Scotian/ David C Macdonald death fund

To cover medical and death costs from sudden pancreatic cancer diagnosed 2 weeks after spending the prior 18 months caregiving for father while his cancer killed him.  2 weeks before he died I was diagnosed stage 4 pancreatic cancer that already was in my liver meaning I was terminal, not curable.  I found out at the end of May, dad died  2nd week of June, so it hasn't been 2 months since I got this news.  I have at best the rest of the summer if I am really really lucky.  I and my wife are long term disabled, and lack resources.  Ideally I am trying to raise enough to cover my end of life costs, arrangements, and leave some for my wife to be able to grieve for both dad and me.  Anything anyone is willing to give for that end would be truly appreciated.

I set the target as a minimum from what I know for the cremation fee and such, I simply do not know the real costs well enough to do more than that.  In a few days I will more completely fill in my story, be warned, it isn't pretty.  Over the last 26 months if it wasn't bad luck I was having it was no luck was so true it is scary.

Thank you all for your time in reading this, and especially to those who wanted me to set something like this up so they could help, it is hard to ask for this kind of help, but needs must when the devil drives.

Updated and detailed chronology to explain why I need this help and quickly, as of this writing I am in hospital and have maybe 2 to 3 weeks left to live at most from what the doctors are telling me.  So if I am going to ask for this kind of help from people who do not know me, they deserve to know whether they think I am worthy of it.  So here is the story of my and Siobhan's last 27 months for your consideration.

My wife and I have been on Provincial disability for over 20 years in my case and 15 in hers, mine for a genetic blood disorder that causes blood clots,  she for the fallout of near fatal anaphylaxis in her late teens.  So we have quietly lived within the bounds of disability and been grateful to be able to.  This also left us with the time to aid with family when anything happened. 

In April 2017 my mother had a stroke.  A week into her hospital care an old hernia surgical site mesh blew out keeping her in hospital for another 9 weeks, during which I was visiting with her for an hour every single day.  She was discharged around June 20.  She came home seemingly recovered, but alas over time we found out she was beginning down the road of vascular dementia. 

The second weekend of July dad was returning from Cape Breton, the Sydney dog show in fact when he started feeling major stomach pain and was in Cobequid emergency where a tumour was discovered.  So tests were ordered up.

I should note that dad was a major figure in the Atlantic dog show world.  He was the show secretary for pretty much all in Nova Scotia and PEI, and a few more between NB and NFLD.  His name was John Wilfred Macdonald.

Then August begins with him being rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.   At which point Siobhan and I are asked by him to caregive for both of them while he is in hospital and then home recovering.   So we were living there from the surgery until dad was recovered enough so we could come home, which in this case was mid October. 

So for the next several months until March 2018 we are doing drop in care, while he prepares for what is a curative procedure, as dad had colorectal cancer goblet cell variant.   All his scans and everything made him look like an excellent candidate for success.   Siobhan and I were again asked to caregive while he recovered as live-ins , which of course we agreed to.  So we shift back a week or so before that surgery with everyone expecting a good result, well everyone but me, for some reason I simply felt it wasn't going to go well.  I was right.

Turns out the scans were way off, so much so that the doctor was clearly shocked by what he found.   Turned out it had already gone beyond the point of no return and that he was terminal prognosis.   So we stayed until mid July caregiving including mum whose vascular dementia was getting worse when under the stress I had a major car accident where I pulled into oncoming traffic and was t-boned and wrote the car off (it was their second car I had been using through all this).  Walked away grom it but suffered clear traumatic shock from it.

So we took another leave break while private in-home care and my younger sister (we split the roles between us, I did the day to day caretaking, she handled any of the legal side of things, which was dad's choice) took back over while we tried to recover a bit.  Then we get a call Oct 17th at 1225pm...

Dad calls to tell me I have to take mum for admitting to geriatric psychiatry at the Nova Scotia hospital, which I did not know was coming.  Worse, she could no longer be left alone and her homecare was due to leave at 1pm, and we lived 25 minutes drive away.  So Siobhan and I had 10 minutes to get our stuff together and head out.  Which of course we do.  Now why are we needed to do this with no notice?  Dad's day before palliative chemo bloodwork showed his own body had infected him and they had to admit him.

So of course we show up again, do the caregiving role again and look after the dogs ( at this time they still had 4 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) again.  This time though we never left, mum has never left the geriatric psychiatry unit, and for the first three months I was visiting her every day for an hour to help anchor her sense of reality and for dad too because he was too sick to do so himself more than maybe every 2 to 3 days, and for less time than I could manage on my own.

