Wednesday, January 21, 2009

She did it her way

Hi, Michelle again.

Today Shin decided to increase the medication to help her breathe, and take away the pain and anxiety she has been experiencing over the past few days. This increased medication will make her comfortable, pain free and able to breathe without feeling suffocated.

I am sitting here now with Shin while she is writing notes to me about how to explain her decision to increase the medication. She wrote that "most important of all, it will leave me in a state that the kids can see me in."

We expected Shin to be immediately sleepy but she was not at all. She was feeling the relief of no pain, no anxiety and easy breathing. She was telling jokes, singing songs and playing air guitar to Painted Black by the Rolling Stones. She also sang us a rendition of I Did It My Way.

It is very important to Shin that we all know that she has done this her way. She has chosen this path to ensure Toby and Josie remember their mom as she lived. Full of energy, love, independence, wit, courage and strength - always putting others before herself.


writerinresidence said...

Hi Michelle,
This is Noelle. I don't expect an answer, but was the medication that Shin is now opting for possibly toxic? Why wouldn't she choose medication that eases her symptoms? Is it a course of medication or is it chemo? I'm just wondering why the need to explain the reason for this step to her blog readers...the only thing that was clear she would have no more of is chemo or an aggressive chemo...Just wondering...
Tell Shin Noelle is always always praying and pulling for her...Tony and the kids...

Will said...

You go, girl. Always do it your way. xxx Will

Rie said...

hi michelle, thank you for writing these updates for us.

With regards to the pain medication, would you mind sharing what side effects shin were concerned about?

Why this question? I am somewhat curious as to why shin didn't up her pain meds earlier. I suspect there were some really nasty effects of medication?

Anonymous said...

I know Shin is not religious but I am praying for her as that is all I know how to do. There is no shame in her taking meds. She is doing what she needs to do for the kids and should be held in high esteem. I hope these days are spent as joyfully as possible and when the time comes..she passes with ease. Please tell her from a stranger how much in awe she makes me. She has class, dignity, and perseverance. Things not easily found these days.
Thanks for updating for her too. I check this blog everyday awaiting any news of her condition.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am feeling sad to hear shin's condition. I do not know what to say and i don't think she need any consolation as she has always been very strong. I wish her well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the updates Michelle. Please keep them coming if you can. Shin, I hope you know how much love there is in the world for you. Can you feel it? Be well, sweet friend!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle,
It's great to have a friend like you! Likewise it's great you have a friend like Shin!

Thank you, Michelle.

Stephen Engle said...

Please give Shin our love,
-Steve, Jessica and Yvette Engle

Jason said...

You're such a cool friend Michelle! Cheers to your friendship with Shin! Please tell Shin that we are all rooting for her... May she find the strength in this final league of her journey...


Anonymous said...

Good for you Shin. You do it your way. One less thing to worry about. You do what you want, girl! Just keep us posted if you can! We are here for you, Shin!

Mark Young said...

I write hesitantly, wary of distracting you from your family & dearest friends. On the chance that hearing from an old friend will brighten your smile, I write to say how very fondly I remember the wonderful - exciting & alive - times you shared with me. Since you seem to me in a musical state of mind, do you remember the song "I Want Muscles"? Perhaps not, but a favorite of mine and one that always reminds me joyfully of you. You were then, and plainly still are, uniquely gritty, smart, fierce, and hell-bent on living life to its very fullest - qualities which are truly awe-inspiring. You are one of a kind.
Love, Mark

:: Claudia :: said...

I found great strength and comfort in your writings. Like u, my mum is on her final journey, after battling brain tumour for over 20 years. You have been so strong through this cancer journey, and may God be with you and your family, as always.


Sasha xxx said...

Shin I can honestly say that you have made me a better person. You've made me appreciate what I have and to stop whining about the insignificant things.
Thank you Shin.
You gave me your Baby Bjorn sling that you used with your kids.....whenever Daisy is in it I always think of you and hug her just that little bit closer.
There are so many things I want to say......but thank you. For more than you will ever know.
I hate it that this didn't turn out differently.
With so much love
Sasha xxxxxxxxx

Karin said...

Dearest Shin,

Sending you and your family much love during this difficult transition and wishing you peace and strength as you go forward.


Mark said...


It is me (Laura) -- wife of Tony's Uncle Mark. We have been following your blog faithfully, and just wanted you to know that we are thinking about you and sending positive energy your way. You asked a bit back to share "Shin" stories, and this one came to mind. I met you when I was new to the Raza family, and I had not even met Tony yet. You were in the states solo, and stopped in to see Tony's grandmother (my Mother-in-Law). That in itself I thought was remarkable -- Tony's grandmother's home was hours out of your way, not even close to the other family members you were visiting this trip. But you did it because, I trust, you genuinely like Tony's grandmother, but also because you value family. You then started talking happily -- giddily even-- about your husband. You said to all of us in the room, "I am going to have his babies." I was pleasantly surprised at your openness to people you had really just met, and awed by what was so obviously a woman totally and completely in love. You, of course, have had those beautiful babies and I am still in awe at your capacity to love, and to love so selflessly. Keep doing it your way-- you are really amazing.

love laura (and Mark...and little Joe)

ps--thanks for introducing us to your favorite kids books-- We LOVE them

Anonymous said...

love from Matthew, Jenn, Al, Tash, Isabella and Charlie, and John and Margaret in Switzerland.

Tony said...

Noelle and Rie,

Good questions, sorry for not getting to them earlier. The reason why Shin was not too hasty to increase the pain meds (morphine and an anti-anxiety drug) is that they were likely to permanently sedate her. As it turned out Shin handled the increase in meds fairly well and fro Wed to Friday she was fairly comfortable and lucid enough to talk to us. By the weekend she started to have some more anxiety with her breathing and we increased the meds again and she slept through her remaining time. From everything I could see, she was comfortable and pain free.

When Michelle posted on Wed it was a big deal for all us. Shin new she may sleep through the rest of her time and said her goodbye's to everyone. She seemed ready and comfortable with it. It was emotional, but as it turned out we had a few bonus days that were a pleasure.