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Tag Archives: karen hines

Part 3 Hospice Series: The Final Ride “Home”

karenhinesserenityroomby Karen Hines, Caregiver

Read Part 1, Part 2

 

Thursday late morning Cassie said “see ya later” to the staff while the ambulance crew wheeled her to the elevator.  Cassie smiled, the nurses returned the smiles amongst tears, we even snapped a quick group picture.  Cass had written on one of the hospital’s white boards earlier that week, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.  Mark 5:36.” She pointed to it as she rolled past.  I tried to smile, but like a zombie, I slowly followed the gurney. Chris and the kids stayed back with our social worker Kathleen.  She spent some time discussing the emotional side of hospice and the idea of “dumping circles”.   She wanted to make it very clear to us that Cass was at the center of the circle, the rest of the Hines 5 were in the next circle, followed by Ashley’s almost fiancé, Jeff, along with the rest of our immediate family and close friends.  The final circle was “everyone else”.  Only support goes “in” and fear, whining, complaining etc. is dumped “out”.  This simple concept was how we were to control what was about to happen at our house for what would be the next 40 days.  Kathleen made it very clear that it is our job to protect each other.

 

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Part 1 Hospice Series: The Unspeakable Word

karenhinesfamilyby Karen Hines, Caregiver

Read Part 2, Part 3

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, our social worker was stopping by to see how we were all holding up, or so I thought.  You see, our daughter Cassie had just had surgery to remove a large tumor on her spine, which was causing severe leg pain.  Cassie had been a kidney cancer patient for the last four years so we were all pretty used to the scan, surgery, recovery life of a chronic cancer patient.  Her last set of scans revealed several tumors on her spine so Cassie had decided to remove the largest of the tumors, causing leg pain, and join a trial to hopefully shrink the rest. The problem was, before she could join a trial, the pain and numbness in her arms was getting worse.  The remaining tumors were growing fast.

 

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The Elephant in the Room

KarenHinesby Karen Hines, Caregiver

 

“Hey Mom?  Do you know the life expectancy of a stage 4 kidney cancer patient?”  That was the moment I realized Cassie, my 18-year-old daughter, was thinking about her own life and the possibility of her early death.  We were driving home from an MRI of her brain; she had passed out in the shower while living in her dorm room at Michigan State University and her oncologist quickly ordered the test to see if the cancer had spread further. Continue reading