Second Guesses and Self-Doubt

07.22.2009 | 8:55 am

Since we put in the morphine pump Monday, Susan’s been in less pain. But yesterday, she slept through most of the day.

It’s kind of funny: as soon as Susan stopped being in constant, terrible pain I stopped thinking about that, and shifted my concern to how much she was sleeping.

I started thinking that maybe I should reduce her morphine dose. So after talking to the nurse, I cut it back by 25%.

Then I took the boys to the new Harry Potter movie, leaving Susan in the care of one of her best friends, Sue.

About 2/3 of the way through the film, Sue called me, at which point I realized that — for the first time in my life — I had not silenced my phone. I felt stupid, but was simultaneously glad, because I did not want to miss this call.

Sue told me that Susan was crying, terrified, and hallucinating, and in terrible pain. (And yet, Susan had still wanted to make it clear she didn’t want us to miss the movie — even now, she still puts others ahead of herself).

I guess the fact that I’ve been giving Susan meds for so long has given me some useful experience, though. I told Sue to give Susan some pills, then I texted her the phone number and info she’d need to call hospice and have them walk her through resetting the morphine pump to a full dose.

I got back to the film in time to watch the big finale of the movie, but I honestly wasn’t very interested anymore.

House Call

The fact that I have his personal cel phone number shows the kind of doctor we have with hospice. And then, when I called him last night, asking for advice on how I could help Susan get through the night without hallucinations and paranoia plaguing her, he talked with me for a few minutes and then said, “You know what? I’m going to come over.”

Fifteen minutes later, he was at my house. At 10:30 at night.

I expressed my concern to him: I don’t want to drug my wife into a stupor if it’s still possible for her to have some clarity. But I also don’t want her to hurt.

It’s not an easy balance to reach.

After he talked with Susan, the doctor reminded me that Susan had started the hallucinations and paranoia well before we started the morphine. And when we cut back the morphine, the terror, pain, and hallucinations were much worse.

So we put together a new medication plan, as well as a plan for how much and when I ought to feed her. The truth is, her body is shutting down; that’s why she doesn’t want to eat. I have been constantly urging Susan to eat, and the doctor told me I need to stop doing that or I’m just going to make things harder for her. If Susan wants food, she’ll ask for it.

I understand this in my head, but how is a husband supposed to let his wife go hungry?


Susan’s calm this morning. Her eyes are open, but she’s not seeing what’s in the room. She’s talking, but most of the time it’s not easy to tell what the words are.

I’ve learned that talking to her mostly just confuses her. Holding her hand and massaging her scalp do more for her than a lot of talking.

She’s asked for water, but not for food. And the truth is I’m not hungry either.


  1. Comment by Gillian | 07.22.2009 | 9:04 am

    Love love love love love and more love to you. You can do this.

  2. Comment by CORoadRage | 07.22.2009 | 9:08 am

    I offer my prayers and hopes for the strength to that allows you endure the unimaginable. Just hold her hand, it’s what she remembers, understands and needs right now. It’s your connection to her soul and her heart. It’s more than enough.

  3. Comment by shannon | 07.22.2009 | 9:08 am

    my heart’s aching for you and your family, Elden.

  4. Comment by Kristine | 07.22.2009 | 9:10 am

    My heart and prayers go out to you. The love you have for Susan is so profound….. Stay strong

  5. Comment by Canadian Roadie | 07.22.2009 | 9:16 am

    Words can’t express the emotions I feel. Profound sadness and admiration for a family I’ve never met. Your world wide family is here for you too.

  6. Comment by c3 | 07.22.2009 | 9:16 am

    I wish my tears could help. May G-d give you strength.

  7. Comment by Heidi | 07.22.2009 | 9:17 am

    Scalp massage and hand-holding are very loving and soothing. Does Susan have favorite calming music she likes to listen to?

  8. Comment by Jen | 07.22.2009 | 9:23 am

    Thinking of you and praying for you and continuing to wish you peace, clarity and strength.

  9. Comment by Justin | 07.22.2009 | 9:27 am

    Wishing you continued strength in this most difficult time.

  10. Comment by Bobby | 07.22.2009 | 9:27 am

    Stay strong…God will bring you both through this.

  11. Comment by Tod | 07.22.2009 | 9:29 am

    God bless you and your family. No one should have to go through this.

  12. Comment by Pat in Oak Ridge | 07.22.2009 | 9:30 am

    Sounds like things are winding down. God bless you, Elden. Stay strong.

  13. Comment by SarahinNE | 07.22.2009 | 9:30 am

    I wish my tears could help you and Susan. Thinking and praying for you.

  14. Comment by vertigo | 07.22.2009 | 9:32 am

    So sorry Fatty. Prayers for you and yours.

  15. Comment by Valerie Crowell | 07.22.2009 | 9:32 am

    It’s really not supposed to go this way. But it is. Just know there’s a ton of us out here keeping you, Susan and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

  16. Comment by Chad | 07.22.2009 | 9:33 am

    She’s still in there and knows how much you love and care for her. God Bless

  17. Comment by josh | 07.22.2009 | 9:33 am

    You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers

  18. Comment by drKim | 07.22.2009 | 9:34 am

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m sure I speak for many when I say we would do most anything to be able to help Susan. Hang in there. Words don’t do justice, but I don’t know what else to do.

  19. Comment by beadgirl | 07.22.2009 | 9:35 am

    Oh sweetheart, I’m so sorry! My family and I are praying as hard as we can for you, your family and Susan.

  20. Comment by Sue | 07.22.2009 | 9:36 am

    Eldon I am so sorry that you and your family have to go through this. I wish there was something we could do to make this time easier. My prayers are with you and Susan and the kids.

  21. Comment by Kathy McElhaney | 07.22.2009 | 9:36 am

    I feel so helpless. I’ve been there so I should know what to say, but I don’t. Still praying.

  22. Comment by tubenerd | 07.22.2009 | 9:36 am

    Susan, you and kids are in my thoughts now.

  23. Comment by Mehera | 07.22.2009 | 9:37 am

    Last night,I woke up in the middle of the night feeling an urge to pray for you and Susan. May the transition be just as gentle and sacred as it can possibly be. We care, Elden.

  24. Comment by paige | 07.22.2009 | 9:37 am

    I’m thinking of you and your family and praying for you. Somehow, somewhere, Susan knows what you’re doing and how much you love her.

  25. Comment by bmarie99 | 07.22.2009 | 9:40 am

    I have never wanted a miracle, if they still exist, for someone much. *hugs* to your family.

  26. Comment by Liesel | 07.22.2009 | 9:44 am

    My thoughts are with you and your family. You are an amazing person and Susan is so blessed to have such a wonderful man in her life.

  27. Comment by Danielle | 07.22.2009 | 9:45 am

    Much love, light and strength to you and your family, Eldon. May you and yours be held in a state of grace.

  28. Comment by Jenn @ Juggling Life | 07.22.2009 | 9:46 am

    The doctor is right, but it is hard. I have been through this three times and your account brings me right back. I’m so sorry you are going through this.

  29. Comment by Lerjoy | 07.22.2009 | 9:46 am

    Love and peace to you, Fatty and family.

  30. Comment by gargoyle030 | 07.22.2009 | 9:47 am

    So sorry to hear all this. Wish I could tell you more than just thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Feels so insufficient.

  31. Comment by rodander | 07.22.2009 | 9:48 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with Susan, you, and yours, Elden.

    You are describing my Mom’s experience from many years ago, as you describe Susan’s. You’re doing the right thing — showing Susan your love. Even if you think what you do may not be helping, I’m confident from my experience that they do help, in a very important but unexplainable way.

    May God bless you, Susan, and your family at this time.

  32. Comment by Chris | 07.22.2009 | 9:49 am

    Newbie to your website, but read through the archives, hoping peace for you and your family. Please let this next transition go smooth for you and your kids. You are so very strong.

  33. Comment by gail | 07.22.2009 | 9:49 am

    You are on a sacred journey but there is no way to make it easy. You are so lucky to have one another. My thoughts are with you all.

  34. Comment by Colin | 07.22.2009 | 9:50 am

    You are doing a great job of taking care of Your Wife and family. Godspeed. My tears are with You all.

  35. Comment by Nick M | 07.22.2009 | 9:53 am

    If you haven’t figured it out by now, you are NOT alone no matter how much it feels like you are.

  36. Comment by PeterAK | 07.22.2009 | 9:55 am

    Positive vibes for Susan, you, and your family.

  37. Comment by lazyscrapbooker | 07.22.2009 | 9:59 am

    I am so sorry for you, Susan and your kids. I can only imagine how terribly hard this is…

  38. Comment by Maile in Florida | 07.22.2009 | 10:01 am

    So sad. Sending silent support.

    Great doctor.

    With aloha,
    Maile in FL

  39. Comment by Greg P | 07.22.2009 | 10:01 am

    You, Susan and the family are in my thoughts. Wishing peace and comfort to Susan.

    Everyone should be so lucky as to have a spouse like you. Sounds like Susan has a new preferred mode of communication and you’ve quickly dialed into it.

  40. Comment by RoadieGA | 07.22.2009 | 10:02 am

    Praying for you and your family.

