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Archive for February, 2012

Dad, part Duex . . . .

Well, we’ve been in the hospital for 2 weeks and 4 days and we’ve hit a bit of a speed bump. He’s had about 10 radiation treatments and 2 rounds of chemo. He’s handling both as good as can be expected with very little nausea but a lot of weakness. His blood counts have all been, again, as good as can be expected. There is still no real change with the blockage of his left lung but after speaking with the doctor in charge of his radiation, it was kind of to be expected. His first few treatments of radiation were of a high dosage and he said that if that didn’t make the tumor shrink, which it hadn’t, that the now lower doses of radiation would take a few weeks to affect any change.

The “speed bump” as I put it occurred Tuesday night. His heart rate suddenly jumped to 177 and his oxygen level was down to 82 despite receiving oxygen. This definitely got the nurses to scurrying.  While he was more or less aware during all of this, having them bring in the crash cart and stick the shock pads on him wasn’t a sight I want to see again. Luckily they never had to use it. He was transferred to ICU where they were able to get his hr and O2 level somewhat stabilized.  His hr was staying around 135, which is better than the 180 he topped out at but still too high. They switched his medicine and as of Wednesday night, it was staying a below 100.

As for what caused it, not really sure. The cardiologist said the it was more than likely just a cocktail of the coughing, cancer, chemo, radiation, etc. About 40 minutes prior to this happening, he did get choked swallowing, ironically, the smallest pill he takes. He just coughed for a bit then was fine. My opinion is that was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back and brought it all on. According to the cardiologist, the EKG they gave him during the episode showed that the top chamber of his heart was beating at 300 bpm while the bottom chamber was just beating intermittently. They have put the radiation treatments on hold until he gets released from ICU. We don’t have any time frame for that but his night nurse did say that she didn’t see any reason for him to still be in there in the condition he’s in so maybe he can go back to a normal floor soon.

He’s still in good spirits and occasionally an ass, which is a good sign. I’ve passed on all the well wishes, prayers, and offers of help with whatever we need. He is greatly appreciative and there really isn’t any words I can use that would do justice to how much I appreciate it all. He’s been surprised at the amount of friendship, caring, and support he’s received and probably even more surprised at the amount I’ve gotten. Apparently he finds it a mystery as to why people like me. Saying stuff like that shows he’s still got the fight.

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Dad . . . .

If you’ve come here from my Facebook page feel free to ignore the rest of the drivel on this site. I just felt this was the easiest place to put up the information since Facebook posts have limited amount of space.

Mid-January, Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had a small tumor in the bronchus tube of his left lung. While awaiting for his doctors to get off their slow ass and figure what they are going to do, the tumor suddenly had a growth spurt and blocked off his left lung from getting any air. That caused him to contract pneumonia and ultimately made the lung collapse. He’s been in St. Bernard’s since Feb. 6. After contemplating a few different options, both his chemo and radiation doctors decided for him to have radiation treatments on the outside of his body, front and back where the tumor is located followed by weekly chemo treatments to give the radiation a boost. The hope is to at least reduce the tumor just enough to allow the lung to refill with air so he can be released to go home. Once he’s released, he can then get a PET scan so we can stage the cancer and start a treatment plan. The biggest concern at the moment isn’t the cancer but the blocked lung. If it can’t be opened up in time, it could die and have to be removed. Since Dad is 76 and only has about 25% capacity in his “good” lung, that would mean being tied to a breathing machine for the rest of his life.

As of today, we had a small glimmer of hope as the nurse from the chemo doctor thought she heard movement in his left lung but an x-ray and a listen from the pulmonary doctor showed no change. But he did add that he felt it was still too early to have expected anything to have changed so I guess that’s a not a bad omen. He has had four rounds of radiation treatments with no visible ill affects. He had his first round of chemo Fri and seems to maybe have missed out on getting sick. He is a lot more tired today than he’s been since we’ve been here and has no appetite but, knock on wood, isn’t sick.

I apologize for being slow to tell people. I just wanted to wait until we were sure what we were dealing with and then things kind of just accelerated. For those of you that know and expressed sympathy and support, means more than you can know. To anyone else who happens to stop by and offer their good thoughts, prayers, and the like, thank you to all of you as well. We can use all that we can get. I promise to be more forthcoming with updates.

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