Final Blog, Page 1; June 2012

Rather than typing numerous emails, I will try to keep this up-to-date.

My Impending, FINAL, BEST Trip

Wish I had kept notes from when this all started. Went to the dentist May 17 and must have been feeling fine or I would not have gone. A day or so later it hit me; all the symptoms you really do not want to have, specifically:
BAD Symptoms:
- jaundiced
- no energy at all
- urine almost orange in color
- itchy spots all over the body
(no spots on hands but they itch a lot too)
- lost 10+ pounds
- no appetite
- antibiotics did not work nor did lotion
- stool discolored, as if it has a condom on parts of it (due to the 2 prescriptions??)
- e.d., and no libido
- chills
- need to get up at night every hour to urinate but it comes slowly and very little volume
- can't sleep at night

"GOOD" Symptoms:
- no headaches
- no pain
- no bleeding (except where scratching was too much)
- no fever

Marie moved in and sister Connie came from Salmon Arm, and it was tremendous support to me, having both here.

Over a period of a few days, I donated 2 urine samples and at least 13 blood samples. My dignity had sunk so low now that when my doctor asked if he should do a "digital test" of my prostate, I emphatically told him "Yes." I was glad that he did because he told me that my prostate seemed to be fine. I guess it was the cat-scan that really told the story; that is, a mass of cancer on the pancreas, 4.1cm x 3.4cm, and some kind of spots on the liver. In surgery, they knocked me out and the surgeon (Dr. Miles) went down my throat to install a metal "stent." HE is the one who, on June 20, said that I might live 3 more months. I think this means 3 months of "decent" life followed by "a few" months of "hard slugging."

Saturday, June 23, 2012:

This was a good day for me and apparently my jaundiced look had improved as well. We did a lot of "getting rid of STUFF." It seemed to give a perverse feeling of satisfaction to see all my "prized possessions" being put into that box or this bag, with the name of a relative on it. It did not bother me in the slightest; I actually enjoyed it. Late in the day we decided to have a garage sale, or, rather, an Estate Sale soon; maybe two of them. I felt good enough that I put my newest website online; it lives at http://www.sticksite.com/rabbit/.

Sunday, June 24:

Had a good day yesterday; less itching, taking in food and drink all day. But very UN-energetic. Saw an ad for one of those lovely sweet alcoholic drinks on TV so suggested to my two Angels that next trip out they should get me some. They came back with 6 bottles; costing $150. I'm definitely a non-drinker but I remember I used to, 40+ years ago, enjoy SOME drinks. There is one advantage of being in a "terminal" condition: You do not have to worry about becoming an alcoholic! I sampled the ice wine and the Drambuie hoping that would make me sleep well. I told the girls that I really needed a proper wine glass so Connie went next-door and borrowed one from Sharon! Night before I had taken 1/2 sleeping pill. This time it did not work; at 2:15 AM Marie had to wake Connie to get a sleeping pill.

First thing in the morning Marie drove us to the huge, new, fancy RecPlex so we could have breakfast at "WannaWafel. They got me a wheelchair and that was a fine trip. On the way home we bought popsickles and "Mr.Freezies" for my constantly-dry mouth.

Just before noon, John arrived and he brought the seats for my van and some other stuff from the cabin. Then neighbor Jenna came to deliver a banana loaf hot from the oven.

My weight has gone back up; last December I was 165 pounds and a week ago I was down to 148. Back up to 152 now.

Today was a good day for me. Walking is a challenge, it seem much of the weight loss must have been leg muscle. In evening Beno and Ed and Lisa/Calvin indicated that they might want to buy the farm for $150,000. I managed to contact Kevin Bertram and he offered $160,000. That put me into an awkward position.

Drank a small volume of wine tonight and had one sleeping pill but I could not sleep so at 2:00 AM ate a full(small) jar of "Aunt" Connie's fish preserves. Oh, yes, Marcel did up a LOT of mussels for us, with thick porchops and veggies. Sadly, the mussels were awful and I asked Marie to dump them into the garbage! Forty dollars worth! This was a good day compared with how days were a week ago.

Monday, June 25:

Had a good night; took a sleeping pill when I went to bed and around midnight I got up and ate a jar of Connie's fish preserves. Up around 5:30 AM. Eating lots of Mr. Freezies and popsicles to fight the dry mouth (caused by the anti-itching pills.) This seems to be starting out as a very good day; I feel fine and have almost no itching. First we went to the TD Bank to get "Danny" started selling my investment and get Connie C set up to be able to sign my cheques. Then to the RecPlex for WannaWafel and we found a warm spot upstairs in the sun. I did NOT use a wheelchair and made it up and down the stairs without any problem. Then to Shoppers for some stuff to aid my dry-mouth problem, but that did not help. Then to the College to change matters related to the B.J. Laninga Memorial Bursary, and change its name to "Beno and Ada Laninga memorial bursary."