    Win Susan.
    Win Fatty.

    My heart goes out to you. Stay strong.

  41. Comment by Bragger | 07.22.2009 | 10:06 am

    A fellow cyclist praying for all of you. God bless.

  42. Comment by getinlost | 07.22.2009 | 10:08 am

    I hate cancer.

  43. Comment by Becky | 07.22.2009 | 10:10 am

    Strength to you.

  44. Comment by Jaime O. | 07.22.2009 | 10:11 am

    Prayers for you, Susan and the children. Wishing prayers were visible like kites dancing in the wind, and when you stepped outside you could see the great cloud of the prayers going up for you and yours dancing in the sky over your house. Wishing there was some way to ease your pain and give you strength.

  45. Comment by Matt | 07.22.2009 | 10:14 am

    We’ve got a husband here at church who is sadly about at the place you are. Such terrible frustration.

    Prayers from Cleveland

    – Matt

  46. Comment by Lisa | 07.22.2009 | 10:15 am

    You have been blessed with amazing help through a very very difficult time. Thank you for sharing these experiences with us. I have been through the same experience and know how painful these moments can be for the caregiver. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  47. Comment by beth nixon | 07.22.2009 | 10:17 am

    My thoughts are with you and your family. I wish I had more to offer.

  48. Comment by m00se | 07.22.2009 | 10:17 am

    Elden- Susan is a saint! I know I don’t know either of you beyond the text of this domain, but I feel I know you both, and that you are good, loving, virtuous people. Both of you – keep fighting the good fight. My thoughts are with you, bro.

    God bless.


  49. Comment by lyndap | 07.22.2009 | 10:19 am

    I was so hoping it was the pain meds. I’m keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers. You, your family and your lovely, beautiful Susan are not alone.

  50. Comment by rita | 07.22.2009 | 10:22 am

    Strength, energy, clarity for you all. I wish words of comfort could comfort you all. You are “doing this mitzvah” in all the right, best ways. I hope you find some peace in the gifts of your tasks.

  51. Comment by mamajenny | 07.22.2009 | 10:23 am

    My dad quit eating as well. We were given the same advice, but it was hard not to try to feed him.

    We found that being with him, talking to him, holding his hand, etc. was best. I spent a lot of time singing to him, which seemed to really soothe him. Later on, my ten year old daughter sang to him as well. She hugged and kissed him often, and even though he couldn’t talk any more, we could tell it felt good to him.

    There is no set rule for any of this. It’s one of those times that you follow your heart, and just do.

    I’m so sorry you have to go through this. I wish we could just make this stupid disease disappear forever. I am continually praying for you and your family. There is nothing anyone can say or do that will make this better, but know that we all care so much.

  52. Comment by mhb | 07.22.2009 | 10:23 am

    Crying and praying and crying for you.

    You are such a wonderful husband.

    I hate cancer so much.

  53. Comment by Cliff | 07.22.2009 | 10:26 am

    Prayers and love going out to you, Susan and your family out there. Hang tough.


  54. Comment by Leslie | 07.22.2009 | 10:27 am

    This is heartbreaking to read, so I can’t even imagine how it feels to be going through all this. I’m so sorry.

  55. Comment by Cortney | 07.22.2009 | 10:27 am

    Hospice is a godsend and makes a painful process so much easier. Thinking of you and Susan.

  56. Comment by FliesOnly | 07.22.2009 | 10:28 am

    I have nothing. There’s really nothing that can be said. You are an incredible man. Susan is an incredible women. And your kids are amazing. Our thoughts are with you.

  57. Comment by Robert | 07.22.2009 | 10:30 am

    There’s no real way to say it, but Cancer Sucks.

    I’m sorry you’re having to fight this Eldon. It’s tough. I only wish we could help share your burden!

    Stay strong and know we’re praying.

  58. Comment by Stephanie | 07.22.2009 | 10:30 am

    Wishing much strength for you, Susan and your kids…. Peace and light and blessings…
    Your internet family is sending lots of prayers.

  59. Comment by XCTiger | 07.22.2009 | 10:31 am


    Your description of the last few days brings back some very vivid memories to me and I’m sure to countless others. This experience is the most difficult one I can imagine. Caring for someone so special to your life and praying for relief and peace for them, but knowing what that relief actually means. The only consolation I can give is that Susan is in the place where she most wants to be, her home. She is surrounded by those closest and most precious, her husband and her children. This is a difficult journey, but know that you and your kids are giving her the greatest gift of all, your Love and care at an impossible time. I only know you through this blog, but I sense that Susan is in very capable hands.

    Praying for Peace, Love, and Strength.

  60. Comment by Matt | 07.22.2009 | 10:31 am

    You are doing a wonderful job. Keep it up.

  61. Comment by jdevarennes | 07.22.2009 | 10:33 am

    My prayers go out to you and your family. Keep fighting, that is all we can do when fighting such a horrific battle. WIN

  62. Comment by Annie | 07.22.2009 | 10:33 am

    Thank God for your hospice doctor. We continue to pray for you all. How are the kids doing?

  63. Comment by Leah Weiss Caruso | 07.22.2009 | 10:34 am

    Prayers for strength for you and the kids. It is a true act of lovingkindness you are performing, both for your wife and as an example to your children. Our prayers from our family to yours.

  64. Comment by Allie | 07.22.2009 | 10:35 am

    everything everyone has said up above quadrupled … (((Elden & Family))) (internet hug)

  65. Comment by lisalou | 07.22.2009 | 10:37 am

    My heart bleeds for you and your family. This brings back memories of my mom’s battle – which she fought valiantly as well.

    It seems instinctively you know the right things to do to soothe Susan. Listen to that guidance – it will get you through this.

    My hope and prayer for you and your family is continued strength, fortitude and love and support from those in your immediate circle and all of us out here.

  66. Comment by Janet | 07.22.2009 | 10:38 am

    Holding you all in my heart with great love and tenderness…

  67. Comment by NW | 07.22.2009 | 10:38 am

    Still reading and sending good and positive vibes from far away. Glad you and the kids were able to get out for Harry Potter. I imagine the three hour distraction was good for them.

    So sorry for what your family is enduring. It’s heartbreaking, really.

  68. Comment by Ann | 07.22.2009 | 10:39 am

    This is the really hard part of marriage and loving someone so much. Praying for you both.

  69. Comment by Pete | 07.22.2009 | 10:40 am

    Elden be strong. I can’t possibly imagine what you’re going through. Positive energy from all ’round the world my friend.

  70. Comment by Kali Durga | 07.22.2009 | 10:43 am

    Everyone here has already said anything meaningful that could be said, so all I can do is add my thoughts and hopes and prayers.

  71. Comment by Amy | 07.22.2009 | 10:44 am

    I am a new reader (from PW) and just wanted to express how sorry I am that Susan and your family are having to fight this terrible disease. Your last couple of posts have brought tears to my eyes, and I pray for all of you. You are doing a wonderful job taking care of Susan, and you are lucky to have each other.

  72. Comment by Just A Reader and Rider | 07.22.2009 | 10:44 am

    Elden, Please tell us how the kids are. We’re pretty concerned about them too.

    Also, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but please don’t go on rides like the one you taped that show you riding on the side of a cliff, inches away from where a fall would mean catastrophe. I don’t think the kids could take losing you as well as what their Mom is going through. Please, when you ride, ride safely and think of the kids.

    I’m praying for a miracle for all in your family.

  73. Comment by Julia | 07.22.2009 | 10:45 am

    You can do this even if it unimaginable. You can really do this.

    Thoughts and prayers to you and the kids and Susan.

  74. Comment by JamesInPhoenix | 07.22.2009 | 10:46 am

    Words fail me and my heart breaks for you and your family. Remind your children how much you and their mother love them as they much like you and Susan are all victims of this disease. May God be with you as you endure the hardest part of this journey. May you draw strength from the love that binds you to Susan forever and know that cancer can never take that away from you.

  75. Comment by RJ | 07.22.2009 | 10:46 am

    My family has been down this road. I have no words for you but offer my most sincere thoughts and prayers.

  76. Comment by jenjen | 07.22.2009 | 10:47 am

    Oh Elden,
    I am praying for you both every day.


  77. Comment by Bridget | 07.22.2009 | 10:48 am

    I’m sending more prayers for you and your family. You are a wonderful husband and father. May all of you find peace.

  78. Comment by UphillBattle | 07.22.2009 | 10:48 am

    Prayers for strength, comfort, and peace. Thank you for sharing this painful journey with us.

  79. Comment by Carl | 07.22.2009 | 10:48 am

    I know it is a hard thing to say, but sometimes it helps to whisper to someone you love that they have your “permission” to quit fighting.

  80. Comment by Amy H. | 07.22.2009 | 10:53 am

    Peace to both of you….

  81. Comment by Tom Fury | 07.22.2009 | 10:55 am

    Your post is only about 2 hours old and already there are over 70 comments – Eldon, we are all supporting you and would take your families pain if we could. We are with you Eldon.

  82. Comment by Carlton Reid | 07.22.2009 | 10:56 am


    You’ve been a tower of strength to Susan. We’re all proud of how you’ve – both – coped through such an incredibly tough time. My thoughts are with you.

