TLG&TLTA part 2

DustyMark's Journey 3 Comments

When she came in and sat down I knew it wasn’t good. I mean, I knew it wasn’t good anyways but when she did this I knew it was bad. She asked what our oncologist/physicians have told us about his diagnosis. I scoffed a little because I never felt like the oncologist was ever very transparent and honest. I told her we knew we were “buying time”, and I read the scans I know that it had spread everywhere and that it was very aggressive. She explain to me (Mark wasn’t listening…I think he was sleeping) that his liver may have clogged ducting or there could be some blood clots not allowing it to function well. They weren’t sure but at some point his colon/intestines were deprived of blood flow and they (a section of or sections of) were basically dead. The only way to fix it was surgery. She was pretty sure they would not offer surgery because he was so sick, he wouldn’t survive the procedure. It so hard to hear this because naturally you want to do what you can to help him but helping him at this point will only cause him more pain, if not death. The night before we all went out to dinner…..he walked into the clinic earlier (barely), he just sat up with Phil and Jason and watched a 3 hour movie. He just took Aly to breakfast…how did this happen so fast!? They told me that he had hours and maybe days to live. There was nothing they could do…his body was shutting down. They told me to call my kids and whoever may need to say goodbye. At this point my whole body started to shiver and shake like when you are cold…cold to core of your body. I couldn’t stop it. I told them Mark wanted to die at home and so I need to get him home. They were hesitant and told me that they didn’t know if they could do that and carried on for a little while about all their hesitations and finally I just stopped them and said this is what Mark wanted and that they will help me make it happen. I asked if I needed to make phone calls or if they were going to work with me and then said they would contact hospice first thing and we could go from there. The other option is like a hospice “room” at the hospital but we were 2.5 hours away from home! They said they were concerned he wouldn’t make the trip home in the ambulance. Funny how complete strangers can suddenly be so concerned. I did have to be assertive.

Mark didn’t hear any of that and so we had to go to his bedside and tell him. They asked if he heard and he shook his head yes but then opened his eyes and said, no. No, he didn’t hear it and so it was repeated. He put his hand on my arm and told me to calm down but the shaking was involuntary. I couldn’t stop it. He told me to call the kids…and our siblings…and his mom and dad. I turned to the doctor and asked..”I really have to call my kids….right now?” The answer was yes. He said he didn’t know how long we had. They rolled Mark to a new room and got us set up to just be there. I had to sign papers…to not resuscitate. We were only doing IV pain meds. The nurses and staff were very kind and got me whatever I needed. I made those horrible phone calls…waking loved ones from their slumber to drive to Ann Arbor. Of course, the hardest was my kids. I called Karson and asked him to go get the kids and drive down. Everyone was coming. While I waited I played some of Marks music he liked on his phone. A little Ghostship, Shane and Shane, old hymns. I didn’t know what to say..I had him alone and I didn’t know what to say. I had read earlier through some of Psalms and tried to memorize it. But I was speechless now…through tears I told him I loved him. Alot. He said he would miss me. I told him Heaven would be too great to miss me here. Mark continued to need to sit up and now he was vomiting large amounts of blood. I kept washing out the bucket so if someone came in, like a kiddo, they wouldn’t see that. Slowly the blood subsided. I remember him telling me after he vomited…that his dad needs to know he is there and I assured him that he was on his way. I don’t know what all I was thinking at the time…I can’t really remember….I was just a bit shocked and all the things I had thought about since diagnosis….the what-ifs…were happening and I had no idea what to do or expect. I was just sad. I wanted to crawl up on the bed…but he kept sitting up and there were IVs and such. I just wanted to be close. For 9 months….I really haven’t been able to be close to him. He sat in his chair…he was always in pain. I just wanted to be close now. By 4:30am…the kids had arrived. Mark woke up and held hands with some if them and said “well, this is it. It came sooner than we thought”…..He also told Karson to take care of us. Do you know how hard it is to watch your kids sob and suffer? To watch your grown son cry? To watch your 15 year old son cry? To watch any of your kids weap? I hope you never experience this but life is full of pain, and you probably will. We went through this once already in January when Mark was at UofM on his own….he learned he was just buying time and I had to tell the kids on my own at home. It is just one of the worst pieces of news you have to deliver to your kids. Your dad is not going to get well and we don’t know how long he will live. I remember that night clearly and there was alot of crying…and quiet silent moments. I was proud of Cora though as she spun around, sat up stright and said. ” Guys, we knew this was a possibility but our God is bigger than this” and then she prayed with us all. I then told Felicity after a baby appointment…and Karson outside my house on the front stoop. So even though we knew it would happen, we weren’t prepared for it to happen.

We sat close to each other. Not much was said. What was there to say? More family started pouring in and we were too many for the room. They moved us to a larger room to accomadate all of us.

When family members came in…they approached Mark and sometimes he aknowledged them and sometimes he did not. There were hugs and hand holding but not much from Mark. In fact, his pain was under control it seemed and we were all just there….drinking coffee…saying little. I remember at one point thinking…what are we doing? Just here…looking at each other…waiting for Mark to die? Was I really suppose to call everyone? Were they wrong? When the sun rose it shone into the room..I remember it being beautiful. My kids are big on sunrises and sunsets…and I knew they would appreciate the light …and I knew if Mark were well he woud tease them about “golden hour”. I looked across the room and Hatcher and Cora were sleeping head to head, cozied up together in the recliner. I didn’t sleep all night. I wondered what everyone was thinking…if they were upset that they drove so far to just sit and think, pray and visit. I had no idea. Amy, his sister, asked if anyone had prayed and I told her no but I would like that. She took that on and prayed over Mark and all of us. Mark still felt the need to sit up….he said he needed his bucket, but it was happening less and less. Finally, a nurse did come in and tell us hospice had responded and that we just needed to coordinate times etc and she would be back but that seemed to take forever. Family came in and out…went to a family room or got food/coffee. Some dozed off, some chatted.

Hospice of West Michigan took on his case and we were told he would take an ambulance at 1:30pm to our home and that the company would meet up there at 5:30pm. I had fairy friends back home…cleaning up and preparing our home for a hospice bed. I had already thought ahead as I feared for this day, and knew exactly where it should go. They were very huge behind the scenes. They took him off the IV pain meds an hour or so early and switched to oral meds to see how he did. My biggest concern in the beginning of this ER visit was that he wouldn’t have his 24 slow release oxycodone…and I told them he was on that but I will learn later that perhaps the fact that he was always on pain meds…was looked over. The ambulance came and two women EMT’s were doing to escort him back. (this detail plays a role later) He would not be able to be on IV meds in route or at home so now it was totally oral meds. Family members headed back home and I was staying back to go in the ambulance but when they arrived they told me I couldn’t. Covid. (I thought we moved beyond this but I guess not). I had to jump in Karson’s truck and I also had someone driving my car back for me so now we had to beat the ambulance back. One of the reasons I felt okay about the ambulance was that I would be there and quickly that changed. We were told we could escort him ourselves..but I felt my car would not be good for him. Somewhere in route, we did pass them and I did recognize the driver so I knew we were fine. I did worry that something would go wrong on the way but it was totally out of my control….which it actually had been from the beginning. I was never actually in any control of any of this. Because if I was, the story would have gone much different.

Mark with Kiyah before we went to dinner Sat night May 7th?

Comments 3

  1. Oh Dusty, such sacred words shared with us. I have seen in my career these moments close up and it is very clear when walking through this agony those who have the Holy Spirits presence. It’s hard to explain but my tears flow down my face and yet my heart rejoices with the truth of who holds Mark now. Love to you dear friend.❤️

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