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Friday, November 16, 2018

2018 Nov: The last Post

15 Nov 2018,

Greetings all from SC. It has been such a long time since I updated this blog, but as most of you know, the past 6 months have been particularly challenging with the death of my beloved Rodney on 29 Sep 2018.  With that introduction, I will say that with this post, I am closing this blog and will eventually open another one that will focus on my grief journey and hopefully finding my "new normal".  Address to be provided as soon as I figure out how to do this!
Since the last post was about our departure from China, this one will start with our arrival in the US and go from there.

As I did in some previous posts, I'm going to take some entries from my personal journal and put them here.  This captures the emotions of the moment and it's what I want to share with anyone going through a journey with Prostate cancer that has metastasized to the bone, liver, lung,  lymph system and beyond.  The end of that journey is brutal, especially for the patient, and also for the caregiver.  I pray none of you or your loved ones ever have to go down this path, and if you do, may this blog entry help you find comfort.

Care and Comfort

18 July 2018
We arrived safe and sound in Greenville, SC. Thanks to good connections and wheelchair service, Rod felt OK and got through the trip. Today, day 1 in Greenville, we got some banking done, and got cellphone service established.

Father, I thank you for safe travels and him making the long trip. I thank you for our difficulties so that I can see and appreciate the good when we have it. I thank you for all the time we have loved each other and known true love. Oh Father, you know our needs and you know our love for each other. I ask that you relieve him of his pain and restore his body if it be your will. Father, only You know the hour of his death and I ask that you take away his suffering and yet I also ask for a miracle because I don’t know how to live without him. I ask that you teach me how to care for him and provide comfort.


How are you today?

21 July 2018

Today, Rodney and I drove to Lexington, SC (our previous home town) and he was able to go to meetings and I got my hair done . He was in pain, but he was happy. We got to see some old friends and I also got my hair done.
He was exhausted, but in a good mood when we finally get into the hotel and he wrote the following to his friends:
How are you today? My Answer
“A very productive day. I cannot change My bone cancer diagnosis, but I can change my attitude about it. I can accept it and do EVERYTHING I can to live around it. I will not become an invalid. I will walk until there are no Steps or balance left in me.. I will stretch my muscles and build muscle to support my weakened bones… I will be cautious not careless. I will serve my God in word; thought and deed. AA Principles will be my “Guiding Light”.. I will “serve OTHERS”, in the Name of my Grand Master Jesus Christ until i can no longer move; breathe or have my being. You ask how I am today, I am re-energized with a “purpose of service”.. A Sober Alcoholic with multiple physical, mental and emotional disorders that require daily personal Spiritual, physical, emotional and mental treatments. I know what to do. I know how to do it. Now, I must DO IT on a daily basis. I will not wait on Doctors for a cure. I will use the tools I have and build a new body and life with the help of the “ONE” who first made me. Thanks for my Sobriety. Rod M. “

I was so happy to read that, and I read it again and again to make sure I read it right!
Thank you Father for this change in attitude in my Rodney! Thank you Father for all of the many blessings, for a new car, for the money to buy it, and working for a good company that is supporting me, thank you for supportive family and friends, thank you for showing me once again that You are God and through You, all things are possible! I ask Father that you continue to feed this “can do” spirit in Rodney and let us indeed live until we die!


Our place

25 July 2018
We have just spent 3 wonderful, loving days in Asheville, NC at “our place” the Grove Park Inn. We’ve been going there since 2004 and it really is our little get away. It will likely be our last time and I will not go back with someone else. This was “our place”. We had the romantic dinner in the sunset grill, I did some shopping and went to the Chihuly art exhibit at Biltmore house…he was in a “normal” level of pain..until this morning. As we checked out, he turned and twisted his hip and he was excruciating pain, the bellman called the security and we got him a wheelchair and took him to the front of the hotel straight to the car. I drove him back to Greenville and he slept most all of the day.

Dashed

28 July 2018

This morning was a beautiful continuation of the past 3 days…not much pain, talk of the future, a happy place. We went to a “cars and coffee” event with a friend of ours and Rod walked around for about an hour. He loved seeing the old cars.








Rod always loved cars and I was so glad he was able to enjoy them in the US one last time.  He would pay the price of being up on his feet and walking for this 1 hour of joy.






He loved hearing the engines and admiring the ones that had been restored. After about an hour we went to the hotel and relaxed a bit, then we went to look at a townhouse I saw on the Internet. All seemed so good.
Then he said his hip started hurting..and progressively it got worse and worse where he couldn’t get comfortable at all, he got cold, then hot, no where could he get comfortable. He wept from the pain. I tried to massage him, rubbed his feet, lay up beside him..nothing helped. He took a hot bath, He took the pain medications..didn’t touch it. He was delirious with pain, he told his son Chris on the phone that he lost his will to live, he said he felt like an old dog that just says in front of the fire place curling up to die. He described it as if he had gout in every joint in his body, in every bone. He said he has never experienced pain like this ever before. This was the worst yet. He had that 1000 mile stare, just gazing off into nothing, saying things that made no sense.
Then, after a little while, he said he thought the pain medication was starting to take hold. It’s like he has a hangover from the pain, physically and emotionally.
My hopes and dreams of yesterday dashed in one fell swoop.
Father, if it be your will, I ask that you relieve him of this pain, help me to understand him and help him. Amen

Not years, not weeks…Months

7 August 2018
Today, Rod started the day in significant pain. I prayed over him and held him and it went away. We got out of the apartment together and shopped some before the doctors appointment. Aside from this slow walk with a cane, he was his normal self..surreal.
We went to see the Oncologist and Rod let his wishes known that he wants no more treatment. I got my questions answered;
1) prognosis: not years, not weeks, probably months to live
2) when to engage hospice: now
3) what symptoms: more pain, that will eventually become unbearable without narcotics
4) where is it exactly: prostate, bones, and lymph system all in multiple places
5) how can I give him comfort? Pain meds
Rod got what he wanted, no more doctors appointments, referral to hospice, paid by Medicare that can start immediately.
We talked about it briefly tonight, I have not shed a tear tonight..trying to be brave, trying to stay focused on anything but the obvious.
Sounds cut and dry..it is anything but.

This evening, he wrote a note to many of his AA friends and some family people world wide:
I Am Ready For Winter
“Cancer like Alcoholism is a chronic disease. God is Good. I have no fear… only concern for Sarah’s welfare when God says: “ok Big Boy… come on back home”.. AA has given me everything… freedom from drink; taught me to love and accept…”Life on Life’s terms; my restitution’s have been made; I have loved and lived Sober; AA’s like you have crossed my cosmos, leaving me with part of you, in my character. God has restored Himself personally to me; my Christianity is real now; I have felt the power and Awe of Tibet; walked the 8 point path of Buddhism; experience d Jesus in person; soared the Spiritual Path of Step 11; in Him, “ I have moved, breathed and had my being”… all because of the “gift of desperation”… an Alcoholic, condemned to die the “Alcoholic Death”… saved by a “Loving God and Savior”.. through this “miracle-working program called Alcoholics Anonymous… Thank You God; Thank You Alcoholics Anonymous Members; Thank You my Grand Master Jesus… Thank You…🙏… “Someday there will be no more Sunrises for me, no more months, weeks, days or hours. It will not matter how handsome, Rich, famous or smart we were. It will not matter what we bought, only what we built. Let it be said of you and me: “They helped build AA and Ala-non in China and world-wide”. God Bless you my Dear Friend and keep us Sober, until that day when we meet Him… face to face… “when there will be no dawning and no setting of the Sun”…. God Bless you; my Friend in the Name of my Grand Master and Savior, Jesus Christ… “I think I am now ready for Winter”. Rod M. “

How do I pray about this tonight? I’m not sure I can.  Even now, as tears stream down my face as I type this, Intellectually I know it’s all going to happen…the answers to each of the 5 questions will become more real each passing day. He is ratcheting down. He sees it, I see it. The intervals between the pain are getting shorter and shorter.
Father I thank you for all of the time we have had together and I ask for strength to get through the coming weeks, months, years…but mostly for today.
Amen

Time keeps on ticking…

12 Aug 2018
And so the downhill slide continues. On the 10th of August 2018 he was admitted into hospice, on the 11th he took the narcotic pain reliever because his pain was so great, on the 12th (today) he said he hurt all over and he coughed up blood. He is laying down with both anti -Inflammatory and Oxycontin to relieve the pain.
His sons Chris and Matthew were both here this weekend and they heard the hospice admission. He shared with them the spiritual insights and experiences he has had. I was so glad they came and gave them a chance to say anything they felt they needed to.

As I type this on Sunday morning, sitting alone in the couch, the apartment is quiet, our sons are traveling back to their lives, the chair Rod had me take out to the small balcony this morning for him to set is still there, begging for an occupant. The constant swish of the washing machine and dryer going in the background reminds me of how my life will be in the future. Quiet, reflective, alone and tearful and something always reminding me that Rod was my man, the love of my life.

Oh Father, I don’t want him to go, but I don’t want him to suffer..and seeing him so weak this morning makes me know he is suffering. He is ready to come home Father, You know that. My spirit knows that, but my heart is selfish and wants to keep him here with me. Oh Father please help me give up the selfishness and let go of him when You call him home. Help me understand Your timing and Your will.
Amen.

The twins in the womb, joined at the heart

17 Aug 2018
Yesterday, the hospice doc came and told us when he read the PET scan report, he thinks the cancer is in liver, adrenal and lungs in addition to the lymph, bone and prostate. He didn’t give a time estimate..and I didn’t ask..I just couldn’t ask. The doc put him on prednazone as a steroid pain reliever and also said that he wouldn’t live long enough to have any side effects. He did say that it should help his appetite. Rod has slept most of the day and he’s losing weight and just can’t get comfortable, No matter how he tries to sleep or rest. Not good. I’m pretty sure he will go onto the next level of pain meds soon.

Today, I went to the VA office to do a pre-application for his military marker in a National cemetery and I also did one for myself to have my marker with him.
This is all so surrealistic. This is my husband I’m writing about with words of cremation and burial markers
My husband
My best friend
My lover
My confidant
My tuba-tooting and singing-musician
My entertainer
My drill Sargent soldier
My running partner
My maintenance man
My chief cook and bottle washer
My travel mate
My auctioneer
My salesman
My business manager
My counselor
My spiritual leader
My medicine man
My motivator
My searching, finding, then cut out all the fluff and give me the core information researcher man
My soul mate
My joined at the heart life mate
The love of my life
My everything
And so many other words..all so inadequate to express my love for him and the agony I face at the thought of the loss of his physical presence here with me.
My living, breathing husband, my cancer riddled husband…the man who has made me what I am. I feel like I’m creating his death before it ever happens.
Am I insane? Is it the avoidance factor, stay busy, Eat comfort food and pray ? Why do this? Does everyone who is faced with a terminal disease do this? Is this what “getting your affairs in order” means? All questions, no immediate answers.

I remember my father’s words as the funeral home carried the frail body of my mother in a black zippered bag from our home on that cold December day in Kentucky to the hearse awaiting in our driveway. We watched together as they lay her body down and then drive slowly out our driveway. My father’s words ring so clear to me today…”there goes my everything”. I thought I understood then…I think I understand now.

I am reminded of the analogy of the twins in a Mother’s womb, and they are communicating… and one says, “come on, let’s get out of here, it will be great when we are born”, the other says, “I don’t want to go and I don’t want you to go, we have everything here, why leave and be born?” I feel like Rod is the one saying “let’s go” and I’m the I’m the one saying “I don’t want to go”…

Oh my Father,
I don’t want him to go, and I don’t want him to suffer, and I want him to be with me forever, and I want him to be with you forever..I want it all, but I know I can’t have it all, and I must accept that Your will be done. I thank You again for all of the wonderful years, months, days, hours, minutes..all of our time and true love together. I thank You for the knowledge that we will be together with You in eternal life after this earthly experience. Help me not be selfish and let me let go and commend his spirit back to You, at home with You and Jesus. I ask for strength to get through the coming hours and days, months..time as we know it.
Amen,

September morn

2 Sep 2018
We made it to September! Rod told me a couple of days ago that he didn’t think it would be long before he would be gone. Judging by his color, his lack of appetite, the temperature of his hands and feet, his continued weight loss and his lack of energy, I fear his is right. He told the hospice Nurse that if he ever got to the point of being bed ridden he did not want to live that way. Thankfully, right now we’re not at that point. This past week, the main challenge has been vomiting and dry heaves and this is primarily a side effect of the pain medication. I asked the hospice doc to get something that be more effective and so he prescribed another high powered drug. I gave it to him and it seemed to stop the vomiting, but it just knocked him out completely. Then the next day, he vomited again and so I gave it to him, it knocked him out, but he still vomited. So the next day, i didn’t give him that stuff and he didn’t vomit and was back to himself..this drug stuff is not Rod’s cup of tea at all and even though he must take it for the bone pain, he really doesn’t like taking one drug to counteract the side effects of others!
 
This morning, he awoke with some pain, but manageable and said he felt like he had caught up with his sleep. He came and got into my little twin bed and we just cuddled and dozed. I was so blessed by this. A very special September morn. He got up and showered at 4:00am and then went out to the living room. As I lay here typing this note in bed,  he is looking at his many emails and answering WeChat messages from the people he helps all over the world. He is still about his Father’s business. Below is a picture of his Love letter to God he just wrote.
Rod's last letter to God






Father God,
I thank you for the good nights rest he had last night and the loving care and visits of our family. I thank you for sharing my life with Rodney and his mission to help people all over the world. Thank you for the example Rod gives me by sharing his Love letter to You. Thank You for our very special September morn.
Amen,


The endless Whys

11 Sep 2018
17 years ago, we were in Romania, the World trade center in NYC had been hit by 2 airplanes, and the pentagon was also hit by a plane. Over 2000 people died in the US. Our Romanian friends and colleagues at the plant took such good care of us and wanted us to know that we were safe there. Such a vivid memory. Why do things like this happen? Only God knows.

