Nan Mustard's Recovery

This blog is a record of Erin (Nan) Mustard's recovery.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A family pulls together in grief and hope

Dear Family and Friends,
10:20 and all of us are sort of in limbo tonight after a traumatic day. Each of us here at the house is coping in our own way. We are totally amazed by the messages of comfort and the sharing of fond memories of Nan in action over the years. It is developing that Nan touched many more lives than she was ever aware of, that her example of faith, stability, endurance and compassion has stirred the best in others.
The hardest moment of my life so far was watching the van turn the corner and drive away from our home this morning, it carried my Nannie and she was not coming back. No one can ever know how deeply she has grown into my heart. I have watched her go through unbelievable medical adventures, watched a nurse try three times to find a vein and ruin her arm for weeks, watched her throw up until it would seem her insides would be outside, watched her delirious with fever of 1o4.5 and then more, watched her attempt to walk and have her knees crumble, watched the despair in her eyes when hope was fleeting, heard the words over and over again, you have new tumors, surgery is out of the question, the drug you are on is failing, your creatins are too high, you need nephrostomies, you will lose most of your internal organs............. through it all she would cry for a few seconds, then sit up straighter and basically say, bring it on. Together we have pursued every avenue possible to head off the GIST and for 11 years we have been successful but finally we ran out of options.
For those of you who have just found out you have GIST or those who have been through a surgery and you are wondering what is next. Don't wander too long, take action, get to a GIST center, our favorite is Boston with Dr. Morgan but there are many good centers with real answers. GIST is not treated well by doctors who have no experience with it. It is so different from other cancers that they are used to treating that you may not get the best answers. Doctors fail to recognize that GIST can move very fast and that there is never any time to waste between targeted medicines, no time to waste if surgery is possible and needed. Speed and accurate treatment is vital. Don't sit back and expect the medical system to do it for you. The doctors who know are very busy and you need to get into the system and push and push to be treated, heard, helped. Had Nan not received the treatments she has been given we would have lost her years ago. She has enjoyed getting to know Keanna well, meeting baby Timothy, meeting many of you and hours of enjoyment just being at home. Nan loved life, she loved honest, nice people and had little time for appearances or to worry about what people might thing of her actions.
I'm not fully aware that Nan is gone yet, I know she has been taken to the mortuary, yet I feel her with me in everything, not doing TPN or adavan tonight, well that is something I have been dreading, I always knew there would be a day when I would no longer need to do any of that and I did not even want to think about it. Nan has been the mission for a very long time, we have fought to extend her life, to enrich it and to treasure it.
We have worked together as a family today, each person doing specific things to prepare for the future. We are making sure all medical supplies and equipment can be used by someone else who needs them. We have dozens of ostomies and we benefited early on from someone else donating them to the wound care ostomy nurse who passed them on to us to get started. Apria comes tomorrow to pick up the hospital bed and pump, a device that saved her life many times over the past few months. A grand search has failed to yield our wedding book or the box of her childhood photos so tomorrow I tackle the garage in a grand attempt to locate the goods.
Mary has been very helpful and brought dozens of bagels, a rotisserie chicken, potato salad, buns, brownies, wow are they good.
Immediate plans are: we meet with the mortuary people in Tracy, Hotchkiss to select a casket and to finalize details. On Friday a graveside service will be help at Union Cemetery which is along Highway 4 between Discovery Bay and Brentwood on the left side of the road going west on 4. It will begin at 2:30 pm and is open to anyone who would like to come. Our beloved pastor Jim will be leading out. After that service all are invited to come to our home at 5387 Willow Lake Court in Discovery Bay for fellowship, a time to remember and good food. If you have a favorite dish or salad feel free to bring it. On Saturday afternoon at 5 pm a memorial service will be held at the Tracy SDA Church on the corner of Holly and 21st Streets. That service will feature the Adoration Singers, a choir Nan sang in for years and other musical numbers. Pastors John and Karen Cress will be leading out. There will be a light supper served by the church after the service.
We are interested in lifting up Jesus through both services. We felt strongly that God was in charge and I felt that this morning when Nan took her last breathes. There was no physical reason for that to happen, her vitals were strong, her lungs were clear yet she knew it was time and fell asleep in Jesus.
I felt my heart would break as Nan's body cooled and her still beautiful face was calmed. I was warned in advance that nothing could prepare me for feeling of total lostness, they were right.
I pay tribute to my precious children who accepted the news with grace and gratitude for their mom's very special life.
For the first time in a very very long time nan and I are apart tonight. We have faced everything together for so long, I feel detached, incomplete, so tired. It is a profound loss.
To each of you who took time to call or write messages to the blog we the family want to thank you. For those who have prayed so long and so hard, we thank you. For those of you who have helped us through the hard times we thank you.
I want to thank Dana for her tender heart and joyful spirit, she makes things happen for good, to Marilyn who has stood solid for nan through everything, who has had to relive her loss of Walt less than 2 years ago yet has been a rock of stability and courage, to Jan who has worked long and hard to get medical supplies boxed up, for her sweet spirit and tender heart, for her extending her stay in spite of her job, to Sharon who guided us all through the maze of faith to a greater acceptance that God is in control.
Please keep all of us in your prayers as the next few days will be tough.
Good night good friends and family,