So over the holidays and into the new year that is what we end up doing, as well as getting dog shows set up for Halifax, Truro, and others.  During this time I am starting to lose weight and my back started hurting.  My GP and I thought this was the result of the sustained stresses, not an unreasonable belief, and message therapy and chiropractic treatments seemed to be working if not as well as desired.  By the beginning of May though she found my pain levels could not be accounted by that and ordered a full blood panel. 

When she saw my liver enzymes out of whack she ordered a CT scan with rush priority.  With my blood disorder that was a bad sign something was seriously wrong.  At the end of May she calls me and Siobhan in to deliver some bad news...I have cancer and worse, it is one of the absolute worst kinds and worst variant within it.

Now, I need to backstop this a couple of months for a moment.  We moved out of our apartment of 18 years formally for the end of March and had informed our disability caseworker we were doing so and why.  Iwas told no problem  the file would move to Sackville office and a new caseworker would contact me.  Well that never happened.  My first discovery something was wrong was the beginning of June when I found out I was paying for my prescriptions, which were normally covered.  Alas though I was in shock from my diagnosis and it didn't really register right off what it meant.

I also had not heard anything from disability until a week or so later when they sent me a yearly bus pass rental letter which also contained who was my caseworker and the number to contact with.  I called, left message and it never got replied to.  As I found out a few weeks ago thanks to Cobequid palliative care unit caseworker we had been thrown off disability with no warning  notice, nor explanation.  Perfect timing for that to happen, huh.  The Cobequid palliative care caseworker was shocked we were never notified our coverage was at risk and she has mine straightened out and is working to Siobhan's so at least meds are covered again, but after all this I don't trust the disability program folks at all, let alone where Siobhan is concerned, which I think is rather understandable at this point.

Ok, back to end of May.  I tell family about the cancer, dad is shocked and no one really knows where to go next, and between mum's dementia and dad's cancer fog there was no one there for me/us, as Sheila was the one dealing with mum mostly and dad as much as he would let her.  2 weeks after I am diagnosed, dad dies of his cancer.  I find it bitterly amusing we couldn't even manage to get the same terminal cancer, his gave him close to two years, mine maybe 6 to 7 months if mid March is the starting point.

So here we are at this point. essentially unable to cover my costs and especially my wife's after I die.  I am seeking to give her the ability to have the time and resources to grieve and recover ( she also has neurological issues including antisocial disorders and epilepsy, literacy challenges because of it, and has relied on me to help compensate) and have the resources to rebuild a life for herself once she grieves and recovers from watching and caregiving for her father in law that she loved and me, the first love of her life, we has been involved for 22 years, and this fall equinox would have been our 16th wedding anniversary. 

I hate having to ask for such help, with such urgency, but as I said, my time is very limited now, and it would make letting go peacefully to my death possible to have seen her left in a place where she gets what she deserves.  I love her beyond words, she isn't my first love but she is and always has been my greatest one.  So if you feel we have been given a raw deal, and that we are people you think deserve some kind of good fortune for what we have lived through and done, please, whatever support for this fundraiser you can come up with would be appreciated 

I am not a creature of social media, nor Facebook, I am simply one person who among other things is severely ADHD which is why I find social media hard to deal with and chose not to.

Anyway, there is our story, and why this fundraiser exists.  Please help us if you can.  I close by saying I blame nobody for this happening to me nor the timing, sometimes life just delivers up a really raw deal and alas it looks like that unlucky 00 on the roulette wheel of life hit me and Siobhan.  So this is all I have left to try to offset it with, but at least it does exist, older fundraising tools could never have happened fast enough and I am thankful for this very last chance to do something that helps the one I love most in this world and whose love, support and devotion through these last 27 months simply cannot be overstated, and whose love for me since the day we met has been the source of my greatest joy.

So there you have it.  I am not sure I even would have thought of this, let alone managed the focus to create this campaign were it not for an internet American political blogging community I am a part of, and the folks of Balloon Juice got this started as the only place this has had any visibility was courtesy of the front page thanks to the owner John Cole.  It is thanks to him and his fellow juicers that I have been given hope back to me in my darkest hours.  They not only got me to set this up but also donated in 24 hrs over 10,000 to it.  Such generosity of both spirit and resources cannot be undervalued nor thanked enough for, which is why I end this with crediting them as I just have. 

Thank you juicers!!!

Donations (0)

  • Anonymous 
    • $59 
    • 2 mos
  • Sean Cronin 
    • $150 
    • 2 mos
  • Eric Lilly 
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Bill Frost 
    • $65 
    • 2 mos
  • Andrew Chappie 
    • $20 
    • 2 mos

Organizer and beneficiary 

David Macdonald 
Beaver Bank, NS
Allysa Gallop 
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