Sunday, March 6, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
In Loving Memory of
VERONICA LOUISE (nee McMullen) McILVEEN
November 24, 1953
Friday, February 18, 2011
at home in
Port Coquitlam, B.C.
Celebration of Life
February 27, 2011
Old Orchard Hall
646 Bentley Road
Port Moody, B.C.
As Roni requested her ashes will be placed in the gardens at her home in Port Coquitlam
That heroes are the people
who do what has to be done,
when it needs to be done,
regardless of the consequences.
Friday, February 18, 2011
AND GRACE WILL LEAD ME HOME
On this bright and sunny February day at just after noon, with her usual grace and courage Roni broke free from her war torn body and took the next step on the journey. I will miss here terribly but I am relieved that her pain is over. She was one amazing woman; though we knew from the start that the journey would end she battled on, complained very little and inspired so many, she is my hero. I will never forget her.
I want to extend a very heartfelt Thank-you to Dr Joan Eddy and the palliative team; Catherine and Kia. You girls have been just great and we could not have gotten by without you. Thank you so very much.
Thank you to all who made it out to see Roni in final days and to all who posted, email or delivered their thought and prayers. These have all been a great comfort to us. We will let everyone know about her celebration of life in the near future but right now we just need a little down time.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Modern medicine does not have the tools to save our hero.
Last week when the palliative care doctor came to visit she suggested that Roni’s body was shutting down and it was time. I thought she was off her nut. She asked Roni if she was ready to quit chemo and received an adamant NO in reply. A day or so latter Shannon led me to a cancer website where Roni’s symptoms were laid out in the section about the final stage of cancer. My beautiful, loving, always sassy Irish lass is losing the battle.
I recall back when it was my mother’s time; I was the only sibling nearby. I went to hospital where Mom had lived for 12 years. Her mind had left years ago, her eyes no longer functioned and her hearing was likewise impaired. She had wasted away to about 60 lbs. Mom was a few months short of turning 90. I sat with her and held her hand for several hours and as the sun was setting I mustered up the courage to tell her it was ok for her to go on, we would be ok. I kissed her cheek and a single tear slipped from her eye. I was at peace with the situation. One evening last week after the house was quiet and we watch TV in bedroom I turned down the volume and told Roni, “It is OK for you to go, I will be fine. I will miss you terribly, but I’ll be OK.” Roni looked back at me with a little smile and said, “I love you.”
Roni had a close friend, Rae, visit Wednesday’s night but mostly kept her eyes closed, she occasionally struggled to ‘wake-up’ but each attempt was short-lived. At bedtime Roni struggled to swallow her evening pills and Thursday morning was worse. The palliative care doctor, nurse and a social worker arrived Thursday morning and switched her meds to injections.
Roni and I both have Living Wills and had discussed in depth what our personal choices are. At the onset of the metastasised cancer, having been told that there is no cure, Roni also completed and sign a Do Not Resuscitate Order. She asked to be allowed to die at home and so the doctor has also signed Intent to Die at Home Form. Her intent and desires are clear to me…no heroics. After a short discussion with the palliative care team I decided to cease chemo therapy and continue on with only end of life care. I thought my heart was being torn from my chest, but I am comfortable with the decision and her children agree with me, it is Roni’s time. Nature will be allowed to run it course.
Roni’s pain is well controlled and she is resting comfortably. She is capable of having visitors, in fact we would like people to come and talk with Roni. She can hear and understand and responds both verbally and with body language. She likes to hold hands. Perhaps you can share a memory, certainly a hug and even tears. These will all be a comfort to both Roni and us. Please, at this point if you have a cold, cough, etc. stay away. Finally, as Megz posted previously, this may not be the Roni you knew. This is a woman with final stage cancer, prepare yourself. Please phone first and we’ll tell a good time.
