Where's Diana?

I'm in Fairbanks. My sister had a mild stroke last Wednesday. I flew up on Thursday and she didn't seem to be that bad. Her speech was very slurred and difficult to understand, It was a left-side cerebral stroke so she was partially paralyzed on her right side (she's right handed). I thought she'd have a full recovery.

Then the "natural progression" of the original stroke has changed it from a "mild" stroke to a catastrophic event. Everything has become increasingly much worse each day. Now she can barely mutter, she can still shake her head yes and no, but is often confused by the question. Her right side is completely paralyzed. Saturday they said she has expressive aphasia, but she still understood everything we said.

Now there's some receptive aphasia too, where she doesn't understand what we're saying. It seems to come and go. She can't write with her left hand since the signals from her brain to her hand aren't working, although she has a tight grip in the left hand.

This is my beautiful, wonderful sister that I love more than anyone in this world. She's always so classy, so sweet and kind to everyone and always does the right thing. She's one of the funniest people I've ever met and she always gets my jokes. We would get into laughing fits when we were together. I'm so glad I spent ten days with her last July.
This is my only sister. She's seventeen years older than me but we've become very close in the last ten years, since our mother became very ill and died. She's the sister I spent eight days in the in Anchorage in a hospital, never leaving her side as we watch her husband of 51 years die of massive coronary heart failure.

Two weeks ago we talked for about three hours on the phone. One of the things we talked about was the horror of a stroke, not being able to speak, and being paralyzed. We both said it would be a living hell and would much rather die. She has also said for two years that she just wanted to die because her heart was so broken and she was so lonely since her husband died.

She was barely eating a bite of food since she came into the hospital. Two days ago she decided to completely refuse all food, water and the medicines they had started her on. I know what she's doing, she's trying to kill herself the only way she knows how. She wants out of her living hell.

This is my sister that has always been thin so it probably won't take long. The doctor's are talking about moving her to a hospice. It's breaking my heart. She's 73 which seems so young, but I know it's her choice and it's what she wants. Even if she worked really hard in rehab, she would still have a lot of paralysis and they don't know if the speech will ever come back. This would be unacceptable to my very active and independent sister.

My nieces, 45, 47  and 49 are begging her to stay, for them. I want her to stay for me too, but I really just want for her to be out of this nightmare. Who will I call on Saturdays and talk to for hours about everything? Who will I laugh with until I'm bent over in tears and a coughing fit from the laughing? I miss her so much already. Life really does suck sometimes.


Deniz said…
Oh my dear Diana, I'm so sorry to read your news and wish you, your family and most especially your sister well.

If 'well' means out of a living hell as she would perceive it, then so be it, and I'm very, very proud of you for trying to see things through her eyes as well as through the pain in your own.

I can't help except to send a big Zen hug and remind you to take care of yourself too.

I send love and positive thoughts from the UK. Deniz
Mer and Mo said…
Diana - my heart is heavy for you right now. I talk to one of my sisters for hours on end, too - feel your pain when it comes to the fact that you have a special bond with your sister. Sending you love and strength through this tough time!

kristi said…
I am so sorry to hear about your sister. Prayers going up!
spunkysuzi said…
Diana I'm definitely keeping you and your sister in my prayers and thoughts. "hugs"
Honib1 said…
you are very brave to be willing to say goodbye to your sister.. and put what she wants ahead of what you want.. that is so brave of you.. I can only imagine how horrible that will be.. but it seems to me your know your sister best.. and you know in your heart what she wants.. I admire that..
Sending peaceful thoughts your way... and strength as you deal with this very difficult time..
Dawn said…
I'm so sorry about your sister Diana, I know how broken hearted you must feel. I'm sending prayers your way and your sisters way. I wish I could give you a big hug.
ABBY said…
I am a long time lurker on your blog, even though I write a cat blog, I am a 100 pound weight loss person. Struggled my entire life with what I call a disease of food addiction. Diabetes cured me -- a least it got me to lose the 100 pounds and keep it off. Just wish I could have dropped about 20 more, but now I am just satisfied to be where I am, and ZERO health problems. But I just had to delurk when I read this post. I am sooo very sorry about your sister it is not easy to let go, no matter if our heads know it is what they want or even for the best, our hearts always break. My deepest sympathies.
Diana, this must be so hard. Please, please, please take care of yourself.
Anonymous said…
Diana I don't know what to say other than we are all keeping you and your sister in our thoughts and prayers. I can't imagine how tough this must be for you.
Grace said…
Oh Diana, words fail me. I am SO sorry for what has happened to your sister. My prayers are with you and your sister and her family. Take care of yourself.
Dawn said…
Oh, no, Oh how hard for all of you. I wish I had anything helpful or useful that I could say but of course I do not. You have a strong and supportive family and group of friends. Just look after you a little as you look after everyone else. Don't underestimate how tough, how unbelievably tough this last few months have been and will be for you. Take time to be kind to yourself.
I wish there was something I could do x
Elaine said…
This is so sad- a nightmare. Keeping you and your sister in my thoughts.
Ida said…
I am so very sorry to hear of your sister's condition. You are both in my prayers. Sending you a big hug. Take care of yourself during this time.
Dawn said…
You and your sister have been in my thoughts today x
Ron said…
So sorry for you and her entire family. Thoughts and prayers are coming your way.
Lucy said…
Diana - so, so sorry. The love and admiration you have for your sister is so lovely. It's what a sister relationship should be. You have are so very blessed to have her as your own.

I pray for strength and comfort during this very difficult time.

Carrieheff said…
I am so sorry to hear about your sister Diana. I can only imagine how hard it is to see a sister go through that. I will pray for you and your sister.
Bobbi said…
I am so sorry to hear about your sister... mine had a stroke in July of this year, but it wasn't as bad and only affected her eyesight. I felt much like you though, so sad and thinking about the past and how close we've always been. She's 8 years older than me.
I'm glad to have found your blog. I'm up in the middle of the night not being able to sleep because of eating junk food too late at night and indigestion. I searched diet-journey and your blog came up.
You and your sister will be in my prayers...

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