Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

One family’s end of life decisions

leave a comment »

One family’s journey through hospice is painful as well as beautiful and inspiring.

I do not know Terence Lutrell or his wife Sherry. But I know their touching story. It is a gut wrenching, highly charged, emotional story showing the extent of care required if one is to die at home.  It has reinforced my choice to die in hospital so that I do not inflict my wife/carer Pauline to the indignity of wiping my bum and all those other less than appealing jobs that our nurses are trained to do.

There are two facts about prostate cancer: many survive, but many with advanced disease do not. Unfortunately, Terrence lost his battle but he was a fortunate man to be surrounded with the warmth of loving family and friends. Here is Sherry’s post:  (Source)

Today was very long and heart breaking day; many tears- some from sadness and some from gratefulness for the moment. Terence was in and out of consciousness and completely unable to do things for himself (swallow, eat, drink for starters)- it’s taking a small village (our family) to keep up with the needs on this one household dealing with end stage cancer. My sisters, Brook and Charla. I don’t have the words. Both are here 24/7 waiting on Terence hand and foot- guessing- “Does he want water? Do you think he wants ice cream?” (he is losing his ability to speak) they feed him once they figure it out what he wants. That’s not even the messy side of care giving, but they’re there for that too.

My brothers in-laws…. John and Dave. They spent the past few days here fixing stuff and making stuff easier for Terence.

Even though hospice said Terence wouldn’t be up and about (bed bound) they re-vamped the shower and bathroom to make it easier for me to help him take a shower. They fixed electrical outlets, my doors, installed dimmers … they’ve been busy helping to make life a little easier around here. Dave reset all my clocks and figured out the remote control for me.

The past few days have been gruesome. Watching Terence try to accomplish some of the simpler things like swallowing his pills, or even water. He breaks down and weeps sometimes because he knows and he gets mad or really sad. When he cries my heart breaks into a bajillion pieces. By the end of two or three weeping sessions of his, I usually go someplace he can’t see me and I cry. Really hard. If he sees me crying, he tries to console me. He whispers, “shhhhh” and tries to reach for my face. My heart actually hurts.

The hospice nurse had to come today since Terence can’t swallow his pills- so the morphine pump was introduced. We three sisters were schooled on the pump. His massage therapist came by and massaged him. Then she went out to her car and brought her table in, set it up next to Terence’s bed and gave me a massage. I couldn’t stop crying. (Continue …)

Tomorrow would be a great day for a miracle.


A Note from Lee aka Popeye

Terrence died on 14 August, 2012.  Sherry, we wish you peace and strength. You already share abundant love.

Greg died from prostate cancer 24th September 2012 and as per his wishes he was at hospital and not at home. Pauline was surrounded by love and strength from all the family and friends.

Sadly, in Australia, one man dies like this from prostate cancer every three hours. Perhaps 2013 may bring advances to find a cure for all types of cancer.

Written by Greg Naylor

11 December 2012 at 6:00 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: