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I've lost my sweet Bernadette



Dear Friends, I have been absent from the Stroke Net for a long time while devoting much of my time to caring for Bernie.


My dear Bernie passed away 2 months ago today. She was home with me with hospice care.


The last few years has not been kind to Bernie, repeated seizures and a severe anemia caused a multitude of problems. The last of which was repeated episodes of an enlarged spleen. Radiation treatments to shrink the spleen, although successful, caused horrible bone marrow problems with catastrophic effects in her own blood production. In June of last year she spent the month in the hospital, while there she received 20 units of whole blood and I lost count of the platelet transfusions (Bernie had about 80 units of blood in the last 4 years). During that time she had 2 severe seizures that had a lasting effect.

In December of 2013 I noticed her appetite getting worse again (a sign of the spleen enlarging once more). She was very weak and thin. We went to the hospital in January and explored the options which were few, she was too weak for surgery and needed blood and food. Also, we were given the news that her myelofibrosis (blood disorder) had evolved to a state of leukemia. Nothing but tragic news was coming our way.


Two days before Bernie left the hospital we had a feeding tube surgery scheduled. They were to put a tube into her stomach with the end of it reaching the duodenum. The enlarged spleen was crushing her stomach so this type of surgery would have gotten nutrient in her and allowed her to get stronger, hopefully. That morning, when they came to get her for surgery she called me into the hospital bathroom and told me and the nurse "no more" she said "Mike, I think I'm finished with all the surgeries and poking and blood transfusions. I just want to go home and take my chances." I asked her to please reconsider the tube and she told me "I've made up my mind, let's go home". She knew what the consequences would be and even though I understood, my heart broke. Bernie and me, and our daughters met with hospice before we went home.


Bernie came home January 21st under hospice care and me, I could not leave her. At first she could still have a cup of coffee, a little juice and maybe a few sips of soup. She just continued to weaken and not able to eat or drink anything the last couple of days. I thank God that she was in no pain during this time. On February 5th she passed away, and so did most of me.


During the last 4 years I prayed to God to keep me healthy enough to take care of Bernie. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to do that. My life now continues to be in shambles. I'm going to try and attend one of the chat rooms, I'm not sure I can do that yet.


Telling this story, has me in tears again. We were married nearly 47 years and we were always in love.


I tried to write this directly into the blog twice and messed it up both times. I hope I remember how to copy and paste.


Peace and Love, Mike


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I am kind if new here, joined in Feb. and had a stroke 8/2013. I just wanted to say your post was so sad and bittersweet. I am sorry you lost Bernie. Prayers and thoughts to you for a little peace and comfort!

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I am so sorry for your loss. I am kind of new here, but while reading your post, I was struck by your love for Bernie. I was also touched by her courage. Wishing you comfort and strength through this very difficult time.



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Mike - iam sorry for your loss… strokes have a way of affecting so much - no one seems to understand the total devastation they cause…. they see the paralyzed hand, or the weak leg.. but have no idea everything that can happen on the outside happens on the inside to the organs as well… and like dominos it gradually takes it's toll… in our case we have a pretty complete loss of cognition as well , partial paralysis of his intestines and stomach…. "moods" and the friend the ( not) grandmal seizures…. the stroke just takes and takes .. and sorry your and and you wife have paid the ultimate in sacrifices. but at least she was in control of the decisions affecting the end of her life… after all those years together, you shared special times and your love even today is evident --- you were blessed to have had that love….. thank you for sharing your story ,,,,, nancyl

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I can only sent my thoughts and prayers for you at this time of huge loss. Peace to you and your family in this time. John

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my thoughts are also with you and your wife. the love the two of you felt for each other comes through very clearly.



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Mike, glad you were able to share this with us, 18 month since Ray died and I am still on here as a volunteer. So sad that Bernie had a lot to contend with during the last months of her life, I know what that is like. Ray had twelve months in a nursing home and the last six months not so good before he died.


There is life ahead of you, be kind to yourself, take things slow and you will get there.


(((hugs))) from Sue.

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Dear Mike,

I am so glad that you wrote and told us what was happening. I was very concerned that you had been absent. I am so very worry about Bernie. I know that this is hard on you. We welcome you back whenever you are ready.



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Mike, I do remember you in chat. You took excellent care of your Bernie and are a perfect example of the true love to your spouse in trying times.


My prayers go out to you and your family.



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I'm so sorry to hear all that Bernie and you went thru. I pray the same prayer you did, "God just keep me healthy enough to take care of him his whole life". I feel your pain and love and devastation. Stay close, you need your friends right now. Sending my prayers your way.



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Mike :


I am so sorry for your loss. Your Bernie was one lucky lady to have you in her life. my thoughts & prayers go out for you. hope you are able to connect back with your old friends in chatroom.



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Mike, reading your story, the love between you and Bernie shin throught. She was a lucky lady to have you by her side, and you was a lucky man, to have a great wife who saw how you was hurting. My prayers and thoughts go to you and the family'


God bless you all.



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Mike: my prayers and sympathies to you and your family. I can only imagine how painful this was for you to write but I do thank you for taking the time.


We often spoke of you and Bernie in chat - hoping all was well. We so missed you. You also know how respected and loved you were by all of us.


You did a great honor to Bernie, Mike. And I think you know that. To be that strong and loving to accept her wishes and Bernie, knowing you would love and support her no matter what she desired. I only pray I have that strength and love to be able to do that for my Bruce, if need be.


Bless you and please do take some comfort in knowing how great her love was to ask that of you and yours in being able to do it for her. Debbie

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Thank you all for your kind words, hopes and prayers. Bernie fought a valiant 4 years after her brain bleed. During her first year of recovery she spent almost 4 months in the hospital and 5 brain surgeries. I can't count the number of days in ICUs, and she always fought back. She struggled with most of everyday activities and like most caregivers (especially men) I quickly learned how to do the same things she always did for me and more. I say especially men because of my lack of cooking skills, all the while not knowing that Bernie was just teaching me to take care of myself.


Bernie, even with her Irish, never ever complained about her circumstances. She also taught me that we just do the best we can and turn the rest over to God, then move on, a skill that I've not completed my apprenticeship in. We also fell more deeply in love over the last 4 years, which I suppose is the reason that my heart is so broken and I'm having a very tough time.


Once again, thank you all for having an ear.


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mike, i am so sorry for your loss. you both meant alot to each other she will forever be in your heart and is now watching over you and her family. she now is at peace. i hope you can find peace and comfort in the months ahead. my condolences to you and your family, god will guide you through this.


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I'm so sorry but the way you speak of your wife shows the love and compassion you both had for one another. You showed her the utmost love when you allowed her to make up her mind about wanting to do it her way. She has given you the most beautiful gift.. true love and happiness.


in healing thoughts,


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Mike, I am very sorry for your loss. We met in chat, though it has been a while since I have been there. I remember you talking about your beloved in such a loving way. I wish you all the best. Stay well my friend.



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I am so so sorry for your loss. Bernadette was a very blessed lady to have been treasured and so well cared for by a man she loved and treasured too. Take solace knowing she is now an angel who now watches over you awaiting the time when your souls will be joined again for eternity.


Prayers to you and your family.




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