View Full Version : A Dark Cloud
12-17-2009, 07:51 AM
A week after Thanksgiving, my dad had a CT scan of the lungs and then a bronchoscopy for a suspicious mass. It's cancer.
He's since had a PET scan, MRI of the abdomen and pelvis and a bone scan to see if it has metasticized. It hasn't.
He sought counsel from two oncologists. My parents were told yesterday that he has Stage 3 non small cell lung cancer. It is located in the bronchial tube, threatening to block off his airway. He just turned 70 and has been a heavy smoker since his early teens. Dad had emphysema and has had used oxygen for a couple of years with increasing dependence. Because his lung function is poor, surgery is not an option (you need to score at least 1000 on PFT's and his is only 560). They were going to try low dose radiation, but because of probable further damage to the lung, they have suggested a course of chemo. Without chemo, lung cancer would kill him in 3-6 months. With chemo, he may have 1-2 years. He has always claimed he wouldn't have chemo, but is willing to give it a try at least.
I've only missed one Christmas with my parents in my forty odd years-when my mom was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer (caused by HRT), and this will be the second.
Because of dad's smoking history, I expected this and, quite frankly, am surprised that he's made it to 70. I'm still in a state of shock due to the reality of it all.
My mom is from a family of 10 children, all of whom are still living, as are all of their children. I have only had my grandparents pass away, (without any type of suffering) and really don't know how to process it all.
I know this has been difficult for you, and that you have been having a tough time dealing with it all. Try to look at the positive things, even though they may be small. The last we spoke, your Dad was very resistant to having chemo, but now it sounds like he is willing to try it. It can give him more time, and that is a good thing. We all know chemo is a hard thing to go through, but he sounds like a pretty tough character. He has a desire to fight this, and live as much as he can, that is a great thing.
12-17-2009, 11:11 AM
My heart goes out to you. We lost both my dear mother-in-law and my dad earlier than it should have been because of those awful cancer sticks. I wish that those things could be totally eradicated from the earth. I used to get so angry when I'd see teenagers lighting up as soon as they got into their cars at the school!
As Rob said, it sounds as though your dad is fighting a good fight. Enjoy your time with him, and make the next year or two great ones for him. I know it hurts, but make sure that your kids and everyone else in the family spends time with him and hears all of his life stories. Those will be memories to treasure.
Take care of yourself, too, sweetie. Know that we will all be thinking good thoughts for you and your family.
12-17-2009, 11:16 AM
Im sorry to hear the news,but your Dad is giving the chemo a go so thats such a massive positive step forward.I will be thinking of you all.Let us know how you are and how it goes.
Lots of love
12-17-2009, 07:40 PM
I am sorry to hear about your dad. I have dealt with cancer in my family too and I am here for you if you need a person to cry or vent to. Just remember, each day is a blessing, a gift we call the present so enjoy each and every blessing and present with your dad and build a wall of good times, love, and memories around your family and him and don't let the cancer rob you of those little moments that you will cherish forever. :grouphug:
12-17-2009, 09:21 PM
You and your family are in my prayers and I am glad to hear that your Dad is willing to try chemo.
You are right..cancer sucks!!
Peace and Blessings
sick n tired
12-19-2009, 12:30 AM
So sorry to hear of this....I know how heartbreaking this can be...3 years ago I got the call from my brother that my dad had cancer of the esophagus....the mad dash home along with the other siblings and their children....
...so sorry you have to deal with this...You and yours will be in my prayers....
12-21-2009, 11:00 AM
Your dad and family are in my prayers also Bonusmom. Cancer does suck.
I'm glad he's going to try the chemo. My husband's uncle passed away last year after a five year long battle with lung cancer. We were amazed he lived that long. The docs gave him a grim prognosis, but he made it for five years.
12-21-2009, 02:30 PM
Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers. I especially appreciate the freedom and ability to vent and your empathy about the situation.
After careful thought and consideration, we have decided to take Christmas to Ida-ho-ho-ho! My daughter was able to take time off of work and the boys were already scheduled off, so that wasn't too bad. When the children began driving, sold my mini van and bought a small sedan. Well, in order to get us all comfortable for the 10 hour trip, I rented a mini van. With the shortest standing 5'9" tall, it would've been a very long trip and I don't want that to be their last memory fo visiting PaPa...cramped and feeling like a bunch of sardines. I telephoned my brother to extend an invite for his son, my only nephew, to join us, but he declined as they have other plans.
