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My dad's journey....

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My dad (Dave) is 69 years old. He was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer around 16 months ago and visits the GP monthly for an injection. The Prostate Cancer is nicely under control.

My dad seemed fit and healthy and on the 31st of July '08 he went to the local Pub for a pint of beer.

When he got home he started to cough uncontrollably and with this he bought up quite a large amount of blood. My husband and I took him to see the GP who didn't seem overly concerned, but ordered a chest x-ray to be done the following day. Telling us to call for the results the following Monday.

1st August my husband took him for the chest x-ray, this was done at around 1pm. 2.30pm we get a call from my dad's GP to say that he sees something on the x-ray that he isn't happy with and referred us to the Lung Specialist.

We had the appointment on 4th August and were told that it looked like a possible secondary to the Prostate.

Wednesday 6th he had C.T and Bronchoscopy and then on Monday the 11th we went back for the results.

He has been diagnosed as having 6-7cm Adenocarcinoma Stage 3b(which is entangled around the valves to the heart and also spread to some of the Lymph nodes in that area). This is not a secondary, as they first thought.

Because of his lung capacity surgery isn't an option, as they would have to remove the entire lung and the left lung couldn't cope alone.

The plan is....4 cycles of Chemo (Carboplatin and Gemcitabine). If at least 2cm of shrinkage is seen then on to some Radical Radio-therapy. If not, then on the some Palliative Radio-therapy.

Dad started Chemo yesterday and so far, so good :)

Well the first Cycle of Chemo didn't go as well as expected and now he's in the hospital having a Blood Transfusion, IV Fluids and Antibiotics. We also found out today that there are metastasis to the left shoulder.

Chemo has been put on hold until a new treatment plan is put into place next week.

Dad has decided to stop treatments.

29/9/2008. Met with the Oncologist after a chest x-ray was taken. That one cycle of Chemo has seen a 50% reduction in the tumour!!!! The mets that we thought were to the left shoulder, are actually to the right. There are also a few spots on right hand ribcage and also a couple of lesions on the skull.

Dad is very happy with the outcome of this visit and his spirits are up right now. The Onc spoke about meeting again in 2 months to discuss either more Chemo (if my dad changes his mind, which right now is looking promising) or some radiation.

24/11/08, Visit with Oncologist. No progression in Primary, but more intense shoulder pain, so they are thinking there may be some progression in the collar bone. Agreed to one zap of Radio to shoulder and one to Lung. This will be done sometime within the next week. Been told that dad is a candidate for Tarceva, but they need to see some progression before starting this treatment. So, time will tell.

25/11/08 It took dad a long time to bounce back from the Chemo treatment and only within the past 2 weeks or so has he been taking his daily walk to the shops and having a really good appetite. With this his mood has elevated too, which is wonderful.

11/4/09. Chest x-rays alone don't see any progression in the Primary Tumour but dad has had an awful cough for quite a few weeks now and is refusing a CT Scan. He passed out a few days ago whilst coughing and wouldn't allow me to consult the doctor.

Other than this his health and appetite seem very good.

27th April 2009.

Suffering with loss of appetite and weight loss. Starting 2nd line, Tarceva. Given steroids and Codeine Phosphate for persistent cough. CT scan being booked. Next visit with Oncologist set for 4 weeks time.

7th May.

Admitted to hospital with SOB, sickness and diarrhea, loss of appetite and dehydration. Aslo bringing up blood clots. Given 3 litres of fluid, pain meds, stomach meds. Chest and Abdo x-ray taken. Significant weight loss (9-10LB in 1.5 weeks).

Discharged on 9th May.

Tuesday 12th May.

Home visit from GP for slight deterioration and a fungal infection. Started anti-fungal ointment and also started Codeine for pain in bone mets.

Oncologist has advised dad to stop the Tarceva and will be seeing him in Clinic on Monday 18th.

18th May 2009.

Oncologist looked at last x-ray and CT scan and there is still significant progression even while dad was taking the Tarceva and so that has been stopped. Were told that there are no more Cancer treatments available and that only palliative care will be offered from now on.

Oncologist readmitted dad to hospital, from clinic, with SOB (SATs of 90) and a heart rate of 136bpm. He's worried that dad is going into AF and wants to run some tests to see if they can slow the heart rate. He is also going to have one more Radiotherapy treatment to try and make things a little more comfortable. I asked for the prognosis and was told probably just a few more weeks, but maybe as long as a couple of months. :(

Dad passed away, peacefully, at 7am Friday 22nd May 2009.

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