Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Its been a while (again!)


Well were trying again..... its been over 5 months since I was last here with the promise of being back to blogging and making a change to my life with my creativity - however life took a dramatic turn for my family back in early June.  

This is a bit of a sensitive post, its what I have been through in the last 5 months, I am going to put it down here, please don't feel you have to read it, I just feel I need this here not only so I can look back in years to come and remember how far I have come, but maybe it will help others going through what we have.

It all started just before Easter 2016 when my dad was unwell, we were on holiday and he just wasn't himself.  We came back from holiday and he started to feel more and more unwell - we never thought it would turn out how it did.

He spent a few weeks  back and forth to the doctors, with blood tests and scans, we were told it was nothing other than an infection.  A couple of weeks went by and he hadn't improved, he went back to the GP and they ran more tests.  He had an abdominal scan done and within less than 24 hours of the scan the Dr called him in.  He was told they were over 50% certain he had secondary cancer of the liver.  At this point he was referred him to a general surgeon, who ran a couple of tests and said she thought it may be his gaul bladder and referred him for a CT scan and other tests.

Having had the CT scan on a Saturday, and still awaiting a minor procedure to be done (more tests but in other ways!) he took a turn on the Monday evening - I will never forget calling my dads phone to see how he was, when my mum answered I knew something was wrong, she told me he had been taken to hospital.  I got strait in my car and went over, at around 9:30pm we went to the hospital to see what was happening.  Mum and I spent most of that night with him at the hospital with with no further answers as to what was happening, they didn't know what was wrong with my dad.

 The following day we were there early in the morning, my sister made the drive from Winchester to Stoke Poges to be here with us all and to find out what was happening.  He was still having more tests done that morning - but we were told he had suffered a stroke, but we still didn't have all the answers.

They moved him that afternoon to another ward,  the Acute Stroke Unit.  We all had so many questions, and the first one was 'are you sure this is a stroke?' - they said to us that they were certain dad had suffered a minor stroke and it's at this point we were asked if we could be there the following Monday at 10am for a meeting.  Over the next week my dad made huge progress with moving his arm, it was so hard to watch him unable to get up but the progress he made in those 7 days with being able to drink using that arm was amazing! At first when it all happened he told me he didn't want my girls to see him like this, it broke my heart but I had to listen to what he wanted.  I was so pleased when by that Friday he asked me to take them in to see him, they were missing him so much!

The Monday of the meeting came and we all sat there in complete shock with what we were being told.  My Dad, who has never smoked and wasn't a heavy drinker had Cancer, it was terminal, there was nothing that could be done immediately as he was so weak from the stoke.  They said he had 3-6 months - I have never had such a feeling as I did that morning - I felt sick, I was scared, I felt I was dreaming. how could this be happening? I'm sure everyone who has been through this questions it in the same way of 'why us'???

We all tried to look on the bright side as 'chemo' was mentioned, and a biopsy was going to be done, we were hopeful it wasn't as bad as they initially said.   There was the suggestion of him coming home to be with us in his own space, we planned how we would do it with the house and having him a bed and what he needed, and someone being there to help mum with moving him through the day.

He still made progress with movement over the next 7 days, he still wanted to try to get his strength back although he had told us he didn't want chemo - he wanted to do what he could in his heart to fight.  That same week that he made more progress and a biopsy was done.  A couple of days after the biopsy we were asked to attend another meeting, we were hopeful that it was going to be good news, sadly it wasn't.  Dad was riddled, it was worse than they anticipated, we were now told we had days possibly weeks with him, chemo now wasn't an option, we were told there was no chance of him coming home, the best place for him was going to be Thames Hospice, Windsor.

My heart broke, my whole world fell apart at that moment.  Being told that my plans of taking him to the park to watch Nancy ride her bike without stabilisers wasn't going to happen, the idea of taking him to see the sea again and smell the sea air, wasn't going to happen.  Knowing he wouldn't be here to celebrate my 30th Birthday with me, or to see Christmas with us again just took me back to a head space that this wasn't really happening.

