August, 1981- About 6 weeks after the accident, Gaston had the surgery done. They put pins in to hold the ribs to the breastbone. He was in intensive care for 2-3 weeks. He didn't mind it at all, he told me it was better than going to court. (for drunk driving charge #2). He was in the hospital for about a month. He was told not to work for 6 months. His doctor told him that if the pins were to bother him he could remove them after it healed up.
He got himself a good, expensive lawyer and had him postpone the driving under the influence case.I'd been going to bingo on Monday nights for a few years, but I had to quit going because he had all that time off from work and he was doing his favorite hobbies, drinking and fighting. I couldn't leave the kids home alone, even though Chantal was old enough to baby-sit at 15. He would go home and fight with them.
December, 1981- Another Christmas from hell. This one was almost my last. Andre and Sandy were here for Christmas. He wanted me to give him money for a 12 pack of beer and I didn't have any. He would punch me in the nose while asking "give me money". I tried to hit him back but he got so mad, he stomped on my foot with his steel toe boot. My foot got all swelled up. It hurt so bad, I couldn't walk on it for a few weeks. He wouldn't let me go to the doctor or a hospital.
We still had a wood burning stove, and kept the hatchet by it. He grabbed it and threw it at me. It landed in the wall a few inches from my head. I was on the floor by then. He went and took the hatchet out of the wall, preparing to throw it at me again. Sandy went behind him and took it away from him. He went in the front room and picked up the Christmas tree, slammed it back down on the floor, breaking at least half of the ornaments, and left.
February, 1982- He got mad at me one time, for some reason that I don't even remember, so I went in the Nursery and locked the door. He busted the door open and picked up a four week old baby goat by two legs and threw her against the cement building, just to make me mad.
May, 1982- His court date was only a week away. He never complained to me that the pins in his breastbone were bothering him, and never acted like he was in pain. We went to see the doctor that did his surgery and he complained to him that he was feeling a lot of pain in his ribs. While examining him, the doctor noticed the big lumps on both sides of his neck. We told him that we knew they were there, that our family physician checked them out a few months before and said it was nothing to worry about. The surgeon told him that right now it was more important to check them lumps than worry about the pins. He admitted him in the hospital right away for a biopsy.
The next day, the hospital called me to ask me if I wanted to be there when his surgeon gave him the result of the biopsy. I'd already been told that there was a big chance that he had throat cancer, because of his heavy drinking and smoking. I rushed over to the hospital so I could be there when his doctor came in.
As suspected, he had cancer of the epiglottis (the cover on the voice box that closes the windpipe when you swallow), and it had spread to the lymph nodes of his neck. He was going to need extensive surgeries, but first some chemotherapy and radiation was needed to try to shrink the tumors. He spent a whole month in the hospital. He was very sick from the chemo and lost all his hair. He was sent home to gain some strength so he could have the surgeries.
In mid June 1982, we loaded all the goats in our big horse trailer and went down to a town near Dayton to a big dairy goat show. We had a herd of 28 goats at the time. The kids and I slept in the barns like most people do at a show and Gaston was suppose to sleep in the van. When we were all sleeping, he and a friend decided to check out the bars in town. They both were pretty drunk before they left. They got back about 2:00 AM and Gaston decided he was hungry. He started kicking me to get me out of bed. He had enough strength for surgery that morning, believe me. The other exhibitors were all awake, with his usual cussing, half french, half english, nobody could sleep through that. A few of them came to my rescue. They told him that if he laid another hand or foot on me, he'd get the same treatment from them. He went to bed, and didn't bother me the rest of the weekend.
We won a bunch of blue and red ribbons and the Grand Champion Nubian trophy, against more than 150 Nubians. I was very proud, I had done a lot of work upgrading my herd.
July, 1982- Gaston was admitted to the hospital for reconstruction of the right side of his neck. He was in surgery for over 5 hours. He spent 3 weeks there, then came home awaiting for the second surgery.
September, 1982- I was only 34 yrs old and I already had arthritis, specially in my lower back. On top of my right foot I had a big hard lump, and some days I could barely walk, it hurt so bad. I went to see an orthopedist and he told me that the lump was from when I got stomped on the foot, a while back. I had to be admitted in the hospital, to get it removed before it got any bigger. I was in the hospital for 2-3 days. I had to wear a foot brace and use crutches for 6 weeks.
November, 1982- Gaston went in for his second surgery, on the other side of his neck. It went as well as the first one did. It was around this time that I met a very nice English lady, she had just started raising dairy goats and we became friends right away. I thought she had such a nice accent. She lived about a mile from me. Her name was Ann S. We spent many hours together, mostly talking about our goats. She was the sweetest lady I ever met. She drank her tea and I my coffee. We spent many nights up together, when one of our does was in labor.
