For the past year and a half she had been fighting the 3rd resurgence of cancer in her body. We knew the chances were not good this time since now it was in her liver, from where the likelihood of it spreading was all to high. And eventually this was what happened, that it spread to he lungs and bones and finally overwhelmed her today. At first the doctors fom Oncology tried combating it with the newest drugs but after 4 months it had not grown but not shrunk away either, as had happened 4 years when spots had been discovered in mom's left lung (the original cancer was in her left breast which was operatively removed 19 years ago). At that point, they asked if she wanted to go into chemotherapy, with the warning that due to the doses necessary it might kill her in her already weakened state.
We discussed this. Really in-depth, November last year, just before Christmas. Mom said she had seen what had happened to one of her teacher collleagues who had gone through chemo but nevertheless died. And she was only 50 and in good shape. She said she didn't want to do that. And I said I would respect that. So this last year we've known time was not too long. There were some crises, she had stomach surgery in February and a wound infection afterwards which drained her so much she had to go stay in an assisted-living facility for a month to recover. but still she managed to come home just before her 80th birthday on July 8 and we had a nice summer together, watching the Tour De France and with family visiting. In August, her older sister Esther died after having a brain hemorrhage, as I've posted about. That took a lot out of mom but nevertheless she persevered.
In early October mom was hospitalised with bad back pain. At that time, it was discovered the cancer had spread to her spine and other bones as well as to her lungs. Since she had said no to chemotherapy, mom had been under the care of the special Palliation team and they have a hospital ward all to themselves for patients under their care. They adjusted moms pain medication to a high level as that was now necessary. For those of you who know medicines, oxycontin and if necessary pure morphine. She came home and we celebrated my 47th birthday together. But a few days later she fell and hurt herself and had to go in the hospital again and then to an assisted-living place. She was glad to be there and doing okay for a couple of weeks. But 2 weeks ago she unfortunately developed a lung infection and was taken to the Palliation team's special ward again. They managed to combat the infection but the fight and general spread of the cancer had taken too much of her strength. This last week she was was mostly in a barely-conscious state where we could be in contact with her but she could only respond with nods and shakes and pressing the hand. And these last few days she was slowly fading away.
The important thing is that she was not in pain, or panic. We had said our goodbyes. So when the call came this morning, it was okay. We went up there, me and her 2 brothers Børge and Christian (86 and 90) and said our last goodbyes. She looked peaceful, same as when I was sitting with her yesterday. The nurse told me she just started breathing slowly and 10 minutes later she was gone. In the end, I'm glad the end was quick and she did not have to lie in that state too long.
Rest in Peace, Erna Kjær Henningsen. You were loved, you were one of the strongest women ever and you were and always will be an inspiration.
Mom died quietly in her sleep a little past 8 this morning.