Sunday, March 18, 2018

Pancreatic Cancer Sucks

I haven't been blogging recently because I have been emotionally stressed. It may take me a while longer to get back to it. My father, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last May, had metastases by August 1, and was in chemo until Feb 13, died on Tuesday February 27.

Since his diagnosis with Waldenstrom's lymphoma back in 2013, I had become his oncology interpreter/assistant. I went to the important appointments and answered his questions that the doctor's don't want to answer.

Due to vein damage from chemo for his lymphoma he needed a port. When he did finally get a port, his first question was 'when do I get it out?' The doctors and nurses would not answer that question. So I told him 'once you don't need it for six months or so, you can discuss taking it out.'

I also translated back to his oncologist when asked about pain levels and he replied 'just a little over here'. I would tell the oncologist that he has had several instances of extreme pain. Once he told my sister that that the pain that caused tears in his eyes was only a 5. Later he corrected himself to say it was a '10'.

Another big step in his cancer treatment was weaning him off Wikipedia for cancer research. I had to explain to him several times that Wikipedia is not a good place to do research and that the American Cancer Society was the place to start. This took several months of 'discussion'.

Aside from losing my father, the sad part is that my medical history is what enabled me to be his oncology interpreter/assistant. For the last 8 years of his life, anytime he was going to have a new procedure, test, or other medical misadventure, he would call me up and want to know if I had had it and what was it like.

Until his pancreatic cancer metastasized, he would introduce me to his doctors as "his daughter with more ailments than him." We would both make jokes through his appointments to the point that the schedulers sometimes hinted that we might be a bit crazy. Humor got us through a lot of this but now his sense of humor is gone with him.

We will miss him and we will be very sad for a while. But it was nice I could help him decipher his diagnosis and appointments as much as I could.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry Caroline. Much as your cancer history scared and worried your father, he was truly grateful for somebody who understood to be by his side. Treasure the good times you shared with him. Lois K

Tricia Ronten said...

My deepest sympathies for the the loss of your father.

Judy Mintz said...

Oh dear. I saw his obit in The Globe today. What an impressive man he was. May his memory be a blessing.

Anna said...

Nice post.

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