Day 8 of First Chemotherapy Treatment

Today is Thursday, November 1st, 2018, and we have now completed week 1 of Dad’s first round of chemotherapy. For the past week (since his treatment last Thursday), he has been extremely tired, weak, short of breath, and nauseated. He has lost at least 6 pounds in the past week, and getting him to eat more than what a bird would has been nearly impossible.

Day 7 Timeline of Events:

10:00 am

I peeked in on Dad and he was still in bed, though he was awake. I asked him if he needed anything. He said “I think I’ll come down and have a bowl of cereal. Yeah, I think that’s what I’ll do”. I wanted to jump for joy. I thought, are we coming out of the woods from the side effects of chemo?

He had a bowl of cereal (Frosted Mini Wheats), and he even cut up a banana to put on his cereal, which is very routine for my dad, but not in this past week. He then asked me if I would brew him some decaf coffee. Of course I will. He hasn’t had a cup of coffee since his treatment.  I made him a cup of coffee, got today’s paper out, and he enjoyed his coffee while reading the news. He then prepared his bills (mortgage for his home in Florida, and a check for his lawn care guy in Florida).

As far as I’m concerned, this morning was a success. I gave him an anti-nausea pill, and he’s back in the recliner napping. It’s 11:15am.

2:15 pm

He didn’t sleep very long. Maybe a 1/2 hour.  He was reading the paper again when his brother Jimmy stopped by at 1:00pm; he stayed for about an hour. As soon as Uncle Jimmy left, I immediately asked Dad what I could make for him to eat. I was afraid he would sit back down and fall asleep without eating. We decided on 2 scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of toast with butter and jelly, and a glass of orange juice. It’s never too late in the day for breakfast food.

After he ate, he looked for some paperwork with his oncologist’s phone number. I was trying to encourage him to call because the last few days have been more painful for him. The morphine does not seem to be working as well as it did when first prescribed. The oncologist told us during the initial biopsy appointment that this may happen, and if it does, call and she will change the dosage. She told him there is no reason he should have to be in pain. He did take a pain pill though, and sat back down in the recliner without calling. He is asleep, but it is the longest he has been awake for over a week! He made it about 2 1/2 hours, so today is definitely looking like the best day so far since his chemotherapy.

8:00 pm

The evening got away from me. I went to the grocery store at approx. 4:30pm, Dad was sleeping when I left. My husband and son were home with him. When I returned home, my husband said, “well, you don’t have to worry about feeding your Dad dinner, Austin fed him”. God love my 20 year old son. He has a heart as big as Texas. He fed Grandpa smoked salmon for dinner. Anyhow, Dad has been awake most of the evening. I just gave him a piece of banana bread and a glass of milk. He said he is going to watch some of the basketball game and go to bed.

All in all, today was a pretty good day. For those of you reading this because you have a family member who may be in the same situation, I don’t want you to think that Dad is feeling “great”. He is simply feeling “a little bit better than yesterday”. At this point, I’ll take it, and pray for an even better day tomorrow!

 

 

 

First Week of Chemotherapy

Today, October 31, 2018, marks the end of week one since Dad’s first chemotherapy treatment.

I cannot believe how much has changed since last Thursday. He is so tired and weak that it takes everything he has to walk down the stairs. He has been sleeping all day long, every single day since we came home from his chemo treatment.

I know they say that chemotherapy causes fatigue, but I cannot help but to think that it is not just the treatment. I feel like the cancer is what is causing the majority of his fatigue at this point. We are 7 days in, and absolutely nothing has changed (or improved) regarding side effects of chemo.

It is absolutely terrifying to think of all of the possible scenarios. My brain is working in overdrive, analyzing his every move, his every breath. The unknown is very difficult to accept.

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.

 

Seven Days of Anticipating Chemotherapy

To learn of a Stage IV lung cancer diagnosis is overwhelming to say the least. There are really no words to describe the pain you feel when your loved one is diagnosed with an incurable stage of cancer. For my Dad, his children are the world to him, and he worries more about us than he worries about himself. This is heartbreaking for me. It is heartbreaking that he has to worry about leaving us in this world of the unknown. We may be adults with our own families, but to him, we are still his children.

The only good that came out of his latest appointment with his oncologist is that they prescribed him morphine for the severe pain that he has been suffering from in his stomach and back. After all, the stomach pain was the reason we took him to the ER to begin with. He was discharged with no pain medication and had to wait another 6 days before finally getting a prescription for his pain.

He slept like a baby for the week leading up to chemotherapy. He said he hadn’t slept that well in 6 months or so. This was an indication for me that he was suffering more than he had let on. If anything should be taken away here, it is that when you are not feeling well, particularly as you get older, share how you are feeling with your doctor. You never know what could be wrong that you would otherwise just blame on aging.

His appetite is not great, but at least he is still eating, reading the newspaper (I subscribed to our local paper as I know that this is part of his daily routine), and watching his favorite football team (Pittsburgh Steelers). He even ran some errands a few days ago.

Tomorrow, my sister and I will take Dad in for his first chemotherapy treatment.

 

All of His Grandkids are Here

Today was the first day since he was in the hospital that he had all of his grandchildren here at once. Austin (20), Brooke (17), Brock (17), and Skyler (15) were here, and I think he felt like he was on top of the moon. They are his pride and joy, and I know it is painful for him to think of their future, and that the potential for him to be able to see them graduate, get married, have children, or any other milestone looks slim.

Left to right: Skyler, Brock, Dad, Austin, Brooke
Bottom right: Jax our Boxer

I never really knew how I felt about “spirits” until today. Take a look at the photo, and notice my dad’s lap. It may seem eerie to you, but to me it almost seems peaceful. I’m really not sure if it’s a spirit orb or just a glare, but whatever it is was meant to be in that photo.

Right now we have to live in the moment, and not worry about what tomorrow will bring.