  83. Comment by PeckishCyclist | 07.22.2009 | 10:58 am

    What I’ve learned from personal experience (and my research with people at the end of their lives) is that it’s important to try not to interpret people’s behaviors the way we normally would. Confusion, not eating, etc., are part of the transition process–and don’t mean the same things that they do to family members who don’t have cancer. You are doing all the right things–even though it’s hard to know that now.
    Blessings to all of you–

  84. Comment by Pink | 07.22.2009 | 11:00 am

    My sister died of a pulmonary embollism in 1972, leaving two very young children. My dad died in 1987 of heart/cancer. Lost mom in 1999.

    I shut down during all of them. I just went numb and now I live with that all the time. Be glad you are there with her. Of course you have kids and have to be, but feeling the pain now will help you later. You will never have a regret.

    Prayers to all of you.

  85. Comment by Orbea Girl | 07.22.2009 | 11:01 am

    Others have said it so more eloquently but you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  86. Comment by John Umland | 07.22.2009 | 11:02 am

    I sat with a friend in hospice while brain cancer had its way with him. Your experience is not unique. You are not alone. And it’s really good, your wife is not alone. Sorry that you have to go through this.

    God is good

  87. Comment by David Schloss | 07.22.2009 | 11:04 am

    Thinking of you and Susan today, hoping for the best. You both are loved. Let us know what you need.

  88. Comment by Sue | 07.22.2009 | 11:06 am

    To Elden, Susan and the children:
    You ALL are angels!

    God Knows Why (Melissa Phillippe)
    God Knows Why
    ©2000, Melissa Phillippe

    Spirit brought you here.
    A blessing to us all.
    You have given us your love
    and taken us closer to God.

    Now you’ve been called
    and you’re going home.
    Even though we’ll miss you here
    now is your time to go.

    God knows why
    it’s time to say good-bye.
    Don’t you look back and cry.
    You just spread your angel wings and fly.

    So much we’ve gone through.
    How much we’ve grown together.
    How can we thank someone enough
    for giving us the gifts that make life better?

    So we let you go
    but hold on to the memories.
    You’ll live forever in our hearts
    and every day we’ll thank God for your life.

    God knows why.
    It’s time to say good-bye.
    Don’t you look back and cry.
    You just spread your angel wings and fly.

  89. Comment by Kari | 07.22.2009 | 11:08 am

    A minister friend refers to cancer as “The Long Goodbye”.

    I’m sorry.

  90. Comment by Pat | 07.22.2009 | 11:08 am

    I gave my father “permission” to leave us. He was so strong and I felt that if I let him know that we were ok and could take care of those things that were so important to him, he would pass easier.

    I am amazed and filled with respect at your ability to put these thoughts in writing. I hope it is cathartic in some way. It takes many of us to places that we have visited before and makes the fight more a part of our awareness. You are loved more than you know and you need to remember and hold that close as you go thru the weeks and months ahead.

  91. Comment by JIll | 07.22.2009 | 11:12 am

    You are an amazing husband and father. May you find peace in the love that surrounds you.

  92. Comment by Jeff | 07.22.2009 | 11:14 am

    Elden, you are the greatest husband she could have. I hope all these wishes help you in some way- may our wishes give you one more ounce of strength. Please let Susan know we are pulling for her in this battle.

    Thinking of you and your family in these difficult times.

  93. Comment by Jeannine | 07.22.2009 | 11:16 am

    Dear Elden. Dear Susan. Peace for you both.

  94. Comment by Ellen | 07.22.2009 | 11:22 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with your and your family yet there is still this feeling of frustration we cannot do more for you. So I will do the only thing I can and donate money to team fatty.

    Stay strong.

  95. Comment by Tanya | 07.22.2009 | 11:25 am

    I can’t imagine how much strength you have found for this. For experiencing this gradual loss, and for writing about it. Susan’s struggle has touched so many lives, and I wish your family peace.

  96. Comment by Sarah Goodyear | 07.22.2009 | 11:26 am

    Peace be with you and Susan and your beautiful children, Elden. What you are doing for your wife is the purest expression of what it means to be human, and to love.

  97. Comment by Lisa | 07.22.2009 | 11:26 am

    This is something I used to tell my husband when our boys were babies and used to cry inconsolably, but I think it applies here, too.

    You can do everything you can to make her more comfortable, to tend to her every need. But once you’ve done that, sometimes what she needs is for you to be there, not to alleviate the pain, but in spite of it, so that she knows she’s not alone.

    You are doing a beautiful job of being there for your wife. You are giving her the greatest gift you could give her. You are also showing your children a wonderful example of what it means to love someone.

  98. Comment by Jen | 07.22.2009 | 11:27 am

    Much love being sent to you and your family. This is heartbreaking for me to read about yet so wonderful to see the support, prays and love being sent your way. You deserve it. Sounds like you’re doing everything you can and that you have an absolutely wonderful and amazing doctor.

  99. Comment by Kevin | 07.22.2009 | 11:29 am

    Hang in there Elden and family. Wishing you and Susan the very best.

  100. Comment by Scott | 07.22.2009 | 11:30 am

    May peace, wisdom, and mercy be with you as your see this through. Thank you for sharing your life. May you see the fruits of it. Many prayers and God bless.

  101. Comment by Anonymous | 07.22.2009 | 11:33 am

    Hey fellow FC fans. Like Fatty, I feel best when I can do something. Here’s my suggestion for what we can do right now. It’s not much, but it is something.
    1. Hold Susan/Fatty/the whole family in your hearts/thoughts/prayers. Whatever works for you.
    2. Tell someone you love that you hold them dear. Best if it’s someone you haven’t told this to in awhile.
    3. If you have the ability to make an extra donation to Team Fatty, the LAF, or to another cancer charity, do it. If you can’t right now, then find something else you can do. Write a letter. Deliver cookies. Anything.

  102. Comment by Karen | 07.22.2009 | 11:34 am

    I can’t say anything more than has already been said. Praying for you and your family.

  103. Comment by VA Biker | 07.22.2009 | 11:35 am

    Elden, there is no script here. You’re doing what you can to comfort your wife. Everything will be okay in the end – horribly unjust, but okay nonetheless. Try to continue to be strong and think of the vast ocean of support that you have on the outside. Peace be with you.

  104. Comment by Lisa | 07.22.2009 | 11:36 am

    You are a wonderful man. May all of our love somehow find its way to you, Susan and your children.

  105. Comment by AO | 07.22.2009 | 11:42 am

    You are stronger than I have words to describe.
    Braver than anyone I know.

  106. Comment by bec | 07.22.2009 | 11:42 am

    I’m wishing Susan, you and your family peace as you face this transition together.

  107. Comment by Emy | 07.22.2009 | 11:43 am

    I really don’t know what to say, and I’m not one that is often at a loss for words. I can only offer my prayers. I once said to my mother, “the only thing I can do is pray.” She responded, “It’s not the Only thing, it’s the BEST thing.”

    I wish there was more I could do, but for now I will do the best thing I can. You, Susan, your children and entire family are in my thoughts and prayers. May God help you to find peace.

  108. Comment by steventoby | 07.22.2009 | 11:44 am

    Words are meaningless sometimes, and in those times they are not needed. She knows, how could she not?

  109. Comment by Jenni Laurita | 07.22.2009 | 11:50 am

    Love love love love love

  110. Comment by bryantp | 07.22.2009 | 11:57 am

    So many love you and yours. We’re with you, in our hearts, every step of the way.

  111. Comment by Dana | 07.22.2009 | 11:57 am

    fighting with you…

  112. Comment by bikemike | 07.22.2009 | 11:57 am

    God bless. our thoughts and prayers are with you both.

  113. Comment by SurlyCommuter | 07.22.2009 | 11:58 am

    Peace Elden, I wish you and your family peace. We will continue to pray for you. I hate cancer.

  114. Comment by MikeonhisBike | 07.22.2009 | 12:03 pm

    I heard a quote the other day.

    Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley
    “Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop and most beef is tough. Life is like an old time rail journey with delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

    You’re expeciencing the tough meat of life right now but eventually you’ll get to experience the beautiful vista again. Hang in there buddy.

  115. Comment by NoTrail | 07.22.2009 | 12:04 pm

    If a time comes when you don’t think you can find the strength, don’t worry. Strength will find you. We’re all here for you and keeping you in our thoughts.


  116. Comment by mymosk | 07.22.2009 | 12:15 pm

    My prayer’s are with you and yours.

  117. Comment by traildiva | 07.22.2009 | 12:21 pm

    You and your family are strong enough to get through this. You are strong enough to do this. It’s probably the best thing you’ll ever do for someone.

    Susan knows you love her. Giving her what she needs, even if it goes against everything you think she should have, will make every minute of her life better.

    My thoughts are with you.

  118. Comment by Kt | 07.22.2009 | 12:23 pm

    I can’t add anything more than what my fellow Fatty’s Army members have already said.

    This whole situation sucks. I wish there was something we could do, but the only thing left for us out here on the interwebs is to keep you, Susan, and the kids in our hearts.

