Two Losses in a Month

Discussion in 'Loss of a Parent' started by Katie Quinn, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Katie Quinn

    Katie Quinn New Member

    Hello everyone,

    I guess I'm going to start by telling you my story. In March of 2016, about a month after finding out my husband and I were pregnant with our first child, my mother-in-law (Lori) was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is a very rare type of leukemia for people in her age group, as it is typically a childhood cancer. Her prognosis was not good, but we decided to give it our best fight. After over a year of doctor appointments, chemo, other health issues, and a short remission, Lori's cancer came back with a vengeance and she passed away on July 28th, 2017. At that point, we knew that she was terminal and had "planned" her arrangements (as much as you can plan for an event like that). The same day that she passed away, my father entered the hospital. He had been sick with what doctors thought was a severe sinus issue. They had found a lump in the region of his thyroid, but did not think it was cancerous due to how quickly it was growing. He had started testing to determine what was causing the issue, but ended up in the emergency room when the lump became obstructive to his breathing.

    At that point, the admitting hospital diagnosed him with anaplastic thyroid cancer, which is very rare and aggressive. He was transferred to a larger hospital for additional diagnostics and eventually treatment. It went weeks, and they still had not confirmed the diagnosis. The pathologists were perplexed. During that time, dad only got worse. He required a tracheotomy, and therefore was unable to eat or speak. On August 29th they finally had a diagnosis: poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma of the thyroid. I went to the hospital the next day to discuss treatment options with the doctor. At that point, they had started some radiation, however, the tumor was unresponsive. The doctors basically said that we could try continued radiation, but that dad was not a candidate for surgery (prior to the cancer, he suffered from kidney failure, heart disease, and various other issues), and that type of cancer would not be receptive to chemo. It was not hopeful. That same day, while eating lunch, we received a call to come back to the hospital, as dad's heart had stopped during radiation treatment. I had noticed earlier that his heart rate was erratic. They were able to revive him. Further cardiac arrest was inevitable. Also, he would have to be on 24 hour dialysis to clean his blood. It hurt so much that we couldn't ask him what he wanted, but I saw the pain in his eyes. My mother and I ultimately made the most difficult decision to discontinue his treatment and provide only comfort care. In only a few hours, he was gone.

    Since the time of their deaths, my life feels like its been thrown into chaos. Lori used to help care for our niece (my husband's sister has severe mental health issues, and the child's father is not involved). Since her passing, we have had to take custody of her. I also have a one-year-old boy. They are my whole life and the reason I keep going. So far, I don't feel as though I have even begun the grieving process. I go through the motions of taking care of everyone, but there's always an underlying despair. It's difficult to talk to my family about it, because they are all grieving too. It's therapeutic to share my story, and I want to thank anyone who takes the time to read this.

    Stay strong.
    griefic likes this.
  2. griefic

    griefic Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Katie, I know a bit of time has passed since you posted this, but I wanted to check in and see how you are doing. It sounds like you are going through a lot, and for a lot of young people I speak to there is sort of a concern that maybe they don't even have enough time to grieve. Of course being busy, especially with young children, can be a really nice and even healthy "distraction" from the pain. But I think there is a concern sometimes that there isn't a moment to just sit with the loss and really take in all that it means. I hope you find some time and some solace here, and that you can find others to connect with who have also had multiple losses and can relate to what you are going through. In the meanwhile, please know that we continue to be here for anything you need and we truly wish you all the best~