Sunday, February 1, 2015

Breathing is Hard

This morning Dennis starting having problems with secretions impacting his breathing.  He is still very aware and able to understand and make his wishes known.  We have upped his Morphine dose, given a med for secretions, having him sitting upright and are waiting on an anti-anxiety med.  (We are in the midst of a big snow storm so pharmacy deliveries to the hospice are slow.)

These verses sum up Dennis so well.

2 Timothy 4:6-8.  For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Pray for comfort and peace as we walk through these final hours together.

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning - Good morning.  Dennis had a pretty good night.  His breathing was not as slow as last night.  This morning he is having some secretions in throat that are hard to swallow but is doing better since I sat him up.  Please pray that these subside.  

Brooklyn spent the night here and Dennis Steward sat up with Dennis.  I slept quite well last night.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Morning

Dennis was alert this morning but largely due to pain.  In order to give him his seizure medication,  they need to stop the morphine as the two cannot run together.  Usually the give him extra morphine just prior and the run the seizure med.  It takes about 1/2 and hour but for some reason today I ran very slow and his pain kept going up.  They finally stopped it, gave him some morphine, and restarted the seizure med.  This worked well and he is resting again.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Morning Update

Dennis rested well last night.  He woke up this morning and had a few spoonfuls of orange juice.  He has had very little eat or drink for the last day and for a few days prior to that he drank and ate only small amounts.  Yesterday his only interest in food was a few bites of breakfast.  When he is awake he is very aware of what we are saying and responds yes or no to what we ask him.

Whenever Dennis would express concerns about not beating this cancer it was always about Brooklyn and me being OK and that our friends would look after us.  Yesterday our pastor stopped and without knowing this has been his one concern he said to Dennis, "Our church family will be watching out for your wife and daughter."  Our friends who were here yesterday assured him of the same thing.  I've been reminding him that we will be OK.  God has so clearly provided for us over this time that I have complete peace moving forward.  My heart aches knowing he will be gone soon but I know our separation is temporary and we will see each other soon.

Brooklyn is doing OK as well.  She spent some time here last night and a friend stayed with her last night.  She wants to know when Daddy will go to heaven.  She is keeping up her normal schedule and will be at school today.

Thanks for your prayers and words of encouragement.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Homeward Bound

Dennis is on the home stretch of the journey.  His final home is almost in sight.  As much as we grieve the coming separation, we grieve with peace knowing a well body awaits.  Most importantly, he will be face-to-face with his Savior.

Awhile ago when Dennis was doing really well he siad to me, "Don't take this wrong but I think I am going to beat this and part of me is really bummed by that."  He went on to tell me that he was so looking forward to all that heaven had to offer.

The doctor has told us that moving him home at this point would be too traumatic.   She expects Dennis to be with us a few days to a few weeks.  We had discussed where it would be best for his final days to happen and how location might impact Brooklyn and there was no clear right or wrong in those choices but we are trusting that God orchestrated where he is now and we are at peace in that.  Dennis is at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg.

We know are parting is temporary.  Someday, for those that know Christ, we will all be forever together.

I will try to keep you up-to-date with posts here and on Facebook.

Dennis is not doing well

Yesterday I called our hospice staff because Dennis was having pain when we moved him and we were not beating it with the medications he was taking.  They came out to the house and decided to admit him to the in patient unit to address the pain.

They started some pain medications and during the night he became unresponsive. The doctor withdrew the medications but his condition has not changed.  This could be medication or it could also be decline.  I suspect it is decline as we have been seeing decline in the last week .

It looks like Dennis will soon be well again as he leaves this earthly body and enters heaven.  My heart is breaking for our lose but rejoicing that when he
leaves this body he will be face to face with his Savior and totally healed.  Our parting will be for a season but a reunion awaits.

Please keep us in your prayers.  Brooklyn is at school and I'm going to see how things go today and let her finish out the day unless we see other changes.  Dennis did briefly open his eyes when he heard my voice.

Monday, January 26, 2015


An online friend of mine who recently lost her husband to this same cancer told me awhile ago that whenever our husband's conditions change we go through the reality check and grieving associated with gradually losing our husbands.  It appears we are there again.

Over the last week I have noticed some subtle and sometimes not so subtle changes with Dennis.  We have from the beginning of this journey been open with what is going on and we plan to continue to do so.  We believe it helps you to pray more specifically for us and also maybe helps someone else along the way.

Dennis has had more pain lately.  When Dennis changes position this is most evident.  For awhile we used Tylenol before his aides came but that does not seem to be adequate anymore.  We will be using a medication that comes in a patch format so he has continual delivery of the pain medication.  Please pray that this provides the relief he needs from pain.  Dennis is unable to identify where exactly the pain is coming from so that makes it more difficult to help him.  A massage therapist has volunteered to come and and work with Dennis so we are hoping that will help as well.

I have also been observing some decline in Dennis' abilities.  He can only use his left hand but has done well feeding himself with that hand.  In the last few days he has been having trouble even doing that.  I want to keep him as independent as possible but balance that with the frustration of not being able to accomplish the task.  Please pray for me to balance his need for help and the amount of assistance I give him.  He is not eating well the last few days and I'm not sure if it is frustration or that he is not hungry.

He also seems to be having trouble understanding me sometimes.  I usually can tell by the look on his face if he understands or not.  Yesterday I asked him if he was having trouble understanding something I had just said and he nodded yes.  I asked him if this was new and again he nodded yes.  I can only imagine how scary this must be for him.  Please pray for us as we learn to communicate and meet his needs with this new deficit.

Please also remember to pray for Brooklyn as she endeavors to understand what is happening and how it impacts her.  We don't hide things from her and I'll be talking to her in the days ahead about what to expect.  There is a good possibility that Dennis will not know her or anyone at some point.  I want her to be ready for this and not be taken by surprise.  Please pray for her as she navigates the changes happening in her life.

We know God is walking this road with us and will continue to do so in the days of head.  No part of this has taken Him by surprise and he is faithful.  Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  God is ordering Dennis' life now as He has all of his life.  We place our hope and trust in a faithful and loving heavenly Father.