This Can’t Be Happening

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I wish I had better news.

It’s a sure sign things aren’t going well when all the doctors and nurses start using the word sorry, and when you call the ward to see how things are going you’re told, “Nothing’s changed. Unfortunately.”

Tracey will hate me for expressing this, but I have doubts.

Having seen the procession of people through ICU in the last two weeks I know how these things work. I know where the rooms are they pull you into to deliver bad news. I know death is more real here than at home watching X Factor.

But one of the last things Tracey said to me was I wasn’t to panic until the doctors told me to panic.

This week a scan showed Tracey had a mass of something in her stomach they suspected was puss or blood clots, so the call was made to go in and flush her out. That part of things went well, but they discovered the tiny bit of bowel she has left isn’t doing well. Not only are there perforations but it’s not looking the best. Plus, she doesn’t have enough bowel left for them to play with.

“We’ve patched her up as best we can,” the doctor told us today, “but we’ll need to go have another look in there on Monday to see how it’s going.”

2 days. 48 hours. 2880 minutes.

And each of them seems destined to drag by.

I want to stay positive. I want to believe Tracey will come home to us. I want to believe they can fix this.

And I wanted to save my tears for when Tracey finally opened her eyes and knew I was there for her and everything was going to be alright. But where for weeks I’ve been able to pack a dam wall of hope around such simple words as stable, suddenly I’m more scared than I’ve ever been in my life and the dam burst today.

Maybe it’s lack of sleep, but with all this bad news I’m starting to look for patterns. I worried yesterday I shouldn’t don a certain pair of shoes and a particular shirt because I had bad news last time I wore them in. Ridiculous stuff, but I see myself doing it. I’ve also realised I’m filling in my day with little bits of Tracey. I wear the aftershave she likes. I won’t wear the daggy t-shirt she doesn’t. I’m eating sushi a lot because Tracey loved going there as a treat when we were kidless, and I bought Vans shoes this week because when we were in Melbourne Tracey said she thought I should – I mean sure I liked the shoes, but that’s the story I’ll go with when she sees the credit card statement.

I’ve also now started to ask myself the most negative of questions, like should I bring the kids down to see their mum in ICU should the worst be a certainty? Is it better they get to say goodbye if they forever have the image of their unresponsive mum amongst machines and tubes stuck in their heads? Or do I risk them possibly being upset later in life they didn’t get to say goodbye to try keep their memories of their mum more palatable and true to who she was?

Unfortunately, these questions are coming from a very real and horribly surreal reality.

We knew it was not going to be good news today when we were asked to gather around Tracey’s bedside and they shut the curtains behind us. The lovely nurse, who’d been chatty that morning and mentioning she and some of the other staff had been reading my blog posts, looked like she was about to burst into tears. She still met our eyes, but there was genuine empathy there and I could tell she was wishing as much as us that this conversation wasn’t about to happen. For that, she’s now my favourite nurse – quite a compliment given the standard of men and women who’ve been so vigilant in caring for Tracey.

And from that moment on I have bawled several times today because Tracey is all I can think about and she’s not well and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I almost hate myself for crying because it feels like I doubt she’ll be okay. Which of course I do, for really the first time since this nightmare began, because they’ve always had a plan. Always had a plan and a back up plan. Always rather wonderfully used sentences which don’t have the word sorry in them.

While I don’t doubt the doctors and nurses in the ICU, and Royal Brisbane in general, are giving her the very best chance, in my current frame of mind it doesn’t seem possible they can pull her through. But if anyone can, they can. I believe in them. I have to believe in them.

Tracey has overcome so many hurdles already. We should have lost her that first night. During an operation her bowel was touched and apparently fell apart – she shouldn’t have made it to theatre. It’s only her relative youth and the fact her other organs are doing well, including her pneumonia free lungs, that she’s come so far.

They’re still looking into the idea of her being fed by total parenteral nutrition, but there didn’t seem to be the rush to take up this option which I thought there would be. I assume there’s some roadblock I’m unaware of. Plus, they said there can be complications associated with it.

“We don’t care,” I told them at this point.  “We’ll take it. We’ll take it, and her.”

The alternative is unbearable.

Who cares if she eats from a hanging bag if it means we still have her wit and love in our lives? I guarantee she won’t.

My brother and his wife even know someone who does this, and they said they didn’t realise for ages. Apparently they can still even eat a bit if they choose, although obviously there are restrictions and some things can make them feel very poorly.

“You’d probably have to buy a Thermomix,” said Tracey’s sister.