I want to thank all of Team Roni, you have all been so supportive of Roni and her loved ones. I also express my gratitude to Dr. Paul Klimo and the oncology team at Lions Gate Hospital, you gave my beloved more quality time, and I can’t thank-you enough. A very special thank-you to Roni’s children. Megz, Pat and Shanny; your love and support have kept us soldiering on, your all have your Mom’s fortitude. A super special thanks to Shannon; you have been a Godsend.
Your thoughts and prayers, visits, phone calls, cards and flowers are all appreciated. As Roni requested we will be doing a small memorial garden in the backyard, complete with bench should anyone wish to visit, so you may choose to sends seeds or plants for that. I believe we are a hardiness zone 8a.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Just a quick update here... I've been wondering what to write on here, as nothing quite seems right....
Mom is continuing to fight and hang in there. She has her good days and her bad days. Mom is not in any pain and is comfortable.
She is still up for visitors, although we do ask that you call first to make sure that Mom is up to a visit that day or that they are home-they may be at an appointment. For those that don't have her phone number and would like to call, please send me an email- firstname.lastname@example.org .
One other thing, for those who are coming to visit, we do want to give a bit of a warning that Mom is not the same mentally or physically from what you remember her as. We want you to know this, so as to not be surprised.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
This is Shannon, Roni's daughter. We just wanted to send out a note to her most contacted folks with a little update, since we have been getting a number of inquiries about her health.
The main reason you haven't heard from Mom is that 1. she doesn't have the energy to spend time at the computer and 2. she has forgotten all of her passwords to gmail, facebook, banking, etc. We have an interesting time trying to source info from her, it is like a combo between 20 questions, charades, and reading minds. She says "I forgot my passwords, but I didn't forget who you are." We have recently cracked her code to get into Facebook.
Her health has declined. She continues chemo, but since the brain surgery there has been a decline in her lucidity and her general health. She sleeps about 18-20 hours a day and when she is awake, she is at varying degrees of lucidity-the mouth is not cooperating with the brain.
She does have her spirits up for the most part, and will enjoy a joke of course. She will eat when she finds something she likes, but that can be a challenge at times.
Her kids along with Brian are sitting down this week to organize things like a full time care schedule, getting home supports in place, and looking forward, what needs to happen when she passes-when that comes to be. But for right now, we just want to make sure she has someone around as she is so easily winded and wobbly and that she is comfortable and has what she needs.
Any of you wishing to call and speak with her, she is usually awake during lunch and dinnertime and would love to hear all your kind words. We have passed on your messages of support facebook and email so far.
Thanks for your thoughts, and please keep her in your prayers.
(via Shannon and family)
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
It's Meghan here, I've been meaning to get an update on here for a while and but ran into some troubles logging in. I hope you are all comfortable 'cause there is A LOT to update everyone on....
I know a lot of you have sent me messages on facebook, asking me if Mom is ok, as she hasn't been online for a while. She has been fighting a cold for a while now and it is just starting to finally go away. With her not feeling well, she has been laying low-thus the reason she hasn't been online.
Shortly after having the radiation in early December, Mom also had a round of chemo. She ended up having an odd reaction to both of them combined (swelling/redness in the face). Since then Mom has not had any more radiation-but for a good reason, the radiation on her brain did what it was supposed to-stop the tumors from growing.
Unfortunately, the news isn't so good for Mom's lungs. As there was an almost 2 month gap between having the radiation and chemo, the tumors in her lungs have had a chance to grow-A LOT! So as of right now, we are waiting for Dr. Klimo to come up with a new set of chemo drugs for Mom to take.
Mom had a good Christmas, spent with some family and friends. We had a family Christmas dinner on Boxing Day, filled with presents, turkey (and fixings), roast beef, pumpkin cheese cake and pie.
Mom would love phone calls and visitors, as she gets lonely being at home all day.
I know there is more to be updated here, but I will have to cut it short for a few reasons... First, I've lost the piece of paper that had everything on it to be updated. And second, I have a sick, little boy sitting on my lap at the moment... I will update more tomorrow....