godspeed joanne

I just got off the phone with teh SO.  his beloved mother (my beloved mother-in-law), died about an hour ago.  I've been crying for quite a while now.

it is still unreal to me: over a matter of weeks it went from being "an early stage, very treatable from of cancer" to increasingly severe side effects to the therapy of chemo and radiation, to a *short* hospitalization 12 days ago. a short hospitalization that kept on getting longer and longer as her condition kept worsening on an accelerated spiral. first it was continuous diarrhea, then add to that continuous vomiting, hypotension, dramatically lowered counts of red and white blood cells, an infection unresponsive to antibiotics…  and the increasing medical measures: glucose IVs, a naso-gastrial tube when the IVs were not enough, multiple blood transfusions to try to bring her red cell count up, isolation room, gloves and masks required to attempt to keep infections out.

the endgame came fast. not even 24 hours ago joanne was still lucid while on morphine for the pain; her doctor came by last night and chatted a bit; told her he wanted to talk to her about 'advanced directives' but that it could wait until tomorrow.  just a few hours later, her breathing got shallow and she turned to  my sister-in-law Tammy,  and said "I'm dying. ok if I go?" and within minutes she stopped breathing…  nurses did CPR,  but teh SO and his sister decided no "jump plates", no ventilator.  and so she went.

goodbye and godspeed to a wonderful woman who never thought of me as any less than "her fourth daughter".  one of her favorite things to do, and she must have done it hundreds of times when with me, was to lean over to me and say "you know you are one of my daughters, don't you? 

goodnight to you, joanne.  and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest

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35 thoughts on “godspeed joanne

  1. Oh, Mariser & LK, I am so sorry to read this. It's not often you ever hear anyone say anything nice about their mother in law. To have one who never let you forget she thought of you as one of her own is rare indeed. She sounds like a wonderful lady, and this is just awful to have happened. My condolences to you and Lord Kalvan and your family. Godspeed Joanne.

  2. oh mariser, I'm so very sorry to hear your sad news. I wish I could be there to give you a big hug in person.How lucky you were to have had such a wonderful mother in law! She sounds like a real gem! I know she will be greatly missed.Deepest sympathy to you and teh SO. Please know that you are both in my thoughts now.

  3. Oh, wow, my sympathies to you both. She'll be missed but your lives were richer for her time here on earth. Take care.
    (((((Mariser & Lord Kalvan)))))

  4. Oh Mariser, I'm so sorry. She sounds like a wonderful "mom". At least she'll no longer suffer from the treatments. Her last few weeks sound terrible. Sometimes knowing the people you love most are at rest can be comforting.Good luck in the coming weeks. (((hugs)))

  5. I am so very sorry, Mariser. You were lucky to have been one of her daughters. I know you will miss her, however, "may her memory nourish your heart".

  6. <sniff>thanks guys, for your kind and comforting words. and thank you in behalf of Lord K, who's far from a computer at the momentjoanne was indeed well-loved and will be missed terribly. I am way lucky to have known her these past 20 years. …I've been bracing myself to get these news about my dad; his cancer is more advanced and he's sicker. so it goes.cancer sucks. so do cancer treatments. after seeing what dear joanne went through and what my dad is still going through, I'm getting to wonder if chemo/radiation are worth all the sickness and pain they cause

  7. What a blessing for you to have each other in your lives. ((((hugs))))
    I was really quite taken by her request to let go. Often our loved ones hold on for the other people in their life and need 'permission' to finally rest in everlasting peace.
    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers during this time of mourning and remembrance of a wonderful lady.

  8. I was thinking about that too. How frightening it must have been..but it seems she was accepting of it. I'm so fortunate that we don't have much cancer in our family history. I can't even begin to imagine…

  9. That's a very real and important question. Sometimes the treatment is more brutal than the disease.

  10. mariser (and LordK), I am so very sorry to hear this…. (((((((hugs))))))) for you both. I honestly don't know what to say, except that – having lost my own dad in the mid-90s – I really feel for you, and sympathize more than I can say re. what you're facing now, and will be facing in the months to come.What a wonderful woman Joanne was – and as long as you live, she will live, too, in your hearts. (I know that might sound sappy, but believe me, it's not.)

  11. This can be such a sensitive time for families. Best wishes toward unity and solace to you and your family as you all cope with your loss. And best wishes to you on behalf of your father as well.

  12. Oh, sweetie, Big hugs to both of you. It sounds like she felt it was her time and was ready – just worried about whether you were. That's the way I want to go. I've tried chemo, and I very very nearly died from the treatment – and like you, I am really not sure the treatment is worth it. As a patient, you have no clue what you go into and you don't really get a choice. It seems like the sort of medicine they thought up in the 40s when they still thought radiation was the coolest thing. I wish they'd invent something more targeted and refined that left the healthy bits of you somewhat intact…Hugs and good wishes for all of you.

  13. Many good thoughts and sympathy to you and your family, mariser. It was her time and she did it with grace before the docs could do anymore. God bless her.

  14. *Hugs*I'm sorry to hear this terrible news. My condolences to you both. It's an awful thing when someone you love is taken from you like this. It sounds like she made the world a better place while she was here.

  15. So sorry to hear about your mother-in-law, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. My Mom passed away a couple of years ago with cancer, and there was NOTHING fun about any of it. Hold her tight in your memories,,, i'll be praying for your father as well.Martin

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