It's almost Thanksgiving. This time last year, my husband was admitted to the hospital for his first Auto Stem Cell Transplant. I just "knew" that it was going to work. I did not think for one second that it wasn't going to. I guess it's a good think I'm optimistic. Right? I don't regret this one second either. I remember how strongly Ty and I felt that it would work and that the cancer would be GONE. We did not find out until April that it had not worked. I have to say that the battle with his cancer was one that only made us even closer.
When you are married or watch on TV you hear often people say, "in sickness and in health." Well, let me tell you... I meant it when I promised Ty that forever I was with him. In moments of sweet tenderness, he would "hate" the way he looked. I still adored him. He would not let me take photos (or rarely) and he wanted them all to be private. I understood, but often wanted others to know what a WARRIOR I was married to. I just wanted to take care of him. I didn't want him to worry about anything but getting better. I worked harder to ease his burden so I could take care of our family. We often talked about what a blessing God had given us with my company and the successfulness it had given us. It was indeed peace of mind for Tyler. I knew and know God is mindful of his children's needs. We saw remarkable blessings unfold and I knew that I was going to have to RISE to the challenges. I had a journey ahead and I was not allowing death in the picture. I was not accepting that one day that I was going to have to say goodbye.
The final week in the hospital was so filled with tender mercies. Imagine having to face the truth. Dr. Sweetenham came into our room and Ty was busy having a test done. He said he would come back again a little later. Ty mentioned that he never comes back normally. This time, he did and we both knew that it was time to face reality. Ty and I knew it was not going to be good news. With so much love and sadness, Dr. Sweetenham told us that they were out of options. They could not control the cancer. It was now spreading and there was no treatment options at this point.
Ty's left leg was massive in size and swollen from his toes to the groin area. He had a blood clot in this leg that was cutting off blood flow. They put him on heparin. The lymph nodes across his abdomen were growing and getting so large. You could feel the enlarged nodes. Ty's neck was so enlarged with nodes and some in his shoulders too. The cancer, being a blood cancer was spreading and Dr. Sweetenham was so sad to tell us it was time to accept that treatment options were done. I sat there and cried with Tyler. We held hands and I just wanted to fall into the floor. He told us that Ty would leave the hospital and need hospice care. Looking back, I was still in denial. Was this really happening? Ty truly just wanted to get to come home that following Monday with me. He was worried about getting new tires for Zach's car for the Winter. He did not want me to have to do it. He was willing to endure more treatments just to have more days.
This was when reality set it. We talked about life and what he wanted. We cried and cried and then he needed me to stop. I prayed so hard to be strong. If you know me, I'm so sensitive, but somehow I tried to be brave and kept telling him how much I loved him and it was going to be okay. I knew it was the time to help him know that no matter what I would be okay... and I wanted him to not worry about me. I needed him to not worry. I have no doubts he lived for seventeen months for us. His body was ready way before his spirit was to go and he fought it. We spent hours going over our trust and will. I am sharing this with you because you have NO IDEA how many people are not prepared. We had done this years before and we discussed each of our children and their future. He shared tender feelings for each of them. We were preparing to say goodbye but I can honestly say that I was not ever ready to do this.
I stayed at the hospital but could not sleep. He was determined to go to the bathroom and get up at any time. I was so worried he would fall so I was exhausted. He was also not wanting to take pain medication at the end because he wanted to be "coherent" and not sleep. He wanted to talk and share. I marveled at his strong will when he was in so much pain. I simply knew he needed my positive outlook and just to be there with him. I held his hand and told him it was all going to be okay.
Once in the middle of the night, he was in intense pain. We somehow made it to the bathroom and I was holding him up. I was scared. The noises and sounds he was making were so hard to hear. I thought he was not going to make it out of the bathroom. They had brought us pain medication and I tried so hard to get him to swallow it. I was in the bathroom and I begged God to please take away his pain and help him. He was in a state of so much agony that I could barely get him back to the bed. I was accepting that Tyler's cancer must be getting much worse. Finally, we managed to get him back into the bed and I begged him to please take the medication to help relieve the intense pain. Within minutes he became really calm and said "I did and the pain is going away". I told him that he had not and he told me to look in the trash that he had. I checked it twice. I was literally in shock and amazed. I "knew" there was no way he had. I was with him the entire time. However, he was now in "no pain" and was laying in bed and going to sleep. I went to the trash and found nothing again. I found the two tubes of pain medication on the counter and they were untouched. He had not taken anything and yet he "had" and was now out of pain and going to sleep. He even slept for a few hours. It was a true miracle to me. I could not sleep after this and I was just so grateful for this experience.
He did not want me to leave him his side and I held his hand and told him countless times that I loved him. He told me LOVE YOU so many times. I could not be close enough to him. I crawled in his bed the day before he passed away and he loved this. We spoke and shared our "love." Ty and Zach did not go to school and came to see their dad. Taylor and Gentry came to Huntsmen, as well as his sweet mother Carol and sister Leann and Bret his brother. We were saying our goodbyes and I wanted our entire family to be with him. I knew his family meant the world to him and I needed them close too. I was still not prepared to think it was so close. I remember telling him countless times that he was my everything and that I loved him. He needed to hear this and I knew he was relying on me to help him go.
I reminded him that what families are forever. I think he was going "home" at times and he was going to the spirit world and then back with me. He asked me where he was. He thought he was in San Francisco Medical school at times. Then he would ask "who is that?" He was seeing people in the room. One time someone told him a joke and he laughed and told me to say it again. I told him I had not told a joke and he said, "yes, you did silly." He talked about walking up flights of stairs and having to keep going up. He mentioned "who are all those people?" He then said, "you want me to go up more?, who is that? you want me to now go left?" Then he would be back with me. I simply listened and knew I was witnessing something sacred and real. I believe that he was seeing where he was going when he passed away. I felt the most beautiful spirit in the room. It was so peaceful and I knew Ty was getting closer to leaving this world. He loved me to lightly scratch his back.
He was never scared. Ty was steadfast in his faith in Heavenly Father until the very end. He was only sad to leave us. He made the boys promise to take care of me, honor me, not talk back and appreciate me. He told them that I worked harder than any woman he ever knew and I would do anything for them and not to take advantage of my kindness. He gave them hours of "advice" the day before he left us. He told them to work hard their entire life. Ty believed that kids should work hard and not just be given things. Working hard makes you a better person and more grateful. I wish I had taped it. Thankfully, I listened to the prompting to have them come to the hospital that Friday and not go to school. This was a "gift" to the boys and I.
There is so much more that I could share. I wanted to share in hopes that you each know that this life is not the end. If I thought it was I would not be able to endure this pain. I sat in our closet floor today and cried. I got down on my knees and prayed for comfort. I keep thinking he is with his dad and grandfather and my mother watching over us. I miss him. This is unlike any pain I have ever felt. My poor family is dealing with me talking nonstop. I got the best book today from Ty's sister. it's called TEAR SOUP. Of course, I read it and cried. It was me!!!! It is you... it is all of us when we are grieving. I realize that we are all different. I have simply shut down and am allowing myself to be really sad, cry, reminisce, laugh at memories, and keep going through the emotions over and over. I know that it's okay and I will somehow keep working on my own "tear soup" until I am stronger.