Which is genuinely unfortunate because I’ve been deliberately avoiding joining a cult. I’ll still take it though.

If the last 2 weeks have felt like a lifetime, I suspect the next 2 days will dwarf it. Especially now I have this new teary pastime to fill in the void left by any pockets of absent hope.

I wish, more than anyone, I had better news. Maybe Monday will finally bring it.

In the meantime I have to keep reminding myself Tracey would not accept this. She’d be at me to stop being so negative. She’d tell me again we don’t panic until the doctors tell us to panic.

I’m just not sure now if they actually use that exact word.

~ ~ ~

Thank you again to everyone involved in keeping our Tracey alive and in with a chance. If you would like to do something wonderful please consider donating to one of the heroes of this ordeal – Care Flight who got Tracey where she needed to be quickly and safely. I gave them $100 as a thank you. This is a service we need to ensure continues because it saves live, keeping mummies around for their kids and hapless husbands.

103 Comments

  • I feel for you guys – I’m an oncology nurse and one of the first things I try to say to give reassurance is ‘don’t panic until the doctors do”, but it’s so hard. Being positive all the time is hard, staying optimistic is hard, and not feeling bad when the dam bursts and all of the what ifs and maybes come flooding through is hard.

    Hope is such a valuable thing and should not be underestimated and I’m hoping with all I have for you and your family that it all turns out OK.

    Get the kids in to say hello, to touch her and talk to her just like you have done. It might scare the crap out of them but if the worst happens and they don’t get the chance they’ll regret it. Even the littles – they may not understand and there will be a lot of talking, but from experience (and check this with your local nurses) they’ll get bored after a few minutes of nothing much happening and not being allowed to push the buttons on the machines. They’ll be more interested in the drink machines

    Crying is cathartic, negative is human, hope is like steel when you have it, love remains no matter what.

    Fingers and toes crossed for you all

  • Thank you for updating us Bruce, it must be so hard for you to do that, l am still praying for all of you, l will be praying hard for her on Monday & as in regards to the kids ask the nurses in icu what they think, they have gone through this with other family’s they will suggest to you what they think is the right thing to do or go ask the kids what they want to do, you don’t want the kids to be resentful if they don’t see her, if she passes away that way it is their choice to see her.

    All the very best to you all.

  • This is just awful. It can’t be happening! It just can’t. I’m so sorry you are all going through this. My heart breaks for you. Thinking of you all and hoping like anything that there is a positive outcome after the horror you are living now. Much love <3

  • Bruce, I send Tracey all the best recovery vibes I can muster. I have followed you and you lovely family over the years and had many a laugh at your most wonderful uplifting blogs, mostly at Tracey having the upper hand on you! My thoughts are with you and your children and extended family and hope Tracey pulls through real soon.

  • No words ever said will make you feel better until Tracey comes home.
    You have to be strong and stay positive. Pray like you have never prayed before.
    My heart is breaking for you all and i pray she will get better and see her family again.
    Hang in there. Take each day as a positive and one day at a time. Look at her and think positive thoughts.
    Thinking of you all.
    Sending lots of love and happy positive thoughts xx
    STAY STRONG ❤

  • I get it, and I wish you didn’t have to be there doing this. I too know people who live on tpn, who have such a small amount of bowel left that their belly is gorgeously flat, (there are plusses ;-). I am being positive, because i have seen the other side and i know she can make it. But i know the place where you are, and my suggestion is do the tears like a band aid, short and fast, find a movie guaranteed to make you cry, get tissues and chocolate and watch the movie and cry hard, and then pick yourself up and make a choice, give the tears a place to belong so you can move forward with a clear head. Love you guys.

  • Hey Bruce, as much as I love your blog posts I love Tracey more and kinda wish I didn’t read this one. Hang in there my lovely friend we all need you to pull through this xx

  • Bruce, my aching thoughts are with you and your family. It is hard being the one watching a loved one ill especially as ill as Tracey is. Susan in a previous comment mentioned your children. Please forgive me if this hurts but I will tell you about my sister. She was 36, cancer, and suddenly had a stroke. She was walking around the house and went to lie down and was found by her husband, unconscious on the bed. Her children, 10, 8, and 5 saw her for the last time, being taken in an ambulance to hospital, in a coma. She couldn’t even say bye or kiss them as she went to hospital. She passed away 5 days later. Those children, now all around 40ish age, are married with children of their own. They never seemed to get over not seeing her again. Her husband didn’t want them to. She didn’t have the tubes etc, but was lying there, eyes closed. We knew she could hear, by responses now and then. Yet he wouldn’t let the children come. I remember meeting up with the two youngest ones about 20 years later up north and down south. Both could not stop questioning me about their Mum. Wanting to know things. They were hurt still, and now I realise that is why we need counselling after a trauma. They became those 5 and 8 year old kids, with me, their Aunty, 20 years later. I wish they could have seen her. Kids are strong but a counsellor is the best person to reach out to in this decision, then let your gut feeling take over and ‘how would you and Tracey feel’, and go with that. Our prayers are with you both. Keep strong you have been the best man Tracey could ever want beside her at this time. Kathy.

