During the course of exams and tests they found cancer in my husband, Johns upper left lung and in his liver. That was where the excess calcium was coming from, the cancer.
So the regime of chemo and calcium lowering meds schedule started. All of that was going pretty good. John was doing well with his chemo treatments. We were told the tumors had stopped growing. Good news.
At the end of July my husband had a double dose of chemo on Tues, and a 4 hr calcium reducing med on Weds. Over the course of that week and the weekend I noticed that my husband was turning yellow. I hoped it was just a reaction to the 4 hr calcium med, which is a dark orange color...seeping out through his pores. I was wrong.
On that following Tues, he was getting another chemo treatment when the woman, same one who had given him all his previous chemo/calcium treatments, called his Dr and told them they needed to come in and see him, he was yellow and didnt look good to her. Now my Husband had called the Dr himself on Monday and told them he was yellow and didnt feel good and wanted to cancel Tuesdays appt. They said your ok, go in anyway, so he did. The Dr's office came to my husband and took blood. Later that day we get a call from them saying get to the hospital NOW. My husband is admitted again. He had already been diagnosed with lung and liver cancer, now they were telling us that his liver had shut down and was at 4 to 5 % functionality. Thats why he was yellow.
Johns birthday is Aug 8. He was able to get out of the hospital for his birthday. But the Dr who was Johns oncologist basically released him from his care at that point saying, "there was nothing more he could do for him" and turned his case over to HOSPICE. That was so hard to realize, NOTHING he could do for him!? No one wants to hear that.
Having the case turned over to HOSPICE meant that now I was going to be having strangers come into my house to tend to my husband several times a week. They would come in and check his vitals and basically ask him questions to determine how he was doing.
Our 18th anniversary was the 18th of August. He was doing ok enough to make a cheesecake for the occasion, he always did that. As the month continued, his health declined rapidly, as did his thought process. He was unable to communicate with words for the most part. He was aware of things going on, mostly, but sometimes we had to yell at him to get his attention. The HOSPICE people told me to expect his brain to be affected by the build up of toxins from his liver not working to affect his thoughts. I was now having to come to the reality that my husband was not going to be here for very much longer. Not an easy thing to do.
As I mentioned at the beginning I have 4 sons.
On Saturday Sept 7th I was awoke by my 12 yr old son, saying there were cops on the front porch. CRAP! Whos in trouble now? was what I thought. My oldest son does not live at home. I did not know at that point that my 2nd oldest son, who was living at home to help with the bills had not made it home the night before. I opened the door and was asked if Keith DeVries lived here, I thought, 'great he's in jail.' Keith had just celebrated his 24th birthday on the 2nd of Sept. I responded, "Yes". I was then told that my son had been involved in an accident and was at University Hospital in San Antonio. WHAT??!! I asked what kind of accident, he said I cant tell you that, turned and walked away.
Totally freaked out, I hurried to get dressed and get to the hospital, an hour + driving time one way from where I live. I told John where I was going, he didnt respond, I didnt expect him to. He was starting to get worse with every passing hour.
Calling all my relatives to rally at the hospital while driving, I and my 18 yr old son get to the hospital. We were met and escorted to the 10th floor of the hospital by a hospital escort. In all my time I have never been met at the door and escorted to the floor my person was on. I did not have a good feeling. When the elevator door opened I remember reading what was written on the wall and knowing then at that point this was NOT going to be good. 'Severe Trauma Intensive Care Unit.' My heart sank.
Some of my family and some of Keiths friends were already at the hospital when we arrived. The drs werent letting anyone see him until I got there.
I was led to a room where my sweet baby was laying in a bed with tubes coming out of him, breathing for him. I went to his side, kissed his forehead, said "Keith baby its mom, Im here honey, I love you!"
The dr vaguely went over his injuries, meaning he didnt tell us everything. I couldnt tell you much of anything that was said at that moment. I was thinking only of my son in that bed. I do know they said 'skull fracture' and 'no brain activity.' I thought, 'his head is swollen, give it time.' We found out later by accidently over hearing them talk about Keith that he had a large dent in the back of his head. We were not told about that! I was getting mad at that dr. From the get go he was talking organ donation. 'I' Keiths mother was talking -GIVE HIM SOME TIME-!!
For 2 days that dr badgered me about pulling the plug and donating his organs. I did not like that dr at all. AND I LET HIM KNOW IT TOO! Right to his face in front of his peers. I called him a ghoul!
I wasnt going to let them pull any plug until 'I' was convinced 1000% that no matter how long we waited Keith was never going to wake up.
