Well, it's been a long and difficult journey! Thank you all for travelling it with us. There was no way that we could have known the outcome, or expected it to be what it is, when this started back on July 20. The journey felt long, but it actually has only been 9 weeks.
The memorial service here in Pennsylvania is over and it was a nice end and somewhat of a closure for us here in DuBois. My parents were surrounded by their close PA friends and relatives, which offered much strength and support. So many people say, "I don't know what to say!" I can sincerely tell you that you don't need to say anything. Just being there with a hug is plenty!
As per Roley's wishes, his beautiful urn containing his ashes, were buried alongside his beloved grandparents and his Uncle Chuck and Aunt Linda, at our family plot here in DuBois at Morningside Cemetery.
We will be making one more trip to Ohio and Indiana this weekend. Some loose ends need finalized with family and finances. Then we will move forward with life because that is what Roley would want. He always wanted everyone to be happy and not to feel bad! We will continue to appreciate the good and positive that is going to come about because of his life!
I want to take this time to thank each and every one of you reading this for all the love, support, prayers and donations during this last 9 weeks. Now it's my turn to say, "I don't know what to say!" No words can describe what you all have meant to us! The donations have been amazing and it is literally what has been supporting Kim and Tabytha so far. This has been their only income and we don't expect any of their social security benefits to start for them until December - we hope!
With the help of Mom and Dad, family, and all of you, we know Kim and Tabytha will be fine.
If anyone would like to talk to me, ask any questions, or as I promised in the very beginning, if there is anything I can ever do for anyone of you, please email me at email@example.com.
I'll be closing down GoFundMe in a few days. We're working on final arrangements for the burial here in Pennsylvania. We're all exhausted! I know Kim is having a really hard time, and I feel so bad for her. It's a very sad thing to lose your husband, son, brother, father so unexpectedly and so quickly.
My brain is tired! It's hard to think!
I know I posted this in my previous update, but it was at the bottom of a very long note. People have been asking, so here it is again. The visitation viewing will be held this Friday, August 30, from 5-7 pm, with a service immediately following at:
Cook Funeral Home
107 Vine Street
Sunman, IN 47041.
This journey that started with my first post on July 20, 2013, is almost over, but our memories and thoughts and love for my brother will never ever be over and done! It's only been five weeks since we started this and only 29 days ago since we actually received the biopsy results on Roley. As cancer illnesses go, this was very fast. For our family going through this it seemed like a nightmare that we kept waiting to wake up from. For Roley, I know he kept saying that he couldn't believe this was happening to him. He said that he thought that by the time he reached his 50's there would be a cure for cancer. Well, it wasn't a nightmare and there was no cure for this cancer.
As sad and painful as this was for the family witnessing our beloved Roley going through this, it was nothing compared to the literal pain that Roley was experiencing. We had the 5 weeks to accept and make peace with what was reality. We also could not be selfish enough to want him to go on any longer with the suffering and pain!
I want to thank every one of you that has donated to the fund for Roley. The amount has been astounding to us. The monies will be used for the outstanding bills that Kim and Tabytha are left with. I would update Roley every day with the new donations that came in, as well as the comments and messages. He would become emotional and overwhelmed by the generosity and it was a great comfort to him to know that Kim and Tabytha would have a little bit of a cushion to carry them through until other income arrangements could be figured out for them. This was probably Roley's greatest concern about leaving the family that he always took care of. In turn, this was a great comfort to the rest of his family!
I said in my first post that we would never forget each and every name that shows up here. If any of you ever need help in any way, please call on us if we can do anything. We are so grateful and amazed by you all!
I like to always look for any positivity in any situation, no matter now negative the situation may be. I have come to realize many positive aspects to this "cancer journey" that we have experienced as a family. Our family is closer to each other and I feel closer to God, and ultimately closer to Roley's spirit. I have spent many emotional hours with my brother Chuck and his wife Jill, my sister in law Kim, my nephews Jeff and Joe, my nieces Tabytha and Tiffany, and of course my Mom and Dad. This has been a positive thing! When you cry together, pray together, laugh and reminisce together, your love deepens and you become closer.
So the funeral arrangements are complete. The visitation viewing will be held this Friday, August 30, from 5-7 pm, with a service following at:
Cook Funeral Home
107 Vine Street
Sunman, IN 47041.
Memorial donations may be made to:
Hospice of Cincinnati Western Hills
at Mercy Health Western Hills
3131 Queen City Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45238
We can't say enough about the compassionate and loving care that Roley received there.