Back at the house I asked John if we had or had not sold the Argo to the 3 buyers of the farm, i.e. Beno, Lisa and Calvin. It appeared that had not been mentioned so I hinted it would be nice to include the Argo in the Estate Sale. That would be a nuisance with it being 94 miles away so John asked what price I would put on it. I said four hundred and he paid me that for it. Done. Nice and clean. Then to the bank to cash it and to the Government of Canada office to arrange that my Canada Penion and Old Age pension would, starting with the July payments go to the TD bank. Then I'll close my Presidents Choice accounts on July 1 and also my Ally Bank account.

In the PM, Lisa came to visit with her 3 kids; nice of them. John, Marie and Connie went downtown and bought me a beautiful necklace with cross on it. I had indicated that I had never used a necklace, but now feel the need to wear one. The chain is one my MOM (!!) used to wear so after I am cold and stiff, this necklace has to go back to Connie Coleman. I am doing quite well, today, but very tired.

I am VERY thankful to The Lord for letting me have these (weeks?) with family around and be able to clean up my affairs. Those unfortunate enough to die suddenly don't get that chance. I've had 71 pretty good years, some very hard times but they help one to cope. God has been more than generous with me and I thank HIM 24/7. In the evening, neighbors Herb and Sharon brought a large tray of buns. After supper, Joe Erker came to visit and brought a very nice cake.

In the evening my new $2,500 (EACH) hearing aids began screaming. It got worse and finally I had to remove them. I put in the OLD pair and the improvement was 1000%. I've never liked the new ones and plan to kick some butt at "Connect Hearing" on Thursday. Talking with David on Skype was fine, but not so with Connie B; women's voice (and children's) just will not play nice with the new hearing aids.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012:

Today we plan a trip to the cabin, to bring back my books, chainsaw etc to put into the upcoming "Estate Sale." More and more I am realizing that NO THINGS are important. We need them to live but not after. It is giving me great pleasure to get RID of things, ALL THINGS. My cousin Cathi asked me to greet her deceased parents in Heaven. I was not under the impression that this would be possible and sent a cc of my reply to John B who replied:

Ken, Heaven is a temporary "holding area" where we will be with the Lord until the time of the resurrection. The resurrection is the event where we will have glorified bodies and begin to live upon the new earth. We will not spend eternity in heaven. As far as recognition, when Jesus was resurrected, there were moments when His own disciples did not recognize Him. However, in heaven, there is no grand reunion ... that will take place after the resurrection. The verse, "then we will know even as we are known" refers not to mutual recognition of each other, but of true recognition of ourselves to ourselves, i.e., I will know who and what I really am. Blessings, John B

This morning we went to NoFrills store and loaded up both vans with cardboard boxes and then all 3 vehicles, (John in his truck, Connie in her van and Marie and I in my van) went to the farm/cabin where we filled said boxes with more of my STUFF. Marie drove up, and I managed to drive back. Great trip. John stayed up there for now with more of my STUFF in his truck.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012:

Weight this morning: 150 lbs. You know, there is an unbelievably large amount of work to be done in a situation like this. Connie, Marie, and John were running constantly while I sat and tried to think of important matters which we should clean up while I am still here to provide info and guidance. Connie and Marie are angels! Even in the middle of last night, Marie got up to rub Calamine lotion all over me. I am very grateful to God for allowing me to be here to guide Connie and Marie; if I had been taken with no warning, they would have been stuck with a terrible mess to clean up

We went to the hospital first thing this morning to have the wax cleaned out of my ears. I am still wondering whatever it was that made the nurse think she was supposed to use boiling water. The pain is finally gone. Then we went to the golden arches for egg-mcmuffin but we were too late so had fish burgers. Then to Apple Auto glass to make sure "Rob" would have a windshield ready on short notice to install in my van. We'll get that done, as Marie suggested, AFTER the final trip to the cabin.

THANKS to ALL of you for the expressions of sympathy and for your PRAYERS. No, no prayer for physical healing, but prayer that I will be allowed into the HOLY PLACE and not ONLY that, but that ALL my friends and relative will also be allowed in. I know very well that some will not and that hurts.

When I am dead, please forget the condolences cards; no point in it. I will not be "up there watching" and my family is well aware of your moral support; let that be enough.

Next, off to the doctor (Obiajulu) and at an intersection Marie (all 3 of us in my van) had a green light but I could hear a siren coming so I yelled for her to stop. She hit the brakes hard and all the boxes of jars, batteries which were at the BACK end of the van shot forward and crashed. Imagine the mess including 5 years' worth of hearing-aid batteries. What a mess! The doctor's record of my weight June 19 was 67Kg and today it was 69.7Kg.

