Jenn’s husband, Dave, here. She wanted me to update her readers on what had happened when she was no longer with us, which sadly, has now happened.
Last Thursday the hospice nurse came to our house and decided that Jenn should be admitted to the hospice facility. Within a couple hours she was leaving the home that she loved so much in an ambulance. At the time we thought there was a possibility that it would just be a temporary stay. By Friday afternoon, though, the nurse told me that I should call our daughter, who was on a school trip at Disney World, that she should come home as soon as possible if she wanted to be able to speak to her again. Over the next day she went from bad to worse, slowly losing what little she had left. It became harder and harder to talk to her. My last real conversation with her was on Saturday afternoon. It was what had become by then a rare moment of lucidity.
As the nurses continued to attend to her the extent of her disease became clear. She had tumors in her colon that caused a variety of problems which I will leave to your imagination. The ascites fluid which I had been helping her drain since November and had been yellow, started showing blood. She had to lie with her legs up because of pain, and when she no longer had the strength to keep them up they fell to her sides so that she lay bow-legged. The nurses believe this was because of tumors in her groin. In short, the tumors had completely taken over her lower digestive tract. I’m telling you this because she was very candid with you about what she was going through and she believed that if she could raise awareness of how horrid metastatic breast cancer is then perhaps her sacrifice would have meant something.
Throughout this ordeal my only concern was executing her wishes: to be in as little pain as possible and to sleep through the worst parts. The nurses assured me that her pain was at manageable levels throughout. On the last day I was told she had been administered over 100 mg of morphine total. I spent each of the five nights she was there with her and generally made myself a pest to the staff.
Yesterday afternoon I was holding her hand and talking to her while I looked her in the eye. I think she heard me – her movements and groans hint that she did. My daughter was there, and so was one of her close friends. I told her that F and I were going to go to dinner and be back shortly. As we were finishing dinner, not one hour later, her friend texted me that I need to come back right now. The hospice nurse called me while my daughter and I were walking to our car to tell us she had passed. The nurse, her friend, and my daughter believe that she did it deliberately while I was gone either to spare me seeing it, or because she felt I wouldn’t let her go.
I know you all must feel something like the pain my family and I feel now. She had a way of touching people she hadn’t even met. She’s left us an extraordinary gift by recording her life in this blog. For however long I have left, whenever I feel like I’m missing her, I’ll have this to read and remind me of who she was.