Nearing the End

Today, i’ve decided to start the Nearing the End series, somehow making this part of the Back to the beginning series doesn’t feel right, when I think of where this is headed. I hope you agree with me?

So, at this stage, Nick knew he didn’t have too much longer to go and between the two of us, he often said he was done himself. I guess after all the chemo and treatments and news only getting worse, he was so over it. There was nothing but bad news every week, in fact, the whole time he was sick, it only went from bad to worse, without barely a plateau week in between. As much as he wanted to live for our daughter and me, he knew no amount of wishing was going to make it come true.

We fought about it a couple of times, he’d tell me he was done, that he wanted no more treatment, that he wanted to live out the rest of his time without hospital visits, i’d tell him it wasn’t his choice, he wasn’t going to give up! These have to go down as the weirdest couple fights ever! He was lethargic and losing patience with most things, he just wasn’t himself anymore and truthfully this scared me. Of course, he always had the right to stop treatment to his own body, at any time, and in ways I feel guilty for making it more about me, I just wasn’t ready to let him go.

I always just wanted him back to normal, for our lives to go back to normal. In my heart, I knew this would never be, but how I wished for those ‘normal’ days again. That old Nick. I missed cooking us dinner, the 6pm phone call, to tell me he was on his way home, Nick walking through the door, planting a kiss on my lips, complaining about the traffic then launching into a story about his day. I would crave the normal, ordinary life we once had. I knew I would never have this with him again, but the 10 years of memories we had together were going to have to suffice.

Nearing the end
A photo of a more simple time, Nick after work taking a quick photo

Of course, there are some things I don’t miss, even now, like how he could fly off the handle so quickly or how pedantic he was about cleaning….of yes, there is a story about Nick spying a cobweb and not telling me about it, to see how long it would take before I spotted it! A little strange to some maybe, but it was Nick nonetheless. I definitely laugh about this one now!

If you’re a friend of ours and reading this, you might be thinking to yourself, you never saw this side of Nick, where he felt so close to the end, but the truth is, he hid it so well from everyone, including his work friends. They might remember Nick coming past the office, wanting to be kept in the loop on happenings, he would speak to his manager about coming back one day, his manager would try to nicely point out, that Nick should be concentrating on treatment and spending time with us. Which was right, but I guess, Toyota had been such a big part of his normal life, he didn’t want to give up on it. I knew he was truly unwell, when he stopped talking about going back to work.

But his Toyota family, (as i’ve always called him) kept his spirits up. He had so many friends at work, in all different areas, that he would actually email  what felt like, the whole Toyota network with his cancer progress updates. The replies via email, text and phone calls kept him buoyed for days, he’d read them all out to me, how they wished him well, praised his positive outlook and mostly, told him how much he was missed in the office and out on the road. Nick was actually asked by his manager, to stop sending the emails, because the office productivity always came to a standstill, as people read them and gathered to discuss, and he thought the mood in the office changed to a more somber one. Nick was gutted when he was told this, but that’s the impact he had on his work friends, they were truly touched, not just by his diagnosis, but by who he was, in general.

Below is a direct copy of two of the last emails Nick sent out to his work family, the first is just a month after his diagnosis:

29/07/2010

Good Afternoon All, 

Well I would like to begin to expressing my sincere thanks to you all, the support provided since finding out about my ill-health has been overwhelming. I can tell you its support from each and everyone of you that keeps me motivated every day!!

Over the past 6 weeks my body has been put through a hard slog, and all that training and fitness over the years has definitely been put to the test.
Having completed Chemo and Radiation, today i begin the road to recovery, as I do my best to regain my strength and get my appetite back.

Its a waiting game now, while my body recoups from all the trauma of the treatment it will be some time before doctors can advise if it was a success.
I have an initial test booked in for August 17, followed by a PET scan (full body cancer scan) in mid Sept for final result and next step discussions.

So the Kosmas goal…. to remain completely focused over the next short period and get back to work as soon as possible…. I just don’t feel the same without interacting with dealers each day !!

Take care everyone, I will be in touch with you all soon.
Once again thank you for all the support !!

Cheers
Nick

12/10/2010

Good Afternoon All,

Well, it’s been a little while since my last email update, so I thought today, while getting treatment would be the best time to update you all on what’s been happening in the life of the Kosmas family.

Europe Trip
Europe was great medicine for Michela and I, the last round of treatment played havoc on my body and was mentally draining at the end. We just needed a break away from hospitals and medication which makes me feel unwell. Our trip served its purpose, giving us fantastic weather (30 degress everyday), and great food and culture. We spent a few days in London and Michela and I were pleasantly surprised with how much we liked London and would go back again. Italy is where we spent most of our time, and I have to say, we really love the place and can’t wait to go back….. It’s just perfect, the relaxed attitude, the way of life, the food and let’s not forget the best coffee in the world!!!
We came back to Oz rested and ready once again !!

Treatment
Landed back from Europe on Sep 15 evening, and was back in hospital 9am the following morning. Totally out of sorts, and in true Nick fashion I pushed through the day… A mammoth day, it began with the installation of an arm port at 9am (USB for meds!), where they hit a nerve on insertion.. Very painful… (I swore very loud), then it was over for a blood test for an update on my platelets, white and red cell counts before the day-ward nurses could begin chemotherapy… What a day, we got home 10pm, never want to do that again!!! Ever!!!