  • I am reading this in the middle of the night, cranky at my toddler for his attention screaming before and waking up the baby. Cranky, I now have to feed the baby instead of just going back to sleep. Until I saw your post. Reading the headline, I was expecting the worst. Now I’m sitting here, crying for you. Wishing I could hug my now sleeping toddler and giving the baby an extra kiss before putting him back down. Because things could be so much worse. My heart breaks for what you and your family are going through. I pray for Tracey to make it. The universe would make a big mistake to take a loving wife and mother like her. Sending you all the hope I have

  • I’ve been following you guys for a couple years now. All i can say is Hang tough man! i would take the kids to see her and get them to give her loves and get them to talk to her. So much love, hugs and prayers for your love and for you and for your kiddies! Words cannot express everything that you are feeling, you are in the best place, wish we could help! Its time to heal now Tracey!!! Be blessed all of you xx

  • Dear Bruce, it’s okay, you are allowed to cry and to doubt. You are also allowed to ask lots of questions, not just of the medical team, but of social workers and counsellors and nurses. The ICU team might be able to give you advice as to the age of each child and whether they should visit. Have they seen a photo of Tracey in ICU? If they were to visit, seeing a photo of the ward and Tracey and seperate pictures say of the different machines first so you can explain what each one does might help. Medically speaking I find myself asking, so, we sent a man to the moon in 1969, but why we can’t do a bowel transplant? Or have some artificial means of feeding as she’s on now? When they say there is ony a small bit of bowel left, that is in poor shape, are they referring to just the large bowel? Is there small bowel left? Also, in my experience, doctors often have quite differing views on prognosis. Over this weekend and on Monday their story might change, I don’t know. Back to you, (you incredible man), did you know that your behaviour like not wearing a certain t-shirt cos it brought bad luck has a name? It’s called magical thinking. And it makes sense that it is happening now, because you are looking for ways to control what’s happening. Ask about those words that mean a lot to you. Ask a few different staff, is she stable, or are they using a different word when they have team meetings? You are also wondering if the word panic might be used. I guess ICU staff pride themselves on not panicking, so they might have another word. The sense of unreality you feel is of course totally appropriate. Tracey loves you and would not hold any tears or doubts against you. She might just say you are amazing, you are doing your best at all times, and that best is pretty great. x

    • The most wonderful words of advice & encouragement!! I hope Bruce can take from this what’s needed. Mostly I hope Tracey is able to turn a corner & remain with her loving family. God bless you all. ?

  • Hi Bruce. You know when Tracey pulls through, she will probably be most upset about you talking about her bowel so much. It could have been a more glamorous issue right? Like toe cancer or meningitis? Something that doesn’t involve too much poo-talk or envisioning colostomy bags and things. Just kidding ♥ I was thinking of something that might make you smile for two seconds. I will work on my comedic skills and get back to you. Actually, I was just sent a link to amazon reviews of sugar-free gummy bears. Apparently they are a heavy-duty laxative and there is a lot of almost-died-pooping-myself stories in there, where I quite literally possibly almost died laughing. I highly recommend you go through them tomorrow (maybe in the bathroom – not the ICU).

    I have been in the ICU in desperate circumstances with family before and I have seen miracles happen. My brother who was 8 at the time was hit by a car directly in the side of the head(at full speed) when he put his head out to look for a car. He couldn’t walk/talk/go to the bathroom. None of anything really. His brain had a piece missing and he was in a coma for what seemed like forever. He had 2% chance of survival. If he survived he had a 100% chance of being ‘a vegetable’ – which is 80’s talk for complete quadraplegic. Except he didn’t die. Within a few months he was walking, talking, eating, and as an adult he has made a complete recovery. You would never know that had happened!

    Story number 2 – my very elderly Nonna was in hospital dying. Literally dying. Could hardly move or speak. Organs failing, heart enlarged. We were told to call all of the family now. We did – she had everyone say goodbye. The extended family were very pissed that they spent good money on emergency flights when the next day, she made a miraculous “it’s just not possible – she was dying” (quote from doctors) recovery and lived another 3 years!

