To the Bitter End
Had a phone call today from Fiona, the social worker at Sir Charlies. The slim chance had come through and Dad’s results were in and the Registrar was looking to find out when we were coming in next.
I told her we were planning on leaving home around 10.30 and should be in the hospital between 11-11.30. Fiona indicated that she would be there around that time to talk to us about plans for Dad to be discharged and the like.
Fiona wasn’t able to give me any indication on the call which way the results might run, which was fair enough and so we just made our way in as we had intended.
Within moments of us getting into Dad’s room and saying “Hi” there was a young nurse at the door confirming we were Dad’s family and then scurrying off to get the Doctor. Moments later a young Doctor by the name of Ivan came in and sat down with us. My brain is a bit of a fuddle right now… but the long and the short of it is… it is what they suspected.
Stage 4 Multiforme Gilioblastoma. It is apparently very very aggressive (we were concerned with the second “very”) and absolutely malignant. Tumours of the Brain run from Stage 1 (benign and operable) to Stage 4 (neither of the above)
This time Mum asked “the question” and Ivan actually said he was hoping we wouldn’t. Untreated, likely prognosis is about 6 months. Treatment generally adds about another three with the longest he had seen living for about two years.
Treatment for this type of tumour isn’t so much a reduce it/kill it… it’s more a stall it for as long as possible until treatment doesn’t work anymore and would include Chemo and Radiation therapy.
This is the unknown element at the moment, what regime would the Oncologists want to put Dad on? We should be getting a call from them next week to set up a time to go and see them about possible scenarios and if treatment is wanted at all by Dad.
The problem with this type of tumour apparently is that you could have microscopic versions of it lying in wait in your grey matter and then they suddenly just take off. Radiation/Chemo MIGHT be able to do something about reducing/slowing those… but for the ones already there (and yes they are in fact still classified as small lesions) slowing them is the best that can be hoped for.
By general consensus Dad will come home tomorrow where he can be monitored and cared for, for as long as his condition will allow. But we are now faced with the finite… if a little wishy-washy on the timeline.
We now start to consider things like… Dad’s wishes when it comes to Resuss and the like and other decisions that he can and should be a part of.
To say I am shocked is too strong a word… I highly suspected that this was going to be the outcome and have in some way been preparing for this for the last two weeks since I first heard the word “mass” and “brain” in the same sentence. This is not to say I am not devastated and trying to process what is going on.
We are back at that waiting game now to see the oncologist, but we will make use of what time we have with Dad making sure that his wishes for his and our futures are seen to.
As Dad will be at home if you do want to drop around and see him, please email Mum on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the home number on 08 94902977 from this Sunday onwards.