Since then, it’s been a learning curve, testing and trialling medication to help me cope with this new cocktail mix of chemotherapy. This includes meds like anti-nausea to overcome side effects like vomiting, dizziness etc.
I am very pleased to have an opportunity to be trialling this new chemotherapy, they don’t offer this treatment to many, and you must fit a category, like young, healthy, fit, good looking etc…
It’s a very potent mix of meds, but I feel strong enough to take on the challenge….

Today I’m on my 3rd dose of treatment, which occurs every second Tuesday, it drains me for a few days, so i go into recovery mode until the weekend, and then I start getting around again and begin the preparation (eating & drinking plenty) to do it all again.
Sounds a bit heavy and it is, but you know what, it’s amazing what you get used to when you have too!!

My Driving Force
My wife, Michela and baby Claudia are my inspiration, and let me tell you I will never lose hope or my fight, with this terrible sickness that effects so many families, whilst they are by my side.
The support from Michela is inspirational and she keeps everything together always… Best investment I ever made was buying her a Prada bag, wallet and sunnies while away…… (cost me a packet, but she’s worth it!)

To all of you out there, thank you!!! I really mean that, this is a emotional roller coaster ride, and it’s not always easy but support goes so far… That simple text or email can change my day.. Thanks

Giving Back
Health is so important to me, so if I can help spread the word on health to any of your staff/team in the future.. It would be my pleasure to talk openly about my own condition at any forum.

I’m signing off for now, cause I’m a distraction to you all from the job at hand… Keep selling, I hear we have some great finance offers coming available on key models, so good luck and hope your business continues to grow.

Cheers
Nick

I hope that by including these emails, you can even more of a feel for who Nick was, in his own words.  Since beginning this blog, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of people telling me they still talk about Nick on a regular basis and that he is never far from their thoughts. I think he would absolutely love that, knowing that he is still spoken of, and that his memory is being kept alive by so many, even today.

Nearing the End
Singing ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ with work friends on a trip to Brampton Island, always the life of the party!

Do you remember getting one of the above emails? What were your thoughts at the time?

I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below and don’t forget to like The Polished Widow on Facebook!

Til next time, Michela x

6 thoughts on “Nearing the End

  1. Hi M
    The last time I saw Nich was in the office probably 6 weeks before he died. He had a meeting with CB to discuss coming back! Maybe we were all in a hell of a lot of denial because we could see how sick he was, but he was in here arguing! Not wanting a desk job. Wanting to be on the road! We were all so furious with CB at the time in here. Furious that he didn’t just say whatever Nick wanted to hear. Furious! Probably quite terrified too.

    Your re-telling of what was happening for the two of you at the same time contradicts what we witnessed when he would come in to work (just as you suggest in your post it would). He hid his resolve very well. Very well indeed. None of us could openly say “Nick will die” because he publically never gave up.

    He really is never far from our thoughts. He’d be friggen rapt about that!! 🙂

    XXX
    P

    1. Hey P,
      Yep, i remember that day in the office so well, Nick was gutted he didnt get the response he wanted. Trying to convince CB he could work from his chemo chair and take a day on the road before heading back to hospital for bloods, he wasn’t convincing him and you know how much Nick liked to win an argument! I think leaving the office that day, (for the last time, i think!) was a real eye opener for Nick, that he wasn’t getting what he wanted this time.
      I think he would also love knowing that he had you all fooled, with how unwell he really was at the time, a bit of a mini victory of how well he could put on a front for everyone. He always wanted to be the confident, strong and sometimes arrogant guy you all knew so well.

      Thanks for commenting, I love hearing your thoughts from that time.
      M xx

  2. Michela, hopefully this works as I’m trying this from another browser!
    Definitely got a feel for Nick – and had to laugh at the Cobweb Story! lol!
    Even though I say your daughter looks like you, I have to say, when they are side by side in photos, they are definitely so alike!!!

    Here’s hoping this works so I can post more!

    – KK x

    1. Hi Kara!! Yay it worked!!
      Yes, i definitely see the similarities in Nick and Claudia, but as she gets older I see a little more of me everyday.
      I hope readers see, how positive Nick was and what a full character and life he had for his short 32 years, im doing my best to get this point across, that no matter what, you should always make your life count.
      Thanks so much for reading, commenting and most of all sharing this too!!
      xxxxx

  3. Michela the whole blog is an amazing read you are amazing in keeping Nick’s spirit alive. Sitting with Nick many times going through chemo we would both have wonderful chats of you an my family on how truley amazing you all were. The day of Nick’s funeral i remember standing in the church with disbelief that Nick had finally lost his battle he was the most amazing positive person i had ever met. An Michela you are truely the most beautiful person i have met.
    Love Always Mary Mazzei

    1. Thank you so much Mary, so appreciate you commenting and reading along! It’s also so nice that you remember Nick in this positive way, because you only knew him when he was unwell and yet he still managed to be so full of life and positivity even then. That’s what I hope my readers are getting from this blog, that even in the face of extreme disappointment, he was able to put on a smile and see the good in life, how many people can say they do that everyday?
      Hope you are well and have managed to stay away from Epworth! Lots of love right back to you xxxxx

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