    Finally, I have two reasons to bring the kids in now. The first is that they need to see their Mummy. To know she is alive, to feel that their grief is valid, to feel included, to know that people are helping her, to have an opportunity to cry (I am a social worker by the way). If the worst happens, they need to not feel that mum went to Kfc and then we never saw her again. This can create a lot of anxiety in the future about people just disappearing suddenly.

    Secondly, my Nonna literally stopped dying when her family came to visit. Somehow hearing their voices pulled her up out of it. And there is nothing more powerful than the voices of your children. Tracey needs to hear them. Yes it will be traumatic and scary but what they are imagining might be a hundred times worse. And their little voices will be much more soothing than hearing more about her emerging grey hairs…

  • Hi Bruce,

    When my children were not yet 2 and not yet 5, my husband was gravely ill. He spent 6 weeks in ICU. He had complications following a stomach removal operation (cancer). He went into multiple organ failure and was in an induced coma. I bought my nearly 5 year old into see my husband. I quietly explained all the machines and what they were doing to help Daddy. He didn’t do the scared wide eyed look that I saw on adults faces when I took them in. He then knew where Daddy was and was “sleeping”. Later when my hisband was awake but ventilated via a tracheotomy, my baby also came and visited. Now 3 years down the track, neither of them are traumatised by the experience. I know how hard it is to hold onto hope in this situation, but please please do! I can remember telling the dr, who had obviously been tasked with giving me the “he’s going to die” talk, that my husband is a stubborn man, and I wouldn’t give up until he did. Sending positivity. Get some rest xx

  • Dear Bruce,

    Honestly I have no words. I’ve followed your blog for sometime now and to be honest I haven’t been able to read some of your blogs as I have been trying to pretend that this isn’t happening to you, your Tracey and your family. Its ok to feel however you feel, to cope in the best way you can. Only you can answer the questions about your children as you know them best.. and I don’t think you can ever make a perfect decision.. but you can explain why you made it later if you need to. Praying you won’t need to. Sending all my love, prays, positive vibes that things will improve.Keep writing, keep talking, keep crying if you need to and keep some faith that things will be ok.

  • Thank you for bravely sharing how Tracy is doing. It must be as heartbreaking to write about it, as it is to read about it. We’re still praying. Love and prayers to you and your family x

  • All the best to Tracy and your family hard times, hang in threre and know there are plenty of people out there that care and all want the best possible outcome. Don’t be shy to ask for help if you need it ?.

  • Bruce those are big questions you are struggling with in regards to the children. Please take advice from the hospital childrens’ counsellors. My heart goes out to all of you. Please cry as much as you like it will do no harm and is what your body and heart needs to do at this time. My prayers and thoughts are with you. Go gently and as we say in NZ ‘kia kaha’ be strong. Lots of love. XX

  • Oh Bruce, my heart is breaking for you and your family. I’m sending all the best healing vibes I can to Tracey and I sincerely hope she recovers very soon.

  • Bruce, cry all you need to. I am crying too. This is beyond words awful and you’ve kept all that emotion inside. It’s okay to let the overflow out.

    I don’t have kids, though having been a kid, I would like to be asked. I know my answer would be yes, and I know that I wouldn’t like what I saw. I would have known that I still needed to do it. Your kids are amazing. When you feel the time is right, ask them. Create a support network for them – social workers, psychologists whoever is equipped to help them through the images.

    I am praying it won’t come to this. We are all praying and sending all the love and healing possible.

  • I have everything crossed for you and Tracey, Bruce. Come on miricles rain down on this beautiful family. Love, hope and every single once of strength i am sending you xxxx

  • Writing words bring you comfort so hopefully reading words does too. Trouble is, i have no words. Your anguish is obvious as is your love, passion and devotion to your wife. We can only dream of having husbands so mentally and spiritually dedicated as you. I agree with one commenter to ask the experts about taking the kids in. I would want my kids near me no matter what. It may be a real shock to them if they have had the eternal hope that mummy is coming home and then she doesn’t. It could be chance to say goodbye but it can also be a chance to give them some control by touching her warm soft skin, tangle their fingers in her hair and kiss her. Kids are so resilient. And it may bring comfort to Tracey. At this stage it really doesn’t matter what sort of bollocking she gives you when she wakes up – don’t save your tears – cry them and seek solace from your kids. They will save you in your anxiety and sadness. They are born from your darling. Part of her. Part of you. Thinking of you today from Cairns. Virginia

  • Bruce we wish you and your family the love and strength to stay positive, we have our fingers and toes crossed for a miracle for Tracey?

