Sudden relapse and death. Any answers, support?
My best friends grandfather, who she was very close to, passed away Sunday morning. This wasn't a suprise as he had been very ill for the last month. He had lung cancer for 5 years, never smoked in his life, and was 72 years old at his passing. He had otherwise been very healthy all his life. A typical robust midwestern workhorse. I spent several weeks in the summer for a few years relaxing at their rural home, and he was one strong man.
Here's the unusual part (or maybe not.) For over 4 years, he had fought lung cancer valiantly, refusing harsh treatements that would impact his quality of life (at his age, he didn't see the need) opting for some radiation and a surgery which greatly improved his health and shrunk the cancer. His cancer had been shrinking steadily all that time, and he'd been feeling great for the most part. Then suddenly, last month, he began having excruciating pain. After some tests, they found that one lung had been completely taken over and the other signifigantly invaded. He fell very ill very quickly, and was soon on huge doses of morphine. He declined very quickly over the last month. Suddenly he could barely walk, talk, or eat, and began having "accidents" at night. I know these embarrassed him greatly. The doctors gave him little hope, and I think he knew his time had come. Home health came in to help care for him, but he refused IV sustenance, choosing to let things take their natural course. As of last Thursday, he had not had any food or liquid in three days and was severly dehydrated and hospitalized. He still refused IV. Just asked for morphine to make him more comfortable. He managed to cling to life until Sunday morning. The doctors and nurses couldn't believe how strong his body had been. He was ready to go mentally, but his body wouldn't shut down. I know he is the type that doesn't want to be remembered as a sick, weak, frail man, which is why he chose to gracefully let go of life. And he was only sick for a month, so his wishes were answered. None of us remember him that way.
But the suddeness of the relapse and death is what spins my head, after 5 years of great health. I guess I just needed to share. I just can't believe he went so quickly. Well, thanks for listenting.
DS born 07/05/2003
DD born 3/24/2005