Today, I saw again how fast Rod is declining. I took him to Walmart, dropped him at the front door after I checked to make sure there was an electric cart, then he walked to get the cart and I parked the car. We shopped to get some pants, then I went to get the car and picked him up at the door and brought him home. That one trip exhausted him. I looked back to the 3rd of August and I took a picture of him in the Walmart electric cart..he was embarrassed, now it’s cause for cancelling the shopping if they don’t have an electric cart of wheel chair. Only 45 days difference, but his body is much worse.

Today he got several well wishes cards and letters from many of our mutual friends. I read one, we both cried, read another one, cried some more. So many beautiful love letters to both of us from people who tell us we have positively influenced and impacted their lives. It was a labor of love to read them to him. Of course I want him to know, of course I try to stay strong as I read.
I want to ask Why God…why do you call him home now? Why cut short the impact he is having in this broken world ? Why leave alone without the love of my life? Why make him suffer in his last days? I know there is no answer to the endless “Whys”. I know he will go home in God’s time, not mine. I know this spiritually, It’s my heart that forgets. Sometimes the endless “Whys” get to me.

Father God,
I thank you for the time You have given us together. I know his days on earth are drawing closer to his time of transition back home with You. I Thank you again for putting us together and letting me experience true love. I ask that you spare him from suffering if it be Your will. I ask that you continue to give me strength each day to face each day with love, courage and peace of mind so that I can be the best care giver possible for my Rodney. He is so weak Father, let me be strong.
Amen


Another door is open now

14 Sep 2018
Today was a rough day. Rodney is still vomiting, no matter what drug I give him. Not eating. Today his feet are really swollen and now he has pain in his hips even when he is on full strength with the 75 patch and 20 mg pills. The hospice nurse came here and talked to the doc and he ordered the dreaded liquid morphine, and said that if they can’t get the nausea and vomiting under control that they would send him to hospice house to get that part under control. To be determined tomorrow . Rod didn’t want to take the morphine, not yet. He said, that’s another door that is open now.
Father God
I ask for your guidance. I ask that you relieve Rodney of the pain.
Amen,

Cuddles and cramps

16 Sep 2018
This morning, the cramps came all over his body, like a Charlie horse everywhere. After talking to the hospice nurse, she suggested he didn’t need to go to the hospice house. I started the morphine today at .25ml and that was somewhat effective, but not totally, then after she talked to the doc, upped it to .50ml every two hours whether he needed it or not. It made him really sleepy and at first he had trouble breathing, but after taking some oxygen he settled down and slept. I sat down beside him on the couch, put my head on his shoulder and dozed off too. For that one hour, that one cuddle, all was right in my world. The rest of the day, every two hours a dose. Later at sundown, the cramps came back, even morphine didn’t cover it. The nurse suggested I get a heating pad. I went to the drug store and got a massager and heating pads and that seems to help punctually. The night shift nurse came and talked more to the doc and he didn’t have any answer other than up the dose of morphine..Rod balked at that!
The morphine is making his stomach very acidic and he has already thrown up again tonight..even with the anti nausea meds. He is miserable and I’m running out of solutions. He is sleeping on the recliner chair and I’m in the couch, within 3 feet of each other. I just pray he sleeps.

Father God,
Thank you for the hospice service and reactivity of the nurses. Thank you for no problems from the hurricane Florence. Thank you for giving me the presence of mind to accept Rod’s anger and grumpiness as part of the cancer. I ask You, that if it be Your will, please take the suffering away from him. Please guide my hands so that I can make him more comfortable. I ask You to send me Your Holy Spirit to give me strength in the coming days ahead.
Amen,

Pain and patience

20 Sep 2018
Rough yesterday, rough night, rough morning. Now, even with 2 fentanol 75 patches and 1ml every 2 hours or (4g of oxy if he can keep it down) he is still in pain. He hasn’t eaten anything for 3 days and is more and more dehydrated. At the same time, I know he is in pain and is more and more demanding and agitated. I talked to hospice nurse and we agree it’s probably time to take him to the hospice house to get some IV pain med. He just can’t get comfortable and it hurts me so much to see him like this. I feel So helpless, so ineffective.

Father God, I thank you for all of our many blessings and our love, our family and friends. Thank you for the many wonderful days, months and years we have shared together. I ask that if it be Your Will, you relieve him from this pain and suffering. I ask that you give me strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me.
Amen

It’s time

20 Sep 2018
“It’s time”. Those are the words he spoke to me a few hours ago when the doctor ordered for him to be sent to the Hospice house. Being the caregiver for my dear Rodney has been the most difficult and most necessary thing I have ever done in my life.
As I type this, I’m awaiting transport for him to go to McCall hospice house. His pain has become unmanageable at home and he needs more than I can give. I hate it, but I have to accept it. In some ways I feel like a failure, I can’t make it better. I know it’s crazy, but it’s what goes through my mind. I have packed his bag and mine to stay as long as necessary.
He hasn’t eaten anything for the past 4 days, he’s yellow, he is dehydrated and not urinating much..so at this point more than anything, it’s all about comfort in what I believe will be his last days.
He is resting now in the bedroom as I sit alone in our living room. I type because I can’t talk without crying. I know he is at peace with his decisions and with Our Lord.
Father, I thank you again for all of our time together here on this earth. I ask that you relieve him of his suffering and accept him back home with You when it’s his time. I ask for strength to know what to do when it’s his time.
On the way to Hospice house, little did I know that in 9 days he would be gone


Weeks

22 Sep 2018
As I type this, it’s Saturday morning. Rod has been in Hospice house for 2 nights, I believe they are getting close to getting ahead of the pain. Bad news is, he sleeps a lot in the day. Good news is, he’s not in pain just laying there. When he talks, he is still Rodney, but he doesn’t talk much. He still wants to know when we’re leaving, wants to go home…apartment home, but even more to his real home with God. He is not eating, not even drinking water much, having trouble swallowing, When I sleep in the room, I hear him breath, then stop breathing, then taking a big gasp… All classic signs of the last days. The doc said yesterday that he likely broke some vertebrae in his back causing the pain to shoot up so high and so fast and also likely had a small stroke complicating his ability to swallow. When I asked him prognosis, it’s “weeks”.
I have opened the doors for visitors to come here, not really for him, he will likely sleep right through it. I want our friends and family to grieve. As he told me when we left the apartment, “it’s time”. He knows it and is ready…and in classic Rod Miller fashion, he wants it and he wants it right now! Neither life nor death works that way.

Father God,
I thank you for loving friends and family who want to help, and who also grieve the loss of one of our points of light on this earth. You know the thousands of men and women he has helped all over the world. Thank you for having me be a part of that awesome mission. Thank you for the comfort the Holy Spirit gives to me. Thank you for the time we had together and For Hospice and pain relief for Rodney. He is ready Father, he is ready to hear You say “well done good and faithful servant…enter in to the joy of the Lord” as you said in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25 verse 23. Not my will, but Thine be done. I ask You to bless all of our family and friends and give me strength in the coming days.
Amen
Sarah








A little music to sooth the soul

24 Sep 2018
Today he has slept most of the day. He still knows I am here, but is generally unresponsive. I gave him some sips of water and had played some of our favorite music all day. The nurse pointed out that his knees and elbows are mottled and I have noticed myself that the temperature in his hands and feet is cooler than the rest of his body. His breathing has changed from gasps to very shallow breaths.
I laid my head on his Shoulder in the bed, and just talked to him, assured him I loved him, told him how proud I was of him and how much differences he has made in the lives of people all over the world. I told him when the time comes, to take the hand of Jesus and don’t let go, don’t look back, that I’ll be OK.