  • Thank you for keeping us all updated, it feels like Tracey is a friend or relative we have come to know through all your posts. Preying for you, her and your whole family

  • Bruce we wish you and your family the love and strength to stay positive, we have our fingers and toes crossed for Tracey to open her eyes and tell you she’s gonna be ok ?

  • Hi-
    I am so sorry, there are no words.
    All I can say is I lost my Mum
    when I was 9. We saw her in hospital and her final moments at the hospice. Please take your children in if it comes to that. They will accept and understand as much as their age allows. It’s a process and please take it from someone who has been through it. They need to see her and be there.
    I hope it doesn’t come to that…….I really do- xx

  • My biggest advice (having been deep in ICU Cha Cha with two children and about to deliver my third, standing by my husband’s bedside) also being given similar news. I completely understand your emotions. We even got to the point we were called for his last rites to be administered, unexpected to survive the night. Wrestling with if the kids should visit before the expected inevitable. It’s agonizing. It’s personal. There is no wrong or right thing. Despite all you are up against, I’ll leave these words for you.

    Miracles happen. Always believe. Never give up.

  • Dear Bruce,
    I follow your blog for your wit, ideas and humour. I’m so saddened to hear this latest development, but remember, it is ok to cry, it helps keep you centred and let out those emotions. Please also stay positive, as hard as that is, because it helps, even though you may not see it at the time. I’m praying and sending healing thoughts for Tracey and your beautiful family. Thankyou for the update.

  • Bring the kids in to see her, she will be missing them like crazy, you hear all the stories, mother brought out of coma from newborns cries etc etc, you know what I mean…. it might just give her that extra bit of fight to pull through this…all the best to Tracy you and the kids ♥♥♥

    • This just can’t be happening. I won’t believe it. Please Tracey, please please keep fighting my friend.
      Bruce, it’s okay to cry. And I believe she will smell the aftershave she loves you to wear.
      My love pours out to you all. Please please Tracey get well. xxxxxx

  • When I was younger (but not as young as your kids) I went to hospital to see my Grandfather who was dying of cancer and not expected to live more than a few days. From my personal experience I do have those sad memories of what he was like at that time but the memories that come up most frequently are of what he was like in life. I think I would have regretted not seeing him when he was in hospital and having that last goodbye. I am hoping beyond hope that Tracey pulls through and many more happy memories are made but I think letting the kids see her and talk to her just in case is going to be good for everybody. Sending all my best wishes and love to your whole family xx

  • Bruce, you cannot remove!!!
    I know where you live.
    Hi all.
    those of you who have been following are well aware of the current plight our good friends are going through.
    Sobeit the Bank of Qld Gympie have an account organised for anybody that wants to lend a hand.
    BSB 124047 Ac #22389003.

    Bruce I have vehicles heading to Brisbane 7 days a week and offer open tickets to all family to assist with logistics

    Thank You.

  • My thoughts are with you from our big family to another…

    Let me tell you ten years ago 8 months in hospital and I was on TPN, I’m well now and those arduous months and two months in ICU are over and a distant memory. I don’t have many inside bits but I’m well.

    This I tell you in hope that you know that you have to keep on. I often had dreams when I woke up or I thought I was remembering dreams. Actually it was my friends and family talking to me whilst I was in a coma.

    My thoughts to you and your family .. PS let the kids see Tracey let them talk to her xx I remembered dreaming of our kids talking to me… It was eerie as many of the “dreams” were real.

  • My heart goes out to you and your family. Thank you for your honesty, it’s raw and real and unique. I have nothing more than mere words of strength, courage and love to offer. You’re in my thoughts.

  • Sending our love and prayers.
    We have been so uplifted by you and your family since we started ours and found your blog three years ago.
    I have been in this situation where the outcome wasn’t what we ached for but the truth is that things can change in a moment for good or bad medically so try with all your might not to jump to the end of the story. Enjoy every moment because I know that sitting in a room full of what ifs isn’t as beautiful as sitting and loving the person in front of you.
    Let your kids see her and cuddle. If there’s one thing I want more of, it’s my mum’s cuddles.
    You and Tracey have so much to give you hope. Hold on to it. Xxx

  • Thank you for sharing with us. I hope writing helps you in this hard time. Much love and prayers for Tracey, you and your family. Cry when you can, you need to let it out. <3
    xo

