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Old 01-01-13, 09:04 AM   #1
Dan Burkhart 
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OT A rather glum new year here

My dad, who has enjoyed robust good health for 87 1/2 years is now terminally ill with an aggressive brain tumor, and slipping away fast.
The first sign of any trouble came in October, when Mom had trouble waking him up one morning, and he showed signs he might have been suffering a stroke.
Subsequent tests, CAT scans, and an MRI were inconclusive at the time, and he seemed to have recovered so he was sent home.
A couple of weeks later, the paramedics were called again for similar, but more severe symptoms, including an irregular heartbeat.
A third episode struck in early December. All through this, he was rapidly losing weight. He's a small guy, stands about 5'4", at a pretty constant weight of about 145lb. I was shocked when they put him on the scale at the hospital and recorded a weight of 116 lb, dressed in a hospital gown.(He has since dropped further, probably about 105 now.) Suspicion fell to thyroid issues, so a biopsy was scheduled. We still don't have the results of that, but meanwhile, he was sent for another MRI which clearly showed that small dark spots that had showed in the first MRI were a rapidly growing tumor on both sides of his brain.
He has emphatically declined any treatment, not that it would necessarily be treatable anyway, and has calmly and serenely accepted his fate.
We are to meet with the palliative care team tomorrow to arrange for his end of life care. Meanwhile, he has no pain, and is at peace. Our prayer is this continues to the end.
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Old 01-01-13, 09:17 AM   #2
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Dan,
I will have your Dad and you in my prayers for strength. I am so sorry to hear that he is terminal, brain cancer is so devastating. I hope everything goes well for him and that you don't have too many hard times with this. Please keep hospice care in mind, we have used it in the past for family members and it is a Godsend for end of life matters and care. God's Peace for you dad and your entire family.

Bill
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Old 01-01-13, 09:17 AM   #3
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Prayers for you and your family. The saddest things in life is the passing of loved ones. Seeing their decline is especially hard. My wife and I lost her stepmother, my dad, my mom, and her dad in a year stretch. I know it's hard.

Regarding my dad, hardly a day goes by where I don't do something and realize that my dad taught me how to do that. It's kind of comforting, it give me a feeling like he's still around in his deeds as a a father. I'll bet you'll notice this as well.

God Bless your family and you father sounds like he has a great son.
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Old 01-01-13, 10:10 AM   #4
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Dan,
I am so sorry to read about your father's decline. My thoughts are with you and your family.
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Old 01-01-13, 10:19 AM   #5
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Brave man

Thoughts are with you and yours.
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Old 01-01-13, 10:37 AM   #6
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I'm so sorry to hear this, Dan. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
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Old 01-01-13, 12:34 PM   #7
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Very sorry to hear. I respect and admire his choice.
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Old 01-01-13, 12:42 PM   #8
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Very sorry to hear. I respect and admire his choice.
This is an important thing to remember. He's lived a long life, probably 30 years or so more than his life expectancy at birth, and is able to leave it gracefully and without pain. It doesn't minimize your loss, but in that way he, and you, are lucky.
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Old 01-01-13, 01:01 PM   #9
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Dan,
i'm so sorry. I lost my dad to a brain tumor in 1991. It will not linger for years and I don't think that your dad will experience any pain. We used hospice care and it was a good thing. My thoughts are with your family.

Don
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Old 01-01-13, 01:10 PM   #10
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Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. 87 years is a good run.

Lost a favored uncle to a brain tumor at age 48. He collapsed in the back yard raking leaves, was diagnosed with the inoperable tumor. Less than three months later he was gone. At least it is quick, but not too quick so the family has time to prepare. I thnk it is easier on the family than the instant light-switch 'here one minute and gone the next' of a sudden heart attack.
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Old 01-01-13, 02:05 PM   #11
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Thank you all for the support. He has had a long and blessed life, and he really has no unfinished business. As much as we all would love to keep him around for a while longer, I totally respect, and agree with his choice to not pursue treatment options.
He had a cousin that developed a brain tumor at a slightly younger age, and he put himself and his family through months of torture trying to battle it.
If it were me at my present age, I think I'd be looking for options, but if it happens to me in 20 or 30 years, I think i'd be following his example.
He will be going into a palliative care center, as Mom is just not able to tend to all his needs at home, and even if there were someone there to assist, she would get no rest at all. He is now totally bed ridden and becoming less and less responsive. My feeling is this is going to be quick.
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Old 01-01-13, 02:23 PM   #12
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Sorry to hear this news, Dan. My wife's brother died of a brain tumor at age 55; it was tougher for the family than it was for him.

