Author Archives: Seth

Thank you

I would like to personally thank everyone for all of the kind posts, words and cards that have been sent to me and Jessica’s family.   The response has been heartfelt and very much appreciated by all of us.

Our bunnies Blossom and Gracie are preparing for their annual celebration this weekend, so I would like to wish everyone safe travels and happy weekend as you head out to see your loved ones.

~~~ Seth, Blossom and Gracie

 

Blossom   Gracie  Jessica and Blossom

 

 


The Final Chapter

Last Friday night was probably the hardest night of my life.   At the young age of 33, my best friend, my fiancé, the love of my life, Jessica Beth Rice passed away from complications due to Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma lung cancer.

Early Tuesday morning on March 25th, Jessica was rushed to our local hospital by ambulance due to extreme head pain, nausea, and dizziness.  After several rounds of Morphine and then Dilaudid for pain relief, the doctors were able to keep her stable enough for a cat scan.   The cat scan revealed severe swelling of the tumors in her head, most alarming was the one at the back of her head near the cerebellum.   The ER doctors immediately consulted with Jessica’s regular team of doctors, and she was then quickly transported to the larger sister hospital facility located a bit further away.

Once there, I met with our regular team of doctors and surgeons to find out what could be done.   An MRI was ordered, and the hope was that most of the tumors were just swollen, and possibly treated with a combination of steroids and minor surgery.  Unfortunately, the MRI revealed that all 25 tumors had grown “significantly” in just the past two months.   The tumor at the back of her head which was the most alarming had grown from 1cm to 3cm, and was causing extreme pressure in her head.   This was the realization that she was running out of time.   Surgery was not an option due to the size and number of tumors, steroids were no longer effectively controlling the swelling as they had previously, and we were out of options.  Doctors gave us 3 weeks…. at best.

On Wednesday, Jessica woke up for a few moments, and I just held her as I told her what was going on.   She looked up and just said, “I thought we would have more time”.   As I held her, we both cried for awhile until she fell back asleep.   For the next several hours, I sat there accompanied by her mother, held her hand, and talked to her as much as possible.   I met with the Hospice navigators that afternoon, and arranged for at-home hospice at our house, which was Jessica’s wish.

Jessica’s brother, Cisco arrived at the hospital a few hours later, and she woke up when I told her he was there.  She opened up her eyes, and said “Hi boy, it must be pretty bad if you’re here.”   They talked for a few minutes, and she told him it was going to be OK, and that he should “take care of mom.”  Cisco held her hand for the next few minutes, and talked to her until she again fell asleep.   I again sat by her side, holding her hand all night, and monitored her pain level and vital signs.  By early morning, we had to increase her pain medication once again to keep her comfortable.   The increase in medication made her extremely drowsy and she mostly stayed asleep, but her comfort was the most important thing to me.

Just before the hospice-transport arrived on Thursday afternoon, I met again with our Oncologist who came by to see her again before transport.   I told him what I was seeing in how long the current level of pain medications were working, and how the window of effectiveness was shrinking with each dose.   He just nodded his head and told me to make sure that beyond everything, my job now was to make sure she was comfortable once I got Jessica home.   His said that we were now down to just a few days, no longer the initial time of up to 3 weeks.

Jessica came home for the final time that afternoon.   The Hospice nurse was at the house, and Jessica was made as comfortable as possible in the surroundings she wanted to be in.   Family and friends were by her side for the next several hours, and I kept vigil by her side for another night, administering her IV medications every two hours as prescribed to keep her comfortable.

Nurses arrived early Friday morning, and reviewed the medication and activity log I kept which described what I was seeing in her condition overnight.   After an examination, our nurse told us to prepare, and that we only had a few hours left.  Jessica took her last breath at 9:12pm that evening.   She was surrounded by family in her final moments, with her bunny Blossom guarding from under her bed.   She was not in pain, which was something I had promised her, passing peacefully in her sleep.

Jessica had hoped that this blog, and her story be a source of both inspiration and hope for others with cancer.   Not just lung cancer, but for any illness that we as mere mortals fall victim to.   She didn’t think of herself and a patriot or fighter, but just someone that “did what anyone else would do” in here situation.   She was not religious, but did have faith in the science that was being worked on by so many researchers around the world.   It was that faith that pushed her to seek out the latest treatments and drug trials, both of which extended her life from the initial diagnosis in November 2011 of 10 months, to almost 2 1/2 years.   I will be forever grateful to Dr. Robert Roush and his team, for every stone they turned over in order to get Jessica the best treatments that were available in the country.  We both believed in him and his team, and they never let us down.

