June 20, 2014

Mid-June Ruminations & Cogitations

cloud dance in the sunset (via iPhone)

I’m keeping it real here. No sugar coating. Cancer is a hideous, awful disease. Pancreatic cancer is especially despicable. You don’t know – not the slightest inkling - of just how nasty it is unless you get caught up in its web of torture.

We have experienced more setbacks. One step forward, then many steps backwards. That is how we have marched in accordance with the whims of Mr. Jim’s cancer. After he exhibited some rather frightening symptoms, I rushed Mr. Jim to the hospital on Thursday last week. We spent 21 grueling hours in the emergency room area of the hospital. The last five hours in the ER ticked by at a snail’s pace while he was parked on a gurney in an extremely busy and noisy hallway instead of a room. He was finally admitted for treatment of a bacterial blood infection (sepsis) and anemia. He received multiple IV solutions of antibiotics and several blood transfusions. Before he was released on Monday this week, he also developed an extremely low white blood cell count (neutropenia).

He’s a back home now and taking an oral antibiotic. He’s still sick, but he gets to be sick at home. Of course, he is still dealing with all of the adverse effects of pancreatic cancer, chemotherapy, and the pulmonary embolism that he experienced a month ago too. Keeping track of the schedule for all of his various medications is almost a full time job. He is one whipped and tired puppy.

Mr. Jim had a CAT scan on Wednesday to determine how well the six rounds of chemo worked. Follow-up appointments with his oncologist and internist are scheduled for this coming Monday. Then we will figure out where we go from here.

We’ve been raging a battle with this cancer for over a year. We thought we had a really good chance to kicking it to the curb after the whipple surgery in September and the promising pathology report. But the past few months have turned our lives upside down and inside out. A normal life has quickly disappeared. Hopes, dreams, and plans have been scrapped. Now we have to constantly face the disease, deal with unexpected setbacks, and endure a seemingly endless line of medical appointments. There is nowhere to hide. It is the elephant in the room, so to speak. So, is it any wonder that we are frustrated, aggravated, discouraged, weary, sad, disgusted, and just plain miserable in body and soul?

There are simply no words that I can express which adequately describes our experience. The only way to understand it is to live it. And I would never wish anyone – ever - to live it. There isn’t anything that any of you can do except pray that we can weather this storm with some measure of sanity, grace, and dignity.

Thank you so much for all of your kind words, lovely cards, and beautiful notes of encouragement. We don’t think it is a coincidence that the messages usually come when we need them most. May God bless you.


  1. oh, dear donna, i do wish you strength.

  2. Donna dear, hello to you and Mr. Jim from Bath, England. We're leaving here for London tomorrow morning - just read your post and want you to know that Bob and I are thinking of you both and keeping you in our prayers from far away. Having gone through pancreatic cancer with my father I know what strength and fortitude it takes to face each day. Thank goodness Mr. Jim has wonderful you at his side.

    With love, Mary & Bob

  3. Dear Donna
    I have walked the path of cancer with my sister, so I know what you are saying about the hideousness of it. I do have to say that I am quite aggravated that you received such rotten service at the hospital!
    Make no apologies for your weariness of the soul and all that comes with it, but please know that we are lifting you and Mr. Jim before the Lord daily.
    Much love being sent your way-Kimberly

  4. OHHHhhh Donna can hear in your words the tiredness and desperation that serious illness brings...for the patient and the carer...the worry at all times,the failure to rest well and completely as you wait often hoping for the best but expecting the worst for that ;'elephant" to rampage! I wish ere was more so much more I could ay or do...Upholding you in prayer I will continue...but I truly wish I was nearer to just cook you a meal and swiftly drop it off and give you a hug...Just to break the Mundane f the day for you. I do pray for some rest and restoration for you and Jim in spirit,energy and I pray for a Miracle for Jim...Even warriors grow weary....Light and love to you both...xoxo your faraway friend

  5. If I could wave a magic wand, oh how I'd do it for you and Jim. Cancer is all that you say and more. How we long for a cure. You have remained so chipper and my prayer is that you will continue to look up and be sustained by The Lord God Himself. We are praying daily for you here. Your description of the hospital sounds like some third-world nation and not the wonderful medical community we had not so long ago. Sending love...

  6. My husband and I are keeping you both in our prayers. I wish there was more we can do but I know it's a battle you are fighting with all of your strength. We'll keep praying that God gives you added strength and courage. Sending you hugs my friend, Diane

  7. I love you, both of you.
    My heart hurts for all that y'all are going through.
    I'm so sorry.
    Continued prayers.

