Thursday, May 28, 2009

Today

Well, the surgery went well today because they got the big tumor out, but it has unfortunately spread to his liver and is Stage 4. In my heart of hearts, I knew this. He seems a weird color to me and the tumor seems so big and some local organization has offered to pay for everything and his liver has been so badly abused to begin with--all of these things have had me suspecting that doctors might have known that things were pretty bad. The doctor did know for sure when he saw the CAT scan earlier this week, and told my dad right before surgery.

I'm not the professional, and maybe he had a good reason for doing so (sedation soon after?), but it breaks my heart to think of my dad so scared and upset right before major surgery. My dad's crushed reaction was worse than finally hearing the diagnosis.

My mom told me on my way to the hospital this morning, so hospital anxiety and the post-surgery consultation were pretty anti-climactic. The waiting room was nice and the volunteers were very nice and my mom and I can have a decent time pretty much anywhere, so the waiting wasn't bad. The hallways and elevators sucked big time, but my dad looked much better than I had expected and was coherent and not hooked up to too much stuff.

He was worried though and seeing that is hard. The doctor told him he had 2 to 3 years, and I told him that the same doctor told us he had patients just like him who were doing well at 5 years out and medical technology improves daily. And that it is just an average and an estimated guess, and that a lot of those people weren't eating and exercising, and that a lot of them are way older. I had read an informal study done by a doctor where he told some of his patients that they were doing really well and things were looking great, even if that wasn't necessarily the truth, and that they lived longer than people with an "expiration date". I don't think it can hurt, especially if that's what they want to hear.

So, it was sad. I am pretty much sadded out today, so we'll have some non-sad stuff coming up soon. Thank you very much for all of your well wishes and comments, it definitely brightened my day.

36 comments:

TotsEyeView said...

:Lots of good thoughts for your dad and whole family

Caren said...

I'm really sorry Ashley. It's very hard to deal with a sick parent. I completely understand what you are going through. I wouldn't consider myself much of a "prayer" but I'll keep your dad and family in all my thoughts. Please keep us posted on his progress.

julie & joe said...

Ashley, I am so very sorry. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. Remember, attitude is everything.....stay positive :)

I love reading about Big Kid and Little Kid. Your blog makes my day.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and your family.

T said...

Praying for your father, Ashley. Hang in there.

MCW said...

Thinking of you and your family...I am sure you are helping to keep a smile on your father's face...

Nichole said...

I am so sorry, Ashley, I can't begin to imagine what you're going through. And you're right, attitude is absolutely everything. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Native Mom said...

Been through it with my dad. Hang in there. These men are tougher than they look sometimes.

Allyson and Dave said...

I am so sorry that you are having to go through all of this. I wish your dad the best and I just know he is going to defy the odds. I work in a hospital and I see and hear about such miracles daily. Never under estimate the power of a miracle.

Beth said...

I'm so sorry Ashley. My dad has been sober for 11 years, but did a lot of damage to himself over many years. You're living my nightmare. I will continue to pray for a miracle.

Stella said...

You're right Ashley! Medicine improves all the time. My dad had colon cancer about 18 months ago and had a large section of his colon removed. He's fine now. Although it gives a whole new meaning when my mom says my dad did something half assed :) Sorry...I know it's corny but you gotta laugh about something sometimes that's so not funny!

Kelly said...

Ashley - I do cancer vaccine research at UVA. If you Dad is up for it, look around in FL and see if there any place that do vaccine trials. We do Melanoma vaccines (and breast and ovarian) and we have found that while vaccines may not cure the cancer, it definitely can help with combined drug and chemotherapy. It's worth looking into. Prayers are with you!!

Jenn said...

Ashley;

Checked back to see how it went; I am sorry for the news.

Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by the "what the hell does this all mean" stuff in life--and you know what, who knows how many years any of us have left?

Love him, cherish him, say what you want to say to him, every.single.day.

Hugs and kisses. OK, a kiss. But not on the lips; I don't care WHAT you heard, I'm not that kinda girl.

collegegirl said...

You have so many supporters out here in blogland. Please let us know what we can do for you.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping to hear better news, but please keep coming here for support. As you can see, there are folks here in your corner.

Susan

mommy dearest said...

I'm so sorry about the news. Stay strong! Your family will be in my thoughts!

Allie said...

I am sorry about the news. I just feel like you are due for a run of good luck, or blessings--whatever you want to call them--after the challenges of the past year. I hope your dad getting some positive health news will be just the start of it. Your family is in my thoughts.

Easily Manipulated said...

Geez...Glad to hear that the surgery went well, but I'm sorry to hear about the bad news. Ya'll are definitely on my mind.

PS. Lemme try to give you a minor boost...You're one of my favorite bloggers and I gave you an award yesterday. Just an extra bump of positive vibes for ya. *hugs*

Haute Mama said...

Lifting you and your family up in prayer. I am so sorry. Cancer does suck. I don't have words to ease your pain or fears. We have figured out that life here on earth is way too short, so enjoy every moment of it with your Dad and family. I hope for better days ahead. Miracles do happen and I agree with not having an expiration date! All the best.

emmanuelhabitat said...

Ashley,

I read your blog often and it is always great. I am sorry to read about your dad's cancer.

