Byrne's Family Story
Our Dad was a wonderful father. He had his illnesses through life, including a triple bypass in 1991, a defibrillator inserted in 2006. Dad was also a type 2 diabetic, so he religiously had his blood tests every 6 – 8 weeks with our local Dr.
On Saturday 19th March 2011, Dad went to get his normal blood test, the test results were back on Tuesday 22nd March 2011. The Doctor’s words were everything is perfect, you are healthier than me, however we have noticed that dad had become a bit jaundiced (yellow tinge).
On Wednesday 23rd March 2011, Dad went back to our local Doctor and advised him he did not feel the best, and that he was turning yellow. Our Doctor took more extensive blood tests.
On Thursday 24th March at roughly 4.30pm Dad got the dreaded phone call to go back to our local Doctor. The blood tests indicated Dad had cancer in his system. The Doctor got dad in for a scan on Friday morning. We then picked up the scans an hour later as the Doctor asked for them to be rushed through, we went back to the Doctor. This is where we were to receive the terrifying news. It was Pancreatic Cancer. The Doctor advised us to head to the hospital to seek treatment. We arrived at the hospital, with all the family in tow. Dad was never short of support of his wife of 52 years (our mum), 4 kids or 10 grandchildren.
Once we saw the Doctor it was confirmed again, they did not admit Dad that day. However, everything started happening really quickly. The following week Dad was admitted to hospital for day surgery to have a stint put in place to allow the bile to drain from his body, this took about 10 days for the jaundice to completely go.
Within 2 weeks we were in to see the specialist to decide if they would operate, however given Dad’s age and ongoing heart issues, diabetes, and everything else Dad had, the Doctor decided it was not an option to operate. This was devastating as if anyone could pull through it would be our Dad. This was now out of our hands.
In Dad’s true courageous style, he wanted to fight this as best he could, so off we went to a chemotherapy induction day. They started Chemo (very mild dose) in Mid April 2011. Dad would have chemo once a week for two weeks, then one week off. Although Chemo did tire him out for a day or two, he never complained.
Dad was soldiering on, and although he was losing weight, he was coping as best he could. His appetite had completely changed, and basically his taste was very bland, if he felt like eating, but he tried his hardest to eat for us.
Dad would always sleep if the pain got too much, not that he told us this. However as time went on he slept more and more.
About November the problems with his bowels had started, and on the 18th November 2011, Dad also had a heart attack. Dad was admitted to hospital for 3 days. We did not know at the time, but this was the last time dad would be in hospital.
Dad came home and we had an appointment with the Chemotherapy specialist the following week. This is where we were told that the chemo was no longer slowing the growth down and there was no need to continue treatment. Again, another devastating blow.
Christmas time arrived and we all had a beautiful Christmas day together. Even though Dad was unwell and weak it was lovely to all be together.
Between Christmas and New Year Dad was quite well, apart from his bowel problems. His Granddaughter was due to get married in March and we believed if he was to continue like this he would be at the wedding.
On 1st January 2012 it all started to go down hill, and it went quite quick. Dad had become very weak very quickly to the point dad now needed assistance getting from the living room to the bedroom. His bowels had become a big problem too. Nothing was working. On Tuesday 3rd January the nurse come in, and we were advised they had a bed in palliative care for Dad. This was not an option, Dad wanted to be at home and we made sure this was the case. Tuesday afternoon, I went to the hospital to pick up some medications to be administered through Syringe, so when needed we had it there.
Wednesday was another day of struggle so we decided to get him a wheelchair to help him be able to come out and sit with us and watch tv rather than the struggle of walking, which really by this time was too hard for him. Wednesday night, Dad had a very restless sleep waking up every half an hour. He came out and watched TV with me for hours that night till the early hours of the morning. There was still no need at this point to administer his medication through syringe though.
On Thursday 5th January Dad was very weak. The nurse came in at midday and connected the syringe to him. At 1.30pm Dad was sitting in the lounge room watching tv with us, at 2.30pm Dad asked to go to bed. We put him in bed, and I realised he had a lot of congestion on his chest. I called the nurse who came straight down and she could not believe how quickly he had deteriorated in those 3 hours.
We administered some medication for the congestion. The nurse left. At 5.25pm on 5th January with his family by his side, at home in his bed, quite peacefully, our Dad lost his battle with this dreaded disease.
Dad left behind a very proud family, our mum, 4 kids, 10 grandchildren and 1 great grand daughter.