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Today would have been my Dads 74th birthday.  Hard to believe another year gone by.  We will go up to the cematery and remove the Christmas wreath we placed there.  I don’t know what we’ll replace it with yet.  

We used Dad’s pickup to go to the wrestling meet yesterday and that was a bit strange.  

We are doing okay.  All of us.  

Life goes on and sometimes that feels like a betrayal.  

Life goes on and we must live while we can.

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I’ve been thinking about Dad lately.  I guess, around Thanksgiving was the time we found out he was carrying cancer cells.  Lung cancer.  Abnormal, freakish, squamous cells, non small cell in fact.  Death cells.

fucking cancer

I keep remembering the last day, the last hour, the last minute, the last time I saw Dad.  It kills me.  Makes me tear up and cry, clench the calves of my legs until they cramp up and hurt and twist my leg into a pretzel.  

Sadness.

I usually crowd these thoughts out and try not to think.

when it comes down to it.

Painful

I think often about my own mutating cancer cells.  I’m not diagnosed.  I just think it is invietable.  I will get cancer and I will die.  when?  I don’t know.  Probably sonner than later.  If not that then death by heart attack.  

That’s my body type, my destiny, my history, my future… me

Everytime I mow out at Mom and Dads house (weekly) I feel sad. I begin to think of Dad’s last breathe, me saying, “Mom, he’s going!”, how he gasped twice and then…nothing. I remember how I lowered the head of his bed once minute before then, saying, “Just for a second Dad” and then another nurse and I pulled him up so that his feet weren’t pressed against the foot of the bed. It was then, that he died. Right after we did that. Right after that. Right after that. I see his open mouth, like a baby bird. I see his sunken eyes. I hear that silence. The absence of breath. I see it over and over and over and over and over. I cannot say that this is why he died. I know that. But it feels like it was the reason sometimes.
Everyhing feels so strange about the cancer time. Not like a dream but…something not quite lucid just the same. Like a fog covered the last 2 years. Like a mist that descended and made everything seem close and thick and difficult and all our own world somehow. Like a deserted island. It’s hard to explain.
Mom is doing okay. She sleeps at our house quite often. The empty couch in her living room, too much to bear. The silence of an empty home at night is much different than a quit afternoon.

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Got dad over to the local hospital for an IV infusion of Zymeta. While waiting for the serum calcium report (12), dad just kept looking at the floor, bent over, totally fatigued and horrible looking. I almost hoped they would keep him there. He hasn’t hardly eaten in the last 2 weeks. Not much anyway. Finally they got him in and decided to infuse a liter of fluid with the med. He really seemed to feel a bit better right away. By that I mean, he didn’t just look at the floor and he seemed a bit more animated. I think mom said he ate almost a whole fried egg, 2 strips of bacon and several different juices for supper last night. I’m sure the liter of fluid helped too. We go back on Thursday for another dose…if needed…which I’m almost sure we will.

The PET scan showed several ribs with “activity” and several “new areas” and oddly no sign of the primary tumor. Several nodes with “metabolic activity” and lost of pleural activity now.
Not good.
Although I hate PET scans because they practically show a freckle I have a tendency to believe this one as Dad’s condition has suddenly escalated and he is extremely frail, in pain and unable to eat much. We may be looking at hospitalization soon. We will talk with the oncologist on Monday.
I actually talked to the oncologist on Friday, and saw the report of the scan late Friday but I wanted to wait until MOnday to talk with Mom about it. Spare the weekend for her. Well…she found the report anyway.
I hope we can keep the pain at bay.
Dad looks so thin…can’t weigh 130 now. The weight is just dropping off.
Cancer loves calories.
shit

Dad got through the PET okay. He didn’t use O2, but we packed it just in case. He then had zymeta. He is SOOOOO thin. Mom and I went to Walmart and picked up SMALL sweat pants for him. I bet he doesn’t even weigh 130. We don’t even weigh him at home anymore. We don’t want to know. I imagine he will get weighed next Thursday. We will find out then what the PET shows. Dad’s calcium level was 12.4…the highest it’s ever been. NO wonder he has been so lethargic this last week. If the cancer is in the bone I dont’ know what we will do. But if not…he has GOT to have that surgery. When we got home dad was hurting and he took pain meds and ate only a little bit. Later, I was surprised to hear that he drove over to our house (though he stayed in the car) and dropped off some curtains that mom had been working on for me. He couldn’t even get off the couch for 5 days, has Zymeta and ta daaa he feels a bit better. I don’t think it will last many days but he will have to take advantage of his normal calcium level while he can.

