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My sweet Dad, loving father of sixteen children and grandpa to thirty-six was diagnosed in January, 2005, at the age of sixty-nine. He was fine at Christmas time, but shortly after the holiday began to feel ill. His doctor thought that perhaps he had an ulcer. We were shocked when the diagnosis was pancreatic cancer. The cancer was also in his liver and was inoperable. He began chemo treatments (Gemzar) immediately, and began taking Tarceva. From Christmas until the end of January he lost over forty was as if a monster was inside him, slowly consuming him every day. The combination of Gemzar and Tarceva seemed to work. Tumor growth was barely perceptible in the following months. But Dad didn't feel well throughout the course of treatment. He never regained his appetite and was run-down all of the time. He never lost his fight, however. He loved life, his family and his God more than anyone I have ever known. He really thought that he would beat this. In May, 2005 he walked as a survivor in the ACS Relay for Life. However, a few weeks later he had a slight stroke, and then two weeks after that a heart attack that was caught in time by my sister, a nurse. The heart attack had not done damage to his heart, but from then on he was weakened even more. Dad was very ill by Father's Day, May 20, 2005, but was visited by all sixteen of his children. His loving heart failed him on June 23, 2005 and he went home to Heaven. I thank God that he was able to go home to God peacefully, and with no pain. Thank God he didn't die a painful pancreatic cancer death. Perhaps this was the miracle we had all prayed for. The six months watching Dad deteriorate were horrible for all of us who love him, but we all had a chance to tell him repeatedly how much we love him and to care for him as he had always cared for us. Thanks to Dr. John Visconti (the best!) at St. Louis University Cancer Center and to all of the nurses. Special thanks to my three siblings who are nurses and who cared for Dad as no one else could have, with love, compassion and humor. And thanks to Mom, who has been a pillar of strength to all of us. Dad, I miss you every minute of every day. I will love you always and look forward to seeing you again. With love from one of your princesses.

Posted 09/26/2005 04:48 pm by his daughter
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