I’d hoped that this blog would be an upbeat and jolly lead up to Christmas. Unfortunately, I feel it’s now going to be a bit of a mash up of good and bad.
As you will know, Dad turned 72 on November 27th and had a lovely day. The Spanish trio took themselves off for a nice meal in Gandia and generally just let their hair down for a change and splashed out a little. Some of their friends also nipped round for tea and cake and everyone was in good spirits.
David & I even managed to spring a surprise trip to them on November 30th and we had a couple of wonderful days with them, having been shopping on the Wednesday and taken a day trip to Javea on the Thursday. I even saw my Aunt Margaret last Sunday (Dec 4th) and informed her just how well Dad was getting on. For all intent and purposes, he looked and acted like Cancer was a thing of the past. He honestly looked like his old self.
What a difference a few hours can make….
I’ve delayed providing an update for a few days as I felt there wasn’t much information I could have conveyed without causing unnecessary worry or concern. Last Sunday, Dad took himself off to bed early and said he wasn’t feeling too good and was a little light headed. By midnight the 3 of them were in the local hospital. A sleepless night and hours of worry later it transpired that his sodium levels had hit rock bottom once more.
The good thing is that this is a recognised condition for Lung Cancer patients. The bad thing is that it appears to be a clear sign that the Cancer is making a comeback. The Cancer cells tend to eat away at the body’s salt levels which in turn leads to neurological issues such as confusion, difficulty to think, headaches as well as nausea and faintness. I guess the worrying thing is that this is how it all started last June.
His scan results were expected on Monday 12th December, which is when I had originally intended to do a blog. Clearly there had been some very biased ‘hope’ as to the news the scan would bring. This scan however, has not yet taken place due to waiting for my Dad to respond to the treatment he is receiving to increase his sodium levels.
This itself is a painfully long and drawn out process. In part this is down to the drip that must be given. If salt levels are increased too rapidly then severe and life lasting brain damage could be caused. Too slowly though and the body could weaken further. The other complication is how Dad is coping with being back in hospital. He is irritable, aggressive and not responding well at all. As a result, he is fidgeting with the drip and causing it to not function correctly. In his head, he cannot understand why it can’t simply be poured in quickly to allow normal service to resume. This though isn’t helped by the low sodium levels causing him not to think clearly. There is also the fact that he has openly admitted that he is desperate to not have to go through chemo again. The realisation that his Cancer is not going away is eating away at him both physically and mentally.
The fact of the matter is this simply could be a blip. Until we get the scan results, no one can truly know where my Dad’s health is. On the face of it, this is not good news. It feels like he has done a full circle and the Cancer is doing exactly what we expected, fighting back.
At this stage I can’t really say anything more without speculating. After 6 days in hospital, the sodium levels are back up to 75% though it has taken this long to get it there. The irony is that the water intake argument has been thrown out of the window. He is now limited to a maximum of 1 litre per day so as to not dilute the body’s salt level thus reversing the drip’s effectiveness. In some respects, he can be smug knowing that less on this occasion is more.
The scan will hopefully be performed on Monday with the results known shortly afterwards. At that stage the doctors will be able to decide as to what course of treatment will be required next. This is good. It should mean that there are still treatment options available.
We won’t know any more until after Monday and I will be sure to keep you all posted. Mum and Alan are doing a terrific job at finding the balance between being the supportive family and having to be hard nosed in terms of giving Dad what he needs whether he likes it or not. And trust me, my Dad can be a stubborn sod when he wants to be.
I’m sorry the news is a little vague and not as we had hoped. Please remember though he is strong. Cancer can be cruel at the best of times. Regardless of this being a blip or not, he is showing that the fight can and does go on. He is not ready to leave this world and is still aiming to be around for a good few years yet. And in any case, Steven & I need him to be back at full health as he still owes us both a car if we beat him at Squash or Badminton. Seems a little unfair taking him on in his current state…