(click on pictures to enlarge)
Some of my previous posts have mentioned Fidz being unwell. The truth is that he has Stage 4 lung cancer. My friend Janet remarked that it would be interesting to hear more about our experiences dealing with this and since it’s what occupies my mind almost all the time, why not? So here goes…………
How It Started. Non-specific lower back pains and an ultrasound showed a growth on the adrenal gland (a little gland that sits on top of the kidney). Nobody particularly worried at this point and the recommendation was to have it removed so Fidz went into hospital for surgery.
The Bad News. A routine pre-surgery X-ray showed a small tumour in the lung. An adrenal biopsy showed that the cells had a lung marker. Hence the diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer which is incurable, there is no Stage 5! Recently, new targeted therapies have been developed for some types of lung cancer but not the type that Fidz has.The prognosis is poor (statistically 1 year, but every cancer and every person is different so we can still hope).
The Good News. The lung tumour is small and either growing very slowly or not at all and Fidz has no cough or shortness of breath. There’s no spread to the bones or the brain. A round of radiation treatments has shrunk the adrenal tumour.
The Unfortunate News. Fidz has had a gallstone for many years with no problem. And when does it choose to trouble him but now! He was in hospital for a few days with an inflamed gallbladder (very painful) but rather than removing it, they treated him with intravenous antibiotics. He still has abdominal pain but nobody seems to know why. Finally, he’s getting a CT scan to check what’s going on in the abdomen. It’s worse not to know than to know the worst.
Our days are defined by treatments, endless hospital appointments and sitting in waiting rooms. He’s had a round of radiation to the lung tumour since this worked well on the adrenal tumour but of course they’re both still there and the fact of them spreading to another site or starting to grow again is a constant worry. Since the cancer is incurable, trying to maintain quality of life is the main objective so his oncologist has not yet proposed chemotherapy. However, with the abdominal pains, Fidz’s quality of life has been compromised and pain killers offer marginal relief. He never knows how he’s going to feel when he wakes up so we can rarely make advance plans. Luckily, our family and friends are understanding so cancelling dinner plans and outings at the last minute is graciously accepted.
Its not all doom and gloom however. We’ve had great dinners and get-togethers with family and friends. We love the strolls along the waterfront where there have been lots of free concerts over the summer. Even just sitting and watching the boats and people go by is entertaining. One of the highlights of my summer was ziplining. It was a free trial offered during the PanAm games. A 400 ft line which seems quite long but sadly only took about 15 seconds. It was like flying and felt glorious. That’s me up there on the right in the photo with my nephew who I dragged along to keep me company. And so it goes, we live in the present and enjoy what we can. I think of my mother when in her 90s. If asked how she was, she would say “Oh, I just take each day as it comes”. She would be pleased that we’re now doing the same.