Also, upon many requests, this site will remain open for a while longer.
My brother, Roland Bechtel III, passed away at 6:08 am. With him at the time were our dad, his wife Kim, and 3 of his children, Tiffany, Jeff and Joe. They all spent the night with him in his room. About 4:00 am they maxed the morphine and he passed away peacefully 2 hours later. As sad as this whole journey has been, the difficult journey makes the end much more bearable - a feeling of relief really. Our suffering the last few days was hard, but it was nothing compared to the suffering Roley endured for the last month and a half. We feel he probably suffered a lot longer than that in silence and we just weren't aware of it. Maybe he even knew there was something wrong but didn't want anyone to be concerned or worry. That would be like Roley!
We are leaving in a few minutes for Cook Funeral Home in Sunman, Indiana, to finalize the pre-arrangements already made.
I will post one final entry later tonight when I know arrangements and can think more clear!
I am sincerely grateful to all of you reading this!
This is just too much! Roley is still hanging on and we don't know how. His breathing is very labored and the gurgling in his lungs just sounds as though he's drowning. I guess in a way he is! We really just want him to go now. I don't know if any of you have watched someone go through these last few days of pancreatic cancer but it is not a calm and easy end! Mom and I came home to Chuck's at 7:00 pm, after a long day by Roley's side. It is tough to watch him, although the nurses tell us it's more painful for us than for Roley. They just increased his morphine dosage this evening from 50% of max. to 80% of max. He also received steady injections of Ativan, a sedative for anxiety. His blood pressure is very low. Unless and until you witness this first hand, it's maybe hard to appreciate the fact that animals are treated with more compassion when they are terminal and suffering than humans are allowed. Don't misunderstand me - the staff and the nurses in Mercy Hospice are angels and have been wonderful! They are so loving and caring. It truly takes a special person to be able to do this! But why is it against the law to help them die more quickly at this point? I don't know the answer, or I should say that I don't quite understand the answer! I'm just asking the question! Please pray for my brother that God feels the time is very soon!
A message just written by my father, Roland Bechtel Jr.: A Sorrowful Journey is Ending
6 minutes ago
Son Roley is now in a coma-like sleep at Hospice. We are all waiting for the inevitable as he quietly slips away.
The family is visiting him and speaking to him one at a time, giving him their own individual message. He seems to be hearing and understanding; but his eyes are closed and his responses are either real or imagined by each loved one who speaks to him.
His wife Kim, his two sons Joe and Jeff, and his daughter Taby are spending the evenings with him. Others of us are at his bedside throughout the day. We have all learned to observe when he is in pain; he winces, grimaces and sometimes releases a noise (best as I can describe). Even though he is on a Morphine drip, one of us call for the nurse and she administers a shot of something else. He relaxes and returns to his coma-like sleep.
Joe and Jeff read passages from the Bible, and prayed with him the evening before last. He accepted Jesus as his personal savior just before he fell into his deep sleep.
This is nearing the end of my journal entries. I will subsequently advise of the date of his departure; and the particulars regarding his funeral services.
God bless everyone who has followed this sorrowful journey. It has been a cathartic experience for me.
Our whole family is exhausted! Joe and Jeff, Roley's sons, spent the night with him last night. After we left, they said that he became much worse and seemed to be in a lot of pain. They called us early this morning and said we should get back up to the hospital as soon as we could. By the time we got there, Roley was on more pain meds and he was unable to speak words to us or even open his eyes. By noon they had put him on a morphine drip. The whole family was there most of the day and we each spoke to Roley one by one and said our own private words and goodbyes with him. The day was extremely emotional and it just has us all worn out. We all realize and have accepted that Roley only has a few more hours. Kim, Joe, Jeff and Taby are spending the night with him at the hospital .
Today was also Mom and Dad's 57th wedding anniversary! Who could have ever imagined an anniversart spent like this!
I can't even keep my eyes open as I write this.
What a long day! I got into Cincinnati at 8:30 this evening. Jill, my sister in law, Chuck's wife, picked me up and we went straight to Mercy Hospital. I find out that Roley is in the room right next door to the room my mother in law was in when she died of pancreatic cancer 3 years ago, but at age 78, not 53. It was still a very sad, painful event to watch unfold! So here I am again! I walked into the room and there were 4 Bechtel men standing in the room, surrounding the bed of another Bechtel! That sight just struck me! There was my dad, my other brother Chuck, and 2 of Roley's sons, Joe and Jeff.
