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Canadian Skater/FSU Member Fighting for His Life (R.I.P.)

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Spun Silver, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. genegri

    genegri Active Member

    A sweet and talented young man taken away much too early. My deep condolences to his family and friends.

    RIP, Jesse.
  2. dogbert

    dogbert New Member

    RIP, Jesse - a kind and brave soul.

    I watched the youtube video of Jesse' s exhibition number - The Face. What a graceful and artistic skater he was!

    He is in a better place and his suffering is over.
  3. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    Thank you for your generosity and kindness. I am sending you a big hug.
  4. ichiro

    ichiro Well-Known Member

    RIP Jesse
  5. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

    I have been thinking about this poem since Jesse's death. The poet was even younger than Jesse when he wrote it (and seemed to have a premonition of his own untimely end at the hands of Stalin):

    What shall I do with the body I've been given,
    So much at one with me, so much my own?

    For the calm happiness of breathing, being able
    To be alive, tell me where I should be grateful?

    I am gardener, flower too, and un-alone
    In this vast dungeon.

    My breath, my glow, you can already see
    On the windowpanes of eternity.

    A pattern is imprinted there,
    Unknown till now.

    Let this muddle die down, this sediment flow out.
    The lovely pattern cannot be crossed out.

    --Osip Mandelstam, translated by James Greene
  6. lmarie086

    lmarie086 missing my cat :(

    I only recently became aware of Jesse's sickness, through the thread in the other sub-forum and I have been praying for him. What a tragic loss. Cancer is the worst; this young man should have had his whole life ahead of him. I'm astounded at the lack of proper care he received, really just blows my mind.

    RIP Jesse, I hope you're skating once more.
  7. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

    I feel the same way, lmarie. He was in a tiny town with a dearth of specialized training and equipment, and his cancer was rare and aggressive, but even so.... My mother died of cancer 30 years ago, and never had to go through such "torture" (Jesse's word).

    Anyway, thank God he is free now.

    Can anyone post a link to Jesse's FB page? I haven't been able to find it for some reason. Thanks.
  8. victorskid

    victorskid Skating supporter

    See your PM, Spun Silver.
  9. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

    Cancer is torture to all who suffer from it, no matter how large or small their bank account or how much coverage their health insurance provides. Jesses's parents had their own reasons for having Jesse treated at a tiny town hospital, it is not our place to judge them. I'm sure if they could have, they would had Jesse treated at the top cancer hospital in the world but unfortunately, that was not possible.

    Our only comfort is that when Jesse did pass on, he did so knowing he was loved and that he would not be forgotten by his friends and family.
  10. victorskid

    victorskid Skating supporter

    There is no doubt that cancer sucks. There is no doubt that we all are grieving the loss of a talented young man who touched us as he shared his final weeks with us.

    However, none of us were physically present during those weeks. Any discussion by us of the care he received seems rather pointless, especially since it is only based on his perceptions. I don't discount those but they may not be the whole story or a complete picture.

    Having said that, if you must talk about these things, could we please stick to facts that we know or can ascertain. Jesse was treated, to the extent possible, at a large cancer specialty facility. When it was apparent to all that further treatment was not possible, he was moved to a smaller facility closer to his family. That facility may be small but it is part of the palliative/hospice network in Alberta. Jesse stated himself that that was where he wished to be. It allowed his family to visit without travelling for several hours each way to see him and it allowed him to go home for hour/days at a time in his final weeks. It allowed him to see his precious dog.

    As a reminder, Jesse's obituary is here: http://www.caringroup.com/fh/edens/obituaries/obit_details.asp?obitid=2715
    From that page there is a link so that you can add a message to the guestbook for his family to read. Many from FSU have already done so.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  11. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    My friend who died of cancer was in a wonderful hospice, had plenty of morphine, and felt the suffocation feeling too. he was not moving so fluid built up in his lungs. It's just what happens no matter how good the care. He wanted morphine, but because of the morphine, he stopped communicating. Jesse wanted to communicate. If he refused morphine, and the hospice didn't force it on him, it was his choice. He deserved to have that last bit of control. We weren't there, it's over now.
  12. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    I believe that Jesse wanted to be "present" and "aware" for as long as he could..
    Bless him!

