Jon here. It dawned on me that we have been in hospice care since September the 1st, but I don't think we have posted that information here for you yet. Here is how we arrived at our decision.
After Janice was released from her second stay in the hospital on August 29th, we were told by her hospital doctors that they had basically done all that was in their power to slow down her cancer. We have been extremely happy with all of the staff at St. Joseph Hospital. They have been compassionate, professional, and perhaps best of all, very straight forward and honest with us. Her lead oncologist, Dr. Byun, has always told us the truth, even when it was very difficult. He told us that of course, we could continue to try more and more radical forms of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but he really felt that it would not prolong her life. Perhaps most importantly to us, not only would her life not be significantly longer, it would also be considerably more painful and unpleasant in terms of side effects if we chose to pursue more medical procedures. Knowing those kind of facts made it very clear for us to decide that the time was right to move to hospice care.
We are working with a company called Companion Hospice, and we are very happy with them. For those of you not familiar with hospice, here is the basic principal-it is all about keeping Janice as comfortable in mind and spirit as humanly possible. It is about keeping her from feeling pain. It is about letting her be in her own home, her own environment, and living on her own schedule. And certainly for us, it is a real partnership between them and our family. They have been great at training all of us in various aspects of care giving, as opposed to shutting us out of the process. Of course, if one did not have a family that could be as active in the care giving they would handle everything, but they are all about adapting to what is right for each individual family.
They operate in a team approach, and we have assigned to us our own nurse, as well as a dedicated home health aid, a social worker and a chaplin. All of these people are reporting to Janice's oncologist Dr. Byun, who is continuing to monitor her case. They are available to us 24/7, which is very comforting.
Team Janice is, as you might expect, much larger than just the folks at hospice. Her childhood friend Katy Jo has continued to live with us full time, which has been the greatest gift to both Janice and I that I could ever imagine. All of our sons and their families are here every day, and their love and support for each other and all of the family is probably our single greatest achievement as parents. And of course, good friends continue to send cards, post to this blog, and come for short visits. This house is completely filled with love, joy, support, laughter and some of the most amazing food you have ever tasted. It is far, far different from what it would be like if Janice was in the hospital, and we are all really proud of that.