And it was. Just a week prior to that toast, we had learned that Dan's mom had leukemia and a few weeks later, she passed away. And a few weeks prior to her leukemia diagnosis, we learned that Rebecca had Trisomy 18 and would not live long after birth.
We went into the new year knowing that those things were coming. But what we didn't expect was the Stage IV colon cancer diagnosis that Dan's brother Bob received in March.
He has been fighting this cancer hard with 8 months of chemo and wanted more than anything to spend Christmas in Wellesley with us this year. He was between rounds of chemo so we picked him up very early on the morning of December 20th in Virginia and drove to Massachusetts. He was weak and he was tired, but he was going home for Christmas.
And he did fine the first few days he was there. He was out of breath a lot and had to rest a lot but he was where he wanted to be. On Tuesday, he even went with Dan and Peter and Sarah to Bunker Hill. On Christmas Eve, however, he stayed home from Mass and when we returned he said he needed to go to the hospital.He was struggling to breath and needed oxygen.
He was in the hospital several days before he was released to hospice care at home. The doctors at the hospital said there was nothing they could do for him. Hospice delivered an oxygen machine and a hospital bed and we all took care of him for several days as best we could. However, on New Year's Eve, the hospice nurse who visited that morning said his oxygen saturation level was 80 and he wouldn't make it through the weekend.
He had two choices - stay on hospice care and die in a few days or head back to the hospital. At 52, he just couldn't say it was over. So we called 911 and on New Year's Eve, he headed back to the hospital.
He was officially transferred from the U.S. Army JAG Corp to the Warrior in Transition Unit. This is a unit that is set up to help wounded and sick soldiers recover.
A team from this unit is flying to Boston on Tuesday morning to evaluate Bob and determine the best course of care. They will coordinate his care at this point. Not sure whether they are going to recommend a hospice house or try to get him into a nursing facility so that he can get his strength up to perhaps resume chemo.
The kids and I returned home last night on a plane. Dan is still in Massachusetts with his brother. He can't bear the thought of leaving him alone.
On Saturday night, I watched my children say goodbye to their beloved uncle. They knew it might be the last time they ever saw him. It was heart-wrenching to say the least.
We continue to pray for a miracle, for guidance and wisdom for the doctors, for peace for Bob, and for comfort for our whole family. We are all struggling.
There were no New Year's Eve toasts this year. Just prayers.
|Sarah, Bob and Peter at Bunker Hill|