Roley woke up when I came into the room and said, "There's that jet setter!". I told him jet setting really wasn't that much fun anymore. It's very difficult to travel. Other than that, he sleeps most of the time. He'll fall asleep mid sentence. We also notice that he seems to have lost some control of facial expressions. His expressions never change, no matter what he is doing or saying.
We left about 10:00 or so and his son, Jeff, is staying the night with him.
Now we all need to get some sleep and be ready for whatever tomorrow brings our way!
A day of many and mixed emotions. We had a fun and final day in Arizona before saying good-bye to the kids as they headed back to Texas. Then I got word that Roley was being transferred this evening to Hospice at Mercy Hospital in Cincinnati. The doctors spoke with my family that was by Roley's side today and explained that there was nothing more they could do. His liver is shutting down. Our hope now is for a calm and peaceful end for Roley. This is very difficult to believe that this is really happening. This past month doesn't even seem real! Bob and I fly out of Phoenix in the morning to return home. After talking with Mom and Dad, I decided to change my flight to fly into Cincinnati. Bob will go on home and catch up there from being away from home and work for a week. We'll decide the next move on a day by day - possibly hour by hour - basis. All normalcy has left our lives right now - and when there is no explanation as to why this is happening - it is all that much harder to accept. But life comes with pain and suffering included. To expect to be spared this is unrealistic. Trials keep us strong and sorrows keep us human!
Mom and Dad now by Roley's side. This is not easy for them! I think they were a little shocked by the change in appearance and condition. Everyone, including Roley, is trying to come to terms and peace in whatever way they can. We all want comfort for Roley and I hope that he also can find peace in the inevitable. I believe he now is. If he is not suffering, we will suffer less.
I have another request of all Roley's friends and family. I have asked so much of all of you already and I appreciate it all more than I will ever be able to communicate to you. I would like to put together some kind of album on Roley. If any of you have any pictures of Roley, either from childhood, school, college, work, family, anything, that can tell the story of Roley. I want to tell the story of the handsome man and the beautiful, kind soul that shows us who Roley was before this last month! This last month does not describe, define or paint the real picture of his life. If you would, email any pictures to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you once again. Nina
Mom and Dad will be in Cincinnati tomorrow morning. I know they are anxious to be by his side. Roland IV (Roley's son) and his wife Gloria have travelled from Canton to be with Roley for the last couple of days.
I spoke to Roley briefly this morning. He isn't up much for talking. He filled me in on his most recent visitors. I filled him in on the many messages and comments I receive on a daily basis for him. He doesn't really want to be asked a lot of questions. He doesn't sound good and he sounds weak. I have trouble sorting out if he's in pain, is a little fuzzy from all the pain meds, is depressed, is scared, or a combination of all of the above. I didn't want to ask him this question, but my guess is all of the above. After a very brief talk he told me he was falling asleep so I just told him I loved him and would talk to him later.
The updates are becoming extremely difficult to write. It was a downbeat, disheartening, day yesterday; to say the least.
We learned that Roley will probably not be leaving the 14th floor of Good Samaritan hospital, which is the TriHealth Cancer Institute floor. His prognosis is very poor.
The metastasis to the liver has enlarged, and he is experiencing abdominal bloating. It seems as though there is not a strong enough pain medication to take away the pain.
Today's scheduled Chemo infusion has been cancelled. They may, or may not, be resumed in the future. Medical treatment will continue on a day-to-day basis.
He is on intravenous feeding and a light liquid diet. His blood chemistry is poor.
We will see what tomorrow brings. We are all praying for a miraculous recovery.
Thanks to Chuck, Joe, Kim, Taby, Sandy and Denny; who were all at his bedside yesterday. Kim had her own date for her treatment with her doctor yesterday, in addition to visiting Roley.
Mom and Dad are making arrangements to leave for Cincinnati again tomorrow. All of this is very hard while I'm in Arizona with my son, Austin, and family, which includes 3 of my beautiful and healthy grandchildren. I almost feel guilty being here and enjoying life, although I know in my head that those feelings aren't true. It's difficult!
We all come to accept these difficult life and death realizations in different ways and at a different pace. Some of the difficult decisions that Roley was able to verbalize yesterday are hard to accept for some. Medical technology is amazing in how people can be kept alive, but sometimes this just doesn't mesh with the quality of that life and the peace and comfort of the dying. Sometimes we have to let go and accept what is out of love and not let selfish wishes get in the way.
