Saturday, February 24, 2007

Choices

Well, boys and girls, the news is in, and it is not good. My cancer has come back and back with a vengeance. I saw my oncologist last Thursday and he said the CT scan from the prevous week showed a marked change over the one done a couple of months ago. The lymph nodes in my chest and abdomen have grown quite a bit, which explains the feeling of fullness I sometimes have and the difficulty in breathing - I have the sensation that I can't draw a deep enough breath.

There are other symptoms that accompany all of this that gave me plenty of warning in advance that the news would probably not be good. I was as mentally prepared for this as one can be, I believe. Still, it is not something that is easy to swallow.

I don't feel bad for myself so much. I have enjoyed quite a life. There are very few regrets and things that I would do over if I could. My sadness comes for my children who will most likely be orphans before they graduate from high school. It is hard to feel like I am leaving them at such a time so shortly after they lost their mother.

I don't want to get maudlin about this. It's not over yet. I have some choices to make. My options are not very good. I can go back to the first treatment I ever did which is also the most toxic and the one that was least effective. It will cause me to lose my hair (no great loss). It will make everything I eat or drink taste like a plate of landfill. It will put a hit on my immune system and make me feel weak and tired. It will fuck up my gastro-intestinal track from one set of lips to the other. But worst of all, it will give me gopher cheeks. True, it's our state animal (rodent), but my parochial patriotism only goes so far.

If that option doesn't appeal due to its relative easiness, I could perhaps apply for a stem-cell transplant - the marine bootcamp therapy (or is it the navy SEALS). This would be a true hail-mary effort because there is no body of evidence that displays any significant gain to undergoing a truly horrible process that produces a 25% mortality rate just from the treatment. Still, it's an option. On the plus side, I already know all the folks at the U. of M. transplant center. It would be like old home week (or weak).

Thirdly, there may be some study being done somewhere that would take someone like me who has exhausted the gamut of treatments for this particular version of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and who's disease is tired of playing second fiddle and has now decided to kill its host. If there is such a study, I would have to leave my children and travel to wherever it is being done for the duration. Again, with no guarantee of a positive outcome.

I could do nothing and hope that it takes me quickly. Eh, no - don't think so. It will probably be option one, the old icky treatment. I don't hold out much hope, but you never know. I feel like I owe it to my kids to give it all I can. I don't want to end up like my wife though - so depleted by disease and treatments that she was left a hollow shell wanting the release of death. I don't want to be so helpless.

I don't fear death. I fear pain. I fear becoming a invalid. I fear depending on others to perform the most basic of human functions. I fear the loss of my mentality. I don't want to end up a body who's soul or spirit is trapped inside a stubborn physical prison. Must think on this.

So, dear readers, not a very comforting story I am afraid. I know that some of you were waiting to hear, and I have laid it out as honestly as I can. I haven't told the children yet, so please keep it under your bonnets for now. Yesterday was my daughter's seventeenth birthday and I didn't want to spoil it.

P.

7 Comments:

Blogger Sheri said...

My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your children.

10:22 AM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Oh sweetness... thank you for letting us know... even though it's news not wanted. Please be strong and live as if you MEAN it... but I'm pretty sure you already do my friend. I'll keep you in my thoughts and feel free to vent anytime... you have my email. Hugs to you and the fam P.

8:33 PM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger 21k said...

I've only just come to know you so my comments seem horribly inappropriate but god damn. Just god fucking damn.

9:00 PM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger John Cowart said...

DAMN!!!

5:58 AM, February 25, 2007  
Blogger lime said...

i read this yeasterday and couldn't bring myself to comment. i have no words. i have tears and i have many, many prayers for you, my friend.

7:50 AM, February 26, 2007  
Blogger Radish King said...

I would gladly kiss both your gopher cheeks and I think bald in sexy.

xxoo

9:12 PM, February 26, 2007  
Blogger jules said...

I cannot begin to imagine what you're going through. You and your children will be in my thoughts and prayers.

7:38 AM, February 27, 2007  

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