Curtis’ Story continued…
Once off intravenous /antibiotics we were so surprised at how Curtis’s concentration, eating, and general feeling improved. It was the best week and a half he had had in a very long time.
Watching the world cup and the Queen visiting was highlights of the week on TV as well as the company, the laughs, the steak and bologna he dined on.
The End is near
Soon by the end of the week a noticeable change occurred to me, more sleep, and less talk eventually turned to less eating, drinking to finally an unresponsiveness and his breathing changed; all progressed in 4-5 days. Curtis was in the latter stages of dying.
By the second week of July Curtis’ eating diminished…a few mornings he requested bologna n toast for breakfast and so it was served. On Tuesday night (6th) ….by his request he got his sister to bbq a strip loin steak we had planned to bbq with but didn’t get the chance. Matt had made him some homefries to go with it. It was a sleepy day and when Kelley & Matt had come in with it, I doubted if he would have any. But like some sudden urge, he ate like a last meal. Him eating as he had, would give hope of better days but it was very short lived and by Friday his sleepiness was really noticeable to me. By Saturday I knew something was on a downward roll. On Sunday his talking was limited; only random times of limited communication. I remember Sunday evening saying to him, “Papa, I think your body is starting to breakdown” he responded in several nods yes. I said “Papa are you scared?”, several times he shook his head no and tears welled up in his eyes and gestured like he wanted to talk. I said “what is it Papa?” He said with a labored burst, “MISSsss”. I scooped my arms underneath him in the airbed and held him as we cried.
Monday morning his lips only touched a bit of OJ and from the big “ahhhh” after, you would have thought it quenched like gold.
Watching a loved ones body break down before your eyes is an experience in all its own…and seeing a soul hang on to the very end because of missing those he loved is heartbreaking.
One thing he never did was give up and I guess showing it in his life is what
gives me the strength to get through the rough days to continue on.
Curtis had a habit of wiggling his head and shoulders eventually to be cross ways in the bed. His head n shoulders always towards my side. It reminded me of how my babies edged their way in the incubator towards my voice. His last night was no different.
His last night, Curtis breathing changed and by morning dilaudid given to relax his labored breathing. Family was called.
His last hour, his breathing was so quiet. No harshness, no gasps.
His Mum called on the phone and when I told her he was very close, I relayed her message of love to him. “Dad & Sarah are waiting for you”.
Within two breaths after she hung up, he was gone. Matthew on one side and I on the other; 3:40pm Wednesday July 14th 2010.
Almost 10 months after being diagnosed with Penile Cancer, Curtis died.
So many obstacles he fought through and never lost hope. In the picture below in which Curtis himself had taken, a verse he lived by rings true;
“Courage does not mean that we do not know fear,
Rather we carry on in spite of being afraid.
Courage does not always roar or never shed a tear,
It lets us face life without allowing hope to fade.”
While walking in the hospital hall one day on 5b, shortly after hearing the news of his cancer spreading; Curtis said these words, “I hope the doctors learn something from my case to be able to help the next guy”
Those words have rung in my mind since then and probably always will. I guess in some small way this website that I’ve created is to help facilitate that wish; that someone whether it be doctor, healthcare professional or person/family or cancer patient, while reading here might gather something from his experience and learn.
To be able to help the next guy will give Curtis’ sickness, pain and suffering some meaning.
If there is anything you have learned here that will help you or your
loved one, Curtis’ wish will be fulfilled…