We will be departing VERY early Christmas Eve and returning the following Sunday. Yes, a short trip, but one for the memory pages.
When I called my mom to ask if she would be overwhelmed with having a full house just two days after dad's first chemo treatment, I was overjoyed to hear her reply "of course not.". When my mom told dad that we were coming, he began to cry.....
I intended to bake yesterday so we'd have all the comfort foods for our trip. Instead, my in-laws asked to take us to dinner so we could exchange gifts. They had purchased a GPS for us for Christmas, intended for a trip DH is taking the following week. Instead we'll get to use it this week as we manuever our way through the desert Nevada mountain ranges (not a beautiful sight by any stretch of the imagination!) Undoubtedly, the in-laws were worried we wouldn't find our way back home :)
12-21-2009, 04:04 PM
Sorry to hear of your own struggles. I know the issues with my Mom have weighed heavy on me this year. Have a happy holiday and I'll keep you in my prayers.
12-21-2009, 04:30 PM
I am so sorry to hear about your troubles but go and enjoy your time with your Dad and family and have the Merriest Christmas. Love and prayers to all of your family and have a safe trip. Bonita
12-21-2009, 06:25 PM
My mom had a similar situation...was diagnosed Oct'09.they thought they saw possible issue in the carotid area and poss stomach.She needed further testing to confirm...she refused...she was a retired nurse.....no treatment..she smoked her cig's and drank her coffee til the end. She was not in pain and did not suffer...we lost her this past June.She did it "her way". And yes cancer does suck. My dad was diagnosed and died in 6 weeks of Pancreatic cancer...so I feel fortunate to have had a little more time with my mom..and yes..cancer does suck.
12-21-2009, 08:21 PM
Have a safe and wonderful trip. Someday, you will all be very glad that you took it. Will you be going through any of the area that has had blizzards lately? Drive carefully, and have a very merry Christmas.
03-16-2010, 08:34 PM
Dad had repeat CT scans last week. The mass has shrunk "marginally", but not enough to warrant the continuation of chemo. Because the formation of the mass is kinda horizontal, they cannot safely do radiation for fear of harming any of his remaining good cells (not many of 'em due to a lifelong smoking habit).
So, hearts are heavy as we hope Dad will survive long enogh to see his eldest grandson get married on 10/9/10.
I'm long overdue for some good news......
03-16-2010, 08:49 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. You are having a rough time lately.
All anyone can say is that you should enjoy the time with him that you have left. Maybe his grandson's upcoming wedding will give him a goal and a reason to hang in there until next fall. It's always amazing what the human will can do.
Enjoy your family, sweetie, and hold them all close.
Lots and lots of Hugs,
03-16-2010, 09:47 PM
Im sorry to hear about your father, I lost my mom several years ago to cancer and just lost my dad last october ,if your dad is willing to go through with chemo good for him,please cherish the time you have with your parents it is very precious,I fortunately have a job that puts family above all else and was able to be with my parents throughout the whole ordeal I will say a prayer for you and your family,
03-17-2010, 06:02 AM
Thanks for the well wishes. it would be a bit easier to process if my parents lived closer, but with them in Idaho and me in Cali, it's not like I can jump in the car to go check in on them. The next time I see them, he'll look very different, I would imagine, from the weight loss and such.
Then again, my dad is very ornery so he'll probably outlive us all (or defy the odds by many years)!
For all of you that have lost a parent, my heart goes out to you. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but with all the other stressors in life, this is kinda the last straw.
I'll have a good cry in the shower and move on with my day. Sometimes a good cry is just what the doctor ordered to put things in perspective....
Happy St. Patrick's Day fellow Irish maties!
I sent you a PM. I wish the news on your Dad was better. If you need to talk, I'm here.
03-17-2010, 02:38 PM
I am so sorry for the pain your family is going through it seems that cancer is pretty much in everyones family somewhere and it really sucks. I pray that the chemo works and your Dad will get a clean bill of health. I will put him on my prayer list. Love Bonita