    It's not for us to question his decision.
  13. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

    Every cancer is different, and endstage management of it is also different. Jesse possibly could have been made more comfortable with higher doses of painkillers and other drugs, but then he would not have been able to communicate with everyone here (he essentially would have been sedated most of the time until he passed). And his caregivers may have reached the limit of what they could give him without potentially inducing death faster. We also have to remember that Jesse's cancer also originated in his brain and spread to the spine, so it involved a lot of nerve tissue that transmitted pain and other impulses and also likely affected his thinking and emotions. And we must remember he asked to be moved closer to home when his options ran out so his family could be with him in his last days.

    My father-in-law died last year at 91, he had been as healthy as a horse up to the point where he began having memory lapses and they found the brain metastases. On a Friday evening, he was talking to my husband coherently about his final wishes, his finances, etc. Then he started to become quieter and quieter and slept peacefully until he died two days later. As I noted, every endstage cancer situation is different. And a patient suffering pain and other symptoms is not necessarily a sign of "torture" when that dying patient wants to remain aware of his surroundings and those in it as long as possible before passing. As victorskid and others have said, we weren't there, we don't know what really went on. It doesn't honor Jesse's memory to continue to rail against what some of us are personally interpreting as substandard care with no proof that this happened. It's time to put that to rest and remember Jesse as he was, a beautiful young man and skater, and as he hopefully now is, at peace and smiling down on us, glad he had as much time to communicate with us as he did.
  14. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

    Is it possible for people to express their sadness as they see fit without trying to correct and shut down other posters? All of us posting here were part of Jesse's FSU support system and witnessed his cries of pain and frustration. That experience was a very profound, very painful one for us all. We experienced and interpret it differently. That is natural. I know each of us also did what we could to help.

    This is not a "normal" FSU thread to bicker in. It is a place to express grief, not argue with one another. Let's live and let live. As Jesse would do, if he could! (In one of his last emails to me, after I apologized for saying something sarcastic when he stopped taking the antibiotics, he wrote back, "I don't take offense easily, lol.") The sweet, sweet guy!
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  15. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    I think the distinction is in expressing sadness for his suffering, which it's clear we all share, without making unfounded negative judgements about his quality of care or about his caregivers.
  16. RickInSanJose

    RickInSanJose Active Member

    May the ice Up There for him always be perfect and flawless.
    spikydurian, brina, LilJen and 5 others like this.
  17. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    I believe in the best of people, so I believe that his doctors and nurses did the best they could, within the system and within what the cancer (and his possible complications) threw at them. Cancer is cruel and it does not listen to what we want it to do. If you're the one in physical distress, you always wish for it to go away, when sometimes it just isn't possible.

    My friend who died of pancreatic cancer in April, he sent a coherent email to his US friends 2 days before he was put in an artificial coma. He stayed like that for a week before finally passing. The way that cancer takes people away is always different.
    Yazmeen and (deleted member) like this.
  18. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    I respect your point. But, I think that many, here, are reacting to Jesse's posts. Jesse felt that he was not getting enough care. Not just meds or treatment, but the fact that he was not being turned enough, and had horrible bed sores. And his claims that some of his care takers were unkind to him. Yes, none of us were there to witness what actually happened. But, I don't think it is unreasonable to feel frustrated by Jesse's pleas for better care. That said, the quality of his care is past him now. We lost a beautiful person, who suffered terribly, and we are all very sad.
    lmarie086 and (deleted member) like this.
  19. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    I think there is a new angel in heaven now, wearing figure skates.
  20. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

