Chemo Round Two – Blog 11

Death & Taxes

It’s odd as David & I traveled up to La Coruna on Sunday night and whilst I remain in the same country as my Dad, albeit a 10 hour drive away, it’s probably the first time since it all started that I’ve felt so far away.

I can appreciate more now how my other family and friends must be feeling, not being able to see my dad on a frequent basis. Getting information through a third party just isn’t the same as being able to get it up front. Though I continue to hope the basis of this blog does lend support to those that are far away. The irony of this fact though following some of the conversations I have had with my dad are that he now feels ready to return to the UK.

To be honest though he is not really doing this for himself but more for his loved ones. I guess for some people, in doing right by others you end up making choices that do match what you want.

My dad has worked hard all his life and having moved to Canals in 2008 he finally found a place he was proud to call his castle. The name of which the Blog is entitled after is actually derived from just how much they enjoy living here (‘Finca Lykitere’ – Think I like it here!). They have also made some fantastic friends whilst being out here. Some of whom have been a godsend both pre and post diagnosis.

My dad would have happily died out here, though none of us expected the rocky road to start just yet. Such is life though and Benjamin Franklins quote still rings true to me, which was also bought to life in one of my favourite films ‘Meet Joe Black’:

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.

We will make the most of every second we have and my dad re-establishing himself in England is his way of setting his wife up and making her safe and secure and closer to her loved ones. It also means he gets to see more of his family & friends. He wouldn’t always admit it but he does love seeing them.

The week ahead:

This week for my dad had a planned doctor’s appointment on Wednesday 8th July to assess where we were at with things and plan in the next chemo session. The appointment was mixed having spoken with my mum last night. Nothing has really changed at this stage. It’s too soon to know if the first round of chemo has done any good or not, we always knew this would be the case. The good thing though is that all the side effects my dad has been experiencing are normal and none are out of sorts to what they would have expected to see. The side effects so far have included: Tiredness, Loss of appetite, Nausea, Vomiting, Weakness, Phlebitis, Shortness of breath, Change in tastes, Various pains, Hair loss and the inability to go to the toilet for a number 2 (see you were all right – he is full of c#@p).

I suppose one of the more distressing things was to discover that the right lung was also affected with the Cancer. Partly this should have been known as the type of Cancer he has is within the blood stream. Whilst the Left lung is where the main large tumor is, it expands out to the aorta and then across his entire blood stream and naturally also to his right lung. It’s no wander they are pumping him with no end of Chemo drugs to help his body fight back and stand a chance at shrinking the cancer which in turn will help extend his life expectancy.

Due to the intensity of some of the drug combinations though they do have a lifetime usage associated with them and so what he is having now can only go on for a maximum of 6 months. After this time if not before, the doctors will have to re-assess the effectiveness and decide just where things stand. The problem with the chemo is whilst it attacks the cancer cells it also attacks the body’s normal cells which is why it has to be halted and other treatments looked at.

At this stage unfortunately I am unable to tell you what the alternative treatments will look like once this initial chemo 6 month stint is done. It could be that the chemo has worked sufficiently to open up radiotherapy. It may be that he still gets chemo but using different drug combinations of which though may not be so effective. It could be he goes on tablets. We simply don’t know. The plan though is after the 3rd lot of chemo which is due to start on 29th July, then an x-ray will be taken and at this point they can assess where to move things on to.

As you’ll notice I’ve talked about the 3rd stint of Chemo. The second stint started yesterday immediately after the appointment! We suspected this might be the case though weren’t too sure. Therefore my mum and Alan now find themselves in limbo land waiting to see how much this round will get to my dad. Anything like last time then he will be tired by Friday and bedridden on Saturday & Sunday.

Fortunately though our departure was timed splendidly and we swapped places with the more angelic looking Sandra. She arrived this morning – (Thursday 9th). My dad stands no chance against my mum, Alan and now Sandra. So hopefully armed with the knowledge that he perked up after 8 days last time, he will be spurred on to be up and on his feet sooner this time making the most of the time he can spend with his new house mate. It also means he can wind my mum up sooner too, sneaking off to do a spot of light digging in the garden… Good luck with that dad ;o)

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