    I hope that you can feel the warmth of our regard during this extremely hard time. I hope Susan can, too.

  119. Comment by Tracey | 07.22.2009 | 12:29 pm

    Fatty, I am so sorry for everything your family is going through. I have been reading your website for a long time now and I am just heartbroken about Susan. Give her and yourself a hug from me.

  120. Comment by Jensamom23 | 07.22.2009 | 12:30 pm

    You are doing the best thing for her. Her heart and soul know that.

  121. Comment by Tracy | 07.22.2009 | 12:31 pm

    Holding you close in thoughts and prayers in this most difficult of times. I am sure you know that there are people around the world who are wrapping you both up in love and prayers.

  122. Comment by Leigh | 07.22.2009 | 12:31 pm

    You can do this…all of it. It’s a mantra I heard every day that my mom was dying. It’s so terribly, terribly sad and I’m so sorry. Please know we are thinking of y’all.

  123. Comment by Fritz | 07.22.2009 | 12:32 pm

    Elden, it hurts to be so helpless, but you have a lot of friends and we’re all on your side and Susan’s side. You’re an inspiration.

  124. Comment by Cat | 07.22.2009 | 12:36 pm

    I firmly believe that while the outer Susan may be slipping away, the inner Susan knows you are there, and the inner Susan will be with you forever in you, in your kids and your family and friends and those of us who have watched from the outside.

    She is an amazing, strong and courageous woman, and you are just the same.

    My thoughts are with you.

  125. Comment by Erin | 07.22.2009 | 12:40 pm

    I’m sorry.

  126. Comment by John | 07.22.2009 | 12:42 pm

    For you Elden

    May God bless you and your family and watch over you always.

  127. Comment by Mark W | 07.22.2009 | 12:50 pm


    Don’t second guess, just keep going forward. Life is a journey and you will push through this stretch.

    take care
    Mark in vancouver

  128. Comment by VT Telegirl | 07.22.2009 | 12:54 pm

    I’m sorry; I’m angry; I’m sad. Cancer sucks. Your love, strength, wisdom, humility – the way you live your lives, doesn’t. Wishing you and your family strength.

  129. Comment by Kai | 07.22.2009 | 12:56 pm

    Hey Fatty,

    You and your family are going through indescribable moments. My thoughts are with you all. And you are wise to take moments with your children – seeing a movie together is fantastic. I wonder what kind of cycling you’re doing these days? Take care man. Kai

  130. Comment by Julian | 07.22.2009 | 12:58 pm


    By now you know you are not alone in your struggle, and in every rough time in life there is second guessing and feeling like we are helpless. But you have to keep moving forward, and you will, and it will get easier. We will be praying for ya man.

    Julian in Dallas

  131. Comment by Madelyn | 07.22.2009 | 12:58 pm

    Plainly and simply – I am so sorry.

    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  132. Comment by John | 07.22.2009 | 1:01 pm

    My prayers and thoughts are with you, Susan, and your family. God speed.

  133. Comment by Gordon | 07.22.2009 | 1:04 pm

    Fatty, my heart goes out to you: I can’t tell you how much I admire your spirit and compassion. I’m so sorry for what you’re all going through.

  134. Comment by Katie | 07.22.2009 | 1:04 pm

    I’m holding Susan and all of you up. If only everyone in the world could know the love & care you have for Susan what a better & more beautiful place it would be for all of us.

  135. Comment by Wendy | 07.22.2009 | 1:12 pm

    My heart just aches so much for you and your family. You have such a wonderful support system surrounding you!!!

  136. Comment by Neonmouse | 07.22.2009 | 1:14 pm

    Cancer Sucks! I admire your courage and strength as you go through this difficult time. When my brother was little he once asked my mom why we are here and she answered, “to love each other as much as we can.” It looks like you and your family are doing just that. I have lost some friends and famiy to cancer and I vow to keep loving those around me as much as I can. Oh, and did I already mention CANCER SUCKS!

  137. Comment by Hamish A | 07.22.2009 | 1:20 pm

    I ache for Susan, for you and for your Children Elden. I’m so sorry I have nothing more to offer you than prayers, positive thoughts and love.

    Know that there are countless people around the World who are touched by the Love you share with Susan and although we’re not physically with you, we hold you’re whole Family in our hearts and minds.

    Peace to you all.

  138. Comment by CeeCee | 07.22.2009 | 1:24 pm

    The hospice people are angels on earth. I’m so glad you have them to help you with this. They were irreplaceable when my mom was dying of ALS.

    I’m so sorry you’ve come to this place in your battle. It will be the hardest and the most sacred thing you’ll ever do.

    My heart is with your whole family.

  139. Comment by nickc | 07.22.2009 | 1:25 pm

    I started reading the entry, I stopped. I found a random entry that was funny and read that instead. I can’t do this, I just can’t. Don’t know how you’re coping…

  140. Comment by Mandy From KS | 07.22.2009 | 1:31 pm

    Stay strong! Susan and you are in my thoughts.

  141. Comment by Dingbat | 07.22.2009 | 1:36 pm

    God bless you both. We’re sending our love from across the country.

  142. Comment by howard | 07.22.2009 | 1:39 pm

    Peace to Susan, you, and the kids.

  143. Comment by Christopher | 07.22.2009 | 1:40 pm

    I do not have the words to say how much I feel for you and your family in these terrible times. I know the feelings all too well. I will keep you, Susan and the rest of your family in my heart and in my thoughtsa and prayers.

  144. Comment by Eric P | 07.22.2009 | 1:42 pm

    I am now just sitting in my office crying. Stay strong.

  145. Comment by Miss Lola | 07.22.2009 | 1:48 pm

    She feels the love you are pouring into her, and she always will. My prayers for her suffering to be eased, and my prayers for you and your children.
    God Bless you all.

  146. Comment by Tracy (Oklahoma) | 07.22.2009 | 1:50 pm

    I am so sorry. My heart is breaking for you. Will continue praying for that miracle…God Bless you all.

  147. Comment by Scott Morrison | 07.22.2009 | 2:04 pm

    Love and prayers from our family to yours. I only wish I could do more.

  148. Comment by Kari | 07.22.2009 | 2:08 pm

    I just lost my mother a few months ago to this horrible disease. She had a beautiful passing, surrounded by her family. In her final days when she was on morphine,she didn’t want to hear words directed at her. She seemed most at peace when we were holding her hand, singing hymns and having conversation with each other–lauging, joking, telling stories, remembering. And even though she was no communicating with words, I know she heard every word we said. You are giving her a great gift in providing her this comfort, and I hope you feel strength in knowing that you have a huge team behind you.

  149. Comment by Big Mel | 07.22.2009 | 2:08 pm

    There is so much love out here for you, Susan, and the kids. My constant prayers are with you.

  150. Comment by Chris | 07.22.2009 | 2:10 pm

    Nothing seems appropriate to say, but I want you to know your words are important and have been read. I’m sorry. We’re continuing to pray. Chris and Chris Ross

  151. Comment by Rie | 07.22.2009 | 2:12 pm

    I’m still praying hard for a miracle. In the mean time, I’m sending tons of love and good vibes in your direction, hoping she’ll be able to feel them along with your hand holding and scalp massages. Elden, may God lift you up during these very difficult times…

  152. Comment by Gwen | 07.22.2009 | 2:15 pm

    Money, or time spent blogging won’t give you the real support. You need to look for something spiritual which wors. The answer is there. I hope you can get involved with a church near you so they can hold a prayer for your wife. I will be praying too.

  153. Comment by tom | 07.22.2009 | 2:19 pm

    I hope in some small way all these comments help you through this. Thank you for sharing your story and helping others even as you suffer. Stay as strong as you can.

  154. Comment by bobbieh | 07.22.2009 | 2:22 pm

    I don’t know if someone has already mentioned this, but as a person reaches the point Susan is, they rarely, if ever, feel hunger. So PLEASE don’t let that worry you.
    Huge, huge hugs for all of you ~

  155. Comment by p.j. | 07.22.2009 | 2:23 pm

    Thanks for today’s update. I am so glad you are working closely with the hospice doctor and the morphine pump.
    I spent most of my mom’s last few days massaging her feet and lower legs with peppermint lotion, to help relieve leg cramps. I felt so useful/good and close to her, and she felt calmer and more comfortable. Scalp massages sound great.
    Comfort and peace to you, Susan, and your family and friends, p.j.

  156. Comment by tim | 07.22.2009 | 2:29 pm

    you write beautifully, as always, Elden.
    But it’s no solace, I know. These are dark days but love, honour, dignity and beauty will always prevail.
    Best wishes to you and your family from a saddened Northern English town.

  157. Comment by NEG | 07.22.2009 | 2:31 pm

    When my dauther’s boyfriend committed suicide on her birthday all I could do for days was just hold her. There were no words, I just had to be in the room with her, hold her hand, wash and comb her hair. I know its not the same. This is your wife we are talking about but you are doing the rights things. You are doing all you can for her.

    Best wishes and lots of prayers for you.

  158. Comment by Quin | 07.22.2009 | 2:35 pm

    Sending some prayers for you, Susan, and your family

  159. Comment by Ian P | 07.22.2009 | 2:39 pm

    God bless you and your family, Elden. Our thoughts are with you – WIN SUSAN, WIN ELDEN.