Father God, I thank you so much for the life I have had the privilege to share with my dearest Rodney. I know he is nearing the end of this journey on earth and I ask that you grant him a smooth and merciful transition.
As it says in Matthew 25:21 “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

Father I know it is not in my grant to judge. I know that only You, who sees all can do that. I believe with all my heart that Rodney has mastered all that you have given him. He has stayed sober and helped countless others all over the world achieve sobriety. He has been a wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle, sponsor, salesman, soldier, auctioneer, speaker and so many other roles while here on this earth, all over the world! He has been faithful over these missions. He has taken the talents you gave him and multiplied them many times over. I know you have already told him he will be the ruler over many things, and that he will enter into the joy of our Lord. I thank you for the comfort that brings to me and that blessed assurance that he is aware of that and knows his life has made a difference here on this earth.

I ask Father that You grant me strength to stand strong, and continue to be strong for You so that I may do Your Will always and be a good example of a Christian. You know My strengths and weaknesses Lord. All of my adult life, I have always stood beside Rodney, he has been my strength, my partner, spiritual leader, best friend. Soon I will have to stand alone physically…I know You will be beside me and so will Rod’s spirit. I ask for the intuition to feel it and be aware of it. I ask that you send Your angels to comfort me and our family.
Amen
Sarah


The stages of grief have started

25 Sep 2018
Rod had a rough night and so did I. He was agitated, not sleeping at all, coughing. It was horrible.  Today I was just overcome with anger. I was mad at the hospice house for taking my Rodney away. When I brought him here. He could talk, he was groggy, but could talk. Now, he is almost unresponsive. I can ask a yes or no question and get a response. I know he took a huge jump on the pain medicine, and i also know that the pain meds get him spun up, so they need to give some anti-agitation drugs that also help with the muscle cramps. Between the cancer and the drugs, he’s not the same man I brought in here 4 days ago…just 4 days! Intellectually, I know it was necessary to get ahead of the pain, but my heart wants the normal Rodney back. My heart wants the man I know and love back. This jaundiced form of a body that is laying on the bed Coughing, eyes in a glassy gaze is not my dear Rodney. I blamed the hospice care and I was angry. Thankfully I didn’t say anything..because I know it’s the protocol for easing the pain.They have a mission...to keep the patient comfortable...what I wasn't ready for was the price to pay for that comfort was losing the ability to talk to him.  The pain meds anesthetized his whole body.  I wasn't ready for that.  Looking back, it wasn't their "fault"..they were doing what they had to do...the cancer was doing what it does.

I know anger is one of the stages of grief…I wasn’t expecting that one to arrive so quickly.
The five stages are chronologically: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Later this evening, I talked to the nurse practitioner about the agitation and she said she would put him on a schedule of every 4 hours for the anti agitation drug along with the pain meds..I think it is the merciful thing to do. It will keep him sleeping. I hope that it will accelerate the inevitable. If I can’t have him the way he was, I want his transition to be as smooth and painless as possible.
Tonight, I’m not sleeping in the room with him, I’m just down the hall and the nurses know where I am in case something changes. I kissed his forehead good night. I don’t want to be the reason he is agitated. Every time he gasps and coughs and I get up to “help” am I really helping..I’m wanting to provide comfort, but I may be causing more harm than good. At least that’s what I have come to think today.

Father God,
I thank you for This day and friends and family all over the world that are expressing their love and support for Both Rodney and me. I thank you for our time together on this earth. I thank you for hospice services to make his transition back home to you. I ask that you forgive my anger, and thank you for restraint of tongue that I didn’t say anything that I would have regretted. I ask for continued strength and a merciful quick transition for him to return home to You.
Amen,
Sarah

Feelings

27 Sep 2018
It is morning as I type this. I’m setting on the porch in a rocking chair. The birds are singing, a goose is honking as he flies overhead, a small breeze caresses my skin as I peacefully commune with God. It would be perfect except that my dear husband is dying just feet from where I sit.

The nurse came to tell him his breathing has changed to be more shallow short breaths. They cleaned him and shaved him and he looked so peaceful in his bed.  I hugged him and put his head on my shoulder and kissed his forehead told him I love him, as I do every time when I leave the room. I know he knows I’m here. When he coughs, he opens his eyes, it’s still a far away gaze, but he turns his eyes toward my voice. He is so week today, from the sound of his cough, I’m pretty sure he has pneumonia, although he doesn’t have a fever. According to the nurses, a fever is another tale tell sign that transition is near.

Father God,
I thank You once again for all of You kindness and mercy as You have guided Rodney and I through this life together. Through all of our journeys and adventures all over Your beautiful creation. I thank you for the mission I have had to get him to all of these places so that he could serve you by staying sober and helping other alcoholics Achieve sobriety. I can truly say I have witnessed a man who went about doing good and I will forever be grateful for the time we have had together. Father I ask that You grant him a merciful and peaceful transition to come back home to You. I ask that You give our family strength as we learn to live without his physical presence. I ask that You send the Holy Spirit to us to comfort us and give us peace.
Amen,
Sarah

Well done good and faithful servant

29 September 2018
This morning at 4:03, the nurse came to get me. She said he has just passed away, at 4:00am. It is now and will always be the saddest day of my life. I watched them carry away his body, and just as my father said when they carried my mother out, “there goes my everything”.

John 19:30
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit”

The light of my life has left this earth and is now in eternal life and light with our Lord.
There are no words adequate to express my grief and at the same time gratitude. I am so privileged to love and be loved by a wonderful man for 35+ years. The outpouring of love that has been expressed all over the world is just incredible.it is a testament to the countless lives he has touched. 

Matthew 25:23
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”
I know those are the words you will hear Rodney Miller. Well done my love, but I sure do miss you.

Father God,
Thank you for strength to get through this day. The day I knew was coming, and the day I dreaded for me. The day that seems to never end. The day that I delay going to bed, alone in this apartment. Thank you for the love of my dear Rodney. Thank you for the countless men and women all over the world who have stopped drinking and stayed stopped because of something Rod did to help them. Thank you for being a part of that journey with him. I ask Father that you bless Chris, Matthew, Jane and all of our family father. I thank you father for my siblings who have driven here many miles to get here for me..and who will travel again next weekend for his service. Father if it be Your Will, I ask that You enable Rodney to come back to me and help me now and forever.
Amen,
Sarah

Joined at the heart eternally…still

7 Oct 2018
Yesterday, the 6th of October. A day which will be forever etched in my memory. As I type this it’s early morning on the 7th, exactly 8 days ago, you took your last breath on this earth. The service was beautiful yesterday. So many wonderful beautiful stories from friends and family. He helped countless alcoholics all over the world. People came from as far away as Oregon, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, and perhaps other states, and of course all over South Carolina.
I clasp the heart container in which his ashes rest. I treasure all the memories, hoping they do not fade with time. Hoping that when I one day reread all the writings I’ve done over the years, he will spring to life again in my mind and heart as I hold him so close.

