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Proper Intro...


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Typical of me - bull in a china shop. I didn't post here 1st to properly introduce myself or tell you about my wonderful father. So, here I am now to do things proper.

Not sure what to say or how much so gonna stick with Dad's illness timeline, I can fill other blanks in later as needed.

Dad is a 67 yr old, now non-smoker and a diabetic and goes for doctor visits every 3 months. At his October 2008 appointment the doctor detected 'something odd' in his carotid artery on the left side of his neck. He ordered a series of tests. X-rays, MRI's... The testing all began about 01 November 2008. Thanksgiving 2008 Dad tells me about the tests, but says nothing to worry about (that's a dads' job, right? :) ).

All is pretty quiet from him, stalling now that I look back... until 23 December 2008. I get the call from him. The PET scan results are in and he 'lit it up like a Christmas tree' (oh, goody) and yes, he has lung cancer. At this point we didn't know the type or the stage. But, then informs me that the doctor has scheduled surgery for him on 26 December 2008. NOW I'm flipping out. On 1 hand I'm glad they are jumping on this right away. On the other I'm thinking 'what's the huge rush?, it's got to be really bad and dads just not telling me'. We all smile and get thru the holiday as best we can - pack a bag and I head to dads Christmas night to assure I'm there in enough time to get him to the hospital in the early, early AM. (Dad lives about 40-50 minutes from me)

Surgery is scheduled for 4 hours. The surgeon comes out in 1. I nearly collapse, thinking the worst. The news wasn't good, but not as bad as I feared. There are 2 tumors on his upper left lung and the lymph is 'fused' to the lung (this still makes no sense to me) - which is why they shortened the surgery, they weren't able to access what they wanted to because of the lymph. A port is installed, and we spend 3.5 days in ICU until he's released. His surgeon comes to see him after he's had time to fully awaken and informs us that he is as surprised as anyone, Dads cancer is due to Radon exposure. Not the smoking. I'm sure the smoking didn't help though... He strongly recommends we all have our homes tested and to inform everyone we know. (Further reading on this shows it's the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer - http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/radon - which I didn't know, and was more than a little upset about) Also an MRI is done of Dads head to see if the cancer has spread there, thankfully - so far it hasn't.

Fast forward 2 weeks. 12 January 2009. 1st radiation treatment (to last 5.5 weeks - 5 days a week) and 1st chemo of 12 (6 treatments - 21 days off - 6 more treatments). Chemo treatments of Cisplantin & Etoposide are given 6 hours on Days 1 & 6, 45 mins - 1.5 hours the other 4. Photon radiation received daily (except weekends). Dad is also given a small pharmacy of drugs for a miriad of ailments.

I finally speak to the radiation oncologist privately (Dad doesn't want to know) to find out exactly what he has and what stage. I am not ready to know what their 'timeline' is yet. Dad has NSCLC Adenocarcinoma stage IIIa-IV.

*knock wood* THIS round of chemo, Dad has handled without a hitch. Not 1 side-effect, appetite has been great & despite his blood sugar not leveling out since surgery and being given 10 mg of Decadron daily his B.S. levels have dropped to the low 100's and have been pretty steady. (I guess my continually nagging about him needing to 'graze' instead of 1 or 2 large meals paid off!)

Labs are being done on the 27th of January and again on the 6th of February (the Friday before starting 2nd round of Chemo). IF all goes to plan, they intend to do another surgery to remove the damaged portion of his lung. I can't recall right now what they said they would do about the lymphnode.

Dad is married and his wife is doing a great job of journaling everything and keeping all the appointments straight. As I work in the afternoons I am able to sit with Dad during a few treatments. We initally anticipated having to drive him to and from, but that hasn't been the case. He's actually looking to start visting the Cancer Wellness Center where he gets treatments.

This is all such unchartered territory for all of us. I have a million questions and then 2 minutes later I just want to curl into a ball and pretend it's all a horrible nightmare. For Dad? I'm upbeat and happy. I act, treat and talk to him as I always would. My job is to make him laugh. But - when I'm all alone, I'm so scared. I don't know what to do, if I'm asking the right questions.... it's all so overwhelming. Nothing of course compared to what many of you and Dad are enduring.

So - that's pretty much it I guess. I try to read up on which foods are best for him to be eating and bring lots of it to him. I keep bringing up golf season - Dad is SO looking forward to golfing this year. I even asked him if he'd teach me.. and well, just take each day as it comes. Cuz, well - you can't change yesterday and tomorrow is promised to noone.

I do want to thank you all for taking your time and giving so much of yourselves when often it appears, you need to keep some of it sometimes. I have prayed for you here since I've found this site each night. I'm not a church person, but believe strongly in God. I pray he gives you each health, comfort and peace. I thank him for helping me find you.

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Hi, I am sorry that your dad and family are facing this horrific disease. You are so right, the minute you get the news, you immediately feel as if you are thrust onto the middle of the worse roller coaster ride you have even been on in your life. You are doing great in terms of supporting and advocating for your father, and I hope all will eventually settle down for everyone.

All the best - keep the hope!

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Welcome, CMilo. You'll find it's a great group of people here, whether you have questions, want to talk, or just want to vent. Please keep us updated on how your dad is doing, and let us know how we can help.

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