Hi there- this is a part of an e-mail my sister wrote to the family. For friends who know my Papa and Ma well and also for Matt's family who often asks for updates, I think this gives a good synopsis. I couldn't have explained it better since I'm not as invovled in the daily routine. Please read.
"Update on Papa:As you know Papa has been struggling a lot more these last few months, than in his previous months fighting the cancer. He has been very weak, and, as most of you have noticed, lost a lot of weight. In August he started getting blood transfusions. These were because the tumor in his lung lining, was bleeding badly. Every time it bled his body was loosing valuable blood cells that all people need for healing and normal bodily functions. I have personally learned that blood levels in a body affect many things, including appetite, ability to rest, water retentions, etc. All of Papa's functions have been affected.
Good news #1 is that Papa is now having the transfusions once a week. We are able to get them at the hospital on whidbey island, so that Ma & Pa don't have to commute all the way to Seattle once or twice a week. The end goal of the blood transfusions is to get Papa's energy levels up, and his body working as properly as possible. The cancer itself shows no signs of having spread or changed since July. However, because Papa is so weak from loosing blood he cannot receive treatment for the tumors and cancer that are causing him to loose blood. If his energy levels get up, Papa can choose to go through more treatment which will then fight the cancer.
Good news #2 is that Papa got a scooter, so when we go out he can actually go with us, and not stress as much about not having to get to the car, or stay in the car if a store doesn't have scooters.
Good news #3 is that the fluid and blood we've been draining from the side where the tumor has been bleeding has lessened some, and become pinker (rather than red) in color. Praise God!Good news #4 is that Papa is looking a little healthier, and has gained 5 pounds.
Good news #5 is that Papa is starting to eat better and larger amounts of food. (although I have tried to get him to drink Ensure, and he said it tasted like s*it! PA! )
No so good news #1 Papa is lonely, weak, and grumpy more often than not. He is needy, and wants attention. Mom and I are constantly doing the simplest tasks for him, things that he could do for himself, like warming up his coffee, or getting a glass of water. Personally, I think its his way of having conversations, contributing, and interacting at the moment because he can't contribute any other way. And when we do the little things for him it makes him feel loved. Nonetheless he can come across a bit bossy, and sometimes he directs step by step like, "go into the kitchen... open the cupboard... take out a glass...etc."
No so good news #2 is that mom is wearing thin on patience. She needs more positive time, which is hard to find when Papa is always so sick.
The things we can do:
1. PRAY FOR PAPA: All of us kids, and grand kids, and family need to pray for Papa. We need to ask God to be with him right now. He is very weak sometimes, and doesn't smile as often as he used to. He is very reliant on his oxygen tank and machine, and he spends a lot of time at home. Please ask God to take care of Papa, all of him, his spirit, his heart, his body, and his mind, no matter what is to come.
2. CALL, EMAIL, OR WRITE: Papa really needs love right now. He may not be the best conversationalist at the moment, but he does like emails, and short chats. Even cards, or sending a comic or something funny that he would appreciate in the mail. Postage is cheap!
3. COME OVER AND SEE THEM: Mom and Papa really need family that will bring joy to them. They have been SUCH amazing parents, and though they do have their flaws, they are the ones in need right now. They need family to come and be silly and watch movies, and make meals, and just be here. David was able to come last month (on the train, which by the way is pretty affordable) and that really made Papa's week. Jessie came last Saturday, and Papa's comment was that it was nice to have Jessie here. He didn't interact much, but he enjoys watching others have fun. Mom has personally told me that she wants all of the kids to visit. Everyone will have to take turns, because their apartment is small, and Papa is better with a few at a time. "