    Agreed, cruisin.
  21. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    And enjoying all the Lindt truffles he wants, with no effect on his waistline whatsoever. I confess I picked up some Lindt truffles yesterday. . . peaceful rest to you, Jesse.
  22. fscric

    fscric Active Member

    Agree with your whole post. I think all those who had followed Jesse's thread from the beginning till the end would understand Spun Silver's frustration, especially when he/she had private communication with Jesse as well. But yes, there's no point in dwelling on whether he had enough care or not now, nothing could be done to bring him back, I wish he's once again skating in the other world enjoying himself with laughters and freedom.
  23. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Well, this is a public board, and a section of the board accessible to anyone who wants to read it (not just FSU members). So I would ask posters to think before they post, and think about how negative comments on the quality of Jesse's care would make someone feel, if that person had participated in Jesse's care and came here to read the tributes to him.
  24. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

  25. Rock2

    Rock2 Well-Known Member

    I just feel sick to my stomach. No anger at anyone, just that this pain and passing had to happen. I'm glad I got to meet him, sit next to him and chat with him at London worlds. Sweet guy.

    I didn't read every post but it seemed like Jesse wanted to be in the moment for as long as he could. I'm sure inside he knew the end was coming and in a sad way I'm sure many of us sensed it but he didn't seem the type to just send a goodbye note. Always seemed to be able to find the energy to fight just one more day...

    Death is a deeply personal thing, with sort of a tragic beauty to it. I feel honored to have been given access to his journey and Mevrouw's several months ago. RIP you two beautiful beautiful people. I will never forget either of you.
  26. RFOS

    RFOS Well-Known Member

    They could read Jesse's own comments also, though.
  27. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    Yes, in the context of things we don't know, I'm sure.

    How would you feel if you were a family member, reading some of this? Some of the comments could be read to imply his family members didn't advocate well enough, allowed him to be poorly cared for etc. None of this changes the fact that Jesse is gone, and that he meant something to all of us. I think it's insensitive for people to keep bringing it up, especially since none of us actually were there. Yes, some were frustrated Jesse was in pain, and frustrated that Jesse was frustrated. Knowing you're dying and being able to do nothing about it would be frustrating. For doctors and nurses there's sometimes a very fine line between medicating to reduce pain and euthanising. Jesse admitted at times that he didn't know what was supposed to be happening, that he felt he wasn't well cared for, but that could also be because he wanted a different outcome - something a little different to give him a chance, turned one more time, spoken to a little more nicely, something more or different to give him a fighting chance. We just don't know.

    If *we* were frustrated just reading about it online, can you imagine how those who were there felt, watching someone they love die, and knowing it was inevitable? Private communication, good care, bad care, in between care, it doesn't make any difference now. It would be nice to remember the good things, and focus on what we do know - that Jesse died knowing he meant a lot to us at FSU, that we somehow gave him comfort with the thread he created, and that family and friends, and strangers all over the world, are mourning him.
  28. PeterG

    PeterG Well-Known Member

    Thank you.

    And again.
  29. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    I definitely see the concern that family members might think people are making judgments that they did not advocate for him. I don't think anyone here is suggesting that. We can vent about him not getting the care he said he wanted, but we should also consider that it is possible that he got the best care available. I hope he did. Since I wasn't there, I spent my time in Jesse's thread translating some of what I heard from Jesse into what I saw when I experienced the same kinds of things and took "stages of death" training at the hospice when my closest friend spent his last months and weeks. The experience was remarkably like the Kubler Ross model. I sure hope Jesse's experience was no worse than my friend's (who had great care), but I have no reason to believe it would be any better either.

    When my friend was in the hospital before they stopped treatment and released him to hospice, I definitely saw that the doctors and nurses were treating the illness and not necessarily the patient. They told us he had no more than 6 months left and they politely, but coldly, told us to move him home. They probably couldn't get emotionally involved because they lose so many patients. I saw my friend lashing out at them for more care and more compassion when they just were not going to give it to him anymore. At the end, it was decided that he was not going be a breakthrough case, and he didn't need as much of their attention anymore. He was demanding care that they decided they were not going to make available to him. He was in the denial phase. It is a cold reality. Unspeakably awful. Armed with nothing more than a home hospice pamplet and a lot of pills, we moved him home. We thought it was the worst thing we'd seen until we saw what came next.