  • Hi Bruce,
    The fear of the unknown robs us of our peace, l so feel for you and other family members.
    I pray for a miracle and for peace.
    I always remember Tracey’s smiling face at the video shop…..it was always nice to see someone else that smiled at life itself.
    Crying is good for soul…releasing of the flood gates.
    God Bless you all
    Wendy

  • I will be thinking of you all tomorrow.
    Modern Medicine is amazing and you are right to continue to believe they can do amazing things. They can. They will. xx

  • Hi Bruce, I have been praying everyday for your family. I lost my dad in very much the same way but saying goodbye gave me so much closure yes it was hard seeing all of the tubes but I looked past that and I’m thankful every single day that i got to say goodbye.

  • I was directed here through BabyMac and I’ve spent the morning catching up on your life, I don’t pray often but I am on my hands and knees praying for you and your family. Much love and positive wishes are coming your way.

  • Bruce, you’ve all be in my thoughts (& prayers) since your first blog about what is happening. I really feel for you & what you all must be going through. I just hope that Tracey improves soon, as I know miracles happen. Thinking of you all, Kathy

  • Oh Bruce, I have walked in your shoes, except with my child. My heart aches for you and the games your mind is playing with the shadow of the unknown in front, behind and beside you.
    Keep hope until there are no options, and let your tears fall, they are your pressure relief valve, and God knows you need that now.
    Thinking of you all, and keep talking to your Wife, she needs to hear you.
    Love to all. Xxxxxxxxxx

  • I don’t know what to write today Bruce, my tears are making the keys hard to see. You are an amazing man, with an amazing wife and a beautiful family! I can’t believe this is happening to you all. Miracles do sometimes happen and I believe with all my heart that you guys deserve one! It’s coming!! Just a little more rest for Tracey first!! Just a little!! Rainbows and butterflies and all beautiful things coming your way!

  • Hi Bruce, I’ve been following your posts ( happy & sad), via Reservoir Dad. I commend your ability to keep posting throughout this ordeal. I sincerely hope and wish for a happy resolution . Whatever the outcome I think Tracey will be grateful you’ve recorded the ‘missing’ days of her life and your kids will benefit from your reflection as well. The internet is full of fakery – your writing is real life and authentic – as are the well wishes we all have for you and your family.
    Hang in there.

  • I am praying, sending ppositive vibes and keeping everything crossed that Tracey comes home to you all very soon! I am not an expert but ..My father passed away suddenly when I was 5, and I know the chance to say goodbye would have soothed my soul and made things better for me in many ways…

  • Oh Bruce I had no idea!

    All that I knew until I read this was she was in hospital… I have known both of you for years, with both theatre productions we all have been involved in & the karaoke nights in Gympie.

    I admit as soon as I read this I was tearing up, you two have always been perfect together. I always saw that in Tracey’s eyes & smile, I am feeling very sorry for your kids. The uncertainty…

    If there is anything I can do please don’t hesitate in asking.

    Thinking of you all,
    Trudi

  • Bruce, I’m so sorry. You are allowed to drop your bundle you know … you’ve been holding on because you are so focused on Tracey and trying to get her through this. I know we’ve been saying “stay strong” but that doesn’t mean you can’t cry. I just wish that after this dreadful two weeks, there had been some better news for you.

    Once again I’m sorry. You will be in my thoughts tomorrow and I am putting all my faith in the good people of RBH to pull her through.

  • Bruce, I am not a religious person at all, but have been praying to the universe or whatever is out there that provides miracles that you and your family will get one. I truly hope that with the collective hopes and prayers of the hundreds of people that follow your blog your beautiful wife heals soon xx

  • It astounds me how you can still write so eloquently with all that you are going through. Sending SO much positivity your way. If anyone can get through this, you two can xx

