Update on Bert’s cancer:
-On January 24---Bert (my eldest son, age 59) went to the doctor with a ‘knot’ on his neck. This was the beginning of a new journey for our family. After some preliminary tests, the doctors suspected CANCER from the beginning, but they weren’t sure. SO many many tests including an MRI, several CTScanes, 2 biopsies, etc.. were performed.. (At first we all were hoping that he had a more common Thyroid Cancer which is easy to cure... That didn’t happen!)
-Finally, on February 2nd, the bad news came. Bert not only has cancer. He has a VERY rare, life-threatening, no cure cancer named STAGE IV ANAPLASTIC THYROID CANCER. This particular cancer travels fast throughout the body. Bert already has some cancer spots on his lung.
-After several days of devastation, I finally shared Bert’s story on February 9th on Facebook and on the 11th on this Blog... It was hard --but the outpouring of love and support and prayers was (and continues to be) fantastic. I am glad that I have so many wonderful friends. (NOT sure what I would do without all of you and my wonderful family.)
-Since the 9th, Bert continues to have many appointments and tests. We are so glad that he is getting great care at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. He has seen and continues to see a variety of specialists while dealing with his cancer and treatment. Besides his PCP doctor, he now has a Thyroid Doctor, an Oncologist, a Radiation Oncologist and a Palliative Care Doctor. All of these doctors work together as a team. Amazing and Awesome!
-Bert is not married and his son lives in Florida. His father died in July this past year. SO--his two brothers and I are his only close relatives. George and I drive over to see Bert at least once a week, and his brothers are the ones taking him back and forth to all of his appointments. Those two sons are the ones keeping Bert in their homes now (since they don’t want him to be alone). Thanks be to God for these amazing sons, Mark and Jeff, and their supporting wives, Robin and Dawn. Without them, I’m not sure what we could do at this time in our lives.
-Since Bert’s tumor in his neck is growing fast, that team of doctors is moving quickly to help him and keep him comfortable. Right now, Bert struggles with a very stiff neck, and cannot turn his head to the right now. He struggles with eating and is mostly on liquids or very soft foods now. He has trouble sleeping and has a raspy throat. So far though, there are no breathing problems.
-He began some Radiation Treatments on Feb. 15, and will have these treatments for 10 or more days to see if they are shrinking the tumor some.. (Did I tell you that they cannot remove the tumor since it is wrapped around all of those nearby glands? That would cause even more problems for Bert.)
-On Feb. 15, George and I took Bert to see the Palliative Doctor... That was such a great experience for Bert and for me. This caring, compassionate doctor talked to Bert to get his ‘wishes’ for his future. We even talked about Hospice... As a family, we are most concerned for Bert’s comfort with a lack of suffering through his last days. We do not know how long we will have this sweet boy on this earth but we don’t want him to suffer... This is all in God’s hands.
-As a Mom, I truly don’t know how anyone can go through this without God in their lives. All of us in the family have a lot of faith, and that faith is what is carrying us through this journey. Another thing which helps me tremendously is that Bert has an incredibly great attitude. He has accepted what is happening to him and never complains. God Bless this wonderful son of mine. Please continue praying for all of my family --and especially Bert. Thank You.
Love to all,
BETSY and GEORGE