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Friday, January 25, 2008

An Update, But Not Really

So it's been a week. We don't know much more now than we did before. I guess there are little personal tidbits, and maybe a few medical things, so I will share.

My mom and dad went to Mayo on Tuesday. He used a wheelchair. Sigh....the doctors want to do a biopsy of his rib but are faced with the challenge of my dad's blood. Right now it is too thin so they won't even think about doing the biopsy until that thickens up a bit. Everyday my dad has been going to the local clinic to have blood draws. As soon as he is at the level he needs to be, they will call Mayo and set up an appointment for the biopsy and the fluid tap in his abdomen. To keep his blood level stable he will have to have shots in his belly, given by my mom. Nothing is easy.

My mom had an appointment for her never ending problem of her hernia and the sores on her belly. It looks like she is carrying an alien on the side of her body, and it is trying to get out. With my dad's permission, we took his file to my mom's doctor, which happens to be my doctor, which happens to be a good friend. While listening to her talk and show us on the scans what was what, I realised why I liked her from the moment we met when she first mistreated my boob. Her voice is very calming, very matter of fact but caring at the same time. She makes eye contact as she explains things, and good lord, she is very good at explaining things. There's no sugar coating, which I like, and she is very honest. This is what she explained to us, and hopefully I am not forgetting things or passing bad information. I should have taken notes, but I was really wrapped up in the moment and forgot.

My dad has gained 13 pounds in the past week and a half from the fluid building up, and that won't change. What I did not know is that a lesion and a tumor are synonymous. The one that is in his chest that is destroying his rib is about 1.5 X 2 inches. Pretty big. I saw his rib, and it looks like Swiss cheese in the effected area. Lots of little holes where the bone has been destroyed. His spleen is enlarged, which I didn't know before, and there is a lesion on his spleen too, which I also did not know. There seems to be a very good chance that his peritoneum (outside lining of the stomach) has a good amount of cancer in it. So there you go, the medical update for now. They could change in an hour, a day, a week. That's cancer for you.

Now for the personal. I did not know that my dad had such a small frame. I watched him walk back to the bedroom and was shocked at how narrow his shoulders are. I think I said before, he has always been a man who was larger than life, who got attention of others when he walked into the room. While you can see his frame, his tummy is so big. He can only eat a little at a time as I think the fluid is making less and less room for his stomach. When he came home from Mayo it took all that he had to get up the stairs with his overnight bag. I can see at times that he is having trouble getting deep breaths, again, from the fluid. I have spent quite a bit of time at their house with them this past week, without my family. I have enjoyed listening my dad tell stories about his family. I love that he still cracks some one liners to my mom. Sometimes when he is talking, in my mind he is not dying. In my mind it is just us talking about the good old days, and the not so good old days. Sometimes when at work or the store or any other place I go for escape, I forget that our time is limited. That usually lasts about 10 minutes then it all comes crashing down again. Lately what I have been thinking about is not the selfish stuff like my loss, but the loss my mom is going to have. She said last night that she is having a hard time imagining not having someone to bounce ideas off of, to not have that presence in the house. I can't imagine it either. I think about their bedroom, and that big bed. I think about the things that my dad does, out of habit, that my mom never had to worry about before. I think about all of the $2 bills my dad gives the girls, something he did for me when I was little. Yikes. Some things are just too much to think about all at once. And now is one of those times.


Fran said...

Oh Sue, I am so sorry that you are again having to face cancer. I've heard many people say it's easier to have cancer then it is to watch someone you love battle it. I believe that this is true. Please know that my heart aches for you. Cancer is always in the back of our minds, but I'm sorry that it's been pulled front and center to yours once again.

Much love,

Eliza Brock said...

Hey woman,

Just stopping by to say I am still and have been praying for you and your family. Hope you guys have a better week!