We're waiting for the doctors to meet with Roley, along with Chuck and Joe, hopefully this morning. This meeting will be a serious one and a telling one, I'm afraid. Roley is currently on the cancer floor of Good Sam Hospital, whereas before he was on the Gastro. Floor. Some major decisions will be made today. Mom and Dad are planning on leaving in a day or two to go back to Cincinnati. They don't feel they can wait until I return home on Sunday.
I'll update again when I hear more later today.
Thank goodness for the internet - I can stay in touch and get news, even though I am now in Arizona with my son, Austin, and family. The bad news is - I get bad news instantly!
Dad spoke with Roley a few minutes ago. He sounded weak and disheartened. He is back in Good Sam hospital. He doesn't know much more than we do.
He was re-admitted to Good Sam yesterday following a setback in his general condition. He admitted himself through the ER in the afternoon. He told me this morning that he "˜had' to return. He didn't really explain "˜why'. His #, according to our own new system of determining his condition, was a 10! He is waiting to speak with Dr. Javed today. He really likes and respects Dr. Javed.
An additional series of X-Rays and CT Scans were taken around 6:00 PM last evening. The ER doctor observed that the mass on his liver looked to be larger than it was a month ago.
His blood pressure is exceedingly low and his weight has dropped still further. The weight loss could be mostly due to reduced water retention in his legs and groin; but, that might not be the entire case. It is too hard to say for sure.
His son, Joe, was at the hospital last evening, along with Kim and daughter Taby.
We are waiting to hear more from his doctors today or Monday. In the meantime, thank you all for all your prayers and support!
Roley is very weak, shaky and nauseated today. I told him I believe these are common side effects of the chemo. He seemed a little relieved to hear this - and that is was kind of normal - and not necessarily new developments.
On days like this he does not feel like talking and he explains that he just can't concentrate on talking, listening, reading, etc. So Dad came up with a code system so that we know how he's feeling for the day. It's based on the code that the hospital uses for the patient to convey pain levels, with 1 being not too bad, to 10 being extreme pain. So now 1 means not feeling too bad, to 10 being a feeling of very bad. Now in just a few words we can determine his day and if he feels like talking any more.
Today he said he was at a 6 or 7. He couldn't concentrate and just didn't want to talk.
There does seem to be an issue with home health nurses coming, so Dad and I from this end will have to look into that.
Bob and I leave tomorrow for a week's vacation with our oldest son and family in Sedona, Arizona. I'll try to keep short updates up.
Roley is still not feeling well this morning. He's very nauseated, even though he has pills he's taking for that. The hospital bed is now better situated in the living room and his dog sits in the chair next to him! They keep each other company! Taby gets up early each morning to fix Roley's breakfast. I know how much Roley appreciates this.
On a personal note - my 6th grandchild was born last night! Raelyn Lenora Hazel Knox. This just shows you that life is such a bumpy journey, with good and bad, ups and downs. We have to savor and appreciate the positive and it will help us get through the negative! Nina
The hospital bed just got delivered to Roley's house. It's set up in the living room, but I guess it's rather cramped! I'd be rearranging and decorating around it if I were there. It's hard being so far away! Although I'm sure my OCD behaviors would irritate the crap out of Roley and Kim!
It sounds as though the anti nausea meds from yesterday are wearing off already. Roley doesn't sound very good this morning. I just spoke to him on the phone and he said he is suffering right now. Sure wish those meds worked longer than a day!
Roley did very well on his chemo treatment today! I spoke to him after and he sounded good and stronger than he's sounded in a while. He says they gave him some sort of steroid and anti nausea meds to offset the side effects of the chemo. They told him that once those wear off, Thursday could be a little bit of a bad day for him.
I know he's glad to be home and it sounds as though he's going to want that hospital bed. His daughter, Taby, got up early this morning and made his breakfast, is organizing his meds for him and wrapped his legs. I'm so glad she's doing this for him!
The fluid retention is still an issue, but does seem to be going down just a little. He said if that issue would clear up he would be able to get around much better on his own. I know they just can't give him any more lasix as his blood pressure is already very low.
The first chemo infusion is going on as I write this. Roley, Kim and Dad are at the Cheviot Cancer Clinic in Cincinnati. His treatment will last until about 3:00. He will receive these once a week for 3 weeks and then one week off.
Roley went home from the hospital last night. Mom said the trip home wore him out. He was glad, though, to be able to sit in his comfy recliner and was planning on sleeping in it, too. Mom and Dad have looked into renting a hospital bed, though, if Roley decides that would be more comfortable.
Now we just see how it goes. Will he do OK on this chemo in such an already weak state? Will he and Kim be able to manage his care alone? As Joe says, have a plan but be flexible!