    Anger came next. Anger about anything and everything. It is very, very common for the terminally ill to express anger at the care or the caretaker or the family because expressing anger at the illness won't illicit a response. He was mad about everything and nothing. First, we were taking shifts at his house, but his mother couldn't handle it. She didn't sleep a wink for days and days no matter who else was there to help. So we moved him to a hospice until we could figure out what was next. He agreed to stay two days, but that was it and he was furious about it. The hospice staff told us to be somewhat detached and nonjudgmental at this stage - the anger needs to go somewhere, and there is a lot of it. It is usually misplaced so they tell you not to react to it. Just tell the person he'll be taken care of (don't tell him he will be ok because he won't) and let him vent.

    Next he was negotiating for things -- in this stage, they are trying to delay the inevitable. When Jesse wanted to go to Skate Canada, it reminded me of my friend trying to convince me to take him to Paris one last time when it was so clear that he couldn't travel. My friend declared that he would not die until he saw Paris again. Then he wanted to go to Florida, to live at his mom's house, and take his mattress so he could sleep in his own bed. The hospice was supposed to be for people who were around two weeks or less from death, and they thought he might have a couple of months in him so they said he could stay a week. I found a nursing home in Florida near his mother's house. It took me a week to find it, and as soon as I did, he asked to stay at the hospice if it would let his mom sleep. Good thing, he was detiorating fast so the hospice let him stay. A week before his death, when he could barely stand, he wanted me to bust him out to go see Gladiator (the movie). During all this, he was trying to buy more time. You try to let him realize on his own that he can't do these things, but when he doesn't, you have to tell him, no we can't do that.

    Next he entered depression. Wouldn't you? Nothing was good enough -- he was totally uncomfortable, would complain about it, we'd try to fix it, he'd say there's no point in trying because sometime else would just hurt. His bed was awful. His sheets were awful. He couldn't eat, He wanted to eat, he didn't want to eat, he wanted to eat something different. We brought so much food in to no avail - at least the volunteers ate it. The TV didn't work. He wanted drugs, he didn't want drugs, he wanted different drugs, he wanted more drugs. This stage was very frustrating to the untrained - we didn't know the realm of what was possible. This lasted a long time. And there is no way the staff and his family could keep up with his requests. In the US, some hospices have a limited number of trained medical professionals who come in and out and administer or review the palliative care. The rest of the staff are volunteers (often students), and a few people who are trained in death/grief counseling as opposed to medicine. About 15 of his friends took shifts, even overnight, so his mother, stepfather, and sister could get some rest. We could have turned him over every 30 seconds, and it wouldn't have made him feel any better. He was dying. It was a helpless time.

    When his lungs started filling with fluid, he was asking for more and more pain medicine. But the morphine can make you feel like you are drowning. And the horrible reality is that you are drowning. No amount of painkillers would have stopped it short of a lethal injection. It is painful to watch. But it is also time for the acceptance phase. He zoned out a lot even if someone was there with him. Just staring into space. You'd be surprised for how long he gasped for air when he could barely breathe. Finally, they suggested we go home because often the ill person fights death when people are there. Only his mother stayed - then he died.

    Of course all of the stages overlap so you get angry negotiating and depressed negotiating etc. Bottom line is that the whole thing sucks even if you get the best care. Hospice people are a unique breed - they feel it is a privilege to share this experience with the dying and their families. I hope Jesse and his family had that.

    They say people can have a "good death" if they can have a courageous and candid discussion about it. I think Jesse had a good death then.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
    CanuckSk8r, OliviaPug, Jem X and 27 others like this.
  30. Synchkat

    Synchkat New Member

    Oh my goodness what a tragedy. For some reason his screen name popped into my mind the other day as someone I hadn't seen post in awhile. I remember watching his videos of him partnering some Diamond Dances and thinking, hmmm, that's someone I wouldn't mind trying a round of that dance with. So incredibly sad.

    I haven't read any other posts just wanted to express my condolences to his family and skating family. Cancer is so evil.