Your Stories

Ward's final wishes

Our story started in January 2006 when Ward was told he had cancer. After major surgery in February, a diagnosis of Stage IV bowel cancer was given. It exceeded our beliefs being so ignorant about colorectal cancer and the ramifications of a Stage IV diagnosis. After just shy of 1 1/2 years of chemo, Ward no longer qualified as the cancer was no longer responding to treatment. At that time, he was told he had 6 months left to live. We spent more time travelling, until Ward's body slowed down and made travel no longer possible. Having finalized his health care directives, and enrolling in the Palliative Care program, sadly we waited for the inevitable, still trying to squeeze as much out of life as we could. It was Ward's wishes to die at home, and after more heartbreaking news in February 2008, he was admitted to hospital for radiation to try and shrink the tumour that had been discovered. We knew the radiation wasn't lifesaving or heroic, but I will always be grateful to the Palliative care team at St. Boniface Hospital, specifically Dr. St. Godard for seeing value in treating Ward despite his terminal state. This treatment shrunk the tumour enough to relieve pressure on his carotid and to pre-empt any seizures that may have occured otherwise. At this time, I was able to bring Ward home and continue caring for him as was his wish with the assistance of the home care team through the palliative care unit. It was at times difficult, heart wrenching and frustrating, but aside from the obvious of having Ward for many years to come, I wouldn't change the experience. Being able to care for Ward in our home surrounded by memories and the things that made our life familiar was accomplished with the support I received from the palliative care unit. It is a privilege to be with someone when they take their last breath, and Ward died with dignitiy knowing his value and how much he was loved.
Thank you for that.

By: Laurie