Help Amanda Help Her Father
I write to you at one of the lowest points in my life, where my emotions are either suppressed better than ever, or I am truly just numb. I come to you with no idea of my intent or expected and/or desire outcome..but as another human whose heart is hurting and is seeking comfort and support in all aspects of life. Today I write about my Uncle, which I hate to write that as he has always been a father but I feel I should specify. He has been my best friend for 25 years, yes, my whole life. From chasing me around the house as a toddler saying “fee fi fo fum I smell a pumpkin, and when I catch her, im going to EAT HER GUTS!” as I ran giddily to my grandma whose lap was “safety” to the time in highschool that I always stayed after class to hang out with friends but knew id be starving and chose not to bring food anyway and hed bring me and all my friends cheeseburgers, just because he loved me to the man who gave me $400 of his $500 to pay my rent as my maternity leave put me behind (from the US). This human, this beautiful human, this kind, loving, compassionate, giving human was diagnosed as a terminally ill cancer patient in my presence for what should have been a normal endoscopy. The man found out he has esophageal cancer when it was too late because he didn’t have health insurance and couldn’t afford the cost of the surgery without placing a burden on his family. I sit here writing this and I want so badly to make someone understand outside of my family the connection he and I had. I called him at LEAST 5 times a day just to share my stupid stories of things that happened (I am a chatter) like the lady who cut me off, the annoying coworker who ruined our project, the Walmart employee who scanned something every 5 minutes, or the occasional “hola im bored.” He never said he couldn’t or didn’t want to talk, and he always listened. Which for people who like to chat, a listener is perfect! His diagnoses was 3 years ago. Since that day, the day he hugged me and cried and said “im going to die” to the first oncology appointment where he embraced me and said “I love you pumpkin” my life has been a journey. My other Uncle, Brett, or Bucko as I call him would take my uncle Scott (2nd dad) to chemo every other week for 4-5 hours, and then CT scans as needed, also a beautiful human. But here I am tonight writing this to you and picture Brett in a wheelchair, because guess what? He suffered a severe stroke in December of 2016—yes under a year ago. He lost his right side of his brain and the left side of his body. He was no longer able to do transportation for Scott to chemo. I slept by Brett’s side giving him water as needed and answering any questions so his fiance could take a break here and there, but bless that womans heart she never left. After Brett returned home I began taking my uncle to chemo, every other week, and then every week as cancer progressed and treatments stopped being as effective. 4-5 hours every week. I have a 2 ½ year old son, and a 1 year old daughter as well as my husband to care for. I am a mom, a full time student, a full time employee, and a full time caregiver at this point. I do not complain, I do it out of love. But this is hard… its not easy. This is my best friend I am actively watching die. Our phone calls got shorter, his voice got weaker, and our topics got less intellectual. One day, beginning of August to be exact, I got a call my dad needed help as my uncle Scott had fallen and was not acting right. He was attempting to put socks on his head, he didn’t make it to the bathroom and then preceded to walk in it, and he tried to take the same medication repeatedly. My husband went to help my father get him off the floor and called me to report all this back. When I phoned my uncle he answered but did not make any sense, he told me he was in the bathroom and then hung up, to which I found out he was actually sitting in his recliner. My heart absolutely broke. (picture of me with my kids was this moment—not sure why I took it—and I typically refuse to cry in front of my children to protect their little hearts.) Then, at the hospital we were notified that his cancer had spread to his brain. Yes, his brain. His liver. And other areas I stopped listening to. From there I spent days again in the hospital eat, sleep, shower, and breathed there. I was only home to feed my kids dinner and put them to bed because they needed their mommy too. My uncle was eventually transferred to a rehab facility where they hoped to get him stronger to finish radiation and chemo from home. I went everyday, worked there as often as I could and did everything in my power to get him to eat, drink water, participate in therapy, etc. Eventually it stopped working, and I asked him if he was throwing in the towel and he replied yes. This is ok, this is his choice, its his body, his find, and his disease. I supported him. I wrote him a letter of support in his choices. Then came what I thought would be the hardest meeting of my life. Hospice Admission. Its now been one week since that meeting and first and foremost you should all know that hospice workers are f*cking beautiful people with a soul of an angel. But boy was I wrong on that being the hardest meeting. Hospice social worker breaks the process down for me: what dying will look like and what to expect. Noone wants to hear that or go through a crash course “dying for dummies”, but I appreciated it, and I hugged her and thanked her at the end. Then came the hospice RN days later who told me “hes going quickly- I can tell from his vital signs” the look in her eye of the pain she felt she was delivering was enough to make me weak in the eyes (not a public cryer). But at the end this woman, essentially a stranger, hugged me. Not just any hug, a real genuine, hug. And she said to me “youre a great niece, I hope if I go through this one day I will have someone like you.” Ladies, this was amazing. I don’t think I am doing anything amazing, im advocating for my loved one, this is normal. But bless her. I am at 1,298 words right now and I struggle to hit 400 for my discussion boards in class. I am so sorry for the length of this post. I just need to get it out. Now if all of this wasn’t enough I also have to worry about my dad, who is a recently diagnosed diabetic with a pace maker which runs 80% of the time—stress is no good. My two uncles and my dad bought a trailer together with their annuity my grandpa left them when their house was taken due to a poor choice by an old account—a balloon mortgage that no one was aware of other than him. When my uncle suffered the stroke he had to move out and into his girlfriends (now fiance- got engaged in hospital) so she could properly care for him. There goes 1/3 of the households income. Now without my uncle and his income my dad is alone, with a job that pays MAYBE his rent and some groceries on a good month. I cant even begin to describe to you how amazing my father is, and even better a grandfather to my babies. They are his world, and hes a huge part of ours. He cant pay his rent. He cant pay his bills. & I invite him for dinner because im worried he has no food. He also has no car so I make sure he has mine when my husband and I don’t need two. I want to help him. I have to help him. He cannot watch one brother change forever, and another die and worry where hell live in a month. But what I don’t know, is how do I do that? We aren’t members of a church. I am not familiar with charities (other than one I donate to but not sure if they help with this sort of thing), and I do not understand GoFundMe. I need advice, support, and most importantly some love because ladies my love for my uncle is wandering wherever his soul goes any day now and my heart is breaking in every way, but I have to be strong.+ Read More
Thank you all so much for your help thus far, it has made a terrible situation a little more tolerable to see the good people are willing to do. Much gratitude.