  • Hi Bruce, my heart is breaking for you, as I have been in very similar shoes. I sure know the horror of the ICU cha-cha-cha, waiting, more waiting, the meetings, the serious faces, more waiting, the explaining-to-everyone-on-the-outside-and trying-to-be strong.
    I sat by the ICU for a week with our 4 month old baby, then on the ward (ugh, where sadly “stable” became “persistent vegetative state”) for another 8 weeks before we were forced to make the decision to let my 31 year old husband go.
    My advice, for what it’s worth: Ask questions and ask for help. The hospital will have a social worker that may be able to give advice regarding the kids. Look after yourself, as much as you possibly can (I know that sounds stupid when you’re living a nightmare, but your kids need sanity and the rest of your family don’t want to have to panic about you too). Roll around in the outpouring of love and support that is coming from your readers. If you possibly can, give the close people who ask if they can help you actual jobs to do (cook, clean, drive, garden, babysit, shop – whatever). It’ll help you, but it will really help them too as everyone around you will feel so helpless. Also, I found that keeping a simple, but regular routine in everything we did was helpful. Just one foot in front of the other.
    Anyone who spends time like this in ICU (sadly) does have to face the reality of death. Don’t think that preparing yourself is admitting the worst WILL happen – it’s just being as prepared as possible for something you can’t really prepare for (!!). It doesn’t mean you’re giving up hope. To get through this you will need to face the facts as they are given, be ready for the possibilities of what may happen but you NEVER have to give up hope – the body is a mysterious thing. In fact, I’m pretty sure not even the top medical experts have perfected the art of knowing what a woman is about to do next. Tracey, Bruce & the whole medical team… Hang in there and FIGHT.

  • As some one who has sat and held the hand of the dying and seen families go through this and some one who also faced this with my own brother .Yes take your children , it’s the one repeating pattern I heard over the years .I wish I got to say goodbye. But as suggested take a photo to them allow them to process that first then support what they see .they will be upset there’s no shielding that but children are so much more resilient than we think they are. There is no cutting them out of this process if the worst is to happen and even being prepared is no buffer but sudden, no goodbye . XX hard place Bruce I feel for you all and don’t give up hope because there is always hope .

  • Praying for you and your family.
    My husband was ill for a few months with a brain tumour in 2013/2014. Our children were 7 and 4 and both spent a lot of time at the hospital with him – in the neurological ward and then the oncology ward. They were a great help for me and my grief and were not scared of all the machines, tubes etc.
    I pray that you and your family make it through the other side. Hug each other.

    Birdie

  • Dear Bruce,
    I am so sorry that there is need to wonder whether you should bring your kids in to see their mum in such a poorly state. I was 14 when my mother was ill with cancer, and my younger sisters were 12 and 8. Please take them and give them a chance to talk to her, touch her, be with her. It was a powerful memory I needed in the years that followed. Unfortunately your little ones are on this journey too, and though you want to protect them, it’s an important part of them understanding what is happening.
    We lost our daughter at birth when our son was 5. He’s now 9 and feels left out because he didn’t get to see her. We thought we were protecting him, but it hurt him more to not get to say what he wanted to say and remember what he wanted to remember.
    Be brave. Have hope. If your courage and hope are lacking we’ll lend you some of ours to get you by x

  • Come on Tracey, you can do this. You are a remarkable woman. I really ant to say something at Bruce’s expense but will save that for when you are better. Hugs and thoughts to your family..

  • Bruce pull it together as Stacy would say and don’t give up I’m still alive give me hope and get our kids in here I need to hear them and smell them

  • I don’t personally know you guys but Tracey is a very familiar face around town. Not sure what exactly is going on but with what I read it’s heartbreaking to see anyone ill.. Sending you and your family positive vibes and I’m praying Tracey recovers soon ?

  • Dear Bruce and Tracey, sending you all our love and happy-healthy-remnants-of-bowel vibes!! I am crossing fingers, toes and everything in between for good news on Monday. Love to you all, Alicia xxxx

  • Me again, google tells me successful bowel transplants have been happening since1988! Most done in the U.S. there are only 61 centres in the world that do them. Wonder if any are Australian. Maybe the doctors did the serious talk because they felt that Tracey would have to live with TPN, which they saw as an outcome they were trying to avoid.

  • Hi Bruce, I just thought l would let you know that l am still praying for your family, especially for monday when tracey has her operation & also l put some money into the bank account that bank of queensland have opened up for donations to your family.

  • Bruce I am so very sorry that this is happening to Tracey and to your family. Huge love to you all.
    I also urge you to let the kids come and be with her as soon as possible. They need it and I suspect she needs it too. As much as she loves and needs you, a mother like Tracey has a physical need for her children. There is nothing as strong as that love or that connection. Them coming to see her is likely to help her and them. As hard as it will be, please make it happen. Whatever the outcome, I think you and they will come to regret it if they don’t see her.
    So much love to you all.