You know what I've learned about cancer? It's like a huge monster that has attacked a loved one, and it has all these tentacles that reach out and grab every member of the family and affects each and every one in some way. Of course, nothing can compare to the pain and violence that this monster brings upon it's targeted victim, but those tentacles definitely weaken everyone they touch. Unfortunately this cancer monster attacks so many people and until it happens to someone you love you can't imagine how it changes your life.
I know my mother and dad are exhausted both emotionally and physically. Just the trips back and forth from PA to Cinti. are long, but then the twice daily 45 minute trips to and from the hospital wears them out. The same is true for Kim, his wife. The emotional pain and the long drives are just draining. I'm back here in PA, but still the constant messages, phone calls and being sort of a command central can just take over your thoughts and emotions on a continuous basis. I feel helpless, still, by being so far away.
Chuck and Joe are doing so much with hospital visits, money management, bill paying, paperwork, etc.
Jill, Chuck's wife, is cooking for my parents, as well as making some food to send to Roley's house for him once he gets there.
That's just to name a few of the family members involved and only a portion of what's involved. Some of you out there have experience with this and I am so sorry you have! I honestly only now can appreciate what you've been through!
Mom, Dad and Joe spent the day yesterday making arrangements to get Roley's house prepared for him to go home. He's still scheduled for chemo starting Tuesday morning and then the hospital won't keep him any longer. Nothing really has changed for several days except that he is now on a double dose of Lasix to try to put a bigger dent into the fluid retention and swelling.
We can only wait and see now what this week brings with the start of chemo and Roley and Kim trying to manage on their own at home.
I just wanted to give a little financial update, especially for all of our generous friends that have donated so freely and with so much love! The response has just been overwhelming and really beyond our expectations from when this all started. First of all, so that you know and feel comfortable with this site, it has also exceeded our expectations. GoFundMe works flawlessly. Yes, they do charge a very small percentage, but it is well worth all that they have done for us! I could never have set up a site like this on my own with all the automatic links and handling of credit card and bank information like they do. We have a separate checking account now set up in Cincinnati, handled by my brother Chuck and Roley's son, Joe. The funds from this site get transferred into that account. Chuck and Joe (both very honest and dependable!) have set up Roley's bills on a monthly budget and they make sure all his household bills are paid, such as utilities, etc. and see to it that Kim and Taby have everything they need in the way of food, gas, etc. This fund has been a tremendous source of peace of mind for Roley and his family. His unemployment checks are now ending and the social security disability checks are probably at least another month or 6 weeks away from starting to come in. The amount of those checks will not be enough to cover his expenses. Our family has been covering all unpaid bills, and now with these donations, much of that burden will be relieved! During this very stressful time, this help from so many friends, can only be described as a true blessing! Thank you! Nina
There seems to be a lot of activity, but Roley's condition hasn't seemed to change at all. They are going to test out his port today to make sure it's working as it should. The pain medications, the lovenox for the blood clotting, the lasix for the fluid accumulation and swelling - all remain the same. It looks as though Roley will stay right where he is at Good Sam Hospital until Tuesday. Then he'll go straight to the Cheviot Cancer Clinic for his first dose of chemo. I understand that will be from 9 am to approximately 3pm. At this point, the plan is for him to return home after chemo treatment and he'll be visited twice a week by home health nurses. The chemo treatments are scheduled once a week - on Tuesdays. Mom and Dad are staying in Cincinnati at least until after his first chemo treatment on Tuesday. We hope Roley is able to handle these treatments without any major issues or side effects.
Roley feels a little weak and tired today. He's had a busy couple of days. I say that's better than just laying around with nothing happening! He told me he had just way too much excitement yesterday! The port is in and all looks good. He's scheduled for his first chemo treatment on Tuesday morning at 9:00 at the Cheviot Cancer Clinic. And one more exciting event; he ate applesauce and mashed potatoes today! See how we take such little things for granted! He was able to do this because the pain medications seem to be scheduled better before he eats.
Finally! Something new! The port is in and everything went well. I'm so glad Mom and Dad are there now. Dad is getting some answers - good or bad - at least there's new information. Dad likes Roley's head doctor - Dr. Javed. He is really on top of things and seems to have Roley's best interests as a priority. Dad talked with him for quite a while. Roley will be where he's at until at least the end of the week. They want to make sure everything is good, clean and stable with the port. Then they will most likely move him to a different floor, which is the cancer treatment floor. Here they will start him on the chemo treatments, along with instructions on how to care for the port, the treatments and the medications from home. He'll be going to the Cheviot Cancer Clinic in Cincinnati once a week for chemo. The drugs they'll be using are Gemzar and Abraxane. I never realized there were so many different types of chemo drugs! The Tri Health Paleative Care Clinic will send a home nurse to his home twice a week.
