RIP Earl Duane Devault


Duane and Phil 2013-10-08

I’m now 4 days since FOLFOXIRI/bev treatment two of six (treatment #25 overall). This round was a lot better managed. I am now eating more and fatigue is waning. Diarrhea was not as bad and although nausea was an issue I seem to be beyond this as well. And as I previously reported, CEA dropped from 18 to 11, giving us encouragement that the poison is killing the cancer.

So, while things were looking up, well… On Monday we received word that my father-in-law passed away. Luckily we managed to squeeze several visits into the last couple months so at least we had a chance to spend some time with him before he passed. He was on hospice care for pancreatic cancer and we knew time with him was precious. Good-byes on each visit proved to be progressively harder to do. Although my father-in-law was 81 he was a very active person, up until his final days. And it was very sad to lose him at this time. He did live a wonderful life and his legacy will most certainly live on — through his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren… He will be dearly missed by many!

My first reaction to the news of his passing was to plan our trip for the funeral (which is on Friday). We discussed when to go with each child and we planned for how to best deal with my condition along the way. I was even considering “depends” as a precautionary measure given the symptoms I’ve been dealing with…

However my wife was concerned about me making the trip. Given low immunity, a ten hour road trip from Michigan to Tennessee, stopping at unknown gas stations along the way, with four kids, my wife, and me packed like sardines inside my truck…  Then sleeping in an unfamiliar location, being so far away from home, trying to eat smart in restaurants… Adding to that the emotional stress of the funeral, and being around many family and friends… All that while trying to recover from the chemo fatigue, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

The last words I heard from my father-in-law seemed to give perspective to the decision. As labor-day weekend came to a close it was time for us to return home. My wife, fourteen year old step son, and I said our final good-byes in the garage and then proceeded to walk to my truck. We paused in the street to wave good-bye one more time while choking back tears… Then we just stood there in the street with tears in our eyes while we watched Duane come down the driveway. He was rapidly pushing his walker over the cement cracks, over the curb, coming right up to us. He hugged us one more time. And as he hugs me, he told me in no uncertain terms “You get better!

He made his point. And my wife made her point. And now my family is there and I’m here.

I’m so sad that I’m not with them during this celebration of life and love. Even though I know it was the right decision I am still sad that I’m missing this time with my family.

Cancer has once again succeeded in steeling from me. Cancer seems to do that every chance it gets. Taking time away from watching my children in plays or sporting events, hanging out with friends at football or baseball games, productivity at work, home chores, playing golf, etc…. The collateral damage from battling cancer truly sucks!

So here I am feeling sad…  For my wife who lost her father. For my mother-in-law who lost her husband of 50+ years. For my step children who lost their Grandpa (he loved them so much). For me who can’t be with my family during this occasion…

I guess I will simply wipe away my tears and focus on resting, walking, recovering, working…  So I can be as ready as possible for round three next Thursday.

I will do a lot of praying and a little crying and suck-it-up as I focus on “getting better!”

Thank you all in advance for your support. Please send up prayers for my wife, children, and all of us as we grieve the loss of Duane.

Duane, I know you are now in a glorious place! Celebrating with the King of kings and all the angels in heaven! Praise be to God!

Love, light, hugs to you all!


4 Comments on “RIP Earl Duane Devault”

  1. Colette & Darrick says:

    Sometimes when I read your blogs, I laugh because you can still find humor in this crazy life. Sometimes I really have to search for encouraging words as I watch you and your family go through these journeys. Many times I get angry and have had more than a few words and tears about why this has been the road for people we love. But in the quiet times, when I really think about you, your life with Connie and the beautiful family you all have become, I realize that the genuine love, happiness, support and ‘realness’ of your life IS the journey. The rest is just what people do when they have true love for each other.
    Connie’s dad obviously shared so much love here on earth and his family certainly does the same. They love you so much, they want you to do the best things for your recovery. I know there is nowhere else you want to be but by Connie’s side, and I know she knows how much you love her and are always with her, even if you cant be with her this week. I’m sure Connie’s dad is looking down sending loving comfort and finding great peace that his daughter, her husband and their family have each other.
    Prayers, as always
    We love you all, if there is anything we can do, please let us know.

  2. Krea Gregory says:

    Phil: My sympathies to your family in the loss of your dad-in-law!
    Do keep your focus on Jesus plus getting better by resting, walking, recovering and working. You’re in my daily prayers!

  3. Mary Salens says:

    I am hoping he’ll be sending strength, light and love to all as the days unfold. Blessings and love to your family.

  4. Mark Devault says:

    Thanks Phil, you were missed but we all understood and yes, Dad was more concerned about you than himself…that’s the way he was.

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