Sunday, November 10, 2013
I am trying to find the gratitudes in this..... but won't even try to pretend... it is not easy....
Mark had an oncology appointment this past Thursday. She took one look at his chest, got on the phone, made the earliest possible appointment for him with the radiation oncologist. She said twice... I've not seen this in a long long time. Friday we saw the radiation oncologist. He was not our usual radiation oncologist, who tended to say we need to this, then looked at Mark with such sadness in his eyes. We are beyond that at this point, we don't need your pity, we need some straightforward answers. The mess on his chest, (lots of bumps, all deep purplish red, and a good sized wound that opened up about a week ago, which was seen by the ER doc, but this was his first time seeing oncology since then....) well, it's another reoccurence. Metastasized to his chest wall and skin. I had a gut feeling it was something that wasn't good, but anyway.... The doctor was most excellent, (to the point we are asking if he can do this round of radiation and become his radiation oncologist, we need his kind blunt honesty. He told Mark he wanted to set up a mapping CT that day. Mark refused, took the keys from me and went to the car. He was angry, can I blame him? No. He's tired. He's worn. He's sick of the radiation. He's sick of feeling like crap all the time. I HATE CANCER. After he left, I stayed and talked to the doctor and nurse for a bit. Doc says he really does need to get this treated, it won't heal, it will continue to spread and get worse. This round of radiation will not be like the last two. It will be targeted radiation, not nearly as deep as the last ones, he'll have some skin irritation, but he doesn't believe we'll see the skin breakdown or the burns like the last round. We set up a mapping CT for Monday at the cancer center he will be at that day. (Same overall clinic, different location.) Got Mark home and we're working thru it all this weekend. Some moments he says he is not sure he's going to get it treated. Other moments he says he will.
Aside from that... we're also having trouble keeping his oxygen levels up in the low 90's. He was running about 91 - 93. Not great but acceptable and when it's that level he doesn't need to have the oxygen on. But lately... like for 3 or 4 days now, it's in the 80's... anywhere from 85 to 89. Not a crisis, but low enough it's of great concern. Also, he's still got swelling in his feet, legs and a bit in his arms. When the radiation oncologist was looking at recent chest x-rays I got a view of the current plueral effusion. I understand why he's so short of breath. We talked about that, (Mark and I) and he's agreed that if this doesn't resolve itself, he'll likely be willing to go up to the VA and have Dr. Aoki (pulmonologist) do a thoracentesis. Never thought I'd heard that out of him. =) But when we were seeing her before, she explained to him how she would do it, it would NOT be CT guided, but done in the office, and she assured him she could use a smaller needle and it wouldnt' be as painful and traumatic to him. The good news is that if they do that they could also test the fluid to be sure it's not cancerous. (Always a concern at this point.) ANYWAY...
I just feel like it's taking over again. I'm having trouble pulling the positives out of this, but they are there. The radiation oncologist didn't seem one bit doom and gloom about this. There were no looks of pity for Mark OR myself. It was matter of fact, but delivered in a kind and considerate way. He told me after Mark had left that this isn't a life threatening (short term) crisis at this point, but that although they can't cure it, they can treat it and then we'll just have to wait til the next reoccurence. Which I am coming to expect. Just not sure how many more Mark will be willing to have treated, til it's so bad and painful that he has no choice..... SO.... it is what it is for now. I am trying to stay positive and cherish every moment. Between the appointments and taking care of Mark, I've not been to Curves since Thursday, before his appointment. I do plan to try to get there Monday, if I'm able after his CT appointment. Which is early in the day. We'll just have to play this by ear. In the meantime, I may have to resort to my Richard Simmons tapes. They are actually fun to work out to as well and I can work up quite a sweat. =)
SO... just needed to put this all somewhere safe. Mark isn't comfortable reading it right now and he's been spending more time on the computer, so I'm careful about what I put where on my online social sites. Anyway....
Hope everyone is doing well and getting ready for thanksgiving. I'm feeling thankful for every day we have at this point, even the tough ones.
To quote Dickens.... "It was the best of times... it was the worst of times....."
Be well, my friends~~