“In the darkest moments……Thank you Aruba.”
In January, 2011 we returned home from Aruba after a 4 week stay. My wife was not feeling well during the stay in Aruba and upon our return home she visited our Doctor. Tests performed showed the presence of cancer.
My wife was referred to the University Health Network of Hospitals who immediately started diagnosis. The findings and prognosis were not good. Stage 4 Cancer! We were in our darkest times.
As it turned out, the Hospitals were in the process of conducting a research program into the rare form of cancer my wife had. After many tests…muggagrams, mammograms, CT Scans, MRI’s, blood tests and so on the Doctors pronounced their findings. Stage 4 Cancer with a high probability of reoccurrence.
Treatments started. Chemo, followed by surgery and then 7 weeks of daily radiation. Through all of this we attempted to stay positive. During the process, complications arose. In June of 2011, the Doctors asked me to place her into palliative care as they had concluded that her life was not likely to continue beyond the next 48 hours. I could not. I stayed by her side as much as possible.
After several days in intensive care, she started to recover. The Doctors assessed the situation and put her onto an intense program of vaccination and medications associated with their research. While painful and distressing, she started to “come back” While sleeping 18—20hours a day, she was able to talk about things that meant the most to her. One of these was the ultimate desire to return to Aruba.
The fall of 2011 was difficult but the dream of the return lingered. By December she resolved that she must come back. We then met with her lead oncologist ( who, it turned out had honeymooned in Aruba) to discuss this desire. We contacted the hospital here ( Dr Henk Wasaneer…oncologist) and they immediately agreed to connect with her doctors and provide any assistance required.
So, for Christmas, she got to return. Her love of the island, coupled with the friendly and warm affections of her Aruban friends assisted in putting the cancer into the background. While not able to do all the things she previously enjoyed, Aruba and her people certainly went a long way to taking her mind off things. She returned home for more treatments in a very positive mind.
Since that visit and her return, there have been many more treatments. She came back to Aruba in April 2012, and is now here again until September 2012. The Doctors cannot believe her progress and her return from the depths of despair. They feel the cancer has been beaten.
Aruba was the one thing that stayed at the front of all discussions and hope during this black and depressing time.
To Aruba the country, and to all thoseArubans here who graciously assisted us in these tough times….a truly heartfelt thank you. Sometimes the words cannot say enough.