About

In March 2016, at the age of 35, I was diagnosed with Stage IV stomach cancer. Only 3% of patients live 5 years or longer after receiving this diagnosis. Most die within the first year. I have a beautiful wife and two young children. This blog chronicles my experiences with cancer and the lessons I learn along the way.

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One week into hospice care update

After several days in the recliner, it became apparent that if I could find one that was comfortable, a hospital bed would provide much more flexibility and make it easier for my caregivers to attend to my needs. Given the difficulty moving because of the tumors in my large back muscles, I was anxious about the process of transfering me from the recliner to the hospital bed. Further, given my experience with the hospital bed during my two night stay in the hospital several weeks ago, I was somewhat worried the transfer would fail and I would have to move back to the recliner.

Rob's setup in hospital bed

We are so thankful that none of my fears came true. With the help of four people, a bed sheet was placed under me in the recliner, and I was lifted without significantly changing my position as I moved from the recliner to the hospital bed. Even better, the new hospital bed from hospice is much more adjustable than the one I received in the hospital and so, on the whole, I have been much more comfortable in the hospital bed compared even to the recliner. I also know it has made caring for my specific needs much easier for Melissa, my parents, and my hospice nurses. I am so thankful that I was able to make the transfer to the hospital bed with minimal pain and that has been such an improvement over my previous circumstances.

Physically, the paralysis has continued at a rapid rate; I can no longer wiggle my toes or move my knee joints. My abdominal, chest, and back muscles are all paralyzed. My left hand can move at the wrist and fingers but have very little dexterity and strength. My right hand can still move from the elbow down and I have somewhat improved motor control compared to my left hand, but this does make using my phone and computer very difficult. Please know that I read every message, post, text, card or letter that is sent but please do not expect to see much in the way of a reply from me anymore, simply because it is so difficult to operate a keyboard now. You will have the best chance of getting a limited reply if you send me a text message, as I can dictate to my phone fairly acurately. I expect soon that I will lose complete control of both hands, and at that point it will be up to others to respond for me to those messages that require a response. If you are local here in Dallas, I still welcome seeing visitors, or you can always give me a call on Skype (robert.yale), Google Duo (708-762-9253), or a phone call or SMS (708-762-9253). If you do plan to stop by, you can call or text me for the address and we can work out a time that will be best. 

Given the complete paralysis of my chest, abdominal, and back muscles, it is becoming more difficult to breathe, as my diaphragm must do all the heavy lifting. Although my ability to interact significantly with my children has been greatly reduced, I love seeing the art work they are making and viewing pictures of them playing outside and receiving snuggles on my arm from my baby girl and my sweet little boy. Melissa continues to be a rockstar caregiver for me, our children, and my parents while they are here assisting us. I cannot imagine that I could possibly have married a more capable and loving woman. 

As you pray for us, and we are so grateful for your prayers, please remember these requests:

  • Strength, peace, and endurance for Melissa and my parents as they care for me
  • For a merciful transition and no prolonged suffering in these final days
  • For my children, as their schedules are disrupted, and as they process the loss of a parent
  • For continued joyful experiences personally, and with my family, in spite of what is happening with my body

 

 

Reader Comments (25)

I continue to pray that God will give you grace and encouragement, brother!

April 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Meyer

Robert,
You continue to smile through it all. Daily I look for some words.to comfort you and.your family. I dont think any of us expect a response. We just want you to know you are thought of. I pray God gives you comfort. I pray for your babies. I pray for Melissa. She's a strong woman. I pray for your parents. God is watching. Bless you my FB.friend.

Carole.

April 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

Robert,
You continue to smile through it all. Daily I look for some words.to comfort you and.your family. I dont think any of us expect a response. We just want you to know you are thought of. I pray God gives you comfort. I pray for your babies. I pray for Melissa. She's a strong woman. I pray for your parents. God is watching. Bless you my FB.friend.

Carole.

April 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

We don't expect responses. We just want you to know you are loved & prayed for constantly. We will be praying for your prayer requests listed. We will also pray for you as you struggle to breathe & want to be with your children. God keeps his promise to give us the peace that surpasses all understanding but we are still humans & during the peace it is still difficult. You have given your family a great gift.
You have shown them Jesus. You & your family will be constantly lifted up in prayer. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us as we know it must be very difficult. We love you & your family & can't wait to meet you one day. Rest in Jesus' everlasting loving arms.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoseann Faust

Robert,

My friend Dennis asked me to pray for you and your family at the beginning of Holy Week.
You all have been in my prayers and on my heart ever since. I see nothing but courage and fortitude in you
my brother and am praying that Jesus will hold this entire situation in the palm of his hand. Our Lord
Loves you so much my friend. May you be comforted by an Ocean of Grace and love now and forever.


In Christ,

Tony

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

Love you my brother.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaihan

Continued prayers from Mississippi! You continue to inspire all who know you and those who don't. Love and prayers also for your family and caregivers!

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterValeria Johnson

Sending peace and comfort. Learned of your journey through a colleague Dr. Kai Kuang who posted your blog. You have been in my prayers and now You and your family are on the prayer chain at our church in Bloomsburg, PA. May God comfort you and your family and bring you through with peace and contentment. Thank you for teaching all of us what words dignity and grace mean.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Bodenman

Praying for Melissa and kids, grandparents too. Challenged by your expressions of confidence in a loving , sovereign God on this journey. Staying the Course with you and family

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDick Walker

Praying for you day and night for God's grace to overflow In everyone there. That all are growing closer to a Him, His character as you walk in the same suffering path as Christ. That your lives will glorify Him. That your work will be completed soon so as to enter into God's everlasting rest and healing arms.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie Pollock

Rob, Melissa, Clint and Cathie

There are no words - Rob your smile just lights up my day.
I continue to pray for strength for all of you, relief from pain, and a peaceful and wonderful transition to our Heavenly Father. Love to you all. Aunt Kathie and Uncle Denny❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Kathie

Dear Dr. Yale,

I have never met you but found out about your situation through my friend and your neighbor, Lisa Irlbeck. I just want you to know that I am praying for you and your family and just how much I am in awe of your faith and hope and love. You are nothing less than a hero for the way you are living right now. May God bless you all abundantly, and thank you for your tremendous example and for sharing it.

