Charles Bane, age 50, of San Mateo, California, has always taken pride in caring for others. It’s what he did for years working with older adults in adult living facility. Now with stage IV lung cancer, he has entered a hospice program and gotten used to being the one who needs taking care of.
His wife Di Wu has been a constant companion and always at his side to provide care.
The volunteers with the “Bring Hope Home for the Holidays” program will deliver holiday cheer to brighten up the season for Charlie on December 14. “I am so grateful for their help and the festive element it will add to my home,” says Charlie. “This has been a difficult journey and this silver lining will make the season a bit more special for us.”
Charlie admits that his diagnosis was quite a shock to him. After spending more than two years with a nagging cough he “thought was nothing,” Di Wu finally convinced him to see a doctor in July 2015. He was diagnosed with non-small cell adeno-carcinoma and has been fighting the disease ever since.
He used to enjoy playing tennis and being more active, so his life now is quite a contrast. Medicines that will suppress coughing tend to only work for a short time, so it’s getting harder to carry on conversations – and getting good sleep is difficult, too.
Charlie’s advice to others who are fighting lung cancer is not to let the frustration of the bureaucracy in hospitals get you down.
“You have to be an advocate for your own treatment,” he says.
“Don’t just take blind faith in whatever your doctors and oncologists tell you. Ask questions and be proactive with your treatment plan.”
Even while fighting cancer, Charlie has an optimistic outlook. He looks forward to the holidays –especially seeing friends and family, but the coughing caused by his cancer makes everything a lot more difficult. Even so, he takes joy in his life. He especially credits his wife and friends from church with keeping his spirits up. In fact, a group of church members recently came to his home and performed a baptism. It was a truly heaven-sent experience.
He fills his home with music from the Beatles and Elvis Presley and is planning his annual tradition of Dim Sum with Di Wu on New Year’s Day.
While looking ahead, he also holds on to past memories that bring a smile to his face, even when his cancer symptoms make smiling more difficult.
“I remember celebrating Thanksgiving with my mom before she passed away last year. Everybody went to see her and joined together for food and loving conversation.” Charlie keeps that memory close to his heart. Caring for her and others is what he was used to doing – being cared for has taken some time to get used to. He continues to approach each and every day with optimism and the joy that company brings him, just like it did his mom.