After receiving this news Derek has been getting consults in Canada and the United States to learn about how best to go about fighting off this very aggressive type of cancer. Last week in Seattle medical professionals at Virginia Mason biopsied his liver and sent it away for genomic testing with Foundation One and next week Derek will be getting a consult at Banner MD Anderson in Pheonix in hopes of finding another approach to fighting off this cancer.
If anyone can defy the odds it is Derek. He is a passionate, strong and caring father and husband who has a deep desire to live and to beat this cancer. We are holding onto the hope that there might be a treatment that can help Derek and that he will return to life as normal after a whirlwind year. His wife Melissa and children Noah (4 years old) and Heidi (2 year old) along with the Turnbull and Sandsmark families are hoping, praying and routing for a quick recovery.
As his friends who want to help in any way possible, we are asking for donations to lighten the hardship that this family has been facing this past year and to show the support that they have from the community.
We are asking all of our family and friends to celebrate with us the life of Derek Scott Turnbull on Sunday, June 25th at 1pm at Olympic View Golf Course. Please bring with you a written-down memory, picture or symbol of Derek for our memory table. We hope to capture a snapshot of what Derek was to everyone. Hope to see you there.
Doors open at 1pm; speeches to begin at 1:30pm.
“How lucky [we] are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Winnie the Pooh
Sadly the bliss and the normalcy ended with Derek having another pain crisis, mostly concentrated in his stomach. We were able to keep the crisis under control thanks to a new GP. Derek underwent radiation to ease his largest tumour. Being the trooper that Derek is, he went through two intense weeks of radiation that in the past may have not bothered him but with his previous increased pain issues the radiation only gave him a slight increase in fatigue and pain.
Mid-treatment, Derek had begun to lose mobility in his leg. He was, however, able to fight this and even ventured out to one of Noah and Heidi’s baseball games. Derek was able to finish the full treatement and we are currently waiting to see the results in the next few weeks while the radiation works its magic. We are hopeful that it makes a difference and eases Derek’s pain.
The following week started off on a positive note. Derek had good energy. We were so amazed by our kids and how they are coping--we have been discussing how we can support them through this hell that they are living alongside us. We just find it amazing that our kids are able to jump out of bed every morning with such energy and enthusiasm for life. They are what makes Derek continue the fight. He longs for just one more moment with the kids, one more milestone that he can witness. He wants them to remember him and how much he loves them.
Though we were not able to join my family on our annual camping trip, Derek and I booked a site close to home for May long weekend with some friends. This way, should anything happen we were still in Victoria. Derek, being one of the most stubborn men I know, insisted regardless of how he felt that we take this trip no matter what. He would teach me how to backup and set up the tent trailer for future trips. I was thrilled!
The first day of camping went so well. The day was full of adventure for our kids. They were able to bike and run around in the woods with their peers. What could be better? Derek was able to relax by the fire and talk with our friends. Life felt normal.
The night went well but on the second day he had another pain crisis and had to come home. Our friends watched our kids, who continued to play and be completely unfazed by the entire situation.
Derek returned home and once again we were able to manage his pain crisis. The kids still managed to have the best time possible, which was our goal. By the end of the trip, with the supervision of the Shade Family, I successfully backed the tent trailer into our driveway!
About two days ago, Derek’s pain skyrocketed and he is now back in hospice, where we are in good hands. We have learned that Derek has pneumonia, a blood clot in his leg, and the cancer has spread to his spleen. None of this of course is good news, but it provides a reason for his increased and new pain. Our family has gone into crisis mode and have assumed our regular positions. I stay at the hospital as much as possible, while my and Derek’s parents help with everything else including time here with Derek. These are the days when we are incredibly thankful for such a dedicated and loving family.
If I haven’t responded recently, you now know why. Thanks again for all of the love. We really do appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers.
Love you all,
Derek's new doctor came up with a completely new pain management plan and it is working better than anything has in the past few months. We are beyond excited about these results and never imagined him coming home after his last hospitalization. His comeback from being in extreme and debilitating pain to being able to move around the house freely and have enough energy to have a regular conversation with someone has been incredible to witness. We are elated and so very thankful for this time. Although we know it isn't forever, we are soaking up every second we can get with him.
We just want to send a special thank you to everyone on the Meal Train and Go Fund Me site. On those days when I stayed at hospice with Derek and on those days the kids and I were back and forth, I can't tell you how relieved I was to know that we were going to have a warm meal regardless of what happened. Let me tell you there were such bad days that I couldn't have imagined making dinner. It was hard enough to muster the strength to maintain regular life with the kids. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We just feel so loved and supported by our family, friends and wonderful community that we live in. Can't thank you all enough.
I'm hoping that things may settle down for a bit so that we can enjoy this time as a family. I'll be writing another update in a couple of weeks.
Lots of love,
You have been in our prayers. May all of you be surrounded by the peace that passes understanding.
I am extremely sorry for your loss. Derek put up a huge and valiant fight.
I have heard that a Dr. John Wong, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Victoria has helped many people with cancer. This man is very humble, compassionate and kind. I would like to put this information forward just in case you may be interested? The address is 614 Fisgard Street, 250-385-1241. I will keep you in my prayers.