Those of you who read my blog regularly have probably noticed that I haven’t been posting much this week. Those who follow me on social media know part of the story.
Last week, we discovered that my Dad’s rectal cancer had returned in his pelvic area — a number of new tumors. He had been doing so well, and had been chemo free for a year. It was a depressing aspect for my Dad, having to endure the treatments again, hair loss, and the ailments that go along with chemo treatments.
My parents live in another state. I grew up in Connecticut from age five, and my parents are still there. I had been calling to check on them, and sent them little gifts to brighten their days while they faced the prospects coming in the next few months.
I missed Sunday, but called Monday, and got no response. Later, while we were eating dinner, my mother called from her cell phone — which is very rare. I missed the call, and after multiple attempts, got ahold of her. Dad was in the hospital.
On Sunday, when my mother had gotten home from church, my father had a step stool out. When she asked why, he could not explain. He pointed to the window curtain, but couldn’t verbalize what he’d done. He walked over to the two screwdrivers and said, “Stanley Works”.
Monday morning, he had gotten up, and when my mother went upstairs, he was in bed with his robe on. When she asked why he wasn’t up, he said, “You told me to go back to bed.” They hadn’t spoken yet that morning.
When the social worker from the Cancer Center at St. Francis Hospital called my mom to discuss how they were handling things, my Mom told her of the two incidences. The social worker said, “Let me call you right back.” She did, and told my mother to get him to a hospital immediately.
In the Emergency Room, they were checking him for signs of a stroke, ran a CAT scan, and asked a lot of questions. He couldn’t name one of his grandsons, only remembering that he is a little devil. (True. 😉 )
Turns out, his cancer has spread to his brain.
There are three lesions — the two large ones at his temples are almost an inch each. Very large. We didn’t know what was going to happen. So I hopped on a plane about 12 hours later to be with them when we heard more news.
As they did more scans, tests, etc, we found out that he qualifies to have a procedure called “Cyberknife”, where there is targeted radiation to just those three tumors. It is high dosage, and should “kill the cancer cells”. It has an 80% success rate per tumor. The doctors put him on a steroid that is reducing the swelling on his brain from the tumors, so he is thinking clearly and able to speak normally, with only a few blips here and there.
My brother & sister-in-law drove up to CT from Hershey, PA to be there with us too. We went from thinking this was the end, to having hope.
Now, we could get a few more good years with him. We just have to hope that new tumors don’t decide to grow, and that he is in the 80% success rate.
Once he has been through this “Cyberknife” radiation for his head, then they will go back to address the five tumors in his pelvis. He will still need chemo for those, but can’t have it while having the treatment for his brain.
It is very hard to watch your Dad get sick. He has been fighting cancer over and over again for eight years. He’s had major surgeries, minor ones, and enough radiation and chemo for multiple people.
I appreciate the incredible amount of support I have gotten from friends far & wide — social media has brought forth some incredibly kind, supportive, and amazing people. If you are one who prays, please keep prayers coming for my Dad. If not, positive thoughts are hugely welcome, too.