No Immediate Departure Plans
Posted by Steve Crews
My path to becoming a hospice volunteer is unusual in that the first step was taken by my wife who checked out the Marshak Family Hospice CareCenter in Glenview, assuming I was going to need it.
I’d been experiencing dizzy spells that on a few occasions toppled me to the floor. Being a committed idiot, I didn’t tell anybody about this until one morning, after nearly falling down, the thought occurred that this might not be normal and that an emergency room visit just might be appropriate.
And it was. My blood glucose count was 625 and a scan revealed a tumor. It was pancreatic cancer, specifically, adenocarcinoma. We looked it up on the Internet and the outlook wasn’t good. During the surgery to remove the tail of the pancreas, the spleen and part of the stomach, a lymph node was tested and also proved to be cancerous. Again, not good.
Eight months of chemo and radiation followed. I settled my affairs. Old friends called. My son and daughter were attentive. My wife reported that the CareCenter was first class – that if and when the time came, I would be in caring hands. “I want to move in,” she joked.
Then time passed. One year, two, three. My original diagnosis was in March, 2011, and here I am, with no immediate departure plans. My oncologist calls me a “rarity.” My daughter prefers “freak of nature.” Either way, I am blessed.
I have been volunteering at JourneyCare for a little over a year now, visiting patients in the field and in the Marshak Family Hospice CareCenter. Working the desks. I know what the patients are thinking, because I have thought it. It gives me pleasure to see them treated so well.