9 Weeks Since Stage IV Lung Cancer Diagnosis and I Am Terrified

When Dad’s oncologist said that his prognosis was “2-4 months without treatment, and 6-12 with treatment”, my heart sunk, and I truly felt like we were in a nightmare. I could not help but be positive, I mean, people beat cancer all the time, right? Why can’t Dad be one of the few who manage to beat the odds?

Once the shock wore off, the “realist” in me began searching for answers, and I was just trying to “deal with it all”.

Now, the shock is back, and I am in complete disbelief that the man who I have adored my entire life is lying in a bed that he has become prisoner to.

My feelings today have completely changed.

I would give anything for a prognosis of 6-12 months, but I have come to the realization that it is not in the cards for Dad, and I cannot even begin to explain how terrified I am of losing him.

Every single day when I look at him, I realize that I am losing my Dad to Cancer, and I am not ready to accept that. Not yet. We haven’t had one pleasant day since he arrived from Florida in October. NOT ONE! He has been filled with pain and nausea, and has become dependent on everyone to help him with all of those daily tasks that we all take for granted. This man is not my Dad, yet he will always be. He will always be the first man I loved, the first man that I drove in a car with, the first man that taught me responsibility, and how to work hard, the first and only man that my husband had to ask permission from to marry me.

If I could just have one more good day with my Dad, one more day that we could sit and talk about all of the things that we used to talk about, go for a drive, cook out on the grill. Just one more day!

I cannot even write this without clearing the tears from my eyes so I am able to see. I cannot imagine life without my Dad in it. Not being able to call him, text him pictures, visit him in Florida and go to the beach, or go play miniature gulf just to come home and lounge in the pool. I’ll never again get to feel the excitement when he calls on his trip from Florida to visit and says that he’ll be at my house in a few hours.

All I can do now is be there with him while he fights the pain and the fear. Tell him I love him every chance I get. Hold his hand while he sleeps. At least I still have that. I still have the chance to love him unconditionally, the same way he has loved me unconditionally for my entire life.

I still have that.

 

 

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6 Weeks Since Stage IV Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Yesterday marked exactly 6 weeks since Dad received his incurable stage IV non small cell lung cancer diagnosis. At that time, he had severe pain in his stomach and diarrhea, which he was treated for before he left Florida to come for his visit. His doctor was treating him for diverticulitis, and told Dad that if symptoms did not improve, he should return to the doctor. Well, the 5 days were during his trip from Florida to Ohio.

He arrived on October 8, 2018 at approximately noon, and within 15 minutes we were out the door headed for the emergency room. His pain was severe and debilitating. After our 7+ hour wait in the ER waiting room, we were on our way to learning about Dad’s cancer. He was admitted to the hospital where he stayed for nearly 4 days.

Where We Are Now

Just before Thanksgiving, Dad’s legs had become so weak that he was struggling to get down the stairs. Now, he can no longer get down on his own. My son has been helping him up and down just so he can enjoy some time out of his room, but even this has become too much for Dad.

Monday, he is scheduled for a scan to see if his chemotherapy is working. I mentioned in my last post that Dad has decided if the chemo is not working, he no longer wants the treatment. It may be easy for others to say “why would you refuse chemotherapy”, but the reality is, his time is limited and he wants to try and enjoy the time he has left without feeling the way that he has felt for 5 weeks now (since his first chemotherapy treatment).

Part of me wants to believe that his condition is 100% due to the chemotherapy, but the realist in me is struggling to accept that. I believe that his health is declining more and more every single day. Today, he has not been awake for more than an hour (total for the day). As I write this, he is sleeping in the recliner where he has been for several hours. Before that, he was in bed where he had spent the entire day… sleeping.

He has not had a chemo treatment in 2 weeks, so for him to be feeling worse rather than better is a very big concern, as well as a potential indicator that the chemotherapy is not responsible for all of this. I am no doctor, and that is why we are reluctantly anxious to get the results back from his scheduled scan on Monday.

He barely has any feeling left in his hands, and is losing more in his feet every day. He can hardly take his own pills anymore because he is having a hard time getting them in his mouth.

Complaining of Dizziness

Yesterday, Dad began complaining of dizziness to where he worried about falling, as am I. Today, that condition is worse to the point that he did not even want to come downstairs early in the day because of the fear that he may not make it down (even with Austin helping him).

This is really concerning to me as he usually gets up in the middle of the night or early morning to go to the bathroom (it is right across the hall from his room and he uses his walker). I am very concerned about him falling in the middle of the night, and I can only pray that I hear him if he does, or he calls for help.

I just talked with my son (remember, he is 20 so he is no longer a child) and told him that I was considering having Dad admitted to the hospital, but then we both agreed that it would be more dangerous due to his low white blood cell count and the risk of infection. So, we will wait this out a couple more days. I do think that I will have Dad call the doctor tomorrow (or I will call for him), and ask if this dizziness is normal or if we should take him in to be admitted.

This blog has been instrumental in keeping track of Dad’s condition, and I would recommend to anyone in the same or similar situation to keep some type of journal of your condition so that you can track symptoms. I hope that it will help some of you who are looking for information on what to expect, but I also want to remind you that everyone is different, so your condition may not be the same as my Dad’s.

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Dealing With My Own Struggles Today

It has been 19 days since dads diagnosis, and 12 days since his first chemotherapy treatment. I have become obsessed with finding information that can help us through this nightmare. I am battling with my own thoughts, and struggling to cope with my new role as caretaker.

I love my Dad to pieces, and I would do anything in the world for him, but I cannot help but think that my mental health directly affects his.

For some reason, today, everything hit me. I have been held captive right along with Dad since he was released from the hospital, and I don’t understand how people can say “you have to take care of yourself too” when my main priority is taking care of my Dad, which requires that I be home with him 24/7 unless I ask someone to sit with him so I can run out.

I’m his nurse, cook, maid, pill calendar, and everything else that a caretaker consists of, yet I still have to work (I work out of my home, but that is even more difficult than leaving the house to go to work).

It is hard to put this in words because of the guilt I feel, but it is important for my mental health that I completely understand the importance of taking care of myself. The only problem is, I don’t know how to do that when I am still a wife, mother, and a consultant for business owners who are relying on me. There is only so much time in a day, and even if I could find the time, I cannot leave Dad alone.

The hospital told me that there are cancer support groups, but how does the primary caretaker attend a support group? The bigger question is, would I go even if I could?

I am praying that I can get myself out of this slump before morning.

 

 

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A Death in the Family

Dealing with all of the stress from my dad’s cancer diagnosis is taking a toll, although I am trying to remain as strong as I can for him.

Sometimes it is confusing when too many things happen at once that would be difficult enough on their own.

This morning, we learned that my husbands grandmother passed away last night. She had been battling severe dementia for 3 years, and she was finally called to live in a better place. God rest her soul, she was the woman most of us want to be when we grow up.

She lived life on her terms, at least until the end. She was 86 years young. Lorraine, if you’re listening, we miss you already, but we will never forget the joy you brought to our lives. The kids have wonderful memories of you that they will hold for a lifetime.

Until we meet again, rest easy sweet lady.

 

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