Saturday, 30 August 2014

Rest In Peace

It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Tess finally found peace last Thursday night (28 August).

Tess was an incredibly multi-talented and gifted lady on so many levels. I am enormously proud to have been her husband. Not only was she a fantastic wife, mother and Nana but also enjoyed a career as a brilliant teacher before she retired. In addition, she could apply her crafty skills in so many dimensions: dressmaking, cross-stitch, quilting, card-making, and constructing and designing a dolls house.

She was inspirational to so many - family, friends, fellow crafters and bloggers, and really cared about doing what was right in every situation she was confronted with. She helped very many people cope with difficult problems, providing tremendous emotional and practical assistance throughout her life.

Thank you for all the support, prayers, helpful comments and best wishes over all the time this blog has been going. They have been so helpful to us both in providing the strength to fight this terrible disease for so long.

Alan xx

As mesothelioma is an asbestos-related disease the Coroner is involved and no funeral arrangements can be made at this time.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Four Years On ...

Tess has asked me (Alan) to continue with her blog for now, as her condition weakens.

It was on 25 September 2010 that Tess went into hospital suffering from breathlessness. She underwent a number of tests and they took a sample of fluid from her chest cavity. She came home the next day.

The following week we went back for the results of the tests - and got the awful news that Tess had terminal cancer. Mesothelioma was a complete unknown to us then, but gradually over the next few weeks and months we discovered so much about this terrible asbestos-related disease of the lining of the lung. Life-expectancy was usually a few months or one, possibly two years if you were lucky. Very few lived any longer.

Tess has fought several battles over the four years since diagnosis. The chemotherapy worked well for some time to shrink the cancer, but it takes its own toll on the body. Surgery was also very effective in keeping the fluid in the chest (produced by the cancer) under control. This was so helpful in dealing with breathlessness and other symptoms.

Despite the wonderful support of family and friends, and the combined efforts of all the all the medical teams, Tess's condition is deteriorating. The cancer is growing and more painful, she continues to lose weight, and we are gradually losing the war.

We now have a care team commissioned by the Health Service to assist me in looking after Tess, rather than the Hospice carers (which was always only on a temporary basis). So far, the girls are very good and gentle with Tess as they provide for her needs. The Hospice team are wonderful at providing palliative care on demand, with the support of our GP and district nurses.

Thank you once again for your kind support, good wishes and prayers.

Alan x

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Supporters make the unbearable, bearable.

Tess has asked me (Alan) to write the blog again this week, as she continues to be very poorly.

Thank goodness the infusion Tess had last month reduced her blood Calcium levels back to normal. However, the blood test which confirmed this also showed that anaemia was a problem again, but not so bad as last time. Iron tablets were prescribed to fix it, rather than another transfusion.

The support team from the local Pilgrim's Hospice have been fantastic. They and the district nurses, nutritionist and occupational therapist have provided many items to help Tess cope at home while she is so incapacitated. Last week the Hospice team organised a care package to help me look after Tess, and the girls who come in to care for her are so wonderful.

We have turned our house into a virtual bungalow now, converting our dining room into a bedroom with a hospital bed for Tess overlooking our front gardens - the view of our roses is so much better than the neighbouring roofs Tess used to see from our upstairs main bedroom.

When Tess has been feeling well enough, we have enjoyed the company of family and friends, but sometimes we have had to postpone visits when the pain and tiredness were too great.

The grandies are a great tonic. We now have pictures of Ethan in his new school uniform (he starts next month - how time flies). When we Skype Canada, Lilah likes to show off her piano skills. And best news of all - there is a new grandie on the way over in Toronto! Early days yet but so far Mum and bump are well.

Thanks for all your kind support, cards, flowers, good wishes and prayers. Tess and I really need them now.

Alan x