Friday, April 18, 2014

Dad's Fight For His Life

I've mentioned on here that daddy has stage 4 stomach cancer with metastases to his liver.  He's also had two other cancers that he's beaten.  

He's been going for Chemo since September.  Around Christmas we got the good news that there was Shrinkage going on.  We were thrilled.  Dad was still having chemo and the side effects were getting to him a little more.  The cold winter really took a toll on him.  One of the side effects is that he's more susceptible to the cold, he's not even supposed to use ice in his drinks.

When it was time, he had another scan to measure the success of the continued chemo. These results weren't as good.  Things had started to grow again.  There was considerable growth in some of the tumors.  Enter more fear and worry.

The Drs have proposed a change in the chemo, with the drugs targeting the liver stuff more than the stomach stuff.  BUT, Daddy has been feeling worse and his blood levels have been out of whack so much that they were not able to give him the chemo for two weeks straight.  He's getting "Superman" shots to help build him up and regulate his blood levels.

There is a catch 22 happening here because the liver helps to regulate the blood levels but because of the liver disease his blood levels are out of whack.  They can't give him the chemo to help fight the liver disease because his blood levels are out of whack. If he could get the chemo, it would help fight the liver disease and help to regulate his blood levels.  Round and Round we go......

There are so many changes happening with Daddy.  I see him getting skinnier, weaker and more grumpy.  When he doesn't feel well, he's grumpy.  I feel for ESM because she is taking the brunt of his grumpiness.

Part of my problem is that I've watched all this happen before with Mom.  She fought for her life just as hard as Daddy is.  But this damn disease is horrible and fights back just as hard.  I watched Mom get skinnier, weaker and more grumpy and I know the outcome.  I am so scared for what I am pretty sure is coming with Dad.

I want to be positive and I usually am when I'm around Daddy and ESM and Jakes. But running around in my head are such negative thoughts, fears and worry.  Running around in my head are thoughts and plans for the end, who to call, what to do, where to go, etc.  Each week that he goes for chemo I worry that they are going to send him home with orders for Hospice.

I know there is probably a conversation I should have with my parents, like to lay out some plans and stuff but I feel that acknowledging that with my parents signifies that I am giving up on him and his fight.  I am not giving up on him and the fight but I think I am being realistic with the situation.  I am not ready to let down my guard with Daddy yet.  I don't want him to worry about me during all this, he has enough to worry about.

It used to be once there was liver involvement, you didn't have much time.  I am grateful that there has been improvements in treating all cancers.  But even with the improvements, Daddy is Stage 4 with metastases.  The Drs haven't said "you only have so long left" yet, but I am so afraid that it is coming and soon.

I have all these feelings and thoughts running around and I'm trying to make sense of everything while at the same time I'm spending as much time with them as possible, helping them as much as possible.  

Jakes and I spend at least one weekend day/evening with them.  I want to make sure that Jakes gets to spend as much time with his Gpop as possible.  I haven't decided what to do about Jakes visiting if daddy gets sicker and confined to bed like Mom was.  It was scary for me to watch Mom deteriorate, I don't know how Jakes will deal with it.  There is time to decide on that still, and Jakes is old enough to tell me what HE wants, if he wants to be with Gpop near the end or not.

For now, I am taking things one day at a time.  I cry in the shower most mornings and then find my strength to get through the day.  I have an appt with the therapist, am going back on medication and am working on my coping skills and meditation.  I know what I have to do to stay mentally healthy, its just so hard to do somedays.  One day at a time.  


  1. i am sorry. prayers of strength to you and your family as you face this..
    its hard in the last days to face it...we went through it with my mother in law...

  2. I was blog hopping and landed on your site - and read your post with tears in my eyes. Like you, I watched my Dad waste away and wanted to have The Conversation with him so badly but just couldn't broach the subject. It meant facing the inevitable and I just wasn't ready. Stay strong and know that he's fighting to stay alive for his family, not for himself. I'll be thinking of you and your family this Easter weekend.

  3. I can't imagine how tough this has been on you. My prayers for your dad.

  4. Dearest Amy, how very sad it is to watch the ones we love suffering, with no good news coming. I commend you for taking all the steps necessary to keep yourself healthy while your family is facing this crisis. Would it be okay to let Dad know you are ready/willing to "have the talk" whenever he wants to? So often, the one facing death is worried that family is too scared to face it with them. It can be a very lonely time for them.

  5. Amy, I had a problem with the iPad. I didn't get to say goodbye. I pray you will have the "peace that passes understanding" as you go thru this tough time. Blessings, Rosemary


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