Sunday, December 20, 2009

The story so far

Now, slightly more coherently.

The way this worked out is my Dad, who had had one motor vehicle accident in his late teens and then got lucky for about fifty years, drove through a red light. It was low speed, no-one was particularly badly hurt, but the ambulance came and he was taken to hospital.

(I live in Australia, ambulance costs $25 a year, hospitals plus cheaper medical and dental costs cost around about one and a half percent of your income a year via tax. You tend not to notice this in the same way that you notice, say, the almost one hundred thousand dollar bill this would actually cost. You guys in America should look into this.)

Anyway - they went to hospital, over my father's protestations, and Dad admitted he had some chest pain. They took Xrays and found a mass.

I hesitated over that word. It is almost too evocative - you can imagine it suspended in the delicate tracery of the lung, dragging you down. You become weak, each breath hurts, your muscles fail... mass.

As a lapsed Catholic it may have, to him, some other associations.

Anyhow - the chest pain led to a number of consultations. The general pattern of those consultations has been the cutting off of hope. It may not be cancer - it is. It may not have spread throughout the lung - it has. It may be suitable for surgery - it is not. It may not have spread elsewhere - it has.

It is stage four large cell lung cancer. Chemotherapy is rather harsh, it delays but does not deny death. It is platinum based molecule, which I suppose is rather impressive. It is initially successful but resistance to it swiftly develops. There are other treatments - treatments as well as rather than instead of - but the most promising of those (the tyrosine kinase inhibitors) don't work that well, and work better on certain subsets of people. They are most efficacious on young, Asian women who have never smoked. Even with the eye of faith, I cannot see my father in this way.

A brief aside: if anyone writes to me and suggests a combination of homeopathy and a gluten free diet can fix this, I will hunt them down and kill them with my own hands. I mean it - I have money, I have a valid passport, I can write my own medical certificates explaining how I was completely insane at the time. Test this at your peril.

Anyhow - today he is coming around to potter about the garden. I will let you know how that works out.

Thanks for listening,


Blogger The Girl said...

Thank-you for sharing. Take care.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Daniel Best said...

You know this is making me are never alone, no matter how dark it might feel.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

My sympathies regarding this, particularly toward hunting down the gluten-free proponents and others. When my beloved stepfather was dying of myelofibrosis, we got lots of suggestions regarding laetrile/snake oil type stuff. The urge to go predator on such types is still strong in me.

Word verification word: fothr. It just interested me, given your post.

5:19 AM  
Blogger Milo said...

I am very sorry John.

8:57 AM  

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