Jessica would want to be remembered for her love of animals, and her devotion to them in both her volunteer work, and for the many who still reside on the family farm, especially her pony Shadow.   She was an advocate for the cancer community, and many of the articles she wrote are listed throughout this blog.   She also never believed that anyone “loses their fight to cancer,” and would debate anyone on the topic all night long.   I will remember all of the wonderful places we went together, and the time we spent together.   The big grin on her face when she climbed into her MINI Cooper, dropped the top, and took off down a windy road.   And the peaceful look on her face while holding her bunny Blossom, or the two of us just curled up on the couch together.   I miss you so much Jessica!   You were my better half, and the love of my life!   Goodbye for now, baby.

 

 

Jessica and Seth Jessica Jessica and SethJessica

 


Rest in Peace Jessica

Hello, my name is Wayne Gossger.  Seth and Jessica are really close friends of mine.  It is with deep regret that I need to inform you that Jessica has lost her fight with cancer and has passed away Friday evening on March 28, 2014.

Seth is trying to deal with this and cannot write an update to Jessica’s blog at this time.  He promised Jessica that he would write a final post after she passed, and I’m sure he will at some point, but now is not that time.  I wanted to help him out by providing something to post so all of you are informed.

All Seth and Jessica’s friends and family are now rallying around him to help him in this difficult time as well as helping Jessica’s family.

I would ask each of you to say an extra prayer, hug your loved ones a little harder, and stop and make time for anyone that is struggling with such a disease.

At this time, all I can do is remember all those great times I’ve had with Jessica.  Attached is one my favorite pictures of Seth & Jessica.  We went to a minor league baseball game with a large group of friends and had one of the greatest days ever.  This was well before she learned of her cancer.  Not a care in the world, just all of us enjoying life and living in the moment.

I understand that when she found out she had cancer that she was given 10 months to live.  She ended up enjoying over two years and I was lucky to help her enjoy some of that time along the way, when she was able.  I know Seth and Jessica definitely made the most of it.

Jessica, you have inspired many who follow this blog, you provided hope for us all, and made us all want to be better people.  While you’re no longer with us physically, you will live forever in our memories and our hearts. We look forward to making an incredibly well-deserved toast of scotch to your life and your spirit.

 

 

June 2007 at Campbell's Field

June 2007 at Campbell’s Field


Keeping My Promise

My name is Seth, and late last year, Jessica asked me if I would write a post or two to her blog once she was unable to.  This blog has been both therapeutic and rewarding to her, and it is her wish that this journey is recorded, and that everyone who has so graciously spent their time reading this blog have some closure, whenever that time comes.   That time is not yet here, so I will do my best to honor her wishes.  I promise that this will not be my final post for her, as I am sure I will have more to share about the amazing person I have come to both love and respect these past 8 years.

In the past few weeks, Jessica has been fighting nausea, seizures and extreme head pain.   All of these which are a result of her lung cancer which has metastasized to the now 25 tumors in her brain.   All of her tumors have had “significant growth” in the past two months, the largest having grown to 3cm.  As I sit here now, we are still at the hospital, but I expect to have her home later today in Home-Hospice care.  Last night, I found the following draft of a blog entry she was composing on March 16th.  I know that this was not complete, but I think it gives a hint of her mindset during this period of time.

First, the background of the post.   On Saturday, March 8th, we drove down to the new farm so that we could “farm sit” while her mom made a quick trip back to WV to retrieve some last minute items from the old farm.   Unfortunately, Jessica had what we decided to call, “an episode”, that lasted about 30 seconds.   That “episode” resulted in the obvious call to 911, who quickly arrived and checked her out.  By the time they had arrived, she was feeling fine, and we decided to not go to the local hospital near the farm since they didn’t have her records anyways.

And now, her post as I found it in draft form from March 16th:


 

I’ve been starting to think a lot about the process of dying. And I don’t know why it’s comes to mind other than maybe this is just the time that it should.

I suppose no one has the opportunity to go back and do it twice.  Right now I can only speak on the feelings I’ve had around my seizures, and whatever the event was after, and the feelings I’ve had since.  Sometimes a very smooth spherical cylindrical funneled like, and if I can allow myself to let go and not be scared for her even the smallest moments of time, they are creative fun spaces full of happiness.  Sometimes I feel like there’s a playful dangerous yet still very safe fun place that’s very very available to me.  I think I have Shadow, him target riding along the very beginning of trails on the farm and in Brogue or Windsor whichever.
I remember when we did our Foxhunt, and my main concern wasn’t that I would get hurt but that he would get hurt when going down one of the rocky hills and into the road.

I don’t know what to think of the combination of these fluid and solid examples that are being presented to me.

This really has me wondering if my brain is starting to form its final reorganization. Or am I just going mad? Or is this the actual reason people do go mad!?

 


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