Into the Dark

Over a six-week period, Dad’s cancer treatments really wore him down. In the beginning (weeks 1-4), he was okay and could be on his own and was keeping up with his food intake goals and even getting some quick 10 minute walks in. Though he was depressed about his situation, he was getting through it.

By week 5, the radiation treatments were adversely affecting him. He was sick often, developed a rough, chronic, phlegm-filled cough, and could barely drive himself to his appointments. He was left with a “metal” mouth and hardly ate anything because nothing tasted good. Weeks 5 and 6 were not fun for him, but once it was over I could tell that his spirits had been slightly lifted just from the fact that the initial journey was over.

While he recovered in the two weeks after treatments and weaned himself off of various medications, he was optimistic about the results of treatment. He was sure that the tumor had shrunk; said he could feel that it was smaller. It was easier for him to eat. He could taste food again.

Then tragedy hit: His mother passed away under unfortunate circumstances. He was not able to attend the funeral due to his health condition as well as the many different appointments and tests his team had set up for him. This was a difficult time for him, but he made what he felt was the best choice, and vehemently stuck to it.

He went for a scan approximately four weeks after the end of treatment, to provide he and his team with results from the treatments. The team was also optimistic. Theirs was an aggressive approach and they thought they’d knocked it off its feet. They thought the chemo and radiation treatments had been successful.

They were wrong.

There was no change. Optimistically speaking, there was also no indication that the tumor was growing. But this wasn’t what Dad was expecting to hear. This wasn’t what his team was expecting to see. It shocked him and sent him back into that downward spiral into despair.

He will be scheduled for an intensive surgery in the coming weeks, with a 12 day recovery period in-hospital and a 12 week recovery period at home. He is enviously optimistic about the surgery. We are so much more battle-ready than we think we are, right? One little step forward at a time. Anything can be beared when it can be broken down into little bits.

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Oh…hey.

Well.

I don’t really know what to say about the months-long hiatus I took from posting. A few things have happened since last you read.

My dog’s disease progressed rapidly and I finally made the decision to have her put down in October. That will go on the list as one of the Top 5 Hardest Days of my Life. It has been strange trying to adjust to no longer having a doggie nearby to scoop up and cuddle with. It’s been strange listening to the noises old houses make and realizing those noises did not, in fact, come from my dog at all.

In November, after a doctor’s visit I decided to try a walking program that would gently progress into jogging after a sum of weeks. It consisted of walking every day; the first week at 10 minutes, the second 15 and so on until I reached the magic 30 minute mark. At that point, I would begin jogging three times a week. I did not make it far. I made it to Week Three, where Shin Pain from Hell finally forced me to admit that this was not something I could continue doing.

I made a conscious decision at this time to walk three times a week for as long as my body would let me, and go from there.

Unfortunately, not even a week later I received a call from my Dad with horrible news. He’d been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer.

I really gave it my best effort to not become focused on why this was happening to him and instead accept the fact that he was going to have a difficult road ahead of him. I soon regressed from that approach, however, when his frustrations became mine not even two days into his battle. I stopped going out, talking to friends, spending time with family, and began stewing in the comfort of my misery and selfishness. I wondered why this, why now, why him, why me, why, why, why??? I was angry. No, enraged. I took it out on those closest to me, and even those who weren’t so close.

I have since come to accept things more easily. I do still sometimes find myself asking that damn question though, usually when I’m alone at home and wondering how Dad’s feeling after his radiation treatment.

He is scheduled for radiation Monday to Friday for six weeks, and six chemotherapy sessions each Thursday. Since he lives in the city, an hour and a half away, I’ve only been able to make it to his chemo treatments. So far, two sessions into it, things are looking good (knock on wood).

This is becoming an overwhelming post. I’ll talk more about this in future.

The moral of the story is… I’ve jumped off the jogging bandwagon. I’ve gotten  a bit of Walking Time in, but certainly that is not the secret to success in and of itself, so I have a bit of work to do to bring things back around.

The plan is actually to wait until my next doctor’s appointment and harass him into giving me x-rays. That’ll work, no?