I had reason today to reflect on palliative care in another context.
The common perception of palliative care is that is about managing death. It is not. The best definition I have heard is that palliative care is about symptom management. As such it is appropriate to engage with palliative care early in the treatment process to manage symptoms.
This isn't exactly as delivered but it is what I had in front of me as I spoke.
Eulogy for Yvette
Most of you wouldn't recognize me without this cap so I'm going to be comfortable while I talk to you about Yvette.
Yvette was seanchai - an Irish storyteller. A lover of words. A few short weeks ago she stood here as a lay reader. Most of you didn't realize that she was fulfilling a bucket list item knowing she was going to die soon. Reading scripture was for her a special blessing in a life filled with blessings.
There are stories to be told but they are Yvette's.
I wanted to let you know that our story together is taking its final twists. On Sunday afternoon we made the decision to move to hospice care. Monday afternoon we moved to Whatcom Hospice. https://whatcomhospice.org/whatcom-hospice-house/
I get a little weekly devotional guide from a community called Imago Dei. This week the focus was on listening to God based on Isaiah 30:21 "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." When we talk about listening for God we often think about the still small voice. The focus here though is on being ready to move and the promise that we will hear God's voice.
The surgery journey really begins with a 90 second call on the day prior to the surgery.
"Hi this is Dr Janzen. Is this Angus?"
"So your bilateral mastectomy surgery is scheduled for 9:00am tomorrow. You know you'll need to be there at 7:00am?"
"And when are they doing the nuclear medicine?"
"It's scheduled for 1:00pm today."
"Okay. Great. See tomorrow then. Good bye"
"Wait? Will there be drains?"
"Yes absolutely. There will be four. Two on each side. Any other questions?"
When people start saying "I was wondering how you are doing." It's probably time to put fingers to keyboard again. Yvette and I have been working through Acts in our morning time with God. And it is amazing to see the growth and support of the early church in the face of adversity. Some of that adversity is internal and some of it is external. Peter wrestling with the dietary laws that he grew up with. Paul wrestling with circumcision for Greeks. Persecution by the Jews and the Romans. Through it all the church grows and becomes this amazing witness in the world for the Good News.
It's not that there hasn't been much to write about - because there has been lots. It's not that there hasn't been time - because other than Evan's visit last week there has been lots. But when you feel like crap and are struggling to eat - somehow writing just seems to fade into the background. At any rate accept my truly Canadian apology. I'm sorry for keeping you waiting this long.