Friday, June 29, 2012

An Unexpected Cross Country Road Trip

I just looked out the window about an hour ago and said to myself how pretty the day was.  Blue skies and white clouds.  Hmph!  The Arizona monsoon season sure knows how to change a forecast quickly!

It has been a busy, trying  few weeks.  Just after our Grand Canyon vacation, I received a call saying that my dad had had a minor stroke.  He was in the hospital.  I knew immediately it was time for me to go home.

We took two weeks off to go to see my dad.  It was bittersweet.

Being home with him and the family and my friends was fab-tabulous.  Leaving him with the news that he may not have long to live, well, not so fab-tabulous.

It seems that the doctors believe that there is nothing else they can do.  He switched to a cancer center, something I wish he had done before now.  

I met Dr. Negrea of Low Country Cancer Care and Associates when I went to my dad's follow up appointment after his MRI.  

Let me start by saying how UN-impressed I was with the service and the fact that the wait time after his scheduled appointment was two and a half hours behind.  A lady in the waiting room, who had checked in after us and was obviously a seasoned patient, leaned over and told my husband, "Be prepared to wait 2 or 3 hours," she laughed.  "We've learned to bring a lunch."

The time ticked on and I continued to get more and more frustrated.  When we were finally seen by Dr. Negrea, I felt totally dismissed as he read the results of the MRI gave a brief explanation and stood to leave the room.  I wanted answers to the questions I'd had and I began to fire questions at him before he could leave.  He tried to answer them quickly, but never sat back down or tried to make sure all of my questions were answered.  He rushed us through, which, to me, was total disrespect considering the fact we'd waited two and a half hours behind the appointment to see him.  A little more courtesy would have been great. He quickly moved on to his next patient, but I had more questions and asked the nurse to call him back into the room to help me wrap my head around what the MRI meant.

The MRI revealed that the entire left side of his brain showed radiation narcosis.  What this means is that the radiation has burned and damaged the entire left hemisphere of his brain.  There was also 2 maybe 3 spots revealed, which were assumed to be tumors.  He said that the VA clinics were possible giving too much radiation.  Said that they're procedures were not following the protocol that would have normally been followed by cancer centers.  I asked if he thought they were experimenting on my dad and he said yes, but could only speculate until her received the records from the VA hospital.  

The illustration looked something like this:

Once they received the records from VA the news wasn't anything good.  They won't be continuing chemo is what my dad told me.  I gathered from that bit of info that there is nothing else that can be done.  

What do you say when that kind of information is given to someone?

How do you respond, when you know this person still has so much life in them?  I'm too young to lose a parent, aren't I?  He's only 51.  He's too young to receive this kind of diagnosis.  When we first came into this almost 5 years ago, we were told he would live 5 years at best.  It went from years to months. Where did those years go?   


Des @StressFreeBaby said...

I've been there. I'm lucky that we found a fabulous doctor for my dad (where he lives in South Florida), but the pain of being so far away was so hard. Even thought we knew we were losing him, the actual loss took the wind out of me for a very long time. Hugs to you on this horrible journey--go see him as much as you can while you can!

KGilbert said...

I am so sorry to hear about the devastating news you received. I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers.

African American Mom said...

I decided to bring my self out my cave and stop by your blog. I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I'll be coming by to check on you.

Simone said...

That is WRONG! The doctor owed your dad dignity and respect and to keep you waiting for answers and barely giving you that was pathetic! I am sorry to hear the path that your dad's health is taking. I hope that he is wanting to fight for as many months and even years he has left to fight. Not easy for you, my friend to let go of your dad. So keep on fighting when he has no strength left to fight on his own. Hugs to you for all that you are going through.