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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 

Latest on Dad by pandab on 28 March 2007 3:49am
First of all ... Rope it in, people. I'm not posting to start a fight. That is the LAST thing I want to do. With the possible exception of a flat-out death wish against my dad, any and all opinions and comments are welcome, even the ones talking about hard-to-read stuff. 'Nuff said. :+)

Now, on to the post ...

Dad received a setback this past weekend. He had a mild heart attack in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Fortunately, it was VERY mild and did no real damage to his heart, but it was enough to give my brother and I a few nasty hours of worry. He is in the hospital and should come home tomorrow.

We met with his oncologists, one of whom I really liked and the other of whom I almost instantly disliked. Have you ever met someone and right away the words "snake oil salesman" popped into your head? That was my reaction to this guy. I was ready to throw him out of the room after the first five minutes. Really, if he was going to talk trash about another doctor--who, by the way, is recognized as the leading Primary CNS Lymphoma expert in the nation--the least he could have done was get her name right. It seems there are two schools of thought for treating Dad's cancer--the entire current oncology establishment and this guy. Of course, this guy is right, and if you don't believe me, just ask him. Ugh! Fortunately, Dr. Know-It-All is more of a backup right now, rather than the primary oncologist.

The other oncologist I really liked. She is young but very knowledgable. She strikes me as cautious enough to be careful but bold enough to take aggressive action when needed. Even better, she LISTENED to us. She understood that, while Dad believes life is always preferable, he is more concerned about his quality of life than quantity.

She was also very honest with us. She said she could all but guarantee the treatment would destroy the brain tumor. The problem is making it stay gone. Primary CNS Lymphoma (the kind of cancer Dad has) is quite a rare thing and is notorious for recurring. Since it is highly aggressive, it must be caught quickly if it recurs, which means Dad will need a MRI every two to three months for the rest of his life. His insurance company is going to love him. :+)

She wants to run a couple more tests to make double-sure the cancer is nowhere else in his lymphatic system, but based on the results she has seen of the tests so far, she doesn't think it is. After that, he will begin treatment ... about 6 to 8 months of chemotherapy, topped off with some radiation therapy for good measure.

Dad is going to be a sick little puppy for a while, but according to her, with careful monitoring, he could live another two to four years of good-quality life, which for him means living with all his faculties intact ... memory, cognitive skills and so on. Of course, those numbers are only statistics, but Dad says that is good enough for him for a start.

Dad is ready to start. My brother and I are ready. I am looking into options for home care to help my brother and I cope when the going gets rough. I am a rotten nurse, so I'll need more help than my brother will. He is actually quite a good caregiver, much better than I am. I have a weak stomach for that kind of stuff.

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but we've adopted a sort of motto and mascot. There is an old proverb that asks "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer is "One bite at a time." So, when one of us lets our imagination get out of control, skipping too far ahead into scary and panicky territory, we tell each other "Remember the elephant." It really is amazing how effective that has proven to calm each other down, though my brother says he feels stupid saying it. :+)

Remember the elephant!

Re: Latest on Dad by kazzzz on 28 March 2007 6:34am
Siounds like this new young doctor is great...It's so good when you have confidence in medical staff. My Mum's cancer was missed by 2 doctors! Hope all goes well :)
Re: Latest on Dad by perfectbitch on 28 March 2007 11:14am
It like a good news bad news scenario - it's awful that your dad is so ill but good that it is rare so that chemo and radiation will work on the tumour. One thing is that the cancer could be slightly less aggressive in your dad due to his age. I may be wrong here as it is such a rare cancer but in general as we age the rate at which our cells divide slows down.

It is so good that it has been diagnosed as quickly as it has. When Nick became erratic and odd in his behaviour, I told all the medical staff that I thought he could have brain tumours but I was dismissed as hysterical and told that he was having a nervous breakdown. It wasn't until he went missing on the coldest night of that year and ended up in a mental hospital in Birmingham that they decided to give him a brain scan and found the tumours. It was then that he was given just days to live but he would be given steroid treatment as a last hope. He lived a further 6 months in good quality much to everyones surprise. I just wish that I'd been listened to - he may still be here. Maybe I didn't make enough of a fuss.

Anyway - I know you will make the most of this time. All good wishes go to you and your family.

Re: Latest on Dad by sandeedeebee on 28 March 2007 2:26pm
My father was diagnosed with T.C.C. bladder and after some investigations (cystoscopy,i.v.u etc) was admitted for a biopsy and given a stat dose of chemo. At his check up recently he was given the all clear and has further check ups at 3 6 9 & 12 months. There was nothing I could do to change the fact he thought the grim reaper was coming, despite fully understanding everything that is going on with him - but what I did do was make it possible when I wasn't working for my mum to spend as much time with him as possible by taking care of the house 24/7 and cooking, walking the dog etc. When someone is diagnosed with any form of cancer, just hearing the word is enough to send the patient into decline. The patient is not the only one suffering and needing care, the family of the sufferer need care too because they have to be well enough to support the person with the illness. Good health to everyone and lots of good wishes x.x.x
Re: Latest on Dad by perfectbitch on 28 March 2007 2:50pm
The grim reaper is coming for us all sooner or later. This fact seems to send people into depression or religeon as a way of escaping mortality. All I hope for that when my time comes, it is as pain free as possible.

Re: Latest on Dad by Palin_Lover on 28 March 2007 3:35pm
Your family is in my prayers. :)
Re: Latest on Dad by tucsonmike on 28 March 2007 5:16pm
Well good luck with the latest stuff.
Re: Latest on Dad by Caty on 28 March 2007 6:03pm
as Linz said, I'm sorry he's going to have to go through so much medication, but I'm glad that things are looking promising! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, Pandab!
Re: Latest on Dad by fairygirl48 on 28 March 2007 8:12pm
Best of luck to you and all your family.
Re: Latest on Dad by Ellerd on 29 March 2007 5:11am
Sorry to hear about this Pandab. Hopefully things will start looking up for you and your dad soon.
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