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Dad’s birthday is coming up.  January 18th.  I can’t believe it going to be his second birthday gone.  Time is passing so quickly.  

Mark drove Dad’s pick up around a few days and it seemed weird to see it parked in our driveway.  I caught myself glancing up at it and remembering Dad sitting out there, cigarette in hand, waiting for the boys to come out, waiting for us to see him and come outside and visit with him, all the while smoking one of his “little friends“.   

In reality when I think of Dad, I think of cigarettes.  The two go hand in hand.  The smell, the sight, I can’t think of him without those damn cancer sticks.

So hard to believe.  The year is up.  Tomorrow.  I find myself moved to tears lately.  Especially when gathering up and putting out to display the Fathers Day cards, the Fathers Day plaques and other knick knacks  at the shop.

Just got done visiting Dad’s gravesite…again.  Mark and the kids and I went up yesterday too.  We’ve had such a lot of rain (excess of 6 inches this past few days) that I worried the dirt would be swept away or sunken in.  Everything was as should be though.  A little yucca plant is growing behing Dad’s stone.  I think we’ll let it go there.  See if it grows.  I remember sticking a little green seed pod there quite some time ago.  I wonder if he would be mad.  Anyway, Mom and I got everything decorated and we went to Arapahoe and Holbrook and decorated graves there too.  The weather was hot but nice.  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year.  I know I keep saying that but it’s true.  The whole last year Dad was sick seems like a dream…another world entirely.  I think I’ve changed a lot since then.  I’m someone new…someone I don’t really know.  I can’t explain it and I don’t know if it’s even relative to what happened when Dad was sick.  I just know it’s true.

Stage IIIa non small cell squamous cell carcinoma of the left bronchus.

He suffers no more.
Dad died this morning, June 14th. We brought him to the hospital yesterday and he was admitted around 7pm.
I can’t wish him back.
Not to the life he just left. Not to the shrunken man he’d become.
Cancer is an evil son of a bitch and steals you, inch by inch by inch. Cancer is a steady burn, like a candle wicks decline.

It’s bad now.
Everyday someone asks…”So…how’s your dad?”, and I have to pause and say, “He’s not good, he’s not good at all”. Even though I said that yesterday, and the day before that and the day before that…today…he’s worse. Each day unfolds some new, bad. Every day is hell in it’s own way. There is no word for this disease…this parasitic fungi…this appetite stealing, body wasting, sonofabitch cancer.

The serum calcium hasn’t dropped. In fact the last one checked was 12.2 and the alk phos was higher, the SPGOT was higher, everything was higher. I think he was pretty dehydrated though. They are giving him a litre of fluid with each dose and I think that is helping as much as anything.
It just seems like a nightmare. He can’t eat anything. He is crabby about everything. He says his pain is under control and he appears to be pain free. He just sits on the couch with his head hanging down most all of the day. I don’t know how mom takes it. She won’t leave the house. I get the mail, the groceries, we mow their lawn. Mom is held prisoner, as we all are now…to this disease. Dad is on Prednisone now, Miralax for his bowels, Ms Contin for pain…bid, Darvocet for breakthrough pain, Coumadin, Lasix, Aldactone, Potassium. He can eat only smooth foods. His dentures don’t fit and I don’t see him going into the dentist office for a fitting. He is weak. He weighs nothing. He has no shortness of breath really…doesn’t use O2. crazy ass disease

Dad is using a walker now. He is okay with that. He can get about the house better. Mom told me that Dad said, after he fell the other night and couldn’t get up, “I never thought I’d end up this way…”
Small victories are the epitome of cancer.
After the initial diagnosis the first came when they said Grade III instead of IV, then there was no spread, then he wasn’t terribly sick from chemo just a little and then…on and on and on it goes.
For every down side there was a small victory, albeit tiny, squinting hard to find it victory…because without those little bitty scraps…you have nothing to hope for…

I’ve become the child of someone dying with cancer.
No longer a nurse.
No longer someone who knows someone who “has cancer”.
Suddenly, to the very marrow of my bones I, well, ache…for lack of a better word.
This is a feeling you can’t really describe easily.
This is a sinking, nervous despair feeling that only anyone who has a parent or close family member dying of cancer would recognize.
Dad is shrinking by the hour it seems. Cheeks sunken in. Verbalization at a minimum. Pain seems to be under good control. He is walking with a cane now. Output is poor. His eyes look resigned to the fate at hand. I guess that’s what I noticed yesterday. What often triggers my tears.
This is so very very hard.

Main problem is related to hyperparathyroidism at this time. Dad does not want the surgery needed to take out the overactive glands. This leads to his having hypercalcemia. This leads to him taking IV Zymeta every 3 weeks. The IV Zymeta is given to lower the high levels of calcium in his blood. The high levels of calcium can lead to some real life threatening issues. The Oncologist assures us that the side effects Dad has are related to high levels of calcium…NOT the Zymeta infusion. Nor does the Dr think that Dad’s cancer has returned, yet. He seems to think it will be back though he doesn’t say when or where. So…Dad weighs around 144 now, he is anorexic, food makes him absolutely sick when he thinks of it. We are dosing him with BOOST PLUS HIGH PROTEIN, Shakes, Smoothies…tying for frequent small meals throughout the day…whavever he will take. He gets out about once a day now…but for awhile…right after his last check u, there was about a month he didn’t get out at all. His edema is controlled now. His breathing seems okay with dyspnea upon exertion but no need for oxygen. He occasionally uses a TJN treatment of Albuterol. He is to receive Zymeta every three weeks now. Nothing else on the agenda really.

I think dad has pneumonia or a virus. He seems weaker and his voice is a bit hoarse. He has no energy. He doesn’t want to eat…an ongoing problem. He requested his nebulizor medication. He is taking Darvocet frequently…I don’t know if he is having that much pain since his last thoracentesis or…I don’t know. He had some Levaquin left and started on that…but…I think he needs to go to the Dr. Of course he threw a big ass fit when I told him I was making an appointment and taking him. NO NO NO he told me.
okay…I get it. Don’t help you
when I know better
this has been a day from hell anyway and now I feel even more of a failure.
some nurse/daughter I am

May 2020

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