  160. Comment by Hat | 07.22.2009 | 2:39 pm

    I wish you peace.

  161. Comment by Janet | 07.22.2009 | 2:40 pm

    {{{hugs}}} and prayers… Thank you, for sharing your world.

  162. Comment by angela | 07.22.2009 | 2:40 pm

    May God grant you all strength and courage.

  163. Comment by CJ | 07.22.2009 | 2:42 pm

    You are an amazing husband and father. Peace & love to you and your family.

  164. Comment by Charisa | 07.22.2009 | 2:43 pm

    Cancer is evil. You are an awesome husband and father.

  165. Comment by Brooke from LIVESTRONG | 07.22.2009 | 2:52 pm

    Wishing Susan a pain free night and you all a good nights rest. Much love from your LAF family.

  166. Comment by Lorie | 07.22.2009 | 3:02 pm

    Elden: Your entire family is still in the Francis Clan prayers. We’ve been where you are with both of our dads and this wretched disease. You’re doing exactly what Susan needs – letting her know you are there and how much you love her.

    Along with everyone else, I hate cancer – I hate it a lot. “Cancer sucks – big time” (a quote from my two teenage sons).


  167. Comment by EdL | 07.22.2009 | 3:03 pm

    What to say? Nothing but love an peace to you both.

  168. Comment by Mr. Big | 07.22.2009 | 3:08 pm


    I’d been feeling sorry for myself because another job prospect fell through. Looking for work, I’d been lax in checking your site. Now this.

    Thanks for putting it all in such profound perspective. I’ll praying for you, Susan and the kids, and counting the minutes until my wife comes home tonight.

    Strength and peace, brother.

  169. Comment by Sarah from LIVESTRONG | 07.22.2009 | 3:08 pm

    I hate cancer too. Susan has such a strong and generous spirit…my heart just breaks for you guys! Please know that all of us here at the LAF are thinking about you and we’ll be here for you and your family if you need us. Wishing nothing but peace for Susan…hang in there, Elden.

  170. Comment by Shellyg8r | 07.22.2009 | 3:17 pm

    Prayers for you all…..

  171. Comment by Sue from LIVESTRONG | 07.22.2009 | 3:18 pm

    Thinking about you all and sending thoughts and prayers your way. We’re here if you need anything and wish for strength, peace and love for you all.

  172. Comment by Rena | 07.22.2009 | 3:21 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, as hollow as that phrase may be right now.

  173. Comment by karen in AK | 07.22.2009 | 3:21 pm

    Elden, I’m so glad you are able to be there to hold Susan’s hand and to lovingly touch her head. Love to you and your kids.

  174. Comment by MTB W | 07.22.2009 | 3:23 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  175. Comment by Scott | 07.22.2009 | 3:25 pm

    Reading all these entries takes me back 6 years when we were going through this with my mom. She was only 47 and I was the oldest at 23. We so appreciated all the well wishers and visitors wanting to say their goodbyes, but near the end we shut the doors and had just an evening as a family. It was the night before she passed, and although she didn’t seem coherent, after 6 years perspective, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she passed early the next morning. Having it just be the family one more time is something we all are glad we did and I’d like to think my mom thought so too. My prayers are with you and all your family.

  176. Comment by Adventure Nell | 07.22.2009 | 3:28 pm

    Peace and love to you and your family. I am praying for you all and am amazed at your strength. Thank you for sharing your story.

  177. Comment by kawika | 07.22.2009 | 3:32 pm

    you are amazing for writing through this. it is important to remember that although she might not express it, susan still knows that you are there, and you and your family’s love for her is critical, more than even the morphine.

    peace and love.

  178. Comment by Melody | 07.22.2009 | 3:35 pm

    I am in tears, just pleading with God. I will never, ever understand His plan this side of heaven, or see why great women like Susan are allowed to go through this. My heart breaks for what you and your children are facing and I am so so sorry. Please know you are in my prayers and I am thinking of you guys. God bless you.

  179. Comment by Katie from Berkshire, England | 07.22.2009 | 3:36 pm

    Elden, I’ve been following your blogs since my cousin’s wife in the US put your link on her facebook page, asking for prayers. You and Susan, and your family, have had them since. I have nothing to add other than you and Susan are an inspiration to us all. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your love for each other will get you through these dark hours. Love is everything.

  180. Comment by Rob | 07.22.2009 | 3:37 pm

    Elden, You are doing an amazing thing for your wife and family in terribly difficult circumstance. You are an inspiration for so many, keep going, Live Strong!
    Love and thoughts and prayers for you all.


  181. Comment by Linda | 07.22.2009 | 3:39 pm

    Susan knows in her soul that you are there for her and that her children and you love her so much…I pray for peace for all of you.

  182. Comment by Karin | 07.22.2009 | 3:39 pm

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I am so sorry this is happening.

  183. Comment by ron from LIVESTRONG | 07.22.2009 | 3:39 pm

    Eldon – may God continue to give you the strenth to support your beautiful Susan and family. You and Susan have shown us all the true meaning of ‘love.’

  184. Comment by justrun | 07.22.2009 | 3:47 pm

    You’re teaching all of us with your words. Sending prayers and strength to you and your family every day.

  185. Comment by LAM | 07.22.2009 | 3:57 pm

    Finding the right words to put here seems impossible. I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved, so inspired & at the same time heartbroken. I mostly want to say thank you, to you and to Susan, for sharing this with the world. I can’t yet express how your story has & continues to affect me. You & your family are in my thoughts.

    Take care.

  186. Comment by Woody | 07.22.2009 | 3:57 pm

    I have tried repeatedly to write what I am feeling for you and your family. The words seem small, empty somehow while the emotions are so big. So all I can say is how sorry I am.

  187. Comment by Patty | 07.22.2009 | 4:04 pm

    Oh — this is so, so sad! And I wish (as everyone else who has already posted has said) there was something I could DO.
    Sending you love and prayers and courage. Your words always inspire me — I want you to know that — to love all my people hard right now, while I can.
    Love to you.

  188. Comment by Jessica Volkmer | 07.22.2009 | 4:04 pm

    My kids and I just prayed for Susan after I read this recent post. My heart is heavy for her. I am amazed at Susan’s ability to think of her children before herself, still wanting them to see a movie. What grace she has, even in all of this. She is an amazing woman. You are lucky to have married such a wonderful wife, who then became a wonderful mother. I know you love her very much. I know you will miss her. I’m sorry you are all going through this.

  189. Comment by Alan | 07.22.2009 | 4:04 pm

    Just being present for her is a gift, and what she needs more than anything. You’re doing great. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us, even when it’s difficult. All the best.

  190. Comment by dinglearm | 07.22.2009 | 4:05 pm

    I know this doesn’t help, but you are a wonderful husband and father.

    Susan stay strong and WIN.

  191. Comment by Carla | 07.22.2009 | 4:08 pm

    Elden – you are amazing, which I will give kudos to Susan. Through this horrible trip your family is on, she has made you stronger than you will ever know (at least for now). But, you MUST eat. You can’t afford to get run down, this could be a long trip and you need your strength/

    Prayers for you and your family.

  192. Comment by Glenna | 07.22.2009 | 4:24 pm

    Dear Elden, Dear Susan, Dear children…know we feel your struggle and pain and offer our support and love.

    I know Susan feels your love…without words…as you do what you’re doing to comfort her. And, feeling that for her must comfort you, too. It does me.

    What a difficult time you are enduring – and enduring it well. This condition is not Susan, as you well know.

    We pray you feel your love, peace and comfort as you endure the coming days. Our love to you.

  193. Comment by Glenna | 07.22.2009 | 4:36 pm

    P.S. Elden, if you haven’t, (but you probably have) tell Susan you love her. That’s not alot of words, and even though your actions show her your love, hearing the words will help her, too. And if it doesn’t help her, it will help you, knowing you said those simple 3 words when she could hear/recieve them. And it would be good for the kiddos to be able to do the same…for their sake, as well. We love you all.

  194. Comment by Lorraine | 07.22.2009 | 4:37 pm

    You and Susan are in my thoughts. I wish there was something I could do to help you both. You are strong, good people and this is breaking my heart and I don’t even know you beyond this blog.

  195. Comment by sam | 07.22.2009 | 4:37 pm

    Every case is different, so I can’t say what is causing Susan’s hallucinations, but I will mention that, when my mother had cancer, she started hallucinating as well. She had been on all sorts of medication, including pain meds, chemo, and anti-depressants, and because of the hallucinations, her doctors pulled her off of everything to see if that helped. It didn’t. Then one of her best friends, who happened to be a nurse, started doing some research. She discovered that the type of cancer my mom had (or the treatment, it’s been a long time) can cause vitamin deficiencies (which will also occur, obviously, if Susan is not eating enough). And, apparently, a niacin (vitamin B12) deficiency can lead to pretty severe hallucinations. They started giving her niacin supplements, and it was like she had woken up from a bad dream.

    My mom’s best friend, who had a nursing degree but hadn’t worked in years, figured this out. The entire staff at Sloane Kettering Memorial Hospital, presumably the best cancer research hospital in the world, did not.