A widow in pain
A piece my heart is with Rodney's heart





 

It takes 37 years to get 37 years!

21 Oct 2018
Happy heavenly AA birthday Rodney. 37 years, congratulations my dear. Like old Herman used to say, “it takes 4 years to get 4 years!”
Here In earth today in China, they celebrated your life and what a wonderful ceremony it was. I contributed a video and many others made statements and Father John said some special words. You really left a wonderful legacy Rodney, most recently in China, and all over the world.

The Rodney Miller photo showing him surrounded by beautiful flowers drinking coffee at Starbucks awaiting the AA meeting he started and helped support every Tuesday night in Shenyang. 











































The World-wide memorial service for Rodney, held in Shenyang China.  These people had become so much more than our friends...they had become family.
Our friends in China loved you then, and they remembered and loved you today, as do I.
Thank you Rodney Miller, well done they good and faithful servant, enter into your reward to the joy of your Lord.

Father God,
Thank you allowing me to be a part of Rod’s mission and Thank you for the man he became in his life. Thank you for family both blood and friend. I ask that you continue to give me strength.

Right behind our eyes

27 Oct 2018
Yesterday, the 26th of October, on a cold, rainy day, we laid your ashes to forever rest at Camp Nelson National Cemetery. Located across from the bonded whiskey warehouses just as you wished. A story of redemption.
It was a beautiful ceremony. The horse with Cason, the riderless horse, the 21 gun salute, the canon fired, taps was played, the flag was presented to me along with 3 shells from the 21 gun salute (1 each for duty, honor, respect). The firing pin from the canon was given to me. It was all a little overwhelming, but so necessary for SFC (Ret) Rodney A. Miller.

I made a few remarks after the Chaplains remarks:
“In his book, The agony and the ecstasy, Irving Stone described man with this phrase: “Little Man, Little Life; Big Man, Big Life”.
For me, this describes Rodney Miller.
 Kentucky, the state where we were both born , and where his ashes return today, could not hold Rodney.
The United States, where we both swore to defend and uphold the constitution could not hold Rodney.
Even now, this earthly world with our family, friends, comrades and colleagues could not hold Rodney.
Rodney Miller was a big man with a big life!
Now, I believe he has even bigger missions.
I believe he will not only “rest in peace”, I believe he will “work in peace”. He will Continue to work doing our Father’s Will in the home that has been prepared for him.
He will forever remain right behind our eyes.”
 
After all of the ceremony, they buried your ashes behind a temporary marker. The marker that makes my burial reservation is right beside yours my dear.
 
I love you Rodney, I will always love you. Eternally yours…still.


  love you Rodney, I will always love you. Eternally yours…still.
The horse drawn casket, in the rain...matched my mood completely






































The Camp Nelson National Cemetery, Nicholasville, KY...located just across from the bonded KY Whiskey warehouses...this location was not an accident!


The final Entry 

 15 Nov 2018
This concludes the story of ShenyangteamMiller blog posts, but it does not conclude my life.  Ours was a true love story and adventure.  I continue to believe that Rodney will always be with me he is an "is" and not a "was".  Even so, this phase of our life is over.

I thank God for each and every one of you and I ask God to bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and give you peace.

Amen
Sarah Miller...the surviving 1/2 of ShenyangteamMiller.






Sunday, July 15, 2018

2018 July: From China with love

15 July, 2018


Hello everyone! Greetings once again from Northeast China!  
 It’s been since chinese Spring festival that I have written on this blog...so many emotions today As I type this entry on our last full day together in China.  There is a reason I haven’t written..it’s because I’ve been focused elsewhere. Since  the radiation treatment In Nov/Dec 2017, Rod has never really recovered, and in fact in April and May of 2018 when he was in the US, he had a series of 3 mini strokes/TIA’s  and the long return trip to China was very difficult on him.  At that point, we determined we needed to leave China definitively and set a date of July.  So we put all of the wheels in motion targeting “mid July”.  So here we are, on the last full day together in China.     I hope to come back in September to do a handover with my successors at work...but that all depends on life at that time.  My ticket is Round trip...Rod’s is one way.  It’s not the way we planned to leave China, but we must live life on life’s terms.

Below, I have a few excerpts from my personal blog along this part of our journey.  I’m so glad I have had the presence of mind to write when the going gets tough, I’ve done this all of my life, sometimes in a journal, sometimes in notes..it’s therapeutic for me, and maybe will help someone else one day. (And maybe it will be the source of a book some day?).    Today it helps me, even though I write through tear stained eyes as I reread some of the entries, in the end it is helpful. God is with us both and is carrying us when we do not have the strength to carry ourselves...today and in the future.  I know this and I cling to this.

There are no pictures in this post as I type this...my computer is packed and I’m doing this from my tablet, so manipulating a lot of photos is not so easy...maybe I’ll add some later.  If you’re in it for the pictures of beautiful China, better move along..nothing to see in this post!

I’m a Christian and there are prayers in these posts...I do not apologize for this!  I ask that you respect my beliefs as I respect yours.  We have had the opportunity to live and travel the world being introduced to many different faiths and practices.  We remain faithful to being Christians.  If that offends you, then I suggest you skip this entry.

If you’re still here after the previous 2 paragraphs, I ask you to join me on a very personal journey and as always I ask for your prayers.

Today, I say Yes to life!

27 Dec 2017
As I write this, I’m on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Hongkong. I am very encouraged today that Rod said he can feel his back getting better and he showed me a picture of him running the Great Wall marathon back in 2013 and he said he is going to get strong again like that!  It’s the first time I’ve heard him say something positive like this since this most recent diagnosis and treatment series.  I wanted this Christmas to be special because as I’ve written before, there are no guarantees.  Especially when we’re talking stage 4 Cancer with multiple metastas. Especially when just yesterday when we left home he mentioned that for the first time in his life he felt vulnerable physically, that if he got attacked, he couldn’t defend himself.  He still is in pain when he walks and his rear end is still  like it’s sunburned and peeling now and itches him, but when he is talking about getting stronger that seems like a small price to pay.  
Today, I choose to dwell on the positive and not get sucked into the what if’s.  Today I choose to celebrate life and enjoy our blessings.  Today, I say “yes to life”!  
Father I thank you for our many blessings today.  I thank you for Rod’s healing and our live for each other.  I thank you for the birth of your Son Jesus and I ask that you continue to bless Rodney and I as we plot the course for our future.  Help us to realize Father that each day is a gift and that Today is the day we seize and celebrate or the day we take for granted and let it slip away.  Help us to seize the Day Father and continue us to do Your Will Together for as long as possible!  Amen.


Home in a Box

30 Dec 2017

As I Type this, we’re on a cruise off the coast of Vietnam on our way to Taiwan. Rod hasn’t done any of the excursions because he doesn’t feel well.  His back hurts, his hips hurt and he still has to pee a lot.  As we sat on the balcony i mentioned that I was glad that he wasn’t one of the ones shipped home in a box, (from tHe Vietnam war) he said it may come sooner than we think.  He said tonight that he knows he’s not well and what I heard was that he doesn’t think it will be long before he too will get shipped home in a box.  I didn’t want to get sucked into the what if’s, but tonight’s talk on the balcony brought it all home again..is this the last New Years together, is this our last vacation together, is this our last anything together?  Damn you Cancer. Damn you.
Father, I ask again that you give him many more years together, let us pull together, give him hope for the future. Give me hope For the future too.



Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

13 January 2018
This week I started a new morning routine of giving Rod a short massage with the essential oils we bought on the cruise and praying for him as I lay my hands on him.  He says he thinks it’s working!  I don’t know what all is at work, with the radiation treatment recovery, the oils, the massage, and prayers.  I know the prayers work..and the massage and oils are a bonus!  I’m sure it’s a combination of all of the above, and I take this as good news.  I see when he walks, he moves as though he’s not nearly as sore as he used to be.  He tells me he thinks it’s working and that it feels good...and that is good enough for me!   I thank God for this, and  I take good news one day at a time!

PSA, Prayers and Pain. 
24 Feb 2018

Rod had a PSA test this week.  11.73,almost exactly what it was before the radiation treatment...not so encouraging.  I was hoping it would have gone down.  He has been in a funk since then,and so have I. Now, his back seems to hurt...for awhile the essential oil massages helped him,  now his back hurts all the time and his hips are hurting too.  I can see it when he walks and it hurts me to see him in pain.  He is also tired most of the time and last night he mentioned that he remembers our late brother in law Henri who died at 69 from liver cancer.  He said he remembered asking God when he was first diagnosed to let him live as long as Henri, and he’s now lived two years longer than him.  He cried last night when I was massaging him and and prayed to God to give us power and ability to get through our life when the other is gone.  He doesn’t want to leave me anymore than I want to leave him.    
Father, I thank you for giving us this time together until now.  You know our strengths and weaknesses and I ask that you give us many more days, months, years together; we are much better together.  Father, we know we do not know the day or the hour we will die.  Rodney is about Your business Father and we believe he has much more to do here on earth before you call him home. If it be Your Will, Father, please take Rod’s pain away. Bless him Father. Amen.

Well done thy good and faithful servant”

24 Mar 2018

Rod has been in a lot of back pain today having trouble walking.  This afternoon he told me that while I was in Chinese class, he had a very clear voice from Jesus telling him “well done thy good and faithful servant”.  Of course, I’m happy he has received such high praise... I also have to be honest that I feel it’s a confirmation that Jesus is ready to welcome him back home to heaven, that his days here on earth are short...and i dont like it.  I know this may sound crazy to anyone reading this...and sometimes, it’s crazy to me.  Rod is very highly spiritually connected and when he tells me he has been spoken to by Jesus, I know he is telling the truth.  It makes my stomach ache to even think that he’s nearing death, and I pray morning and night with Rod that he can stay here on this earth much longer so that we both can continue to do His will.  We will go tomorrow to get a professional photo session...have some fun, take some beautiful photos together and have a wonderful book created, for all time.  I also hope to get a photographer at our family reunion in KY.  It’s as if I want to capture every moment together and freeze it in time, trying to hold on to him forever.

Father, you know my fears, and even though I know I should trust, and I do trust, I’m scared.  I’m scared that the end is near and I can’t do anything about it.  I don’t know how I will carry on without him, I don’t know what I will do, where I will live...and of course it’s fear of the unknown and fear of being alone.  Father I ask that You grant me the understanding and courage to face my situation whenever it comes and help me live one day at a time.  I ask that You keep me in today and enjoy our time together.  


Pain and Prayers
13 April 2018
Rod got his PSA today, and as feared, it has gone up.  He won’t tell me to what, but he said it’s higher.  I looked..56.67.  He told me today that he didn’t take the hormone shot since Feb 20th.  Not sure why... I don’t think I’ll ever understand why he doesn’t take it...it’s the only hope now.  He said due to what he has felt as a side effect with heart palpitations and swelling ankles, he feels like he’s trading seats in the titanic.  He’s in pain as he walks, he can’t get comfortable when he lays down,  he did finally agree to take some gout medicine which seems to help.  He’s getting ready to go to the US on a tour...I’m sure he thinks it’s his last time to see some of these people...and it might be.  I can’t be there with him at the beginning, but I’ll join him later in SC, then we’ll both go to KY to spend a week together.   I’m not looking forward to our time apart and especially not being with him to help him as he travels.  He’s going to Myrtle beach to the clinic, so that will be good for him. I’m still massaging him morning and evening and he says it makes it feel better for a few minutes, but then it’s back.  

Father, I thank you for our love and our life together.  I ask that you heal his cancer, I ask that you take away his pain and I ask for many more days on this earth together.  We know Father that we do not know the hour of our death.  I ask that if he goes before me that you give me strength to carry on.  Amen.

Anniversary 35 

23 April2018
Well, this anniversary we spend alone physically, but together in our hearts and minds...Rod is in the US on his family and friends tour 2018. He is telling everyone this is the last time he will do this.  I will join you soon on the US for a business meeting, then we can have a week together on vacation!  



PSA to TIA
2 May 2018
I awoke to news today that Rod has had a stroke/ TIA, not sure which one yet while in Louisville, KY.  Thankfully son Chris was with him and took him to the hospital.  I saw a video of him trying to answer the nurses questions and some words were right,  many were wrong.  His color was really red, and his blood pressure was high.  Thank God he was with family.  The good news is I spoke to him a few minutes ago and he sounded back to normal.  He recited the alphabet perfectly.  That leads me to believe that it was a TIA.  As I write this, he has not seen the doctor yet, so no idea of the next step.

What a difference a week makes
8 May 2018
This time last week, I was oblivious that I would get a call that Rod had suffered a stroke. Today, due to the wonderful help of his son Christopher and some very attentive doctors and nurses and the almighty God the father, he is with me here in Louisville, KY with no permanent damage from the stroke!  He was getting ready to get on a bus to go to Myrtle Beach for a week of treatment, but Thankfully his son saw that he wasn’t acting or speaking right and convinced him to go tot he hospital. What would have happened if he would have gotten in that bus and the clot allowed to just stay there?  No telling!  Instead, he went to a stroke trauma Center very close to where his son’s family lives and they gave him some immediate treatment which dissolved the clot quickly, limiting the scope and in fact making it a reality that there would be no permanent damage!  That is a God thing!  The docs told him to stay around the area, so we are doing just that. Staying close and resting.  His back still hurts a lot, but at least he is able to walk, talk and generally be normal.  Thank you God!
Father I want to say a big thank you again for your Divine intervention in Rod’s life and ensuring that he is not shut down just yet!  Thank you father for ensuring that he got quick help, that we have good insurance, that son Christopher was there, that he didn’t get on the bus..and the list goes on and on.   Father I ask that you heal the cancer in Rod’s body.  


1 stroke, 2 strokes, xxx strokes more..
21 May 2018

What a crazy last 2 weeks. Rod was in the US doing his “friends and family” tour, while Inwas still in China I got a call from son Christopher that Rod was in the hospital after having suffered a mini-stroke or TIA. At that time, I got my tickets changed and came earlier than planned.  It was really a God thing where Christopher noticed that something wasn’t right and took him to the hospital and they diagnosed the problem and gave him the anti-stroke medication.  Within 24 hours he was speaking and thinking normally again.  By the time I got here, he had been released from the hospital with no permanent damage and told to take aspirin every day.  Everything seemed normal.  