Six weeks later, his doctor decided to do another biopsy of his vocal cords, to see if the chemo and radiation helped. His tumor was so large, it was blocking his airway, he quit breathing completely and the surgeon had to do an emergency tracheotomy (cutting a hole in his throat and inserting a tube) so he could breathe. They kept him in the hospital and removed his larynx (voice box). His surgery lasted 7 hrs, but he pulled through it again. His physician told me that he'd be lucky if he lived another 6 months, because he had an extremely aggressive carcinoma and he needed to be told about it soon.
I was there when the doctor told him, and like I suspected, he wouldn't accept it. I was now his nurse, because he wouldn't let the nurses touch him, and his translator because he could not write in english. I had to be at the hospital almost all day. He begged the doctor to do something, anything that might get rid of it. After a few weeks, the doctor ordered more chemotherapy to try to slow down the growth of the tumors. He lost so much weight, he went from 120 lbs. to 90 lbs.
Not only the cancer had become more aggressive, so did he. I weighed over 200 lbs and he was 10 times stronger than me. He couldn't talk anymore, so he wrote everything down in french of course. When he went to the bars, they knew what his favorite drinks were so they'd get it ready as soon as he'd walk in. (double shot of whiskey and a bottle of beer)
He had a clipboard that the hospital gave him, and when he wanted to cuss at the kids and call them all the dirty names in the book, he'd write it down and if I didn't translate every word of it to the kids, he'd hit me over the head with the clipboard.
Spring, 1983- A friend and I started a local goat club: Lake Erie Dairy Goat Association. We started out with a dozen or so members. We'd meet at different member's homes, 1st Sunday of each month. I had to avoid meeting here, I was worried about what kind of mood my husband would be in.
July, 1983- I was the Ohio Dairy Goat Association's show chairman and Paula Y. was the secretary, for a big show that was held over the 4th of July weekend. We had a ball, at those weekend shows. We were going to all the shows within 200 miles from home, every weekend from mid-may through Labor Day weekend. As long as Gaston had his beer, he wouldn't behave too bad. He knew I had a lot of friends there. He loved all the rosettes and ribbons we were getting. If we won a champion or blue ribbons, he wanted to show that winner at the next show. He wasn't a good exhibitor but to avoid an argument, I'd let him show them. There was 2-3 different shows each weekend, depending how long the weekend was.
Christmas, 1983- Usual Holiday Seasons, except I could not take anymore. A couple days after Christmas, he started throwing things at me, because I wouldn't let him beat on my son. Jacques ran outside and I went hiding in the nursery. He followed me with a 2X4 with a nail at the end. He broke the window and was trying to reach me with it. I had a phone hidden in there and I called 911. The Sheriff office was too far, so they sent a Gibsonburg policewoman to handle it until they could get here. As she got out of her car, he dropped the 2X4 and headed toward her car. She was scared of him, because she was standing behind her car door. He slammed the door on her and she got in her car. He came back at me while she sat there and watched.
When the deputy sheriff arrived, he ran in the house. The deputy, policewoman and I followed him in. They tried to restrain him and he started throwing pieces of firewood at them. They couldn't cuff him so they called in for reinforcement. It took 5 deputies to put the cuffs on him. He spent 3 days in jail, went to court and told the judge (same one that married us) that my oldest daughter (17) and I were bigger than he was and that we beat him up all the time. The judge must have believed him, because he let him go free.
Was he mad when he got out of there. I had to put a restraining order on him. He moved in with some mutual friends. He swore to me that he would come and burn the house down when we were asleep. Chantal and I took turns watching the house. Every time his car would come down the road, we would get our shoes on and coats ready, in case he stopped. He would drive real slow in front of the house, I'm sure to scare us, and he did. I knew how insane he was.
He had an electronic voice machine to speak with and he was calling his family in Quebec and charging it to my phone bill. I had to change my number.
January, 1984- Another tumor was found on his neck, right on top of his carotid artery. His doctor told him there was nothing else he could do for him. He'd already had enough radiation and chemotherapy wasn't working. He got so scared, he begged him to do something to get rid of it. The doctor ordered radiation therapy, but he had to be put in the hospital's nursing home, 40 miles from home. Again, I had to be there almost all day with him. He had a trachea (hole cut out in his throat so he could breathe) and it needed to be clean 4-5 times a day and he wouldn't let the nurses do it. They'd call me sometimes late at night to go do it.