Friday, June 29, 2007

Still numb...

Well, I don't think reality has really hit me yet... I'm still in a daze and I suppose I will be for some time yet. Hopefully the sorrow and sadness will only come out in small bursts and not be too paralyzing. Right now, I think I'm sort of numb. And I suppose that's a blessing, in some ways...

The cards, messages, comments, food and notes I have received since Tony's passing have been quite overwhelming. Tony was not only a great father and husband, he was also a great son, brother, brother-in-law, son-in-law, friend, neighbour, coach, co-worker, employee,... And what's so wonderful, is that I'm not the only who thought so... It was no secret; he was just a wonderful man.
Accepting and living with the fact that he is no longer here, will take some time... And while I will keep posting on the blog, for now, my postings will more than likely be more sporatic. I hope you will understand and keep in touch.

Happy Canada Day! And, take good care!


Sunday, June 24, 2007


The week before Tony passed away, I had talked to the boys to prepare them... and encouraged them to show their Daddy how much they love him. Immediately after this conversation, once the tears had been wiped away, Richard got on the computer and put together this poem and photo for his Dad. He read it to Tony that night and Tony asked him to put it in his top drawer with all of his important papers...

Remember all the great moments together

I love you with all my heart

Crying is how I demonstrate my love for you

Happiness we had

Always on my mind, forever in my heart

Relive it all over again, is what I would do if I could

Dad, you are the greatest

xox- I love you dad

Take good care!


P.S. We're doing fine... for now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

One minute at a time...

Still pretty much in a daze, but I wanted everyone to know that we will be holding a reception at the Sarto Desnoyers Community Centre in Dorval on Thursday, June 21st after the Memorial Service (approx. 4:30). This reception is intended to be a celebration of Tony's life. He actually wanted a Mexican themed party, but we'll save that for later on...

Tony's obituary appeared in today's Gazette and will also appear in tomorrow's edition (Wednesday).

Thanks for all your support. Take good care!


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Gone but not forgotten

I'm in a daze... It has been a very long and difficult day marking the end of a long and courageous battle fought by a man like no other, my husband, Richard Anthony (Tony) Rafter. Tony died peacefully in his sleep by my side this morning. He did it his way. In his home, surrounded by his loved ones.

I apologize to all the friends and family that we weren't able to contact directly. I realize that this blog might not be the best way to learn of Tony's passing.
I have reproduced below the obituary that will appear in the Montreal Gazette tomorrow.
RAFTER, Richard Anthony (Tony)
Passed away peacefully in his sleep after a courageous battle at the age of 41. Beloved husband of Renée Desjardins-Rafter, cherished father of Richard and Mathieu, loving son of Richard and Jean, wonderful brother to Michele (Peter) and Sara (deceased), dear son-in-law of Jean Desjardins and Suzanne Montpetit, close brother-in-law to Pierre (Marie-France), Nicole (Greg), and Michelle, and much loved uncle to Luke and Sara, Benoit, Scott and Annie. Sadly missed by all his family and friends in Canada and Northern Ireland.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hope and Cope and to the Jewish General Hospital Foundation.

The visitation will be held at Rideau Funeral Home, 4275, boul. des Sources, D.D.O., Qc (514) 685-3344 on Wednesday, June 20th, 2007 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Memorial Service will also be held at Rideau on Thursday, June 21st, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. with visitation commencing at 2:30 p.m.

We will be organizing a reception, probably in Dorval, after the Memorial Service. Details will follow.
Take good care!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Having a nightmare and can't wake up!

Well, the much awaited air conditioning unit we had installed last week is on the fritz. Needless to say, with a forecast of 34 degrees (with the humidex), I have been on the phone with Sears on a number of occasions over the last two days. A technician has been by twice, but I'm told that the part is back-ordered for two weeks. I told them to "fix it now, replace it now, or take it away!" I guess I'll be on the phone again tomorrow.

A community nurse (NOVA) will be by to assess Tony tomorrow and see about getting him into a palliative care residence. A social worker will accompany her and they will see how best to help. Tony has not eaten any solids in at least two days and has been quite confused. His words are jumbled and his hands have a slight tremor. Last night he told the boys he needed to "have a shower and change country". I feel like I'm having a nightmare and I can't wake up...

I'm glad that my sister-in-law, Michele, and Tony's best buddy, Kevin, are coming into town tomorrow. I'm also very thankful that my brother-in-law, Greg, has been able to be with us this week. To Guylaine, Linda T. and Sylvie, thank you for your kindness and generosity. To my Onco team at Novartis, thank you for your continued support.

I will leave you on this note... Take good care!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thankful for pain medication

I don't know what to say, except to tell you that things are not getting better. Tony's liver function is rapidly deteriorating and as the doctor told him yesterday, he is officially jaundiced. They considered keeping him in the hospital, but then sent us home, because this is where Tony would rather be.
We can be thankful that his pain seems to be under control. However, as a result of the medication - I believe - he is becoming more confused. There is not much else to say at this point... I know that most of you will not know what to say; and don't worry. You need not say anything. I know that you are all thinking of us, and I thank you!
Take good care!

