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.

Dad’s Biopsy Results

Today is October 17, 2018, and my Dad and I went to his oncology appointment to review the results from his biopsy. We knew that receiving good news was slim, but we never expected to hear what we heard today. Dad quit smoking over 20 years ago and gave up many things he enjoyed (including beer) to live a longer, more healthy retirement. He ran on the treadmill every single day, ate mostly chicken and grilled foods, gave up caffeinated coffee and soda, but apparently this was not good enough.

Today, we heard the news that Dad has stage IV, non small cell lung cancer, and that his cancer is not curable. The oncologist gave him 2-4 months without treatment, and 6-12 months with treatment. I’m sure you can imagine the pain that this will bring to our family, but most importantly do my Dad.

His lung cancer has spread (metastasized) to his pelvic bone, liver, rib cage, sternum, and throughout his lungs. Last year, he went to a checkup with his regular doctor in Florida. He was told then that he was so healthy, the doctor did not find any reason to think that he would not live another 20 years. (He is now 69 years old). Can you imagine what someone of my Dad’s age would think if given that many years? He felt like he had won the lottery. I mean, think about it, at 68 years old (at the time of the check-up), that puts him at nearly 90. But all that hope and excitement has now vanished. In his mind, he will be lucky to make it to 70.

We came home from the appointment, he waited for my older sister to arrive to give her the news, and only then would he contact his immediate family members to tell them the news. This included his brother and 2 cousins. It took a couple of days for him to contact others that meant something to him. Everyone else will find out eventually.