Social workers were also in to see him today and talked with Mom, Dad and Kim.
We're hopeful that Roley and Kim can handle all this on their own from home. Kim has been getting through this so well so far. I know she's exhausted and stressed, but she's been great!
The fluid swelling is still present and Roley is still unable to eat solids, but they're moving ahead anyway. At least something is happening, and now we see where this goes!
I talked with Roley early this morning. All he's going through and his concern are some clients of his that he asked Bob and I to contact for him!
The port procedure was postponed yesterday again and is now scheduled for 2:00 today. Roley's theory about the daily postponements of this procedure is that his head doctor knows he's in no condition to be released and as long as this procedure is scheduled the hospital can't insist that he be discharged until it's completed. He's been in the hospital now over 2 weeks. It's a theory that makes sense.
He's still swelled with fluids and that does not seem to be going down. Roley said he slept about 4 hours straight in this early morning, which might be the most he's slept at any one time in a while.
Mom and Dad should be there shortly and I feel sure that Dad will start asking a lot of questions and find out more and what's next!
The port procedure was scheduled for 8 am this morning. Well, postponed again. Now they say this afternoon. Poor Roley, this uncertainty and waiting is always more difficult than knowing.
He was told that the extra blood they took yesterday was to test for chemo prep. And it sounds as though they've given up on trying to get him to eat solid foods. I'm concluding that they are going to try the chemo regardless. This is just my guess right now.
He said they also re-adjusted his pain medications. I'm not sure exactly what this means. If timing or dosage was re-adjusted or both.
Mom and Dad are leaving for Cincinnati this afternoon and will go half way so they can take a break and rest before continuing on in the morning.
Sort of a frustrating day filled with questions. When things don't make sense I guess I just want answers and sometimes maybe there aren't any. Roley was supposed to get that port put in today in anticipation of chemo. They postponed it until tomorrow I think. Not sure why!
Then for some reason Roley had a very bad night of pain because his pain medication orders were not kept up or renewed, or whatever the reason, and they couldn't give him any more pain meds throughout the night except his midnight dose of dilaudid. Not sure why this would be! They also took about 7 vials of blood from him this morning because they said they were doing some more tests. Not sure what!
They did put Roley in a private room yesterday. His current roommate was not very easy to live with. Roley says his window view isn't as nice but the pay off of more privacy and more space is worth it.
Mom and Dad are headed back down to Cincinnati tomorrow afternoon and I'm sure more will become clear after tomorrow.
He still can't eat solid foods - I don't know if they're going to continue to try or not. Fluid retention doesn't seem to be clearing up. Frustrating!
Well, not a great report today. If you remember from my update yesterday, they were going to try to start Roley on solid foods. He needs to get stronger in order for chemo treatments to begin. With a schedule of pain medication before eating, the doctors were hoping this would allow him to handle digesting the food without so much pain. But after his solid food dinner last night he was in tremendous pain. They gave him more dilaudid (potent derivative of morphine) to relieve the pain. They gave it one more try for breakfast of ham and eggs, which he was so looking forward to, but unbearable pain again. They just can't get him past this pain in order to eat. And without eating they won't discharge him to go home. I know he really wants to be home. Kim (his wife) drives about 90 miles round trip to the hospital, each and every day.
In between the dilaudid doses, he is also taking Roxicodone. Roxicodone is a brand name for the generic Oxycodone. They are the same thing. Oxycontin is also along the same line, but it is a time release where the Roxy is immediate release.
Also, Roley still has the fluid retention which doesn't seem to be leaving his body fast enough, even with the Lacix.
I don't know what they'll do at this point.
Roley and I concluded during our talk today that everything seems to be inching forward - very slowly - but forward. No new setbacks - which is good news. They are hoping to get the port in him on Monday and look to discharge him on Wednesday. Doctors stressed that this is the hoped for and best case scenario. His excess body fluids seem to be decreasing by about 2 liters/day, thanks to the lacix (diuretic) they are giving him. He's also still taking Lovenox (blood thinner) for the clotting. He's trying to walk around a little more to help with circulation, but most of the blood clotting and fluid retention is in his lower extremities, so walking around is difficult. He still doesn't have the pain medication adjusted well enough yet to eat any solid foods and this is a prerequisite to him being discharged to his home before chemo treatments can be started. But right now the little tiny baby steps forward is encouraging and no big steps backwards is a positive!
