Yvonne was an accomplished artist and mother of six and well into her 80s when she got the news that the cancer had returned. Her life had consisted of attending painting classes, golfing with friends and enjoying regular visits from her sons and daughter. She was very active and involved in life when the tests came back positive.
Yvonne had determined not to endure any more chemo or radiation. It would be too difficult a second time. It was a personal decision she expressed to her family. However, the sudden impact of the recurrence of the disease caused this vivacious woman’s activities to cease completely. Widowed and living in the spacious home where she had reared her family, the increasing pain and overwhelming fatigue quickly reached a debilitating point.
There are many women that find themselves in Yvonne’s situation. There are few choices for those who do not want to be institutionalized due to the sudden onset of illness. Yvonne wanted to stay in the comfort of her home but could no longer manage even the mundane tasks of daily living, and many uncertainties and fears surrounded her at this time. She was a “woman in crisis”. Soon after this realization, Wholeness House was contacted.
The teams rotated shifts of a week or more at a time and provided full-time care for Yvonne in her own home for a year. “We were committed to stay,” says Stephanie. “When we were deployed, we were not sure if the need would be for three weeks or three months or longer. We knew we’d be there as long as Yvonne and the family needed us.”
“Yvonne’s final wish was that she stay in her home until she either received a miracle and recovered or died. Her request was granted,” her son, Michael, said. “Mom did not have to stay one day in an institution or hospital. The volunteers provided everything she needed from 24-hour medical oversight to compliment her doctor’s care, meals, hygiene, laundry and companionship throughout mom’s protracted illness. They also reached out to each family member and maintained an atmosphere of nurturing in the home, which was a great comfort to all of us during mom’s last days.”