After that I went to SC as planned for my business trip but he did not go with me.  He spent the week back with Christopher in their home, and then drove up to Cincinnati to pick me up on Friday evening.  I drove to Maysville and because we were not sure of his health, we changed our reservation to just stay there all week instead of moving of around.  He went with me to my high school reunion and was wiped out after that and spend the next day sleeping most of the day.

  He informed me that he had given up driving alone..he didn’t feel comfortable and in fact when he was in Louisville during the time I was in SC, he said he had to pull off of the road because his head felt really “swimmy” like it did before the stroke.  At that time, there was no immediate symptoms, but he said he was afraid he would hurt someone or something, so he didn’t want to drive.  That is a big deal for him..a very big deal. 

Today, when I was with a high school girlfriend having coffee and tea, he was at the hotel and he called our life insurance company to make sure his premiums where up to date.  When I got back from my friends date, He told me that In the middle of talking about to the insurance person, he had another mini-stroke, where his tongue for thick and he couldn’t concentrate and feel he couldn’t talk or think right.  When I spoke to him he sounded ok and he said he felt ok.  He convinced me he didn’t want to go to the hospital.  I hope I don’t regret this.

Is this the way a person with stage 4 cancer dies?  Slowly, painfully, progressive additional ailments?  

This trip has been my wake up call..he is much sicker than I thought.  Back in China, I only saw him for about an hour in the morning and 2 hours in the evening..now that I have been with him all day for several days, it’s evident for me that he’s sick.  He’s weak, he’s fragile and he’s not confident (all of these descriptors are the exact opposite of husband of 35 years).  I’m  calling into question everything about myself..retirement, future plans etc because I want to take actions to get him back to the US before I’m bringing him home in an urn.
Father, I think you for the time we have had together and Thank you for being a part of his mission in life.  Thank you for the true love we share.   I ask that you heal Rodney’s mind and body.  I ask that you relieve him of the pain he is feeling and also I ask that you give him understanding of me and me of him.  Heal him Father, if it be Your will.  Amen

Praying for a miracle and signalling intentions

30 May 2018
We’re on the plane in route to China.  It has been nice to see friends and family and now we are returning to our other home in Shenyang, hoping to get back to a routine, where Rod does not have to move around.  He’s not feeling well at all right now on the flight..it is taking everything he’s got to make this trip.  The cancer is sucking the life out of him before my eyes.  He will get the PET scan next week to see the story.  Unfortunately, I think we already know..I think the cancer was not stopped by the radiation.  I massage him daily and unabashedly pray for a miracle for healing and ask God to remove the pain in his back and now the groin.  I hope the doctor tells him to restart on the hormone therapy, I hope the hormone therapy can slow it down..even though it didn’t seem to have been doing that.

He’s no longer on the diet Dr Dong prescribed anymore, eating basically whatever he wants, especially sweets.  He told me earlier he just doesn’t care anymore.  This is a bad sign for me, signaling he has given up.  I believe in his heart of hearts, he knows something....What does he know?  I don’t know..only God knows. I believe he thinks the end is near...how near?  So many depressing thoughts.

This trip has been a wake up call for me.  I have been able to see first hand how weak he is, how much he sleeps, how he walks with a limp..and now with these mini-strokes, it amplifies my awareness how sick he is, no matter the brave face he puts on.  

With all of this in mind, I’ve now asked my personnel manager at work to start working on a replacement for me in China and plan on the end of the year 2018. We told his sons that is our intention and they were relieved.  Is that soon enough?  I don’t know.  I hope so.  If news next week on the PET scan is not good, then I’ll pull the trigger to go back sooner. 
Father God, I thank you for all of the time we have had together and thank you for all of our blessings and provisions You have provided.  I thank you for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and intuitive thought.  I thank You for our family and friends and all of their support.  Father, I continue to ask for a miracle of healing for Rodney and stop the growth of cancer in his prostate, bladder, backbone and pelvis.  I ask that You help him rebuild his bones and give him strength and relieve him of the pain.  I ask that Father so that he can continue to do Your will all over the world.  I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Breaking bones, breaking heart
1 June 2018

The trip from the US to China was too much for him.  Too much walking, and when we arrived in Shenyang, he was exhausted.  On Friday morning, he said he had a bad head ache and high blood pressure.  He went to the doctor and the doctor told him that the sever pain he has is the cause of the high blood pressure and the doctor gave him a high powered pain killer. He took it thank God.   I went to work in the morning, but I came home in the afternoon.  Rod went to get a massage that he thought would help.  I picked him up at the massage place and Rod said he had no pain, but that during the massage he thinks the massager broke a rib during the massage.  He said that that was a wake up call for him...his bones are very fragile...”a soft spot” he said.  He likely has several fractures all over causing him to have pain, and now he has a broken rib, caused only by the force of a massage.  
The jet lag and seeing him suffer and struggle keeps me up.  My only release is to write..because I can’t talk without crying and sobbing.  

 Punch 1 of the 1-2 punch

7 June 2018
Today, I took off work to go with Rod to get the PSA blood test and PET scan.  Our Chinese friends took off work too and helped accompany us through the very efficient, very busy Shenyang Hospital 1.  He took the tests and it was evident he was not comfortable at all, and after the tests were done, we came home and he couldn’t get comfortable anywhere.  He even took off his necklace and bracelet because it hurt his skin.  He moved from the bed, to the chair, to the floor.  I felt so bad for him, even though he took pain medicines, he was in agony.  I felt so helpless, I tried to massage him, but even that hurt him.  
Then we got the PSA results...> 100.  Rod looked at it and said to me “Your boy is going down”.  I’m numb, just numb.
Father, 
I thank you for all the time we have shared together and having experienced real love.  I thank you for being able to be part of his life.  I ask that you relieve him of the pain and again, I ask for a miracle to extend his life with me, if it be your will.  I don’t know what to do.  I ask you Father to lead and guide me and send your Holy Spirit to me to tell me what to do.

Punch 2 of the 1-2 punch..a kick in the gut

8 June 2018
Today, we got the results, and it’s not good.  The doc was not here, but we could read the book and see the pictures ourselves...we’ve done this before.  It has spread to his lymph system, it’s up on his voice box, on his ribs, middle of his back and it looks like it’s in his lungs too, in addition to the original places of prostate, bladder, pelvis and backbone.

I’m numb, I’m just a sobbing piece of numbness.  Ok cancer, you won...you got him here on earth, but God will welcome him to Heaven...that’s my only solace. Joined at the heart forever.  Father, you know my heart Is broken, you know when you will welcome him home.  You know my prayers and I ask for strength.  I cannot bear this alone.

Sunrise, Sunset

16 June 2018
It’s Saturday morning and another dip on the roller coaster of cancer.  Monday and Tuesday of this week, Rod was in horrible pain, could not get comfortable, chilling and achy like he had the flu, then Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, he seemed like his old self, up and positive, had some pain,  it stil mobile, then today, he did not sleep, feels achy and woke up drenched with sweat.  I’m so grateful we have made the decision to go back to the US. .  It is a lot of work to move, but I just don’t want the added stress of him dying in China.  I want to move him while he’s able.  Some days he is able, other days, not so much.  Michelin has been so supportive during this and for that I’m so very grateful.  Our friends and family are also very supportive and have offered to help us in any way.  That means the world to me.