I just spoke to Roley a short time ago for our daily visit. He sounds good. He says that he had a very emotional day yesterday, just for all obvious reasons. This seems to increase his pain at the time. They are still working on the pain medication to get to a place where he can eat some solid food. His swelling from fluid retention has diminished a little more, but still at a very slow pace. They are hoping to get him to a point by early next week that he can be discharged from this hospital and on chemo treatments. Before they discharge him they'll be inserting a port (portacath), which is a small medical appliance that is installed beneath the skin, usually the chest area. A catheter connects the port to a vein. Under the skin, the port has a septum through which drugs can be injected, including the chemo drugs.
We are all learning a lot! A subject which I'd rather not have to know about!
Mom, Dad and I are home. We are so tired, so the 7 hour drive back to PA was a long one! Mom and Dad plan on going back to Ohio next week. I'm not sure of my schedule yet.
Roley is starting to very slowly get rid of some of the fluid that he's been retaining. They are still adjusting all the pain medication to allow him to eat a little without as much pain. He doesn't sleep well, but I don't know who could in a hospital setting with all the commotion. Still no time limits set on discharge from this hospital or when chemo will be able to be started. Until these other medical issues are cleared up he is not strong enough to handle the chemo.
I just spoke to Roley on the phone and he actually sounds pretty good! One day at a time!
Mom, Dad and I are going back home to PA today. There isn't much more we can do here right at the moment, although we hate to leave Roley's side. Roley will be at Good Samaritan at least until the end of this week. They want to get the fluid retention under control before he can go anywhere else and that doesn't seem to be happening as fast as it should. They also need to get his pain management in line so that he is able to eat some nutritional food without doubling over in unbearable pain. They are still not starting him on chemo therapy until these issues are cleared up, or at least better.
He is now being talked to by physical rehab, occupational rehab, pain management, nutritionists, and an oncologist team. We'll stay in touch daily with his progress and decide what we will do once we know his next step.
His wife, Kim, his daughters, Tabytha and Tiffany, his son, Joe, and my brother, Chuck, are all in the Cincinnati area and will be with him daily.
We just received the worst news. We were hoping for better but we were prepared for this. Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer, spread to the blood stream and then to liver ... Beyond surgical treatment and beyond radiation. They will start a chemotherapy treatment to try to keep cancer from spreading any more and possibly reduce the cancer masses. ... Less than a year, best case. Will be working towards 'quality' of remaining time, as opposed to maximizing his time. Very hard day! Probably not going to get any easier.
We will be leaving for the hospital shortly. Preparing for the results of the biopsy. We are hopeful for some little bit of good news. Just the waiting and not knowing is very difficult for Roley as well as us. Roley says he feels like he's in a holding pattern circling the runway - for days!
Didn't receive the biopsy results yesterday. We will have them tomorrow. It gets to a point where you just want answers - good or not so good - because the waiting and not knowing is very frustrating.
The doctors are working at getting his blood thinned again, as he is filled with blood clots, and they are trying to relieve the fluids in his body.
We'll be back to the hospital today to visit and talk and just be with Roley. He's on quite a bit of pain medication and this causes him to not pay much attention to his talking filters. He says some things he normally wouldn't and we enjoy quite a few laughs WITH him!
In an attempt to find a positive in this bad situation - having all the family together, talking, laughing, supporting each other, discussing important decisions and plans, having meals together, ---makes you realize how important family is!
Roley is out of surgery, the biopsy was completed, he's back in his room, and he seems to have done well! That's about all we know at this point. We were expecting this procedure to be done a week ago, so this waiting around is the hardest part.
Roley is talking to us in between dozing off, but seems in pretty good spirits and is even making sense! The oncologist was just here to talk to us and explained that they will put a rush on the biopsy results and we should expect to know these results by Monday afternoon.
So now more waiting! At least now they will be able to put Roley back on Lovenox (blood thinner) and get these blood clots under control. Hopefully it will just be an uneventful weekend, he can try to rest here in the hospital and we'll just have mini family reunions in the hospital room. And that's a good thing!
Roley's blood levels are finally at a good enough level to do this biopsy. They can't start treating his cancer until these results are back - we hope by Monday. The blood clotting in his body is pretty severe and they can work on getting that under control, too, after this biopsy today. We are off to the hospital for the day to be there while he undergoes this risky procedure. Just the talking, visiting, and some good laughs with him I think helps us all. He hurts when he laughs, so we will try to keep it limited to big smiles today. I think the laughs are probably worth the few seconds of extra pain, though!
