I don’t wanna and I’m not doing to do it. Do what, you ask? Have another parent with cancer. So help me…
Okay. Here’s what’s going on:
Dad has a hernia. He’s had it for a long while. He started getting pain in that area a couple months ago. He went to the VA, who decided it was probably a pulled muscle…even though dad hadn’t been doing anything that would CAUSE a pulled muscle. Being a good patient, he took the muscle relaxers and pain killers they gave him. It didn’t help. I’m sure you’re shocked. He went back in, they decided that it could indeed be the hernia and he should probably have that taken out. He also developed some chest pain, so they did a CAT scan of the whole area. They wanted to see a) what was going on and b) where the hernia was exactly located so that they could remove it. Well…while they were doing that, they found spots in his lungs. One of them was of a shape that was indicative of cancer. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when he had a bronchioscopy on his lungs to take some samples of those spots. They took 6 samples, 5 came back clean and 1 came back with abnormal cells that they couldn’t identify. Tuesday he had a PET w/CT scan to see what they could determine. The answer is…they’re fairly certain that it’s cancer, but they don’t know what kind, which means they can’t treat it yet.
Yesterday was his hernia surgery. They got him in 4 hours late, but it went as it should have. There is talk of doing a needle biopsy on the spot that came back abnormal while dad is up here. It’s a 200 mile trip one way for him to come up here. He’s not allowed to drive for the next 3 weeks because of this surgery, which means they’d have to wait at least that long to do anything with his lungs if they don’t do it now. I am less than pleased at that prospect, so I’m hoping they do it today. There’s only one problem: the main artery runs right in front of that spot. It’s not a big spot. They have about 1/16″ of space in order to get the spot w/o hitting the artery. That’s…really not a lot of room for error, y’all. If they nick that artery, he’ll bleed and quick. There’s also the chance that his lung could deflate while they do this. It’s why they’ve put it off – because there’s a lot of risk and they didn’t want to do it if they didn’t have to. But now…now they’ve no choice, unless we just don’t want to find out, let it go, do periodic CT scans to see what it’s doing.
I’ve already told dad that I’m not going to guilt-trip him like my sister did to our mother. His health choices are his – if he doesn’t want to pursue treatment, he doesn’t have to. If they can do radiation (which I don’t think they can on lung cancer) and he wants to do that, but not chemo, then so be it. I will not force my choices on him because I don’t have to live with the consequences – he does. It’s the same thing that I told mom. I won’t allow anyone else to pressure him either, and that means M.
Speaking of M – we’re okay. She’s been staying with us while dad was having his surgery. She will be the one driving him home. Dad told her that if this all goes south, he’s letting her go. She said she wasn’t leaving. 🙂 She asked me last night if I was okay with her taking care of dad should it go south. I told her I was happy to have her do it, and I am. I know what’s involved, to a certain degree. I saw my mother, I talked to her, I helped take care of her. Getting near the end I was going down there every weekend…but I wasn’t in class, and I didn’t have a toddler, and I had money in savings. We blew through that money and we’ve never quite recovered from it. I just CAN’T go down there like I could before. I feel guilty for that, like I love mom more than I do dad because I was willing to go down there before and I can’t do it now. That’s not the case…not really…but I also just can’t handle it. You have to understand – my dad? Rarely sick, even with a cold. He’s just not. He’s been hurt a few times in my life but I was only around for one of them, and I was a child. Seeing my dad in a hospital last night? So very hard for me. To watch my dad die before my eyes? I don’t think I can handle it. Not again. Back to M – I’d far rather have someone I know, someone I know loves my dad, who will care for him as a person and not a patient, who is there for him at all times, take care of him. Hospice is great, don’t get me wrong, but they can’t be there all the time. Yes, he could have a live-in nurse…but they would be a NURSE, not a friend, not someone who loves him. I can’t be there, so I’d rather she was in my stead.
I know, I know. Jumping the gun here. Maybe the spot will turn out to be nothing, yeah? Dad’s brother had a bunch of these spots on his liver and kidneys when he was in his 30s and they turned out to be nothing but spots. It could totally be that, yeah? No, probably not, because the cells are abnormal. But pap smears come back with abnormal cells sometimes that turn out to be nothing, yeah? Yeah, but a lung is not a cervix or a uterus. I just…I’m worried. I had a dream 2 nights ago that dad died during what should have been a routine surgery. He didn’t…but they aren’t done with him yet. M had the same dream. The last time I dreamed about being told a parent had died, it was true – I didn’t tell Aaron about the dream, and it still happened exactly as I dreamed it would. No, I don’t think I’m prophetic. Yes, I know it’s probably a product of worry. I watched mom actively slide to death for 14 months, although she’d never really recovered from the breast cancer…and yet I never dreamed of her death until the day before she died. So yes, I’m worried. I’m worried about the biopsy. I’m worried that it will be cancer. I’m worried he won’t do any treatments. The hernia doc actually talked to dad about the results of the PET and said that if it is cancer, dad most likely has about 2 years. There hasn’t been much change between scans, so it probably isn’t small-cell cancer (which is very aggressive). The hernia doc should have kept his mouth shut and just let the pulmonary doc talk to dad about all this, but he didn’t, and now we’re worried. We. M and I, at the very least. I’m worried that Aaron’s dad and my dad are going to die sooner than they should – being, when they’re 90. It’s a given for his dad, but not mine. I won’t do it. I’m not gonna do it. I can’t do it. Okay, I can and I will, but I DO NOT WANT TO. EVER EVER EVER AGAIN.
UPDATED: Just got a call from Dad. They are releasing him today. They are not going to do the biopsy today. No. They are going to wait 2-3 weeks and then do it. He’ll be allowed to drive then. Why not do it today, while he’s still here and in the hospital? I have no fucking clue, other than “they want to give him time to recoup from this surgery”. Fuck that. Fuck letting him recover only to stick a needle in his chest and make him recover from that too. Do it now. Don’t give those spots a chance to grow before you find out what it is. Do it now, before they grow and spread and kill him because they go to his brain. Do it while you can still be reasonably assured of getting all the cells. I am enraged and all I can say is “fuck them” and “seriously?!” My jaw hurts from trying not to cry, because I don’t have TIME to break down right now.