might have wanted dinner but they all had their own plans so we ordered in a pizza which was Good!

I heard from Sharon and my sister Linda who was driving home. I also had several friends from the club reach out, Bob,Forest, Lowell & Tom…. Lyn’s cousin, a local friend Phil and and 2 old NH buds now in FL also reached out. It was all appreciated very much.

Sharon reached out to all the family still in town for maybe a lunch today before I take her to the airport. I have not heard anything yet (too early). If nothing else, her and I will go out. It will get a tad lonely after 2pm when I run her to the airport…

In the near future, I need to start looking at headstones as I would like her gravesite marked in the not too distant future.

April 22 – Morning Everyone – we have made it to Sunday… Looks to be a decent day, 60 now and 72 or so should be the high today. I had a pretty good day yesterday. I think it was my 1st 3 meal day in a year!! Had the Radio breakfast, a family lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings before most went home and then Scott invited me over for dinner with his family last night. It was nice!

I took Sharon to the Airport after lunch, Joe, Brenda and April all headed for home after lunch and Stephen and Rob flew out later in the afternoon.  It was really nice to see everyone a last time before they all head home.

I managed to get the dishes done, bird feeders filled, dead plants removed from screen room. Lyn always liked the plants in the screen room so I will be looking to replace them in the near future. I also got groceries in an put up.

Today is going to be stay home day and relax…. God knows I have not done that in a while. It will be different to be here all day without my bride but I think I am ready… watch some TV, I have food items to break down and freeze in individual packs, relax outside and enjoy the yard etc

Ok everyone…   this evoked a lot of emotion from me…     It is time to close this article.  I hope it gave you a little insight to how Lyn and I dealt with all of this…

Love you All …

 

 

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