My dad also has cancer, lung cancer and recently found melanoma. Crazy since he never smoked in his whole life!

He is currently stage 3B, but that may change with PET scans next week. The hardest thing about the damned disease is seeing your strong daddy struggle to have the energy to take a drink of water. The chemo has been rough this time and they keep telling us that his suffering is a good sign the chemo is working.

Cancer rips your head off. Oncologists have their own language and their own definitions for words you thought you knew. Be an advocate for your dad. Get multiple opinions. He is going to feel out of control of his life and it causes some strange power struggles.

Know that you are not alone. We are mothers to our children first and foremost. Then we are wives and daughters. Know that your ability to cope will improve because he needs you.

Peace and Prayers,
Alison

Juggle Jane said...

I'm so sorry! I wish I had something more helpful to say...but I'll be thinking of you and your family.

Tara said...

You and your family are in my thoughts.

brown eyed girl said...

I am sorry to hear that, I will keep you guys in my thoughts.

The D Family said...

I am praying hard for your and your family. One of my parents being sick is one of my biggest fears :(

I also am participating in our local Relay for Life in July and with your permission, would like to light a luminary to honor your dad's fight with cancer. It is sobering the night of the walk to see all those luminaries honoring someone who is fighting or lost their fight but also gives so much hope to see all those who have beat it.

Thank you for sharing with us.
~Rachel

Anonymous said...

Ashley,

My best friend in the world (35+ yrs) had an older sister that was diagnaosed with Stage 4 Liver cancer as well. She was given less than 2 yrs to live.

She was put on disability from her job and went home to wait to die.

But she didn't. She underwent all recommended treatments, renewed her faith in God (whatever works!) and went about the business of getting better.

After 5 yrs of living WITH cancer (it has never regressed) her Insurance told her that she needed to return to work (bald head and all) because she clearly was not "dying".

She has now been living with cancer for 12-13 yrs. She looked 10 yrs older than she should but she works everyday, goes to the gym 3x/wk and has a great life.

Remember CANCER is NOT a death sentence...it's just a CONDITION.

And like any other BULLY out there if you stand up to it and fight back it just may go running home to it's Momma!

Be strong and stay positive...others will feed off that energy and you can change the course of life.

Sasha said...

Thinking of you guys.....

Jeri is said...

Ashley, My Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, after having a "clean" colonoscopy a year earlier. I know a bit of what you are going through and what you will go through.

You take care of yourself so you will be strong enough to take care of your Dad as well as your Mom. It won't be an easy time for any of you, but inspite of the smells, the sights, the sounds - you can do this. You can be there to be his advocate, (and if anything like our experience, an advocate was needed). Take a walk outside from time to time. My Dad and I took turns. We never left Mom alone, except at night when we left for home. The rest of the day, we tag teamed and made sure one of us was with her always.

I did things I never thought I could. I spoke up, I challenged, I reported nurses for lack of care and falsifying documents. I grabbed nurses (not physically), I grabbed blankets, and grabbed ice chips. I held bowls while Mom vomited, I helped her to the potty chair. I did things I never thought I could do, and I did it because there just aren't enough nurses to care for our loved ones the way we would want them cared for. You are his advocate. You CAN do it!

Take care.

jenn said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, Ashley. I agree with you that positive thinking can be amazingly powerful. I'm wishing the very best for you and your family.

Hugs-
Jenn

Alissa said...

I am so so sorry to hear about your Dad Ashley!! I miss you and I wish you still had the support of the Chaws at this time. I know you have plenty of other support too so that's good. I will keep your dad, your family and you in my thoughts. xoxo

Alissa

Jennifer said...

Postive attitude is EVERYTHING. They told my dad six weeks, but he lived for three months. And I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but it is TWICE as long as what they said, and I believe it was all because he had a positive attitude.... while being prepared.

And about the technology, that is so, so true. Just one year after my dad passed they had a shot that they could insert into the tumor. A family friend was diagnosed with the same cancer in the same spot, basically the same case, and he lived for over two years. So just think, in a year they have something that they don't even know about know that could extend that "expected life span" even longer.

The most important thing is DON'T GIVE UP!!!!

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and my positive energy are flowing your way, Ashley. To you and your dad. and your entire family. Stay strong. xo

Jodi

Amy said...

Ashley, my heart breaks for you. I am so very sorry you're going through this. Your Dad is such a sweet person, and with everything going on in your life.... it sucks. I am keeping you & your family in my prayers. I hope they can stave off the cancer. I'm so sorry :(

Maggie said...

I so wish the news would have been better. Prayers ascending for your dad and your whole family.

Shannon said...

I am so sorry Ash. Cancer sucks. You have been through so much in the past few years. ABout time for all this shit to stop, no?

You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Hugs,
Chaw Shannon

A. said...

I have been keeping you and your dad and your family in my thoughts. I can't imagine how hard this must be on all of you. I send you strength and light.

KK said...

I'm so sorry! But you have the right outlook. A family member was told she had 2-3 mos. Many many drs told her this. Which only motivated her to take control of her records and care. She has been actively living with cancer for more than two years now. Its not shrinking but not growing either. My thoughts are with your dad!