Thursday, May 05, 2016

A Bit of Melancholy

I just spent ten days in the hospital and have enough material for several posts that should lend everyone a smile or two.  However those posts are for another day. This post is serious, a summary of why I was in the hospital and an update of the status of my cancer. So if you don’t want to ruin your day you might want to move along. Nothing to see here.

During the aforementioned ten days in the hospital I believe I was looking death in the eyes. My breathing got so shallow that I couldn’t even stand up without gasping and almost passing out. Forget walking a single step. I was on supplemental oxygen for the entire 10 days. On the second day I received a transfusion of 2 pints of blood and was put on a massive regimen of diuretics. People came to visit me and I could barely speak. My wife and I were sure the end was coming that night. I fell asleep around 2 a.m. not expecting to see dawn. At 5:30 a.m. I was surprised to still be alive when someone woke me to take a blood sample. I was taken for a CT scan. Transferred from the bed to the CT machine, I panicked due to extreme difficulty in breathing. It took them a good 10 minutes to get me calmed down before they could begin the scan. Later that day one of the gaggle of doctors attending to me drew nearly 2 liters of fluid from my right lung. Back in my room, the oncologist dropped by to let me know that the CT scan showed the cancer now occupied most of the lower half of my right lung and the latest drug I started a few months ago was having no effect on it. The next day I started feeling better but still pretty rocky. It took another seven days before I was good enough to release.

Today I went to see the oncologist again to discuss another drug he had said might help me. On this visit he said he had checked into the data on the drug and found that it was less effective than any of the other medicines that they have already tried. There isn’t anything else to try. He’s done everything he can and the only suggestion he had was to send me back to Dr. Whoosh at the cancer research hospital to find out if there are any clinical trials I might qualify for.

I’m surprisingly calm about this. Maybe I’m in denial, I don’t know. I feel sort of peaceful and accepting. I still feel healthy except for the shortness of breath, although I am now in palliative care (the next step is hospice). Strangely, I look at the news as a sort of gift. Most folks don’t have any idea when they will meet their doom. It might be tomorrow or 50 years in the future. Although I don’t know the exact time, I now know that there is a good chance that it might be around the next corner. Something I don’t have to worry about any more. There are a multitude of people saying prayers for me and I cannot discount the effect those prayers have. Without the prayers I truly believe I would have passed on when I was in the hospital. I won’t say that God won’t bring a miracle. Things happen that are beyond understanding and I still have some hope. But as I said, I’m at peace whatever happens. I’m okay with it.

Okay, enough navel gazing, I’ll have a more upbeat post in a few days.

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