    The best hallucination, of course, involved her seriously believing that my dad had murdered someone, and that we had all buried the body in the woods on the side of some road. The more we tried to convince that this was (obviously) ridiculous and not true, the more she became convinced that we were all just trying to keep it a secret. We laughed about it afterwards, but in the midst of it, she was absolutely terrified.

  196. Comment by Jamieson | 07.22.2009 | 4:53 pm

    You are an amazing father and husband.

    I have tears in my eyes as I read this development. I know it far too well.

  197. Comment by Suzanne in Colorado | 07.22.2009 | 5:05 pm

    My heart goes out to you and your family.

  198. Comment by kentucky joe | 07.22.2009 | 5:22 pm

    cancer leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

    Your family is in our thoughts and our wish is for peace for you all.

    Lately, I cannot ride my bike without thinking of your family in my stream of conciousness as I ride and I am inspired to be a better person.

  199. Comment by Kim | 07.22.2009 | 5:25 pm


  200. Comment by Kat J | 07.22.2009 | 5:27 pm

    Love & prayers to you & the kids….

  201. Comment by KM | 07.22.2009 | 5:27 pm

    My heart is aching for you and Susan and the kids. I have you both in my thoughts.

  202. Comment by bobbieh | 07.22.2009 | 5:28 pm

    I completely agree with what Carl and Pat have said ~ that Susan may need to hear from you that it’s OK to let go; that you and the kids will miss the hell out of her, but that because of her, you will be OK.
    I also know those may well be the hardest words you will ever have to say in your life.

    How are the kids doing? Does your Hospice have a counseling program for them?

    Knowing I’m sending all of you light, love, comfort and support ~
    Along with all the hugs in the world.

  203. Comment by eclecticdeb | 07.22.2009 | 5:37 pm

    1.5 years ago, my Mom passed away from this same terrible disease.

    The week before she passed, we managed to “bust” her out of the hospital (where the doctors were trying to get us to consent to surgery — surgery that she would never survive). She spent one last day at home, on her birthday, with her family. I had to fly home the next day, and she looked at me as we said goodbye, it was like she was staring into my soul.

    I spent 5 days at home, then flew back on a redeye. While I was in the air, she was admitted to the hospital again. She passed 1 hour after I got to the hospital — I never got the chance to speak to her again.

    Whew…what is my point?

    There are so many things that you are describing that are familiar — the pain, the lack of eating, the hallucinations. Bottom line, you are doing what you need to do. Keep Susan comfortable, don’t fret about the food. Take care of your children — take care of yourself.

    There’s nothing — NOTHING that will take away the pain you are feeling. But hopefully, our thoughts and prayers will make it bearable.

  204. Comment by Toni | 07.22.2009 | 5:37 pm

    I don’t often comment but I read every update about Susan and think of you guys often. I’m so sorry you are both suffering. I wish there was more to say to help except to say, “I hear you,” and “I’m sorry,” but words beyond this fail me.

  205. Comment by annainaspen | 07.22.2009 | 5:43 pm

    There are no words that can make you feel better. I wish you and your family peace and love. I’m so very sorry. My thoughts are with you.

  206. Comment by sansauto | 07.22.2009 | 5:44 pm

    I don’t cry often. Just thinking of what you must be going through improves my relationship with my wife. You are in our prayers. You are an example to many.

  207. Comment by Angie | 07.22.2009 | 5:52 pm

    I found your web site via Ree. I am so touched by the way you have chosen to fight this battle with your wife. I am so sorry. Cancer is a big punch in the face! You don’t see it coming and it takes your breath away when it hits you. My you find the strength to get yourself and your family though this. I will be thinking of Susan.
    Your friend

  208. Comment by skippy | 07.22.2009 | 5:56 pm

    On September 23, 1779, John Paul Jones fought one of the bloodiest engagements in naval history. Jones struggled with the 44-gun Royal Navy frigate Serapis, and although his own vessel was burning and sinking, Jones would not accept the British demand for surrender, replying, “I have not yet begun to fight.” More than three hours later, Serapis surrendered and Jones took command.

    Such as it will be with cancer one day….

    Keep up the good fight!

  209. Comment by Wild Dingo | 07.22.2009 | 5:59 pm

    crap. crap. crap. i hate this cancer. reading your post made me wonder how you are even able to convey even this much in a blog w/o losing it. But i realize something even bigger: that what you blog, is probably a total amount of 5 minutes of the entire day’s experience and that what you’re dealing with 24 hours/day is so much bigger than what you can cover in this blog. and then the pain hits me even harder in my stomach. My heart aches for you, Susan and your entire family.
    I wish you all wellness, deep comfort and peace.

  210. Comment by BamaJim | 07.22.2009 | 6:11 pm

    Continuing to pray – often. Grace and peace.

  211. Comment by Lisa B in Seattle | 07.22.2009 | 6:12 pm

    Oh honey, I’m so sorry.

  212. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 07.22.2009 | 6:20 pm

    Said a prayer for you today.

  213. Comment by Pat | 07.22.2009 | 6:25 pm

    Thinking of you through this journey. Susan has an awesome team and with them she will win.
    You are doing an awesome job.

  214. Comment by Claire | 07.22.2009 | 6:30 pm

    I sat here fingers on the keyboard, tears in my eyes for a good fifteen minutes trying to find the right words to say, ultimately realizing there are no words that can make this somehow bearable for you. No person should have to go through this with someone they love and I am just so very sorry for you, and Susan and your children. Peace and strength to you all.

  215. Comment by Chad | 07.22.2009 | 6:33 pm

    Peace be with you and your family.

  216. Comment by amy vw | 07.22.2009 | 6:44 pm

    My thoughts continue to be with you and your family during this time. It is not easy to watch someone you love slip away. So much of what you write hits very close to home for me, and I know it’s just heart wrenching.

    Peace and love to you all.

  217. Comment by sechildress | 07.22.2009 | 6:51 pm

    You are a good man, Elden Nelson. You have done everything humanly possible for Susan. And even with her lapses in clarity, I’m sure she knows this in her heart. My thoughts are with you during this very trying time.

  218. Comment by ralph | 07.22.2009 | 7:01 pm

    All possible wishes to you and your family.

  219. Comment by ms ellie | 07.22.2009 | 7:09 pm

    Prayers to your family.
    I hate cancer.

  220. Comment by Zitro | 07.22.2009 | 7:18 pm

    I was suckered into your blog a couple years ago because I am fat and a cyclist. Now I find myself praying for the first time in twenty years. Stay strong.

  221. Comment by melly | 07.22.2009 | 7:24 pm

    Elden, your posts are incredibly moving, and your strength for Susan is inspirational.

    My thoughts are with you are your family.

  222. Comment by Khirsten | 07.22.2009 | 7:43 pm

    Praying for you all.

  223. Comment by Michelle | 07.22.2009 | 7:54 pm

    You are an inspiration. I am so glad that Susan has someone like you to help her through this. I hope and pray that your family will have peace through this. I hope that Susan is as comfortable as possible. I hate cancer.

  224. Comment by bikerchick | 07.22.2009 | 7:59 pm

    Follow your heart, Elden. You know what to do and it will be right and it will be good for Susan. So much love and light to you and yours.

  225. Comment by pammap | 07.22.2009 | 8:09 pm

    When I sat with my mother-in-law during her last days, she found comfort when I hummed softly. The music soothed her.

    You have our heart-felt prayers and concern.

  226. Comment by Spiff | 07.22.2009 | 8:19 pm

    Fatty, there are times when I wish you weren’t such a good writer; then it would be easier to stick cancer in a far away place where I don’t have to think about it. Even then, I can’t imagine what you’re feeling. You and your family will be in our prayers.


  227. Comment by Jan | 07.22.2009 | 8:26 pm

    I’m a new reader, bumping over from PW. I have lived what you are living. I know the fear. I remember the doubts. Words are of little comfort, but please know you are in this reader’s thoughts and prayers.

  228. Comment by TimRides | 07.22.2009 | 8:27 pm

    I’m sure it’s been said better, but thank you Elden. You are an amazing husband and friend to Susan.

  229. Comment by MattyJay | 07.22.2009 | 8:33 pm

    These updates tear me up inside. Stay strong and hang in there. Keeping you and Susan in my thoughts.

  230. Comment by Kyle | 07.22.2009 | 8:35 pm

    you and your family are in my thoughts. your strength humbles me. i hope you are able to find a few precious moments of joy amidst the pain.

  231. Comment by Jote | 07.22.2009 | 8:38 pm

    Love and light and strength being sent to you, Susan and the kids.

  232. Comment by miss & stewOZ | 07.22.2009 | 8:39 pm

    We’re so sorry…. and thinking of you and Susan always. If you were here, we’d be holding your hand.

  233. Comment by GrannyGear | 07.22.2009 | 8:48 pm

    Damn!, sorry to cuss but Damn! Stay strong. Hold her, stroke her hair, do whatever eases her time.
    She, and you by chronicling her story have, and will, change lives.
    Hug those kids and show them what she (and you) have done.
    We all just want to make a small difference in this world…Susan and you have changed the world…
    Finished my ride tonight and was thinking of you and Susan,
    Damn! It’s hard to ride with tears….
    Win Susan
    Win Elden
    Freakin Cancer Stinks!

