It’s been 3 months since the nasty word “Mesothelioma” was first mentioned in our household. Since that diagnosis rocked our world.
My Dad had his 3rd round of chemo almost 2 weeks ago. This one has been tough. He hasn’t “bounced back” as quickly as he did after the other 2 treatments. They say the more chemo you have, the worse it gets.
On top of the chemo, my Dad gets “drained” every 7 to 10 days. The tumour weeps into his belly causing excess fluid to build up in his abdomen; the term is Ascites. To treat the ascites, doctors insert a small tube (catheter) into the abdomen and my Dad lays there for 5 to 7 hours while it drains. The first time, the doctors took 10.5 litres of fluid. That’s a lot of fluid pressing up against your organs! Besides the pain and discomfort of that, it also causes him to lose his appetite, he experiences extreme tiredness and can’t take a deep breath. Not being able to breathe deeply has, in part, brought on blood clots in his lungs. Nurses come to the house every day to give him a blood thinner shot.
Each time they drain him it is less and less fluid. That’s a good sign. His oncologist says that could be a sign that the tumour is shrinking.
But each time they drain him, it’s like a serious gong show at their local hospital. The one time I was there, they had him all hooked up in the ER to drain. He had been there for almost 12 hours, it was nearing 11 pm and he wanted to go home. The nurses in the ER couldn’t figure out how to take out the catheter. The doctors in the ER couldn’t figure out how to take out the catheter. The radiologist who had put it in was long gone for the day. After Googling, “How to Remove a Pig Tail Catheter” – I assisted the doctor in pulling it out. I wish I was kidding.
Last Thursday they drained the least amount of fluid to date; less than 4 litres. Which again, we believe, is a clear sign the tumours are shrinking. But his treatment in the ER at his local hospital while enduring the procedure, was appalling, again. My Dad won’t complain though, he feels they’ll stop treating him together if he does. Let’s just say, if I’d been there to see and hear what the nurse said to him, I’d have slapped the guy. No bedside manner whatsoever.
After this ordeal, my parents and my sister met with Dad’s WCB nurse (the cancer is directly caused by Asbestos exposure while he was project manager for design firms, renovating old buildings in BC and Alberta, about 40-45 years ago). They shared with her how they feel Dad gets treated at their local hospital; as a “write-off” because he is terminal. She looked directly at Dad in the face and said, “YOU ARE NOT TERMINAL!” My sister, mom and dad all had goosebumps. When they told me on the phone, I had goosebumps. She went on to share how she has been working with cancer patients with Mesothelioma for over 15 years and said my Dad is unique and a fighter and not terminal. She said it with such conviction. She really believes he will survive this. She is the first person in the medical profession since this all began 3 months ago to give us hope. “It is just a process and takes time to get through…” those are words you long to hear when dealing with this!
Mesothelioma can Kiss my…. 😉
My Dad is determined and a fighter. He is so positive and clear about his future. We will continue to press forward in our Faith that he has beaten this. We have added a new prayer request to the list… that the treatments moving forward won’t knock him down, as they say, is “normal”. He is not a normal guy. 🙂 His next round of chemo is a week Friday.
In talking with my parents yesterday, we’re making plans to spend Christmas together.
HOPE is an AMAZING thing!! Always hold on to hope!