My Dutch Aunt wrote a prayer from Truman Capote; it was in Dutch, but this seems to be the English version:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take

Thursday, June 28, 2012:

Took a sleeping pill last night and had the best night of sleep in more than a week. Beno came and he took me to his lawyer's office to sign papers re the farm sale. Dr. Desh Mittra came to look at my rock collection; there was nothing of great interest and Beno will give it to Lisa & Calvin's boys. Florence Mayer visited also. After supper, Armand and Ellen Cyr brought a cake and visited.

I feel pretty well; most of the bad symptoms are going away. The worst now are the dry mouth, some shaking, frequent chills and fatigue. We are getting rid of a lot of STUFF and that gives me a feeling of relief. I never could have imagined, couple of months ago, how GOOD it feels to get RID of all your toys, treasures and STUFF. It is strange to me, to say the least. I am convinced that The Lord is My Shepherd and He is leading me HOME to praise him 24/7 with the "Heavenly Host" FOREVER without end. A truly AMAZING promise which I claim to be MINE. Praise the Lord!!! Death has NO STING and I don't fear it in the slightest. I look forward to the most exciting experience we can have. Brother John arrived after supper.

Received a very nice email from my son David:

Dad,
I'm enjoying your blog, and really wish I was there with you right now to be going through this with you. The first handful of days I was quite depressed and distressed. I haven't cried about anything for years (no reason to, really, I suppose), but facing your loss was too much. The last handful of days however, as I've watched (from afar and vicariously through the Connies) what appears to be a transformation of sorts, or a dawning of something new in your life, I'm more than encouraged. I'm buoyed up and feel carried along. I think the other day Jackson used language something along the lines of being jealous of you. I get it, I do.
I'm sure over the weeks my emotions will ebb and flow, but that really doesn't matter. Jesus holds us in his hands and we can with absolute confidence trust in his wisdom in all our affairs. Over the last week my thoughts have constantly gone back to the very first question of the Heidelberg Confession:
Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a) am not my own, (b) but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; (c) who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d) and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (e) and so preserves me (f) that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (g) yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h) and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (i) and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (j)
Can there be any greater comfort, both in life and in death? No, I don't think so. And so I put all my trust in Jesus. You're right: Our 'stuff' is just that, 'stuff'. Our hopes, dreams, cares, everything, mean nothing apart from what Jesus gives us, and promises us.
As always, I love you, dad. And I can't wait to get up there and give you a big huge, warm, and uncomfortably long hug ;-)

Friday, June 29, 2012:

First, off to the clinic to donate blood/urine specimens. Then, pick up John and go to the Golden Arches for Egg McMuffin; neither tasted good due to my malfunctioning taste-buds. Frank and Jean Smith came in but did not recognize me. We went to their table and I told them I was paying for their breakfast and visited briefly.

Next we went to the bank to arrange my affairs and then to the Hearing Aid place to adjust said machines; they work MUCH better now. THEN to the post office to mail a parcel. Then to the Mall for a Root Beer float and a stroll. Part way into that stroll, my eyes started to blurr so we went back to the house to let me lay down while John and Connie went to have a prescription filled for me and pick up some supper.

Whether we like it or not, (and I do NOT mind!) the subject of death comes up a lot. Today that reminded me of a song done long ago by the Kingston Trio: "The Reverend Mr. Black." Click HERE to download it.

In the evening John mowed all the grass; that was a big help.

Saturday, June 30, 2012:

Up at 5. Took a shower which I had been reluctant to do, for fearing the rubbing would aggravate the itching which, although not very bad, is still around. Connie has been trying to upgrade my Telus internet connection to the very highest-possible speed so that Dave cam work from my house when he comes. Unfortunately, the Telus service was so bad that she was not able to finish that little job.

Connie, John and I had a quiet morning, cleaning up little things. Sure seems weird; all my toys, trinkets and treasures going "I know not where" and that suits me 100%. Absolutely no regrets. Planning garage sales.

In trying to find the words to explain what I believe in the theological aspect, I was reminded of the Apostles' Creed. There are several versions of it. This one explains pretty well what I believe. Where it refers to the "...catholic Church" I believe that to mean the "Universal Church" and does not refer to Roman Catholicism.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN

In the afternoon, Connie Coleman left for home in Salmon Arm to catch up on things there. Had a nice video chat with John Barach in Chilliwack and then with David, Jean and Amy in Buckeye. Around 7:30 PM daughter Connie and hubby Keith B arrived from Calgary, and John went back north to his home for a few days.

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