  234. Comment by Myrnie | 07.22.2009 | 8:50 pm

    I read your posts with tears in my eyes, and I have no words. What a blessing you are to your dear, sweet wife. I know it’s not what you want to hear.

    I hate cancer.

  235. Comment by Paige | 07.22.2009 | 8:51 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now, but I think I’ve only posted one other time…once when Susan’s condition had taken a turn for the worse. I remember I felt as much a bumbling fool then as I do now, trying desperately to find words that would heal her…and console and empower you. I came up empty then–like now–and chose instead to use someone else’s words, the words to the song “Show The Way” by one of my favorite songwriters, David Wilcox (“…for in this darkness Love will show the way”). And while I think I could post those words and have them “speak” for me again, even now…they just haven’t felt quite right–this time. But tonight they came to me, the words…as I lay in bed with my sleepy boys, holding their hands as they slipped off into dreamland:

    “Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

    Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
    And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

    They’re only words, Elden…and not even MY words. But they’re all I have. And I give them to you in the spirit in which they came to me…as I held the hands of the ones I love and watched their tired bodies “slip the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God”.

    Peace be with you, Susan, your children and your families, Elden, as you walk this road that no one should have to travel…

  236. Comment by Brandy | 07.22.2009 | 8:55 pm

    Peace and Love.

  237. Comment by Elizabeth | 07.22.2009 | 9:04 pm

    What a tower of strength and love you are, Elden. My Mom did not die of cancer but near the end she stopped eating. Actually, she stopped being hungry. It may be that way for Susan.

    Through all of this Susan’s love is still there for you, as is your love for her. And you both know it. That will sustain you.

  238. Comment by theycantfindme | 07.22.2009 | 9:04 pm

    You don’t know me, of course, but I started reading your blog this past year. I just want you to know that I hold your family in my heart.

    Don’t forget to lean on your friends.

  239. Comment by Tiff | 07.22.2009 | 9:09 pm

    I’ve been a reader for about a year & have never commented.
    Now I feel like I should add my voice to say that your precious family are on my mind many times during the day & I pray each time I think of you.
    Susan’s selfless courage and your unconditional love & devotion to her have inspired & bolstered me during a time of horror in my own life.
    Thank you Fatty. Bless you Susan. May peace that goes beyond comprehension go with you during the days to come.

  240. Comment by JTH | 07.22.2009 | 9:10 pm

    Hang in there.

  241. Comment by flombe | 07.22.2009 | 9:11 pm

    True love is infinite!

    Our hearts go out to Susan, you, your children, family, friends and caregivers.

    Livestrong and WIN!

  242. Comment by ~Kristi | 07.22.2009 | 9:18 pm

    My heart aches for you and your children.
    Please know you have people all over the world praying for you.

  243. Comment by LidsB2 | 07.22.2009 | 9:21 pm

    Anything I can say seems so inadequate — so just know that my (and my family’s) thoughts and prayers are with Susan, you, and your kids.

  244. Comment by dagmar_b | 07.22.2009 | 9:23 pm

    “People die in character. A person’s attitude about his or her death and the degree of affection shown by the family and friends who have gathered are often the summation of all that preceded that moment.”
    - Rodney Smith from “Lessons from the Dying”

    I found the above statement to be helpful during my mother’s process. I’m sharing in it hopes that you can find comfort in it as well.

  245. Comment by cat | 07.22.2009 | 9:41 pm

    Elden, it’s OK for Susan not to eat. You are absolutely right, her body is shutting down. She won’t feel pain from not eating or drinking. But it is hard for us to let go of that because food represents love and nurturing. Walking with her through this transition from this existence to another is a loving gift to her, and eventually to you. You are bearing witness to her experience and honoring her. All that being said, it sucks. But there is so much here, so much. Life begins with birth and ends with death. Both bring incredibly powerful emotions. How we deal with them say everything about who we are.

    Dagmar’s quote is perfect. I would add that those witnessing the dying reveal their character as well. You, my man, are a mensch full of honor and valor.

  246. Comment by Andy | 07.22.2009 | 9:53 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Elden. We ride for you.


  247. Comment by eric | 07.22.2009 | 10:00 pm

    Love and prayers from our family to yours Elden.

  248. Comment by Jennifer | 07.22.2009 | 10:02 pm

    My wife and I have each gone through this with loved ones. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  249. Comment by Lukas | 07.22.2009 | 10:41 pm

    Been reading for years now, and I comment occasionally, but today it seems you need everyone’s strength that they can send – I hope our words and love and strength can help; Susan and you and your family will be in my thoughts.

  250. Comment by scott | 07.22.2009 | 10:47 pm

    My family is thinking about yours tonight.

  251. Comment by Isaac | 07.22.2009 | 10:47 pm

    I wish I had some words that would make the pain-Susan’s, yours, the kids’-go away. I don’t. But, for what it’s worth-the love that you have for Susan, that she inspires in you-that says to me that Susan has indeed won. As have you. You are an inspiration to me, Elden. When I ride the LiveStrong Challenge in Austin this fall, as part of Team Fatty, I will do so in gratitude that my parents have both survived cancer, and in gratitude that I got to know you and Susan a little bit through this blog. God has blessed you both with a love that I find humbling-may that love continue to be a source of blessing and strength in the days to come. My prayers and tears are with you and your family.

  252. Comment by Paula | 07.22.2009 | 10:53 pm

    I hate cancer. It took my mother, took my daughter. I hate that Susan, and your family, is battling it. I hate cancer so much.

    You are doing good. Don’t second guess yourself, just keep following your instincts. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and love to Susan, and exhibiting that love in front of your children will teach them to give unselfishly just as you do. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    All my thoughts, hopes, and prayers are with you and your family.

  253. Comment by Stefanie | 07.22.2009 | 11:37 pm

    I hope someday someone loves me as much as you love Susan. I hope someday cancer is an afterthought, an asterisk in medical history. I hope you and Susan and your children have a peaceful night.

    love love love love love love love

  254. Comment by Dartanyon | 07.22.2009 | 11:41 pm

    You are truly my idol. My guru of fatherhood, cycling, and most importantly husbandry. I am willing you all of my strength, and sending all of my prayers and good vibes.

  255. Comment by Arizona | 07.23.2009 | 12:07 am

    Our prayers are with you. May you and your children feel peace as you continue to care for your dear wife and mother. She loves you all. Keep holding her hand. Have your children hold her hand too. Love will be felt, and God will send peace to your aching hearts. Families ARE forever.

  256. Comment by Pinkbike | 07.23.2009 | 12:21 am

    God is with you, Elden, and with Susan as she walks this path. I am praying for a peaceful and blessed transition. And I’m just so sorry…

  257. Comment by Shari | 07.23.2009 | 1:02 am

    Elden, your strength and humor are an inspiration. Peace, love and support to you, your children and beautiful Susan.

  258. Comment by barry | 07.23.2009 | 2:01 am

    My heart goes out to you. You are an inspiration. Tearing up at 2:00 AM, alone, in front of my computer… I only wish there was something more we could do. Susan is in our thoughts and prayers. B and P

  259. Comment by Anonymous | 07.23.2009 | 2:03 am

    Like many others, I found your website through Ree Drummond and like so many others from all over the globe, I am so so very sorry for what you and Susan and your children are going through right now. Your courage, your love and your utter and complete dedication for Susan as you battle this terrible illness together is heartbreaking yet so very inspiring. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  260. Comment by Little1 | 07.23.2009 | 2:04 am

    i have written, erased and re-written my post umpteen times. I know not what to say.

    Thank-you for being brave enough to share this with us and allow us to “be there” as best we can for you.

  261. Comment by Zee | 07.23.2009 | 3:15 am

    I’ve had this comment sitting open for the entire day. I’ve prepared to leave a comment on your last three posts, but each time, I was left speechless and never could think of what to say. But this time, I decided I want to say something.

    First, every time I read your blog, I sit here with tears streaming. And I’m not a person who cries. A million prayers race through my head, words I can say that can comfort you, something I can do to help, to help you, Susan or your kids. I always come up blank but I pray anyway. I pray for peace for Susan, I pray for comfort for you all, I pray for some sort of breakthrough in cancer research.

    I’ve had to pause to re-group. I don’t know how you make it through blogging. You are incredible. You and Susan are truly an inspiration. If there’s nothing else I can do through this trial you are suffering, I want to tell you that reading your words and learning what an amazing person you are and how strong and blessed Susan is to have you, it makes me want to be a better person. You make me want to find ways to fuel cancer research, to think hard how I can make a difference. So if none of my prayers ever make it and ever make a difference, I hope you know that you’ve left footprints in my heart and I’m going to find a way to contribute in any way I can. And I hope one day any tiny little thing I may have done will help someone, whether I realize it or not.

    My prayers are with you buddy.

  262. Comment by Alister | 07.23.2009 | 3:16 am


    I have not the words for this. All I can do is to pray for you and Susan and your family. All I know of you and yours is of the blog, but that is surely enough to allow us to pray for you.


