My beloved Jody passed away in the early morning of November 21st, 2006..
She entered the hospital on November 1st as she had not been able to eat any liquid or solid food for several days. An endoscopies exam indicated the amyloidosis had invaded her stomach and blocked the entrance to her intestines. The surgeon indicated that nothing could be done at this point. A biopsy from her tongue in March 2005 indicated she had amyloidosis in her tongue and mouth. Future exams indicated that amyloidosis had spread to her heart and esophagus, and most recently to an ulcer in her stomach and then the intestines.Her amyloidosis condition also spread to the skin of her fingers, hands and other parts of her body.
She and her oncologist agreed that hospice care was the only option. At that point she not allowed to eat any food or receive any medications, except morphine and atavan. A few weeks before she had TPN but it did not improve her condition and she did not want to return to it. She lived for 21 days under these conditions with no pain.
She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1998. Only a few days before her last hospital visit she was considered to be in remission from myeloma for the first time after taking the new Revlimid (10mg) drug for only four months. She was a very brave lady and never complained about her suffering.
The local Odyssey Health Care group in Tucson cared beautifully for Jody in our apartment, where our 2nd floor bedroom and balcony provided a beautiful view of the nearby Santa Catalina Mountains. Jody was ambulatory for most all of the time and enjoyed sitting on the balcony in the afternoon and at sunset. The sun was shining and the weather was pleasant for her every day.
One of our daughters moved into our apartment for this time and shared our caregiving with me. Jody accepted her situation and we had wonderful heartfelt talks. Her passing occurred when the morning sun was just rising above the mountain ridges. She gracefully slipped away peacefully in her own spiritual way. She lost 30 pounds and weighed only 75 pounds when she died, but she was still beautiful. Our daughter washed her body with her favorite oil, combed her hair and dressed her in her favorite clothes.
Our love for each other was just as strong at the end as it was from the very first day I saw her 30 years ago.
For more on Jody Hughes' life, click here (pdf document)