Prace in Christ,
Carla

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarla

Praying much for you and your sweet family brother.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Berry

Hello Dr. Yale,

I was one of your students in Business Communications back in Fall of 2013. I found out about your situation from a good friend of mine who was also one of your students. I've learned a lot in your class and even applied a few of your lessons to my daily life. Thank you for helping me get beyond my stage fright and just take my time speaking. I will continue to keep you and your family in my daily prayers. God bless you always!

Sincerely,

Kenneth E. Lee

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." - Isaiah 41:10

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKenneth Lee

Just sitting in my car this morning reading your blog I discovered a few weeks ago through my friend, Natalie Finkbonner.

Been praying and aching for you and Melissa, your folks, your students, but mostly you as this pain takes over so rapidly. So thankful for the way the hospital bed worked out. My son had a high falluting alternating pressure bed at Seattle Children's that did everything but change the sheets.

I just showed your picture to my 9 year old son and asked him if he could imagine looking so cheerful if his body felt like yours does. He thought for a moment and then said, "It's because he's on electronics." LOL. The mind of a child. Anything is endurable if your mum let's you be on an electronic device.

Prayers and love from NW Washington.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterArmerding Family

Dear Rob, Brad and I follow your posts, and continue to keep you and your family in our prayers. We focus particularly on every specific request, and we'll continue to do so. With love, Brad and Annette Lyons

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette Lyons

Hi Robert,
I have connected to your Facebook through Anna Brannon" . My grandpa Herb and Bing was brothers. That is your connection. Thoughts and prayers to you, Melissa, your kids and everyone everyone effected by the inevitable. Your students will all be effected by your passing. May they grow and be as big of a role model you have in their profession, parent and friend as you have.
Hugs
Leigh Ann
From Wapakoneta Ohio

Your transparent posts are so encouraging to me as a believer. We are praying for you here in Corpus Christi, for eternal life and rest to come to you gently, sweetly, and soon. We pray for you wife and children to deeply experience the grace and provision of God, in ways that can only be known because of this particular sorrow. A beautiful excerpt from Streams In the Desert comes to mind...I will quote it here. It is a poem written from the perspective of a person being called home by Jesus:

The hill was steep, but cheered along the way
By converse sweet, I mounted on the thought
That so it might be till the height was reached;
But suddenly a narrow winding path
Appeared, and then the Master said, 'My child,
Here thou wilt safest walk with Me alone.'
I trembled, yet my heart's deep trust replied,
'So be it, Lord.' He took my feeble hand
In His, accepting thus my will to yield Him
All, and to find all in Him.

One long, dark moment,
And no friend I saw, save Jesus only.
But oh! so tenderly He led me on
And up, and spoke to me such words of cheer,
Such secret whisperings of His wondrous love,
That soon I told Him all my grief and fear,
And leaned on His strong arm confidingly.
And then I found my footsteps quickened,
And light ineffable, the rugged way
Illumined, such light as only can be seen
In close companionship with God.

A little while, and we shall meet again
The loved and lost; but in the rapturous joy
Of greetings, such as here we cannot know,
And happy song, and heavenly embraces,
And tender recollections rushing back
Of pilgrim life, methinks one memory
More dear and sacred than the rest, shall rise,
And we who gather in the golden streets,
Shall oft be stirred to speak with grateful love
Of that dark day when Jesus bade us climb
Some narrow steep, leaning on Him alone.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterIvy

Rob, your strength, honesty and faith continues to inspire. Remember my children, whom you photographed a few years ago? They are now 11 and nine, and wanted you to know what "super powers" you must have to still readily smile and pose for a picture despite your pain.

Know that you are a true hero and an inspiration to us all. Continued prayers to you, your family and those who care for you.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanel

Rob, we continue to pray for you that God will surround you with His love and grace and peace. We are praying for Melissa and your sweet babies too. Love, Arnie and JoAnn Harvey

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnn Harvey

Robert, continued prayers and thoughts go out for you and your family. You are truly an inspiration.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRanjani Rao

Thank you for sharing your status and for being so light such a heavy personal time. I thought you or one of your caregivers might want to seek the services of a threshold choir--they come and sing for people in transition. It looks like Dallas has a chapter:

https://thresholdchoir.org/Locations/Map

Best of luck to you and your family as this chapter ends.

April 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKim--you don't know me

Oh, Rob. My heart is breaking for you and your family. Your strength is remarkable, as I would expect from you - such a fine young man. My prayers for you, your beautiful wife and sons will be ongoing and many. Praying for strength and peace for you all.
Mrs. Vose

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJudy Vose

http://www.cameramouse.org/

As long as you can move something, you can click. I used this for my laptop right after my wrist surgery. Played an entire game of Mah Jong with just my face. :D

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEternity/Erica/Whatever

Please know that we read every post and pray for you all on a daily basis. You are thought of by so many in our community. Your love and trust in God is so inspiring. Your beautiful wife and children will always have a place in our home, any time, any day. God bless you. ❤️

April 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Seward

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