  263. Comment by flossy | 07.23.2009 | 4:54 am

    Susan, you and the children are in our thoughts

  264. Comment by Paul | 07.23.2009 | 6:02 am

    Thank you, Eldon, for sharing. It’s good to hear that human contact, even non-verbal, can help. I’m glad there’s _something_

  265. Comment by Suze | 07.23.2009 | 6:23 am

    Oh man, Elden. Thoughts are prayers out to you.

  266. Comment by Kristi | 07.23.2009 | 6:25 am

    Praying mighty prayers for Susan, for you, and for your children.

  267. Comment by Gena | 07.23.2009 | 6:31 am

    May God wrap his arma arround you and your family. xo

  268. Comment by PennyPue | 07.23.2009 | 6:34 am

    I’m with Zee above. I have no idea what to say, I want to….just my fingers are speechless and I know that there is so little I can do to help.

    If we could spread her pain amongst us all, I believe we would. What I can do is to continue to support the fight against cancer.

  269. Comment by FatMass | 07.23.2009 | 6:54 am


    Susan’s strength is inspirational and your love for her is equally inspirational. God bless you.

  270. Comment by Susan (another one) | 07.23.2009 | 7:00 am

    Thinking of you, Susan, & the kids

  271. Comment by Ka_Jun | 07.23.2009 | 7:25 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  272. Comment by angry elf | 07.23.2009 | 7:25 am

    Like so many that have never met you or Susan, I am deeply saddened and wish there was something I could do. Just know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers. When I am going through a particular rough patch in life I play this song REALLY loud…

  273. Comment by Mike | 07.23.2009 | 7:25 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Can only hope that our support can help somewhat with the pain.

  274. Comment by Arun Jacob | 07.23.2009 | 7:32 am

    Elden, I lost my father 3 years ago to cancer and the hardest part for me was when he was on so much medication that we couldn’t talk anymore. I wish I had something helpful to say, but nothing makes this part any easier. Please do know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  275. Comment by Charlie Brown | 07.23.2009 | 7:39 am

    Wish there was more to add to what the others have said so well… dig deep.


  276. Comment by sllym | 07.23.2009 | 7:59 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you…. I’m so, so sorry.

  277. Comment by kathleen | 07.23.2009 | 8:01 am

    love and more love and more and more love to all of you. thinking of you often, hourly.

  278. Comment by Kate | 07.23.2009 | 8:22 am

    Thoughts from up North… Trying to send as much positive energy as possible.

  279. Comment by Kylie | 07.23.2009 | 8:25 am

    Hugs for you and yours Elden. I’m not sure what to say except that when my Grandfather was in his final days I can remember the doctor from the hospice being directed by my Grandfather to stand on a chair in the middle of the room and get those @*$#& ants off the ceiling. There were no ants, but that doctor moved his chair all around the room swiping at thin air with my brother and my cousin to satisfy an old man and his hallucinations. There really are angels on earth and I’m so happy you have a caring and supportive hospice staff – that made all the difference in the world to my family.

  280. Comment by Nancy | 07.23.2009 | 8:58 am

    I’m so sorry that you’re going through this at such a time. These years in your family shouldn’t be full of pain and suffering and the stuff of old age. Thank you for sharing these awful days with all of us. Cancer has never been so brutal in my experience; always, so far, it’s been beatable in our family. I appreciate knowing the true impact to someone I can relate to, someone I know. It makes me want to do things like donate money and make meals and be present for people I know with cancer. There aren’t words strong enough to express how much cancer sucks.

    All I have to offer you are some airline miles. I have 7500 Northwest miles I will donate if someone can tell me how. It’s not enough, I know, but maybe someone else has some and someone who wants to be there with you can get there if enough are donated.

    Peace to you and your family. You have been and will continue to be in my prayers.

  281. Comment by Nelson | 07.23.2009 | 10:37 am

    It is so hard to read without crying. I only can send you love to your family and words of support for you. I will pray for you and tour family.

    That the love of all the human beings can fulfill your heart.

  282. Comment by cyclingeurope | 07.23.2009 | 4:29 pm

    I’m riding “Stage 20 up Mont Ventoux” in my Spin class tomorrow morning. I’ve asked everyone to bring memories, prayers and thoughts for people they know who have been affected by cancer and/or who are survivors, because there’s not a soul on earth who doesn’t know someone. And we’re going to ride our pretend little Mont Ventoux in honor of those people.

    I am going to ride for Susan. And I’m going to make it hard, very hard (I’ve ridden Ventoux for real, so I know what I have to do to simulate its percent grade). I don’t know Susan, but I’ve met you at Interbike Elden, and through you I feel as though I know here.

    I hate Cancer.

  283. Comment by Joi | 07.23.2009 | 8:41 pm

    Love and prayers to you and your family. Stay strong.

  284. Comment by Scott Morrison | 07.23.2009 | 11:04 pm

    I sent the chalkbot a message. “Win Susan”. Love and prayers for you and your family.

  285. Comment by Doug Gillen | 07.24.2009 | 8:22 am

    I send you and Susan love and peace. You’re in my prayers. Keep strong.

  286. Comment by Tim Marvin | 07.24.2009 | 2:22 pm

    Thoughts are with you and your family.

  287. Comment by meligrosa | 07.26.2009 | 10:39 pm

    my prayers &thoughts are with you and your family. ur blog has been a long-time inspiration for me, in many ways. cheers/ meli

  288. Comment by amai | 07.28.2009 | 7:13 am

    Hi. I guess somehow we are on the same road because I also have a family member who is battling cancer. It is very difficult seeing loved ones suffer the disease. I have just one question and I hope you can enlighten me on this. You know I have always wanted to help my family even on small ways but does not know how. Can you tell me how to possibly generate funds online via blogs?

  289. Comment by Pat1236 | 07.28.2009 | 10:30 am

    Stay strong and remember Susan is about to go to a much better place with no pain and suffering. God bless you with your children, it is not easy to explaine it to them. I lost my daughter to breast cancer 3 years ago and she left 3 boys, 13 15 and 21. I really feel your pain and wish you the best that God can bring in such a time of sorrow.

  290. Comment by Nate | 07.28.2009 | 11:25 am

    You are an inspiration to us all. You give us hope. Stay strong for your family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you always.

  291. Comment by Adriane | 07.28.2009 | 1:12 pm

    You are an inspirational individual as a husband, father, and cyclist. Your story has encouraged me to be a better person. My prayers are for you and yours.

  292. Comment by Mario | 07.28.2009 | 1:17 pm

    I share your experience. I lost my wife of 27 years in 2007. The last days were very similar than the ones you describe in this blog.

    Hang tough, be strong, and courageous. The feeling you express are very common. One word from experience: get counseling, you will need it to regain your balance.

    I admire your dedication to your family, no regrets! You are doing well!

  293. Comment by mimioma | 07.28.2009 | 2:37 pm

    hold on in there…..don’t give up.

  294. Comment by tishon | 07.28.2009 | 4:18 pm

    lots of love and support. keep up the fight.

  295. Comment by Chris | 07.28.2009 | 4:51 pm

    You are an inspiration to us all. Thought and prayers from NorCal.

  296. Comment by rogers family | 07.28.2009 | 8:05 pm

    To your Family from ours, Its so hard to write anything that feels anywhere near the mark. We Pray weep and LOVE with you ALL. Your moments arnt in vain.
    We pray together for SUSAN and your family.

  297. Comment by Ed | 07.28.2009 | 8:40 pm

    You should put up a donate icon for PayPal on your site and take donations to help with the final costs. I would also suggest that you have someone else you trust take care of the negotiations for final arrangements. I have hated God for over 5 years now for taking a loved one from me. Today I made peace with Him and prayed for you and your family. Thank you for this.

  298. Comment by smudge | 07.29.2009 | 12:13 am

    sometimes this world sucks
    but every dawn means we have another chance to help somebody,
    just wish i could help you

  299. Comment by Sofia Garcia | 07.29.2009 | 12:52 am


    Hey, you really inspire me. I hope you really read this and reply to me. I am fifteen and I want to become a social worker but I want to have my own cancer foundation when I am older. My little niece is a survivor of leukemia. My mom works for Carol & Harold Asher and she said that you were at there house once in New Orleans,LA. & I was like well this is my opportunity to get all the information and help I can. First though I would love if you can donate to Camp Dreamcatcher of Scott & White Hospital of Central Texas. This camp is for children & teens with cancer. Please reply, thank you so much for all the good things you have done.

  300. Comment by Sonja O'Brien | 07.29.2009 | 9:11 am

    My prayers are with you. I too have been through this and understand when you say you can’t not feed your wife…. or my mother in my case. Stay strong in the darkest moments.

  301. Comment by John | 07.29.2009 | 10:40 am

    God bless you and your family. Thanks to Lance for posting a note pointing to your site. You all are in my prayers. Peace.

  302. Comment by zeng | 08.3.2009 | 7:22 am

    Baume Mercier Watches

  303. Comment by enjoygames | 10.14.2009 | 4:40 pm

    God bless you and your family. Thanks to Lance for posting a note pointing to your site. You all are in my prayers. Peace.


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