A Papa Update

We had a really great day on Tuesday!  Papa was alert and happy, he ate his dinner out at the table with us, all without a gag, or a hiccup to be heard.  It seemed he was beating death for the time being, our thoughts turned from weeks to maybe months with him on Earth?
But at 8 Tuesday night, Papa lost movement in his left side. And instead of passing after a few minutes, it stayed paralyzed.  The next morning, it had not returned fully, which means Dale was lifting him into the wheelchair and lifting him in the bathroom.

Poor guy fell during the night and banged up his knees because he didn’t want to be a bother and yell for us.  We knew Wednesday, that we had some big decisions to make.  Early on in his time in our home, we had established a “line in the sand” and after several messes, lots of vomit and a Papa no longer able to make it to the bathroom because he couldn’t walk, we knew we had reached that line.

It’s so strange, we knew it was coming, but it still took the rug out from under us and we spent the majority of the day, talking with Papa, praying over him, loving on him and crying with him.  He knew what the move to Hospice meant, he knew his body was showing all the signs of being done.

Dale and Don

  Hospice is amazing, I can’t say that enough, Miss Janet, our nurse, Miss Marsha, our social worker and Miss Jennifer our Home Health Care nurse, were here in no time flat, all working like a well-oiled machine to clean up Papa, assess the situation, and make the necessary arrangements for his transfer.

We had some special folks stop by, right before me moved him.

Papa’s adopted parents and his pastor:

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I loved hearing them pray with him, read him the Psalms, and his parents sang and played harmonica.  They are 93 and just completely adorable together!

It was a precious last “Papa Memory” in our home……

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   I don’t know what it is about Wednesdays, but Wednesday, February 26th, Papa moved in, and Wednesday, March 12th, Papa moved out and went to Hospice House.  Longest, hardest, best 2 weeks ever.

  The Father knew the number of Papa Don’s days on Earth before He even created him, He knows the exact moment He will call him home.  

  Hospice, who know the signs the body gives at the end, are guessing we are down to the “days to a week” stage of the game.  We plan go to Hospice House every day, do homework there, practice piano, play together, eat supper and stay until the kids bedtime.  We don’t want to waste a precious second.  Dale will stay until Papa is ready to sleep, and he will head back over in the morning, after dropping kids at school each day.

Alright, that was my big update, now back to the food I scheduled a month ago, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day….bless you all for your love and compassion for my family.

   
~T

Praying for A Miracle & Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Soup

  Do you remember Papa Don?  Dale’s father?  

You can go meet him here.  We took some family photos after he got sick, but before he started chemo.

  He is a very special part of our life and home, more now that he lives right next door to us, and shares our dinner table most nights.

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Thanksgiving

  It’s been hard to watch him fight cancer this past year. He has lost so much weight, and the thing we miss most is the sparkle in his eye.  

Papa Don

  Praise the Lord, the cancer markers continue to fall from 8,000 down to 2,300, but we have hit a rough patch this last 2 months, and they are going back up again.

We were over to Nana & Great Gma’s for lunch yesterday, when Dale called.  He had gotten a phone call from his dads boss, saying he was not doing so good: dizzy, falling asleep, vomiting.

He has also been dealing with bouts of paralysis and loss of vision.  He can no longer drive truck, and is talking about quitting the office job now too, so he can rest.  The man hasn’t stopped working the whole time he has been on chemo.

After getting the phone call, we immediately planned to take Papa in for a check up, and to cancel his chemo treatment that afternoon.  Not when he was already so sick.

We were all playing outside, when Dale came over with some hard news from the Clinic about our Papa. The kids were playing nearby, but not so close they could hear our conversation, so I wasn’t sure they knew what was happening.  We talked very quietly, hugged each other and then he headed back to the Clinic to check on his dad.

Not long after that, I couldn’t find the kiddos….I thought I heard them “laughing” behind the fence.

When I walked around the corner, there they were, SOBBING, not laughing.  I grabbed a shot with my little camera phone so I could send it to Dale.

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Destiny said they had decided to gather to pray for Papa, because they could tell something was wrong.  They just all burst into tears, because they were sad. Precious babies!

I hate to see them hurting, the utter heartbreak in their faces made me sob alongside them.  They understand so much more of the big picture then they are given credit for.  But thankfully, this opened the door for some wonderful discussion about how God sometimes heals our bodies here on Earth, and sometimes He heals us by taking us to Heaven and giving us a new body.  They know that part, but it’s still hard to understand sometimes.

After the kids went to bed, we had a big talk with Papa.  After much discussion, we have decided that we will not be continuing his Chemo at this time. The doctor is in complete agreement with us, as it is destroying his quality of life.

He sat in our home tonight in tears, I know this is so hard on him.  He couldn’t move from the chair, his entire left side was paralyzed for a good 10 minutes. This happens on and off now, sometimes an hour at a time.  We thought mini strokes, but it happens on either side of his body.  He goes in tomorrow to get some fluids drained so he can be more comfortable.

Guys, we are scared.  We are in uncharted territory for our family, going through something that you hear your PARENTS going through with your Grandparents, not your husband with his father.

The most difficult part of all, is that we truly don’t know the timeline of this journey for Papa.  So every day must count as if it is the last.

We don’t have all the answers, but we do know that we serve a Father who brings healing in various forms. We won’t stop praying for a miracle!

Thank you all for you continued love and support…..it means more than you know!   I will keep you posted.

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  Now, on to the soup I want to share today.  Dale and Papa Don thought this was too sweet, but the kids and I LOVED the sweet and savory element that the BBQ sauce brings to this unique soup!

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Soup

Adapted from a delicious recipe at Picky Palate

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BBQ Chicken Soup txt

Ingredients

  • 5 whole Chicken Breasts
  • 1 whole Red Onion, Diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Pressed
  • 24 ounces, weight Frozen Corn (I Used Fresh That We Had Frozen Over The Summer, And It Was Amazing)
  • 2 cans (14 Oz Each) Diced Tomatoes, Drained
  • 1 cup BBQ Sauce (avoid Too Sweet Of One, Think Savory Spicy)
  • 8 cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • ¾ teaspoons Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 bunch Cilantro, Snipped
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

Preparation Instructions

In a large 6-7 Qt slow cooker, place uncooked chicken breasts, diced onion, pressed garlic, corn, drained tomatoes and BBQ sauce. Add 8 cups of chicken broth and seasonings.

Cook on low for 5 hours before removing chicken breasts and shredding them. Return to the slow cooker and stir everything well. Continue cooking 30 minutes up to 1 additional hour.

Serve with fresh shredded mozzarella cheese and snipped cilantro.

 Only a few more weeks left of “Soup Season”!

~T