We've arrived in Cincinnati and saw Roley at Good Sam Hospital last night. His condition is a very complicated one. His blood continues to clot, but if it's too thin they are not able to obtain the biopsy needed for treatment of the cancer. He has at least 6 blood clots. We were hoping that his blood levels would be stabilized this morning to perform the biopsy, but is not to be. They will now start with Vitamin K to force the blood levels where they need to be and a biopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. The mass on the pancreas is preventing food from passing or digesting so he is unable to eat and is in a great deal of pain. The biopsy is needed in order to treat this cancer mass. Tomorrow's biopsy will determine a lot. Thank you everyone for your continued prayers, shares and cares. It is giving Roley and our family some peace of mind!
Just a brief update - Roley is on morphine right now, but talking well. He has several blockages in his legs and veins. His medical team will be implanting
(Inferior Vena Cava) filter "“ a type of vascular filter, a medical device "“
to prevent pulmonary
emboli (PEs). This should be taking place this afternoon. Thank you for the continued prayers!
On this Sunday morning we are so grateful for the many loving friends and family that we are so fortunate to have. Our lives get busy and take on separate paths through the years, but to know you're still there and loving and supporting us is a blessing! Thank you!
You know how sometimes life can throw you a big fat curve ball right out of left field, catching you completely off guard and bopping you right in the head?! That's what has happened in our family. One of those things that you thought could never happen to you, or your family, and it has! Proof that no one is immune to illness, sadness and disease, no matter how good your life is. Some of you know me personally, some of you only know me through social media, and some of you are complete strangers. I just want to start off saying that we are a family that believes in a "hand up" and not a "hand out". I heard about this site through a friend and I initially felt very odd about carrying through with this at first. I'm not accustomed to or comfortable at all with asking for help or money! But I will also do anything and everything to help my brother. I am of the mindset right now that I want to exhaust every outlet, every opportunity, every possibility that is available to my brother.!
Roland Bechtel, III, is my brother. He's 53 years old, the father of 5 and grandfather of 7 (shown above with his grandson, Roland V). He is a loving husband, brother and son. His wife was diagnosed a few years ago with MS and Roland has been her primary caretaker. He worked and his insurance covered her expenses. Several months ago, due to the increased expense of health care, Roland's company went out of business. He was left unemployed, through no fault of his own. This left him with no insurance and a small monthly unemployment check. They were able to get some state (Indiana) assistance for his wife that is now helping with some of her costly medical needs. Roland makes sure that she gets the meds and the shots on schedule and cares for her daily needs.
New employment was not coming quickly, but Roland is very resourceful, intelligent and motivated and so was just starting up a new self employed business venture and clients were coming to him. He was excited and happy that things would work out for the best as they always seemed to do. That is until he got a very bad pain in his leg! Still with no insurance, but without being able to take the pain any longer, he went into the ER. It was discovered that he had a blot clot in his leg. It was caught just in time before any major damage, he was put on blood thinning medication, told to keep his leg elevated, and we all thought that scary little incident was over.
After about two weeks of the pain not going away, and an overall feeling of exhaustion, Roland went back to the doctor and scans were done. The thought at first was that there could be some heart issues. The good news came back that his heart was fine. The very bad news was that there looked to be some sort of mass on his pancreas! A few days, and many more scans later, it was discovered that he has pancreatic cancer that has spread to his liver and part of his lungs.
No one saw this coming! He's 53, never in the hospital a day in his life before this, and no symptoms before this! Are they sure? Yes, they're sure! He's now sent home with strong pain medication and more medical appointments scheduled.
Now here he is with no insurance, unable to think clear and concentrate on his work, a small income that is shortly going to end, an ill wife that he was the primary caretaker of, and medical bills that are already piling high after only a few weeks! As a family, we are helping out in every way we can, including monetarily, but the cost of medical bills is and will go way beyond what anyone can pay out of pocket.
I would like to think of this web site as an opportunity for me to help and give to my brother. In my own mind I am considering this a chance to pay it forward to any of you that reach out to me someday and need a little something when that curve ball hits you. I, my brother, and my family will keep track of the names of everyone that feels they are in a position to lend this helping hand. We will not forget!
If you are not able to help monetarily at this time, we just ask that you keep Roland and his family in your prayers. That means just as much! Thank you. And thanks so much for taking the time to read our story!
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