  8. Dear Donna, words cannot express how sorry I am to hear this. I do know though, that we serve a mighty God who sustains us and gives us the strength we need, just at the right moment when we need it the most. There is no way to understand why there has to be this kind of suffering. Please know that you, dear Jim, and your families are being lifted up to the One who holds tomorrow. May He give you all the grace and peace to get you through these difficult days. Love & prayers...

  9. Oh dear Donna, I hope there are brighter days ahead for you both very soon. So sorry for all the nastiness you are going through. Cancer is such a horrid disease. I am continuing to pray for strength and courage for you both. I too wish I lived closer to be of some small help.
    Love and Hugs to you both.

  10. Donna, peço a Deus por vocês. Que Ele dê a vocês a serenidade e a sabedoria necessárias para vencer este período difícil. Deus sabe o porquê de cada dificuldade nossa, confie!
    Um grande e carinhoso abraço!
    Donna, I pray to God for you. May He give you the serenity and wisdom necessary to overcome this difficult period. God knows why our every difficulty, trust!
    A hug with love!

  11. Donna, I am so sorry for what the two of you are going through. Cancer really is such an awful disease. I am praying for strength, healing, and peace...xoxo

  12. It saddens me to hear that you and Mr Jim are going through this. I'm turning up the prayers full blast for both of you. Healthier days for him and strength for you to endure. Hang in there.

  13. Donna, this is just heart-wrenching to read! I am so sorry that you are having to go through this prolonged agony...there IS no sugar coating for such a thing.

    You and Jim continue to be in my prayers. I pray for strength, guidance, comfort, rest, peace that passes understanding, help, mercy, grace...

  14. Hi Donna, I just sat here and cried thinking of all that your hubby --and you--are going through.. Cancer is a horrible disease... I am so sorry --and will continue to pray for both of you.

    May God be with you and Jim.

  15. I am sorry for what you and your sweet hubby are going through right now. I have no words except that I wish you both strength and endurance through this time. Cancer sucks! I know and know of so many people suffering because of it right now, not to mention all of the patients I see at the hospital. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. Dear Donna, I'm feel so badly for you and Jim and what you are both going through. This dreaded disease affects so many that are close to the patient and without God's grace and strength it is unbearable. I'm praying for you both as you deal with all the setbacks, and for healing for Jim. May God grant you both grace, strength and peace. Hugs. Pam

  17. Lifting you both up in prayer to our God. So sorry you are having to go through this.

  18. Cancer is dreadful and hideous. I am so sorry you are going through this. I wish, like one of your earlier commenters, that I could do something tangible for you, like a meal, or cleaning your house, or visiting you. Instead, I continue to pray for you, for grace and for strength.

  19. Definitely keeping you in my prayers. I'm so sorry. I was thinking, though, that it's wonderful, really super wonderful, that you are there for him. I know it's hard to think of "wonderful" right now but he is a lucky man to have you there to take such good care of him. Big hugs and always continued prayers, Jackie

  20. Dear Donna, how I wish both you and your beloved could have been spared the protracted agony of this illness. It is hard for me to imagine one of you without the other, for you are both cemented in my wonderful memories of you as such a dynamic and compassionate team. I cherish the times I was able to spend with you both, talking camera and enjoying Mr. Jim's excellent cooking. I choose to believe those days are not over, and that Mr. Jim will feel better and be better soon. I pray God in HIs mercy and wisdom will guide the doctors and touch Mr. Jim's body, bringing comfort and healing to every aspect of this terrible situation, as well as strength to you Donna. While there's life, there's hope. My prayers for you and Jim are full of that hope, and of love and gratitude for the beautiful spirit you both have always shown to me. God bless you in every way today my dear friend.

  21. It is so hard to keep your chin up when this kind of illness takes over your life. I wish there were words I could say but there aren't.
    It is brutal to say the least to be the caretaker and watch someone decline. I wish and I pray that your Jim can recover. God bless you both.

  22. Oh, dear friend, the pain and weariness that comes through your words makes my heart hurt for you. You continue to be in my prayers. I'm asking God to give both of you peace in the middle of the storm, strength to keep going and rest in your weary souls.

  23. Wishing you some peaceful moments, and prayers continue for both of you.

  24. That's one hell of a long wait in the hallway Girlfriend! WISH I had been there!! He would NOT have been there that long...As a retired nurse remember these two things, A. The word Administrator....as in, I Want to speak with the Administrator, Now!
    and B. The squeaky wheel gets oiled First, so start Squeaking!!
    I'm just livid!! Sending LOVE and HUGS and PRAYER sweet friend...


Marty, here! Donna loves comments, and I faithfully pass them on to her. Thank you so much for visiting!