Friday, November 14, 2008

The "C" word

"When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope?
We have two options, medically and emotionally:
give up, or fight like hell."
Lance Armstrong

We've actually been saying cancer in our house for about a month. It was tentative at first. We've known the doctor was removing "spots," either by cauterizing or surgery. But each time I figured the cancer was gone. After the last surgery, the doctor pretty much assured us that the cancer was going to repeatedly return. It was time to consider a more drastic kind of treatment. That, or be prepared for surgery every few months. Neither option sounded good to me and I'm not even the patient.

Today we got the rundown on the corresponding "C" word - chemotherapy. Because Dad's age and so-so health the optimal treatment of bladder removal is a no-go. Thus, Dad and the doctor agreed on a mild dose of chemo. I asked a lot of questions but basically I'm just along for the ride (and, I suspect, to clean up the mess.)

I've got to tell you, nothing about this treatment sounds pleasant. On the other hand all the staff, nurses and doctors appear to do their best to make the ensuing treatment bearable. Only time is going to tell how Dad will respond, physically and emotionally.

Other possible C words associated with chemo:

Curmudgeon - the cancer patient's general disposition
Crybaby - the caregiver's general disposition
Crap - what both the patient and caregiver say when they get to the clinic only to find the scheduled appointment has to be postponed due to low blood counts
Clean - what the caregiver is going to have to improve so as not to cause the patient infection
Comfortable chairs - what the caregiver is going to need to sit through 3-4 hours of treatment. It looks like all the patient has to do is ask, and he gets all the comfort he needs.
Compassion - a skill the caregiver needs to improve upon

Wish us luck,
Merry ME

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