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Alahula:  The Well-Walked and Welcoming Path

 

In Memoriam
Irčne Vannieuwenhuyze Mercken
4/28/1931 -- 11/20/1997

Dimitri and Irčne


Early last year, Dimitri in Belgium joined us in the CSI cancer forum, to seek information and advice for his mother, Irčne, who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  From the first moment, we were captivated by his powerful love for Irčne, and his determination to be there for her.  His love for her was so contagious, we have all come to love her too.

At first, Dimitri was terrified for her.  When she received treatment, he (and we) began to hope, and held on to that hope for a long time.

Suddenly, two months ago, things took a turn for the worse.  Finally, this last Monday, she was hospitalized, and the doctors said she only had about six weeks left.  Thursday, Irčne died.

I am choosing not to give a distanceful after-the-fact eulogy as would be read in the church, nor statistics of how many unknown strangers have died each year.  I don't know the words to tell you why, but it's important to me to give you this experience from Dimitri's heart, as it happened, and to give you our experience in the forum, as we held hands across the oceans.

     -- Lehua, November 22, 1997

 

From Dimitri to all of us, December 6, 1996:

Hey everyone...

A long time ago, I joined this forum to tell you about my mother having breast cancer detected.

Now, seven months later, she had her last chemo session.   I am so happy for her that this first challenge is done now.   She did quite well, actually.

She became really sick only the two last ones, not the ultimate one.   She lost about 50% of her hair but when you know her you don't notice it.  Eyesbrows also disappeared and she suffered two weeks of severe inside mouth injuries due to over-reaction to one chemical used.

Love and care from all her friends, people she knows and all the family, her sons and husbands did help her a lot.

Anytime she was in pain, there has always been someone.   I discovered a real new father in that time.   I noticed they did love each other but at that extent, it is so warm welcome.   I also never noticed how much I loved her and how much she loved me.   She changed, everyone changed.

If you have a friend, a family member or just someone you know or even maybe you don't know yet, don't forget to stand there, at his or her side.  She or he will need every minute of the comfort of loving and caring.

Nurses and doctors ( but one ) were great too and helped her a lot.

I also forced her to wear the ICE CAP when she got of medication.   Did it help or was it just the products used, I don't know...but give a try.

In her name,
All the best to you all and much courage to all in need,

Yours
Dimitri




To all of us, April 03, 1997:

Hello everyone

It has been a while since I visited this great place.  Sorry about that.

I just want to share good news on the healing process of my mother's breast cancer. She is now under rays ( cobalt ) and will get gammas next week.   She has been tested fine. Cancer is said to be gone.
I am so glad.

She took all her courage and when she didn't have any we all gave her ours to help to go through all this.

She has now 2nd degree burns from the rays. Doctors told it was normal but it's painful.

Next May, it will be over.
After one month of rest, she should be fine again.

I do really hope that all of you will also find such a great issue.  And to the family, close people, friends....never forget how much we count for the ill in such grave days...even a little done can have a great positive influence.
Especially love.

All the best to all of you,
Greetings
Dimitri




In October, Irčne became very ill.  There was an outpouring of love to Dimitri and his family, but we were all afraid.  It was clear that the prognosis was very bad.  Dimitri continued to be positive and loving, in spite of this turn in the road.




To Lehua, October 21, 1997:

Love will always be stronger than any cancer.
Love brings people together, cancer just put them apart.
Love will remain, cancer will go.
That's all I hope for now.
And I am sure it will be like that.

All the best to you,
Dimitri
Hugs back.




To Jenise, October 22, 1997:

My mother is doing better today as the breathe is easier.  She still cough a lot and her neck is still much in pain. Doctor expected some improvement in two days.
But not for the cancer.

Thursday, we'll have the results for her neck X-rays and know if it is all about "being old" or just that demoniac cancer.

She is at home and we forced her to bed, for rest.   She needs it as she has to take a lot of side effected medication.

Anyway, I'll give her a copy of all the mails so she know that somewhere in the world people fight as she does.

All the best to you
Till soon
Dimitri




To Harriet, October 22, 1997:

Thanks for your prays, even though I have a lack of faith in any prayer now...   I am sure someone somewhere is watching her.

If you have any question, feel free to ask.
I'll try to answer them with the help of my mother.

Anyway, till soon,

Lots of courage to you, it is worth to fight, I am now sure for her too,
Dimitri




To Lehua, November 12, 1997:

She is now getting double doses of morphine.  They bring bottles of oxygen too.  She can stay at home for now.  The doctors would have liked to take her already in hospital but thanks our house doctor she can stay a while at home.

Her situation is worsening very fast and she can hardly find enough air after one or two steps.   Even standing is too heavy.  It is so sad.

I managed to have a good deep talk with her.  Open hearts. I feel so much "better" now after that.

It is no longer the pain of having nothing said but the guess soon I will not have my dear mum next to me when I need her.   I promised her to help my father true all this.

Anyway, I do my best.  All the family is together around her.  Her wishes are being fulfilled.  That is what counts now.

Till soon
All the best
Dimitri




To Sandra, November 13, 1997:

I have so many good memories about everything including this last year.  I told her that.
She thinks she has not been a perfect mother and bla bla bla... It is so untrue. Told her too.
Love has deepened suddenly.
It helps me a lot.

All the best to you,
Dimitri




To all of us, November 19, 1997:

Hi everyone.

Bad news.
As some know it already...my mum is now in the hospital.
She will never go back home anymore.

I had to call the 100 ( US = 911 ) and have taken her to the hospital.  She almost die in front of my father and I.

It is so hard...
Now she is there, under permanent oxygen supply, up to 7 liters.

The doctor told her she still has one up to 6 weeks to live.

Dimitri




To all of us, November 20, 1997:

Hi everyone

It's over.
My mum died yesterday evening at the hospital.
Her heart gave up after a series of very bad days.
She tried to take breath like a fish out of water.
She was almost unconscious.

I thank you all for all the support you gave me and her along those difficult times.

Dimitri.




I hope so much this has moved you the way it has me.  I hope we all continue to respect the ferocity and reality of this horror we call cancer.  Yes, people are still dying from breast cancer.




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