  • Bruce, so many virtual hugs are being sent to you and your family right now. I wish I had something deep and meaningful to say, but all I have to give is my thoughts, prayers, and most sincere love to you and yours. Tracey is a light in this world and you have the entire blog-o-sphere rooting for her. Use your tears to heal your own hurts and then you can be stronger for Tracey.
    A thousand hugs and prayers and lots of love,
    Marisa (PA, USA)

  • Bruce, I have known you since working at the big pineapple service station, back many moons ago.
    You are one of the most sincerest, honest and approachable people I have ever met in my life. People before me would also agree you were destined to have a wonderful family, beautiful wife and share a family of smiles to brighten the world.
    I am hoping and wishing with every last bit of my inner self that Tracey is able to pull through.
    Whoever is up there controlling our fate, please realise that this is a family of Angels, so don’t take Tracey, She is in good hands here.

    From all my family, the kids in Prep K and everyone else who has had the privilege of sharing Traceys and your smile, We unite in our strength to send to your family.

    Bless you and your amazing family Tracey and Bruce.

  • Looks like I missed you again last night mate. I heard the people as I walked the dogs, but didn’t want to intrude in on people I don’t know, having a family time together. We remembered you all at Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach yesterday — prayers and yearnings continue unabated.
    Regarding your question about bringing the kids along — I would say, ‘Yes’ — do it as often as you feel you want to — they will still benefit from a visit to Mum, plumbing and all, no matter what.

  • I’m not religious… but if i were i would be praying my backside off right now… So instead I will just wish with all my might that today is a good news day for Tracey and your family. My thoughts are with you all.I can only imagine what you are going through its like living a nightmare but being awake.

  • As someone who has done the ICU Cha Cha while my husband was treated for inoperable bowel and secondary peritoneal cancer, I feel so much for you. I understand the horrible pain of waiting. ‘Not crying’ as there seemed to be no quiet place without children who needed reassurance, and the worry that if I began, then I would never stop. The guilt of planning ahead ‘just in case’ and then feeling like you had just betrayed the love of your life as you were planning for a possible future without them in it. My husband has come home. We’re not sure for how long, but we have made a pact to love each other as hard as we can for as long as he has left. I sincerely hope that your Tracey comes home too, because like you, I just can’t imagine what life would be like without my soulmate. Much love to you and your family xx

  • I have been praying, praying and praying for Tracey. Everyday. I think of her and her family all of the time. I’ve been following your blog closely and talking to my husband about Tracey.
    He asked me today if we are friends, really friends or just old school acquaintances. I get his drift. My husband is right, apart from the odd Facebook comment or post share, Tracey and I don’t keep in contact.
    Here’s the thing.
    Though we don’t necessarily keep in regular contact, I remember everything about Tracey. Her kindness, her smile, her friendly and outcoming nature.
    I remember her being one of the kindest people to me when I first started at Gympie State High School in Grade 10. I had no friends and she was one of the first. I will never forget her.
    From what I read now and what I’ve seen on social media, Tracey still has everyone of those memorable traits.
    She is the kind of person I want the world to be filled with even if our paths don’t really cross very much.
    So I continue to pray and pray and pray, and I ask that my husband and everyone else I know does too, for Tracey to fight this and come out the other side where her spirit burns bright and makes our world a wonderful place to be.

  • i only started following your blog cos it was funny and gave me an insight as to how my future life might be… hubby and i are only married for not quite a year yet, but lots of kids are on the horizon, you guys gave me an insight into how love filled that future life will be… i never thought that I would get so invested in your lives… i can’t get through a post at the moment, without having a teary, and wanting to open my arms to give each and everyone of you a huge cuddle, cos thats what you need, I wish Tracey all the best, and all the best for you guys, but I know that she will pull through… she can’t not

    lots and lots of love, wish i could do more xxo

  • I didn’t really know what to say but wanted to say something. I feel very sad for what you and your family are going through. I hope today has brought some positive news your way. Thinking of you all and wishing the very best of outcomes.

  • Hi Bruce,

    Just wanted to say that I am so sorry for what you Tracey and your fab family are going through. Fingers crossed that Tracey starts to improve very soon. Thinking of you all.

  • May the goddess watch over u all and may she send ur wife loads of healing energies to come thru this ordeal, blessings, Jules ?

  • Sending all our love and wishing praying and hoping with all I have she will have a miraculous turn for the better and praying also for peace and comfort for you and your children xxoo

  • Oh Bruce – I followed a link shared by Tina and Tegan on FB … I am so sorry for what you are all going through. Even though I don’t know you, all I can do is offer my love and strength to you all, and my prayers and hope for a miracle. And I do think it’s important to give the kids a chance to see their Mum. Warn them she won’t look like she did the last time they saw her – but let them. Let them talk to her, cuddle her, (if they are allowed), say goodbye (if it comes to that), and spend as long as they want to with her. And you. Together, as a family. x

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