Each day went by  when he was still at the hospital, and we all made a point of being there.  Family and friends traveled huge distances to see him, knowing that this may be their last time of seeing him.

They moved him to Thames Hospice in Windsor on a Thursday.  He really perked up that day, he seemed happy.  He was joking again we were back to my dad before we were told he had cancer, I thought maybe they had it wrong - maybe he can fight this, maybe he will be here for my 30th and Christmas - but little did I know what was around the corner.   There was an afternoon that he called asking if I would be down that night, I told him I would be - he asked if I was staying to tuck him in, as mum, Kathy and I always knew what needed to be where for him, we knew how to plump his pillow just right. Oh how I wish I could still be doing it for him.

Thames Hospice are absolutely amazing, the staff are so caring, polite, helpful and they want to be your friend, they want to support not only the person thats ill, but their family and friends.  Every day I went to visit him he was talking about my girls, and his girls (my mum, sister and I) he would talk about his friends and tell stories to them all.  There was one day that we spent the whole day up in the sanctuary, its a beautiful room at the hospice thats got glass doors that open right up, dad loved it up there. He also had a couple of larger's with one of his best friends, he still joked, he still hated us telling him we loved him, he was never one for  hearing those words.

Sadly on the 2nd July I had a call, just as I had finalised the sale of his pride and joy 'his motorbike'.  The Dr asked for mum and I to go down as soon as we could to speak to her.  We went strait down, it was a hard conversation.  Dad was taking a turn for the worse, they wanted to put him on a driver to ensure he wasn't in pain, he knew as much as we did what this meant.  That night, the nurse came in and my mum, sister and I were at his bedside as they inserted the driver.  I once again went back to that head in the clouds.

The following days, dad became less and less responsive to us, he was so in and out of it that we didn't know if he knew what was happening.

On Monday 4th July at 7am my mum called as dad was asking for me, he wanted to speak to me.  I arrived at the hospice and he grabbed my hand so tight, he looked me in the eye and he told me that he was going to die that day, I held it together and told him that if that is what he needed to do, then I understood and I was ready - little did I know this would be the last conversation I would have with him.

His medication was topped regularly through the day, at the slightest discomfort we would call the nurses who would mix his cocktail up as quickly as they could and administer it.  We kept a ritual that day of sitting by his bedside and talking to him so he knew we were all there, we also told him that we were ready for him to take his ride into the sunset.

At around 7:25pm, Monday 4th July, my dad took his bike and rode into the sunset.  He has gone to pastures new where he has a bigger job to do.  People tell me that he had done what he needed to here, I'm also told that he would have had an option to come back, but he would have seen that the other side was where he needed to be.

In his time at Thames Hospice, he got to see my eldest daughter turn 9, to see the planes coming in and out over Windsor, he spent time with my mum, my sister and me on a one to one, we got to talk about the old times at the caravan, the nights at the pub and my girls, my girls got to spend time making his last few days the best he could ask for - he even saw 'doves' in the tree (part of the tree did look like a dove, not a real one!)

I don't know if I believe he had done his job here, I still needed my dad, my girls need their Pop's.  I don't know if I believe that he had an option to come back and chose not to, but we will never know - this is the thing with life and death - we all have our own beliefs, and mine still undecided.

It still hurts each and every day that he has passed some more than others, and I know time is the only thing that will help, I know I will never get over loosing the one man I could trust, the one I could depend on, the one I called My DAD - but I know I have to do him proud and I have to make sure I do the best I can with his girls - thats my girls and my mum and sister.

Im thankful for all the support from my family and friends through this time, and I'm so grateful to all the staff at Thames Hospice, Windsor.  You really do an amazing job, you have such strength and patience, thank you for all you did for my dad and my family and friends.

If you have read all of this post, thank you.  I know my next post will be back to creativity and what I have been doing in the past couple of weeks.


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