Last Friday my dad had an appointment for a biopsy of his lung tumor and another Pleural Thoracentesis (not entirely sure that’s the correct term or spelling). They only drained about a liter of fluid from around his lungs this time, which is a not-terrible sign; At least the fluid levels hadn’t built up to where they were (2200 cc’s) 3 weeks prior.
The doctor was kind enough to schedule the CT Scan for later the same day. He is allergic to the dye they use for contrast for these tests so they pumped him full of Benadryl, which seemed to work. I think the beginning of these tests has really made this all “real” for him. He had a PET scan scheduled for this afternoon, and this morning before the appointment he had hives all over his back. My father has never had any anxiety issues, he’s usually the calmest guy in the room during stressful situations. The fact that he is suffering from this anxiety is enough to bring me to my knees. I think everyone’s nightmare is to watch a parent suffer. The fact that he is suffering emotionally, psychologically and physically breaks my heart.
The doctors should be contacting my parents sometime tomorrow to discuss the cumulative results from these tests and I plan to be there. After working 3rd shift tonight I’m making the 3 hour drive. I will nap on the sofa while we wait for the call. I’m hoping with all my might that I can stay strong for them. I hear that cancer patients quickly begin to tire of visitors because they require so much energy just consoling them. I do hope my presence will ease their stress and not cause any added tension.
He’s a really special guy. I hope his weakened body can handle this.
So, phase 2 of the cancer life began yesterday with a biopsy of the tumor and another thoracentesis to drain the pleural effusion fluid. They went down his throat to biopsy the tumor on his lung so he was anesthetized, which led to an interesting phone conversation with him after it was done. When the doctor came in to talk to them about what he found my mother was kind enough to call me and hold the phone up to the doctor so I could hear. This is what he learned. The doctor was thinking Dad had “non-small cell lung cancer”, but now he thinks it could possibly be “extensive small cell lung cancer”. The difference is that the small cell cancer responds well to treatment, but it returns quickly and aggressively. When my mom asked for more details the doctor immediately said he must end the conversation there because he wasn’t sure enough to speculate yet, and he didn’t want to have anyone misled one way or another. The doctor was also kind enough to schedule the next test for the same day, the CT Scan. The pathologist should process this information and get it all to my dad’s doctor by Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest. I’m planning to drive up to Greenville on Wednesday morning to be there with my parents when they get whatever news the doctor has to give, or at least that is my plan. It’s entirely possible they will get the call from the doctor on Tuesday. Tuesday is also the day they have a PET Scan scheduled. We are hoping to find out from all of these tests whether the cancer is just lung cancer, another cancer that has metastacized to the lungs, or if the lung cancer could possibly have metastacized to other organs.
So now we wait. Again.
Time will tell.
Tomorrow I fly with a friend. I’m going to attempt to take a day off from worry.