Going to Kearney for Dads PET scan. The last Oncologist appointment she said we need to find out if Dad’s cancer has spread to the bones or if the hyperparathyroidism is causing the hypercalcemia. If there is no mets to the bones than she would feel comfortable reccomending the surgery to remove the glands. If the cancer has spread, of course, than this is the reason for the hypercalcemia.
Dad looks bad. Really bad. No edema whatsoever. He is shrinking, eyes wide and not talkative at all. He barely moves off the couch. You can tell that the zymeta helps the calcium stay in the norm for about 5 days and then…you can see Dad “melting”, for lack of better word. Just 2 weeks ago…Dad mowed the lawn! On his rider of course…but…still…he hadn’t done that for about 2 seasons. Now…he can’t even face taking a shower. He is on O2. He is barely eating. He probably weighs less than 140 at this point. The PET scan will take over an hour and then we have to go to the Oncologist for the Zymeta. He will be totally exhausted I’m sure. I hope we can get him there without problems.

On February 24 and February 27, 2006, EWG (Environmental Working Group) purchased the following drinks at four major retail outlets in Washington, DC. They all contained ascorbic acid and either sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate—the ingredients that the FDA and the beverage industry have said can mix together to form benzene, a known human carcinogen. The actual levels of benzene formed in these products may be at trace levels and well within legal limits for drinking water.

Country Time Lemonade
Crystal Light Sunrise Classic Orange
Diet Pepsi Twist
Diet Pepsi Vanilla
Diet RockStar Energy Drink
Fanta Orange
Fanta Pineapple
Fruit20 Plus 10 Natural Apple
Giant Fruity Punch Cooler
Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red
Hawaiian Punch Lemonade
Hi-C Blast, Orange Supernova
Kool-Aid Jammers Blue-Raspberry
Kool-Aid Jammers Cherry
Kool-Aid Jammers Grape
Kool-Aid Jammers Orange
Lo-Carb Monster Energy
Monster Energy
Pepsi Twist Lemon
RockStar Energy Drink
Sierra Mist
Sunkist
Sunny D
Sunny D Baja
Sunny D Intense Sport Cool Punch
Sunny D Orange-Fused Strawberry
Sunny D Smooth
Sunny D Smooth + Calcium
Tampico Citrus Punch
Tampico Grape Punch
Tampico Tropical Punch
Tropicana Twister Diet Soda (Diet Orange)
Tropicana Twister Soda Grape
Tropicana Twister Soda Orange
Tropicana Twister Soda Strawberry

Went to Kearney to the oncologist yesterday. Doc thought maybe Dad’s calcium is staying high because of parathyroid involvement…perhaps a node there or something. If he could get that out, then he could quit the monthly Zymeda (which is now making Dad feel achy and crappy) so he wants Dad to see an endocrinologist. They are trying to set that up now. Of course there is no such animal as an endocrinologist nearby or anything. Omaha or LIncoln.

Dad’s scan showed, hold your breath, fluid in his lungs…again.
duh
I’m afraid this is how things will be. Take the fluid out, back the fluid comes.
I would have to say that Dad doesn’t have as many symptoms of the reaccumulation of fluid…as he did last time.
We went to the oncologist today.
Basically she said she thought the fluid was reaccumulating because of “cancer”. I really think that Dad thought his cancer was, well, gone. Because of all the radiation, the chemo, the procedures he’s undergone and the side effects of these things he had forgotton one thing. He has cancer. Cancer AND side effects of those other things.
The oncologist gave us three options. One…a different type of chemo, Two…consult with a thoracic surgeon who could put Dad in the hospital for several days, insert bilateral chest tubes, drain both lungs, “scar” up the pleural spaces and MAYBE this would work to keep the fluid from reaccumulating, Three…go on as we have been, still getting monthly Zymeda, draining the lungs as needed.
I don’t know, for some reason I had convinced myself that the fluid was related to, perhaps, the radiation or chemo. As we were about to leave I thought to ask the Dr. this question. She said, No…the fluid is not caused by these things. She seemed sure. I still question it. I don’t think she likes me. I don’t think the nurses like us either. I hate that place. I see them visiting with other patients, caring, asking questions, touching, making eye contact…and then…they seem very very different to us. I wonder why.
Anyway, we have to talk about our options and figure out what to do now.