I was now facing yet another hard life decision. My husbands mind was gone to the point that he could not help me make this decision. I honestly dont think that John even understood that Keith had been in an accident and was in the hospital. It was just me and Keiths 3 remaining brothers left to decide what to do. My other boys are 26, 18 and 12. I can barely phathom whats happening, how are they supposed to make this decision when 'I' their mother cant even do it.
I did the next best thing, I called upon some long time and short time friends, my brother and his wife, people that honestly cared about me and my family and would help me make the right decision. We all met at the hospital and talked with the dr (not the same ass as the 2 previous days) and the organ donatin man. VERY nice man, I liked him, and yes I let him know that also.
The people I had asked to be with me could ask the questions I needed answers to, but was so shocked by what was happening around me that I didnt have the thought to ask. And they did ask the right ones. I chose well.
We were shown an MRI of my sons head, as of an hour before we had assembled at the hospital that evening. There was absolutely NO brain activity at all. Not even the slightest sign of white...meaning blood flow...to my sons brain. And I was looking hard.
The dr told us that at the time of the accident, sometime between 4 and 6 am on Sat Sept 7, the impact to the back of Keiths head was so severe that it severed his spinal column from his brain. He ceased to be Keith at that time. That was just a body laying in a bed being kept alive by tubes and cords plugged into walls. >SIGH<
It was then that I made the heart breaking decision to have my sweet beautiful 24 yr old son taken off life support.
Keith Alen DeVries ceased to be, on Monday Sept 9,2013.
Some good did come from Keiths passing. I did donate his organs, and I do know that his liver has already been given to someone.
I have peace knowing that my son is still alive, in others, giving them the youthful joy he had for life. And to their families the gift of more days with their loved ones. He would like that.
Doesnt make it better, just makes it ok.
Having to deal with the sudden death of my son and the fastly approaching impending death of my husband was starting to wear on me. I am 5'2" and maybe 90 lbs on a normal day. I have lost some weight, due to all this stress which -really- shows on me.
When the HOSPICE people came over the next day for my husbands check visit...they had some how been informed of my sons death. I had not been sleeping too well, practically not at all with John being sick, and tending to him, and then having my sons death sucker punch me, the 2 ladies that came over met me at the door and hugged me, and told me how sorry they were for my loss. I thanked them. They commented on my appearance. They asked if I had been sleeping and eating, answer, no. They were concerned for me. They then asked to see their patietnt. When they saw the condition my husband was in and how I was at this point, they asked me if they could take him to one of their facilities for a few days where he would be taken care of around the clock, and that would give me time to rest, which I still have yet to do. They said he can come home in 4 to 5 days.
I thought about it. I wanted him home with me, but I couldnt care for him the way he needed at this point. John and I even discussed if he wanted to be at home or some place else when the time came. We never really made that decision. My husband made the decision himself for me. They took John to a HOSPICE facility, where I arrived shortly after he did, signed all the necessary paper work. I then went in and attempted to explain to him what was going on, where he was and why. I dont think that got through to him but I do know that he knew I was talking to him. We had worked out a signal for 'I love you'. He would raise his index finger. His finger was going up and down, he was blowing me kisses and he even winked at me, when I said good night to him. I said I would be back to see him the next day. Up to this point every time I left his side I had always asked him, "Your gonna be here when I get back arent you?" He would respond with a yes or a nod. I didnt ask him that this time. I didnt want him to hang on for me. I kissed him good bye and I left him there with strangers. I felt so guilty all the rest of that night.
I was awoke the next day by my oldest son and my brother, same brother that helped me with my final decision concerning my son. My brother said..."Cindy, you have to wake up, you need to get dressed, we need to go to town, John passed away a few hours ago." I was in a stupor....WHAT DID I JUST HEAR??
NO!! Hes at a place in New Braunfels being cared for!
Then the reality hit me.
I cried out to GOD, WHY!!?? How could you let something like this happen??
We knew John was going to go sooner than later, but Keiths death came out of nowhere. My son died on Sept 9, 2013. My husband died on Sept 11, 2013. Thats 2 deaths in 2 days in one family!! SERIOUSLY??!
THIS IS NOT MY LIFE!
THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!
THIS HAS TO BE A NIGHTMARE!! WAKE UP!!
PLEASE GOD WAKE ME UP!!!!
The amount of money that is needed far exceeds what I have asked for. Just Johns hospital bills alone are more than that. I received a bill from 'Airlife' today for over $12,000.00. My son was air flighted to the hospital.
I am not trying to be greedy, Im just asking for some help with the bills I now have to pay.
I know that some who read this will find it heard to believe....Try living it. I cant even grasp it, and its my new reality. Like I said at the beginning all of this can be checked out and verified, no scam here, just some one in need of help.
If all you can offer is a prayer, that will be as graciously accepted as any $. Thank you,
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