April 17, 2014
First, my apology (yet again) for the long silence. I’ve been dealing with pain control for months, due to a bad left hip joint which can’t be dealt with by surgery, and –- as many of you know – pain tends to diminish energy, and writing takes energy. Things are gradually improving, with the help of good doctoring by Dr. Paul Abramson, and here I am.
It’s not just because I’m feeling better that I’m communicating with you today; it seems to me that the full story of Sasha’s health has to be shared with you right now, since all of you have – miraculously – helped to keep him safe and well cared for at home, and you deserve to know what has developed within the last few months.
You know Sasha has mild dementia, which means that he talks and laughs and creates marvelous puns, but can’t remember what he had for breakfast, or even that he actually had a breakfast. He remembers old friends, but can’t easily remember the names of his care-people, who have been with him for over a year. It is because of the dementia that I have not told him what I am now telling you, which is that he has recently been diagnosed as having liver cancer. It is absolutely painless, thank God, and we hope it’ll continue to be so. He has lost a lot of weight and is beginning to weaken, but the girls keep him exercised and walking so that he can visit his favorite Starbucks and interact with the group of nice elders who gather there every day.
We have the help of Hospice, which is wonderful. There isn’t much, yet, for them to do except take his vital signs once a week, but they are there when and if we need them.
If Sasha were mentally clear and able to understand fully what the situation is, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell him, but as it is, he would take in the information and forget most of it, but the images and fears would be there when he woke in the morning and he would spend a lot of time wondering what was wrong and why he felt anxious, and we would spend all this precious time with him trying to explain over and over again and reassuring him and wishing we’d kept quiet and allowed him to enjoy these months. After all, he is happy most of the time, and I want him to remain happy. He will be 89 years old in June, and we will celebrate his long and fruitful and loving life with all our hearts and he will remain at peace.
I thank all of you, yet again, for having helped us so much during these past years, and believe me when I tell you that we are grateful for every five dollar bill (and there have been many) as well as every one hundred dollar bill. Not many people have such friends and such compassionate and caring acquaintances, and so many people expressing gratitude at the end of their lives. Thank you.
Blessings — Ann
Photo by Greg Manning