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mindy.pogemiller

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LifeChronicles
November 23, 2012

My husband John was diagnosed with esophageal cancer at the age of 42. His chances then were 1 in 10 of surviving this type of cancer. He had never been a smoker, was healthy and had no history of digestive problems. We tried everything we could, even traveling to NYC to get second opinions. John fought this terrible disease with dignity, humor and bravery. He lost his own mother to cancer when he was 7 and knew the emotions our young daughters would go through eventually. After chemo, radiation and surgery, nine months later, we received the wonderful news that John was in remission! It was wonderful that we could put this behind us and move on to the life we knew we would have together. After a wonderful family reunion trip to Disneyland, seven months after he was given a clean bill of health, a scan gave us the awful news that the cancer had returned and had spread. At that point, he was given one year to live. We decided to take our girls on trips all over the country to vacation how we would have, had we been able to raise our kids together. We crammed a lifetime into the time we had left. During this time, John was writing letters to me and the girls, teaching them how to ride bikes or how to cook. Things that he wanted them to know before he left this world. The last week of my husband's life, Dr. Tom Mouser from HCI came to our home to see John. He was so compassionate to John, speaking to him softly and kindly and holding his hand. It was so comforting to my family. He mentioned Life Chronicles. He explained that they would come in, interview him, the girls with him, and our family and we could say anything we wanted. It was a chance to have John say what he wanted and have it recorded forever. The last day John was in our home, Kate Carter came into our lives as a stranger, and left as a person I considered a personal friend. She gently explained what we could do, how anything recorded would be precious to all of us. She set up her video camera and began to interview John and then John with just me. It was such a beautiful moment to say things to my husband and him to say things to me, knowing it would be ingrained in my heart forever. Our girls then came and sat on the bed with our dog. Our girls were 7 and 10 at the time. I remember him telling the girls how much he loved them, how proud he was of them and how his cancer was NOT their fault. It just happened and it could not be controlled. We hugged, laughed, talked about our wonderful family trips together and how we would be together again someday. John left our home an hour after the interview to move into a hospice facility. He passed away three days later. I was always concerned my girls would forget his mannerisms and his voice. We have that on video now. His voice telling them that he loves them is something they will have for the rest of their lives. That is priceless and Life Chronicles made that happen. I didn't have to do anything. Dr. Mouser set it up, Kate flew to our city and came to our home. It was all handled with compassion and respect. It is something my girls and I will always be grateful for.

More feedback

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Client Served