Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Let's Go Home, Kemo Sabe

Fran Striker was the author of the Lone Ranger.  You should be a little older than me to really remember the Lone Ranger or his indian friend, Tonto.  I do remember it, though, and I remember that Tonto used to call the Lone Ranger "Kemo Sabe."  A fair amount of speculation has circulated over the years about the meaning of Kemo Sabe, but Striker's son, Fran Jr., has more or less put an end to the speculation.  Kemo Sabe means "faithful friend."

Chemo Sabe is a term used by a number of cancer people.  There are a couple of books by that name.  One thing I can tell you, chemotherapy is a friend to cancer people, but it's not really the kind of friend you want to have.  There are some situations in life, I guess, where you'll take whatever friend you can get.

But chemo is not a friend of Sue.  Not anymore.  Nor even a companion.  Dr. Hackett stopped in on Wednesday morning and told Sue that Dr. Wolf wanted to start yet another chemo drug on Sue, Cytoxan.  So Sue would have been getting Dexamethasone, Revlimid and Cytoxan. But neither doctor was holding out much prospect of recovery of muscle control in Sue's legs, left arm or throat.  The malignant cancer in her spinal fluid had already done a lot of neurological damage.  Both doctors agreed that the malignant multiple myeloma cells that have lodged in the wall of Sue's spinal column and traveled up and down her spine and possibly into the brain through the spinal fluid, wreaking havoc up and down her spine, makes Sue's an extremely rare and difficult to treat case of myeloma.  And but for the high levels of neurontin and hydromorphone, the pain she experiences is unbearable.

So she said no to further chemotherapy.  It was an informed decision made with doctors, family and friends.  That decision was made two days ago.  Sue was discharged today and is now home.  Her care is now under the supervision of Saint Agnes Hospice. All feeding, fluids and drugs are administered through her PEG tube.  It's not difficult, just time-consuming.  The primary concerns are for comfort.  The orders are DNR -- do not resuscitate -- and don't call 911.

Sue is happy to be home.  We will hire one or more people to help with Sue's daily care needs.  There are nurses and nurse assistants and chaplains who will call on Sue at home, periodically.  You are also welcome to stop and visit, Kemo Sabe.


  1. George,
    It breaks my heart to read this. I am comforted only by the fact that Sue, with her loved ones and doctors, made this decision. In a situation in which she has so little control, that's something.

    You, Sue, and your daughters are very much in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. I remember the Lone Ranger well. "Who was that masked man?" :)

    I'm glad Sue's home. Home always feels sooo much better! God bless your time together with more special memories and tender moments.

    I thank God for the powerful meds that can take away the pain, and I continue to pray, with a sad heart, for all you need in the days ahead.

    Hugs to you all.....

  3. What a warm comfort it must be to be home. I think in Sue's situation I would have made the same choice. Sometimes quality is more important than quantity. Please let me know if there's anything I can do for your family.
    Love and hugs from Jill M.

  4. I wanted there to be a miracle, I prayed each day for you and Sue. I woke up each morning and went straight to my dashboard to read of you and Sue. The miracle is that Sue is at home with her faithful friend and companion, George. I will continue to pray for the both of you.
    But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and be not weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
    Isaiah 40, verse 31
    Love and blessings,
    Rebecca Weber

  5. Sad news indeed and my prayers continue for all of you. May the Lord, in His infinite Wisdom with his various Angels, guide you and comfort you during this difficult time.

  6. Hi George,
    Through it all your humor is still there. What a gift.
    Wow! I don't know what to say or how to begin. Don called and talked with my mother this morning and she in turn passed the news on to me. Needless to say we are stunned and saddened. We were so hoping and praying for a different outcome. It hits me particularly hard because although Sue and I had not remained very close over the last 20 years or so, we spent so much time together growing up in 4-H and because our families were very close friends. Peggy was like a second mother to me and Sue was like an older sister. So, today as I read your blogs through teary eyes, my head is spinning and my heart is heavy.
    With love,
    Sheri Snively

  7. George,
    Hi, it's Peggie, Sue's cancer twin. I guess we're fraternal though because she has that extra chromosome. I am so sorry to hear that things have not gone well. I was hopeful that we both would be okay for a long, long time. I guess our fate is not held in our own hands but in someone's who has a different plan for us. If I can help in anyway, please call. I would be happy to make a dinner and bring it by or clean house or anything you and your family may need. Please DO NOT HESITATE to call. Love, Peggie

  8. Bruce and Janice PorterMarch 20, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    George and Sue,

    Janice and I continue to pray for you - He will never leave you nor forsake you!

    Bruce and Janice

  9. I am so sorry that this is happening. We are praying for peace and comfort for all of you.

  10. George,
    I am almost speechless, I am so sorry this is where you guys are, but I know I will be there one day too, when quality of life means such decisions, its the course of this disease, isn't it? You are truly a special man and her soul mate to get through all this with her, and I seriously hope for peace for Sue, and comfort, and I completely understand where she is with things. I will be praying she has peaceful days and nights on the regimen she will be on. I just don't know how better to verbalize the shock and understanding and love that pours forth right now.

    God Bless you both! Karyn

  11. George & Sue,
    What a blessing to have Sue finally home, where she can travel this next road closest to those who love her the most!
    Pray for peace!
    Kathryn & Dave DiPalma