I told my team at work this past week that I was leaving.  Lots of sad faces, but they will get through.  They are sad for us both as they all know Rodney.  Sad for themselves as it means a new boss at some point in the future, and they don’t know when that is, neither do it.  The obligatory leaving China party is scheduled now, and the green light has been given to the movers to make appointments with us., many of the actions I write down on my check list  are all starting to happen now...it’s reality.  I’m doing the checklists, and intellectually, I’m OK, emotionally, I’m still numb.  Just numb, running on fumes

Father God, I thank you for all of the time we have had together, going all over the world, doing Your Will as best we know how.  Thank you for the gift of knowing true love here on this earth and helping Rod, and seeing how very much Rod had helped and supported me. He is an incredible man and I thank you for this gift of time we have together.  I ask once again for another miracle Father, I ask that you stop the growth of the cancer in his body, You know where it is and I ask that hat if it be Your Will that You stop it growing.  I ask for strength to accept Your will and if he is to go before me, then I ask for the strength to carry on, one moment at a time.  I ask for acceptance and understanding.  I ask that You welcome him back into your arms and welcome him Home with You and give him comfort.  I ask that You assign him the mission to continue to take care of me. Amen.

My heart goes out with the books

17 June 2018
Today, Rod is trudging away..We continue to sort through stuff, getting ready for our departure from China.  I can see he is in pain.  He is meeting with a Chinese friend of ours and giving her some of his prize possessions...his books.  We tell her we are leaving.  I’m not sure she grasps the seriousness of the situation.  She says he looks good, and on the outside, she is right..he does look good.  She is somewhat stunned by our news.
These are very personal books and he wants her to have,  books that he has carried all over the world and is now giving to her.  I saw the first one being given, and after that I left, I just couldn’t watch it.  It made my stomach sick and my eyes tear up.  I know why he wanted her to have them, but it just made it that much more real...that he knows the end is near and this is his way of giving a piece of his heart to those dear to him.  A piece of his heart goes with the books seemingly peacefully, yet at the same time, my heart is being ripped out.  Nothing peaceful about it.  I take a picture to capture the moment, trying to keep him alive through a digital image, even while my heart trying to keep on beating, my eyes are full of tears and my stomach in knots.


Father, I thank you for being able to share my life with such a caring, genuine man for the past 35+ years.  I thank you for the time spent with his gentle soul and loving spirit.  I know you have additional missions for him and I just ask for the strength to accept that.  I already yearn for the time we will be together for eternity with You.  Even so, I ask for yet another miracle of healing and I trust Your will to be done in our lives.  You know our needs and I ask for strength to carry on

.

Up and down round and round...where it he stops nobody knows..

25 June 2018
Today, When I came home from work, Rod was angry...angry at our friends for trying to help him find a cure for the cancer, angry at me for “making him move to the US”, angry at any female for “ganging up on him, telling him what to do, angry at cancer for making him feel bad...just angry.  It made me feel frustrated that I’m changing everything about my life so that if he dies, I’m not  having to deal with it in China.  Selfish on my part?  maybe, but I don’t think so.  I think he’s feeling bad and lashing out at anyone close to him as a way to feel in control of his life.
Father, I’m trying to be the faithful, loving woman I need to be for Rodney.  I thank you for my difficulties, so that I can appreciate the good days and moments.  Thank you for all of the good days and moments we have shared together.  I ask that you bless him and keep him and if it be Your will, please take away his pain and his anger. I ask that you heal the cancer and restore his bones.  I ask that you restore his spirit.

Trail of Tears

4 July 2018
Last night Rod didn’t sleep at all, and he was in pain, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t get comfortable. This morning, he told me it’s the worst he has ever felt and he told me he remembered my mother, just setting at the table, in pain, no energy.  He wondered aloud that he had been lead by God to be with my mom in her last days to see how it was going to be.  We both cried, sitting on the side of the bed.  He said he wasn’t afraid of dying he was sad to be leaving me, with no one to take care of me. He said he felt so bad for putting me through this...the inevitable death of the love of my life, my friend, my lover, my confidant, my spiritual leader, my Rodney. I feel so bad for him, I hate to see him in pain, I hate to be putting him through this big move at a time when he feels really bad all over.  It’s obvious I waited too long to ask to go back. I ask God to let him alive until we fly out on the 16th of July.

Later today I read the translation of the PET scan.  It’s not good, even worse than we thought.  It’s on his bronchial tubes, in his throat, left lung, liver, adrenal glands, rectum, prostate,aorta at the  T3/4 area of the backbone, multiple points in the skeletal and spinal structure. In other words, it’s everywhere.

 Father God, I thank you for all the time we have had together.  I thank you for life we have shared all over the world.  I thank You for all of the people he has helped all over the world.   I ask again for another miracle to healing in my Rodney, if it be Your will Lord.  I ask that you give us both strength to get through the days ahead.  I ask that you bless him and relieve him of the suffering.  I ask that You let him see his sons again in the US and let them know we both love them. Father, I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.

From China With Love

15 July 2018
Today we make our final preparations to leave China.  The movers have come and gone, most of the goodbyes have been said, the going away parties and gifts presented...many tears have been And will continue toto be shed as we go to the next chapter of our lives.  



We have a plan...get back to Greenville, recuperate from the trip and jet lag, get him hooked up with a GP doc, see if he qualifies for hospice if so, get hooked up with that, then find a place to live that is convenient to that, get the air shipment delivered there, and then try to live our lives as much as possible until we can’t.  We hope too just feel like we’re on vacation for a while!

I’m so grateful for the time we have been together, so grateful for the man he is and continues he’s to be, so grateful for knowing and experiencing true love.  I’m also grateful to work for an excellent t company Michelin.  A 125 year old company that still has a heart, and for which I have strived to be part of the driving force to keep it going for another 100+ years.  I have prepared all of the handover documents and left them with my assistant in case I can’t come back in September and do it face to face. I have shared our accomplishments and dreams with my teams so that hopefully they will continue on the path we started together professionally.  Today Rodney and I did a video interview when I asked him to go over the financial documents And any last wishes or advice for me.   I know it will help me when the time comes, but it was hard to do.  I have done all I know to do both personally and professionally to prepare. 


Father God I thank you for all of the blessings in our lives, Thank You for the experience of true love with Rodney, Thank You for the revelations You have given Rodney and he has shared with me, Thank You for loving friends and  family all over the world, Thank you for a good job and a wonderful company, thank you for clarity of thought and most of all Father, thank You for giving your Son Jesus so that we may have eternal life.  Father, I ask that you send your Angels to us and watch over us as we travel back to the US, I ask that you give Rodney peace and comfort as we make this long trip, I ask that you send Your Holy Spirit to us to tell us truth and show us the next right steps as we enter into this next phase of our life.  Amen.

Until next time, we ask for your continued prayers.
Sarah & Rodney