My are thoughts are with you and your family.
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Old 01-01-13, 06:42 PM   #13
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I am so sorry to hear about your father. I will keep your family in my prayers.
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Old 01-01-13, 07:36 PM   #14
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Sorry to hear Dan. All the best to you and your family at this tough time.
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Old 01-02-13, 07:46 AM   #15
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My thoughts and prayer are with you. Glad he isn't suffering any. My Dad is 85 now and is well and thriving but you never know, someday I will be in your shoes. God bless and if the end is near, he has had a nice long run.
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Old 01-02-13, 08:34 AM   #16
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By now we all had experiences with family members who died or are dying now. Both young and old. For those who pray, I have to believe its to God. And for that, its for getting to heaven.
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Old 01-02-13, 11:55 AM   #17
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Both my parents are gone and while sad, not a tragedy. They were good people and completely devoted to the family. I'm thankful to have been their son. I view their lives a great success. I sounds to me is if you feel the same way which is a fine tribute to the ancestors.
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Old 01-02-13, 11:59 AM   #18
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Sorry to hear of this, Dan. It sounds as if he's meeting his end with courage and conviction. The only thing you can do is support him as he goes through this, and then take the time to mourn his passing when it happens. I truly wish the year were starting on a better note for you and your family. My thoughts are with you.
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Old 01-02-13, 12:00 PM   #19
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Thoughts here for you and your family. He obviously knows he is greatly cared for and loved by those close to him to have such courage-can't ask for much more than that.
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Old 01-02-13, 12:05 PM   #20
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It is hard losing a parent. It leaves a hole that nothing on this earth can fill.

But it is also clear that your father has a loving and caring family who will be with him through these hard and difficult times. I am sure that he is very very grateful to have you and your mom with him to love him and support him.

I am sure that you will make him proud of you.

My thoughts are with you and your father.
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Old 01-03-13, 11:02 AM   #21
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Well, we met with the palliative care team yesterday morning, and they moved things along very swiftly. By mid afternoon, we had him relocated to the palliative care centre where I expect he will finish his days quite soon.
He was fully aware of the situation, and able to express his wishes.
His older brother came in from 2 hours away to visit. That was a very touching scene. There are 4 survivors in the family that originally consisted of 7. Dad and his twin brother, one older brother, and one younger.
His twin lives in western Canada,resides in a nursing home and is unable travel, so they will not see each other again.
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Old 01-03-13, 12:04 PM   #22
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Well, we met with the palliative care team yesterday morning, and they moved things along very swiftly. By mid afternoon, we had him relocated to the palliative care centre where I expect he will finish his days quite soon.
He was fully aware of the situation, and able to express his wishes.
His older brother came in from 2 hours away to visit. That was a very touching scene. There are 4 survivors in the family that originally consisted of 7. Dad and his twin brother, one older brother, and one younger.
His twin lives in western Canada,resides in a nursing home and is unable travel, so they will not see each other again.
Anyway to get a skype conference going with your dad and his brother? One way people who can't be there and in person can be there.
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Old 01-03-13, 12:32 PM   #23
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Anyway to get a skype conference going with your dad and his brother? One way people who can't be there and in person can be there.
Excellent suggestion. How lovely it would be to give him this final farewell gift.
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Old 01-03-13, 12:43 PM   #24
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I lost my Dad in 2011 (Alzheimers) and my brother in 2012 (pancreatic cancer)... death also seems hardest on the living as both peacefully ended life here on earth. Get through it; don't be afraid to share thoughts and feelings with friends and family. Remember all the good things and times and take from his life what will help you with yours (sortof what berner says). Make sure to thank the hospice people - they are the most wonderful folks in the world for what they do...
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Old 01-03-13, 12:51 PM   #25
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Dan,
I am glad to hear that your dad has the palliative care center squared away. Hospice Care and Palliative Care are really good things for a very hard time. I will keep you, your dad and your family in my prayers as long as necessary. I too like the idea of a Skype call to let your dad and his brother talk and see each other again.

Bill
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