As you may know, I suspended my walk and began driving home to Vermont on December 7th, to care for my life partner Sally whose breast cancer had gotten around her first treatment after being held beautifully in check for more than two years.
Since arriving, and despite two additional treatment attempts, the cancer has continued its rapid advance, which has been very difficult for all of us involved. It has finally led to the following message sent by Sally two days ago to a more limited group of recipients.
Friends, family, and relatives:
I write from the hospital with sad news. Over the last two weeks my health, due to my cancer, has gone steadily downhill. In addition, on Monday evening Rick and I realized that, though unaware of any cause, I began acting like I’d just had a mini stroke. I was unable to read and had trouble with executive functioning skills. I went to the emergency room on Tuesday night.
After a multitude of tests and scans, the verdict is in. The cancer has continued to spread aggressively despite my third treatment and is now present in many places in my body.
At this point, it is not likely that any new treatment -- considering its attendant side effects -- would offer promise for improvement, and it could significantly degrade my remaining quality of life.
My son, Noah, arrived late last night from California. In a couple of days my sister will arrive. This afternoon my sons Noah and Seth, plus Rick and I had a meeting with the lead doctor supervising my care here at UVM Medical Center. We discussed options available to me for what remains of my life. The best case is that I likely have a few weeks to a few months, or even less if side effects from the cancer cause a sudden problem.
After more discussion with the doctor, and with my family and friends, my goal is to return home early next week. I would love to see or speak with you either here at the hospital or at my home. Just get in touch with Rick (802-999-3905) to find out where we are.
Your love and support over the past six months have been so important and meaningful to me, Rick, and my children. We all feel grateful to be blessed with so many friends.
Since the above message, we are now at home and hospice has been initiated. Sally is declining rapidly, but receiving much love and support from family and friends. I’ve included a photo of Sally – taken two months ago.
Though I have no idea when that will be, when it becomes possible, I plan to resume the walk. The issues are all still pressing. Meanwhile, around the edges of caring for Sally, I’ve been able to testify before the legislature on some democracy improvements here in VT and I continue to work on related writing and podcasts .
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