Monday, June 11, 2007

No pain... lots of sleep

Well, things are pretty much the same. On the bright side, Tony is not in any pain. He still has no appetite, but is drinking Boost and getting some calories and nutrients. We will visit his nurse at the hospital tomorrow for blood tests. Hopefully, this will not be too long or exhausting for him.

Richard (Jr) had his x-ray this morning, but we won't know anything for a few days. He went to watch his soccer team play tonight. I think they won 10-0. Mathieu spent the day with his friend and came home for dinner. They're both at school tomorrow.

That's it for now. Take good care!


P.S. Can't wait for Tony's sister to arrive... She'll be here Friday!

P.P.S. Must remember to take some photos of something interesting tomorrow to liven up this blog...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

No better, no worse

Well, the good news is things are no worse than they were last week. The bad news is that things aren't any better either. Tony slept through the weekend and ate very little. Thank god for the meal replacement drinks; at 360 calories a pop, they're keeping him well nurished.

Mathieu has a PD day tomorrow and will hopefully be able to visit and play with a friend as I have to take Richard for an X-ray of his knee. He hurt it in football and aggravated the injury in soccer last week. The anti-inflammatories are helping but the doctor wants to play it safe. So, it'll be a quiet week for Richard (and myself) who will be sidelined for at least 7 days.

That's it for now. Take good care!


Thursday, June 7, 2007

No chemo today...

Well, I'm afraid there wasn't much good news to be had today. Except, maybe for Tony, that there was no treatment. The oncologist sent him for a chest X-ray. Apparently, the reason why he has been getting short of breath - cause he's gradually been getting short of breath... - is because his liver is inflammed and pressing up against his lungs. The oncologist prescribed a patch for pain so as to decrease the amount of morphine he is presently taking. So we'll give that a try.

Next week we have a ct-scan scheduled and his case should be presented at the Tumour Board on Friday... But I'm getting ahead of myself again. For now, we will manage the pain. And, hopefully, next week, they will come up with a plan.

Tony's sister is thinking of coming for a visit. It will be nice to see her again and enjoy her company. I'm sure Tony will appreciate it as well.

That's it for now.

Take good care!


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Mister golden sun, please shine down on me!

Today was petty much the same - except for the fact that we had the A/C installed in the house. We're ready for the heat; now all we need is for the sun to cooperate and we can take full advantage of our new unit!

This evening I tried to help Mathieu with a school project; there was bribery involved... And, I watched the last portion of Richard's football practice. I started watching the Senators, but - sorry Marie! - it was pretty much hopeless. The only consolation, from what Richard tells me, is that Anaheim is the NHL team with the most Canadian players! I knew there had to be a reason why they were soooo good!!!!

Anyhow, tomorrow we're back at the hospital for an appointment with the Oncologist to evaluate where we're at... Keep your fingers and toes crossed!

That's it for now. Take good care!


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Looking for sunshine and brighter days...

Today was a repeat of yesterday with the added bonus of a fever of 38.1. I'm hoping it will not go any higher... otherwise we're off to the hospital. At last check it had gone down to 38.0, so I think we're in the clear. Tony spent all day in bed and woke only to eat; but didn't have much of an appetite. His abdominal distention and pain is still present although the morphine is helping - we just have to take an extra pill every day.

I'd like to thank everyone for their kind birthday wishes today. I was quite overwhelmed by all the calls, comments and e-mails. But I'm hoping to postpone my birthday dinner celebration so that we can all enjoy it.

Tomorrow the A/C is being installed. It will be welcome, as would a little bit of sun...

That's all for now. Send some positive vibes our way; it can only help!

Take good care!


Monday, June 4, 2007

Eating and sleeping, eating and sleeping, eating and sleeping...

Well, Monday has come and is almost gone, and, for Tony (aka Richard), it was pretty much the same as Saturday and Sunday. He slept the days away, waking only to eat. We expected this to happen because he got his chemo on Thursday. However, I suppose I was hoping it might be a bit better because of the Morphine. So far, Tony has experienced some unpleasant side effects from the Morphine such as sweating, lack of appetite, fatigue, nightmares, confusion, and wicked thirst. BUT, there is no more pain! Thank God for that! Actually, Tony was just up briefly and watched the second half of the third period of the hockey game with me. Hopefully, this is a sign of better things to come as the week progresses.

I spent a good part of the evening at Richard's football practice. Thankfully, it only started raining as they were done. It's nice to get out and concentrate on something different; and I think the boys appreciate my presence.

Well, that's it for now... Take good care!


P.S. Tony says: "I hate chemo, and I hate cancer!"

Friday, June 1, 2007

How do you spell relief ? M-O-R-P-H-I-N-E

You never know how bad or debilitating pain can be until you find some relief. Tony was up and around today. He came with me to pick up the kids and we treated ourselves to a milkshake. This evening, he sat and enjoyed a chat with his boss. Small things, you might think; but they're things he couldn't have done yesterday. I am very thankful for these moments of normalcy.

I had lunch with my friend and former colleague, Linda, today. She has been such a tremendous emotional support to me throughout this whole journey. Thank you Linda! I know I'm a bit neurotic... But believe it or not, I would be even more so if you hadn't been there for me over the last two and a half years. You are a great friend ;)

I wish you all a wonderful weekend. Take good care!