  • At 4:27 AM, Blogger Karen said…

    My thoughts are with you and my heart aches for your loss. We met you and Nan a few years ago in Boston on Easter Sunday for a lunch with Marina, Duane and Steve. the love that you and Nan shared was truly spectacular to behold.
    Karen and Chris

  • At 5:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Thank you for continuing the update, it is hard to just have everything stop.

    Your health and well being are also very important and we all want to know that you are doing well.

    I lost a husband quite awhile ago and eventhough we were divorced, it was so very empty. No one in the world knows a person as does a spouse and now that person is gone from you.

    Time will take off the edge I am sure, perhaps lots of time. When you feel better, make sure you stay very busy, it helps to keep your mind active and your body tired.

    love to you and your family

    Sue M

  • At 6:51 AM, Anonymous roger and carol said…

    Hi Tim,

    It's difficult for all of us to suddenly stop our routine of checking the blog first thing every morning. We have been so involved with your family and Nan's struggles. We are now a part of your family and find it difficult to let you go. I hope you will continue to keep us close to you as you continue your journey. Just maybe a new name for your blog ~ like "Tim's Recovery". Even if it is a sometimes blog as you need to express your feelings to those of us who care.

    Now it is time to take care of Tim. You have put your own medical needs on hold to care for Nan. Your family needs you more than ever. You can no longer depend on Nan to do the nurturing of family. You are the patriarch of the family who leads and holds family together. You have been a wonderful example to your children on how to love and care for those you love. Your kids will be great strength to you now. Oh what do people do without family?

    We'll see you soon!

    Love and continued prayers ~ Carol

  • At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Tim,

    We are with You in thought & Prayer as You & Your family go thruogh the steps of closing things out. God has His Loving Arms around You & will bear You up.

    We will be there Friday at the Cemetary to say goodbye to Our Dear Friend and to stand by You & Yours at this most difficult time.

    We will be praying that the Lord will see fit to grant Us a Sunny Day to say goodbye.

    Much Love Always,

    Bob & Carrol.

  • At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I know how blessed we are to have had Nan and how blessed she was to have had you, Tim. I know of no other man that was or will ever be as devoted as you were. She was a very dear sister to me. We spent many hours laughing over things that no one else could have laughed about, but we could always find something in any situation to always say, "Thank You , Lord." She has been a very real part of my life for such a long time and I miss her dearly. I love you for who you are and what you have managed to do for years as her mate. I know that she would have done no less for you. That is true love, and not all of us will experience such in our life time.
    I continue to pray for each of you and praise God that you have each other. I stood beside you and heard many promises made to her as you held her hand. It is clear that you will now be the strong link that will hold your family together. Even though Nikki and Jason are grown and have their own families, they will never loose the need for their Dad.
    I will see you all tomorrow afternoon and I pray for a safe trip for each who will be traveling to be with you, too.

    I love every one who is a part of our family and look forward to us ALL living in the same neighborhood in Heaven. Nan and I agreed on this, so, if you need to change things in your life that have led you away from God, now is the time to reach up and take His hand, just as you are, and He will do the rest. What a time we will all have in Heaven with Nan. Please plan to be there.

    My love and prayers,

  • At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Conners said…

    Dear Tim,
    Many times today we have thought of you and the challenges you are facing as you lay Nan to rest. There is never an easy way to say goodbye to a dear one, even when one has God's peace and promises. We will be with you Friday at the graveside service, as well as Sabbath. We love you.

    Joyce & Glen


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