Lea Wait, here. Some of you may remember that about three years ago I posted about my husband, Bob Thomas, his health issues., and how they were changing our lives. I followed that up, always with Bob’s approval, with further posts a year later, and then, earlier this spring, when he entered hospice. As most of you know, Bob died peacefully at home in our bed on April 9.
Since then, my life has been busy and, in many ways, has felt surreal. I miss Bob, and think of him every hour of every day. I’m trying to get our house and my writing commitments in order. I’ve hosted two of my granddaughters, and eighteen-year-old Vanessa is with me for the summer, working at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens before she begins college in August.
I haven’t really had – or taken – the time to grieve. I have family commitments and manuscript deadlines, and I just launched a new mystery series.
But now, in the ironies of life, another change has come.
As a short bit of background — before Bob and I were married I’d taken care of my mother for many years, and Bob had cared for his mother, who died of pancreatic cancer. He also cared for his wife of only a few months, who died of pancreatic cancer only nine months after his mother. When Bob and I decided to marry we knew one of us would some day be taking care of the other. Although Bob’s health wasn’t the best, even those 15 years ago, he believed that someday he would be caring for me … that I, too, would get pancreatic cancer. Every time I had any physical issue he would ask the doctor to check that I didn’t have it. Finally, it became a kind of joke with us. My health was good — no history of serious diseases, heart, stroke, or cancer. No family history.
So ten days ago when I got very dizzy, and the dizziness didn’t go away within a few hours, and I ended up at an emergency room, I asked the doctors to check not only my head, but also my abdomen. I’d been having a few minor pains. Indigestion? Maybe my gall bladder?
Twenty-four hours later, after an increasingly detailed series of tests, I learned that, yes, almost unbelievably, I have pancreatic cancer. It’s stage four — it’s spread to my liver.
I’ve seen an oncologist. Today I’m having a biopsy and a mediport will be implanted so I can more easily get chemotherapy. The cancer is terminal, but chemo might give me more good months to live.
I’m continuing to work on my books and make appearances, and plan to continue doing those things as long as I can. I haven’t given up. But, once again, I’m dealing with illness that I can medicate to some degree, but over which I have no control. This time the illness is mine.
I ‘m not planning to post daily bulletins on Facebook, or make this blog the diary of a cancer patient, but so many of you came along with me and were touched by Bob’s journey that I felt I wanted to include you on mine as well.
For the moment I feel fine except for occasional twinges. That will change. But one thing we all know: death is a part of life.
My only hopes are that I have time to make my next transition as easy as possible for my family and friends, and that I have as peaceful an ending as Bob did.
Somewhere, perhaps, he is laughing at the ironies of life, and wishing me strength and hope.
In the meantime, I am writing on.
My heart is filled with sadness over what you are going thru. Sending good thoughts and prayers for both you and your family as you begin your battle. God bless!
Thank you, Kim.
Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, Lea.
Appreciated and valued, Kristie!
Prayers snLove sent to YOU, Lea…
No words can express my shock in reading this …
Perhaps, you have become a family member of mine.
I loved your visit to South Freeport Church and your friendly, open and sincere sharing of your life and books !
May Hod bless you and your family as you move and continue to share with us your extended family.
Love to You!
Thank you, Nita! That visit was a memorable one for me, too. Thank you for caring. Lea
Lea, I am shocked and saddened beyond words at this news. I wish you the easiest of this, the hardest of journeys, and hope you have many, many good months and years to come. I hold you squarely in my prayers. And send hugs.
Thank you, Edith! The biopsy and port implant yesterday went well — I was awake for all of it — and although I’m taking (as directed) a few quiet days — I won’t know anything more for a week or so — and maybe longer. But your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. Lea
Keeping you in my thoughts. <3
Thank you, Brooke! Lea
I’ve read your blog and books for a while and I’ve loved every word. I had tears in my eyes when I read about your husband and I had tears in my eyes as I read this today. I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. <3
My heart hurts for you. Your ability to cope with all life throws at you is beyond amazing. I will keep you in my thoughts, wishing you comfort in the journey ahead.
Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
My prayers and heartfelt hope for you . God Bless. Your very brave to share.
Keeping you in my prayers. Hoping for comfort for you as you endure this journey.
Lea, so sad for you as you bravely face this journey. Keeping you and your family in my prayers. Godspeed~
Lea, this is unbelievable sad news. Clearly you are handling the challenge with strength and grace, as you did with Bob’s illness and loss. Keeping you in my prayers.
It all seems very unfair sometimes. I’m so sorry to hear of this new twist in the road, but as the others have said above, you are a strong woman and you are dealing with this thing head-on with grace and honesty. I will be holding you up in prayer.
I am so sorry to hear or read this twist in the road. Am keeping you in my heart and prayers . You have done so much for others in your life, it does not seem fair for you to endure this. I will always remember how kind your were to Pam Reed by signing your books and having her at your home. I had suggested that to her, because she missed you at one of the signings.
Oh, Lea! I’m shocked and so very sad. You are in my prayers.
Sorry to hear about this twist in your road, Lea, and hope that you will have a smooth journey ahead for as long as possible.
Wow. Your story is the definition of irony. Hope there are people to make your future as comfotable as you made your mom & Bob’s. Good luck.
Unexpected ironies of life keep us off balance and offer us constant opportunities to grow! I am sorry to hear of this new twist in your personal plot! I am, as ever glad to take your garbage to the dump when I am in town, do erands and though my nursing licence is no longer active, I can help with home care as needed and as I am able! I will wrap you in a white light and give you to the night sky for your comfort and I thank you for all the reading pleasure you have given to me and others. Your old neighbor, Lydia Kitfield❤️😊
Oh my gosh Lea, sending you love and keeping you in my prayers….
I’m just seeing this and can’t believe what I’ve just read. Nevertheless, you’re a stalwart in this area of life, and an inspiration. I’ve read your posts about your husband, even reading them to my husband and daughter because they were always so tactfully communicated to us, and I’d wanted to share them.
I’m just a fan of your books, but I’ve come to know you through this thing called social media and it’s an honor. I pray that you will continue to remain positive and keep your light shining for all of us who’ve been encouraged by your journeys, and entertained by your books.
Oh Lea. First, thank you for your courage in sharing this most personal part of your life. I lost both my mother and my maternal grandmother to pancreatic cancer. I live with the knowledge that one day I could very well hear those same words. Prayers be with you Lea. God be with you at this time.
Lea, I couldn’t bring myself to say this earlier, but I just lost my husband, and have been fighting all the the things that have come with that loss. I, like many others, feel I know you through your work. It seems that I am losing a friend.
I am so sad to hear this. Your books have brought me comfort and escape when I needed it most. I am so proud of your attitude. It is easy to give up. Perseverance is hard. I know your journey won’t be easy but you won’t be traveling alone. My love and prayers to you Lea.
I’m heartbroken and also, once again, amazed at the vagaries and essential unfairness of life. You’re frequently in my thoughts for no particular reason but even more so now and going forward.
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I just found this post. I don’t have any more to add to everyone’s expressions, except some more hugs and hopes for the easiest possible final journey. You will be missed.
Oh Lea! I just heard about this and I am so heartbroken. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family. You are incredibly brave—like another mystery author I knew: Anne George.
When I originally commented I seem to have clicked the
-Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I receive four emails
with the exact same comment. There has to be a
way you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks!
Sending you love & light. Thank you for being graceful in your words & generous of spirit. I am appreciative of your kind sharing of this most personal experience. I hope today is a very good day! jkcosmos
I just found out that you have cancer today. I have loved your books since I met you at a book talk at the Freeport library. I was scheduled to do a book talk soon after that and having no idea what one was like, I chose to scope out yours. I was so glad I did because you were welcoming, professional, and engaging. I have my signed book from that night and have been hooked on your writing ever since. I can’t imaginebeing in your shoes. I watched my mother-in-law fight stage 4 breast cancer and I know from a bystander’s pointof view how hard the journey can be. I will always remember the written word you have given to the world.
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