My father, Roger Kramer passed away from lung cancer on June 2nd, 2019 after his 129 day battle. His cancer progressed quickly after his diagnosis on January 24th 2019. The cancer spread to his C2, eating away at the bone and fracturing his neck. After finishing chemotherapy and radiation, a PET scan t revealed the cancer had spread throughout his body. I was honored to care for him in his final days and he passed away 4 days later. We not only lost a father but Craig and I lost a dear friend and community member. A Fatherless Daughter is a blog series that highlights his last few weeks and the struggles we have had to overcome as a family as my dad’s cancer battle came to an end.
April 29th, 2019
More bad news on the home front…
About 30 seconds after I posted last nights update on my Dad (literally, 30 seconds) we took dad’s brace off of his neck so he could scratch his beard. He went to lean back in the recliner and my dad broke his neck.
We didn’t know that at that second obviously- he said he needed to go in the ER and something was very wrong. He was in 10/10 pain the entire way. I sat in the back seat trying to keep his neck still on the way. The narcotics in the ER were hardly touching his pain.
So the bone that broke is again that C2 vertebrae where the cancer is eating the bone. Imagine a doughnut – the hole in the doughnut keeps getting larger from the cancer eating the bone making it so weak which is why his neck broke so easily.
Dad was taken by ambulance to Lacrosse so he will be up there for the next few days at least. A neuro surgeon will now be added to the team who will be reviewing his case today at the “cancer meeting” they have on Mondays.
In a normal person, they would likely have surgery and be placed in a halo but with the cancer component we just don’t know what’s going on yet.
Here’s my mom’s blog post on today’s events: https://www.joscountryjunction.com/from-bad-to-worse/
That was possibly the worst day. I’ll never forget that groan that he let out when he moved just so slightly. It wasn’t like he was trying to get up, he just honestly reached forward and then just groaned. Then he said, “I don’t know how you guys are going to get me in the truck.” We didn’t know what he meant. He meant to get to the ER even though they had just come home from there.
I held traction on his neck, Craig and mom held his hands to guide him. It was terrifying. Carver watched the whole thing. I sat in the back seat of the truck literally holding his neck in place for the longest 35 minute drive of our lives. Every bump, every curve – my arms ached by the time we pulled into town.
I said something on the way there that we were all thinking: “Do you think you broke it Dad?”
“Something isn’t right.”
I called ahead to the ER. We brought him in through the ambulance bay. My coworkers met us outside with a stretcher. Mom and I were relieved to have some help. He was so so uncomfortable. I was that annoying family member that kept asking for narcotics for him.
In hindsight, we should have called an ambulance.
This is one of the most traumatic experiences in Dad’s cancer journey for me and mom. We talk about it often.
Check back tomorrow for a continuation of the Fatherless Daughter series.