A Skippers Tale XX

In the Doldrums

I preface this post by saying it is probably going to be quite maudlin, and I apologise in advance.

Today has been quite a hard day for the Lawrence household. Not because we received more bad news or anything like that, it’s just been one of those days.

Actually it’s be a couple of weeks of Those days… it all started about three weeks ago after Dad’s first round of chemo tablets. The Neurologist suggested that we start stepping down Dad’s steroid medication by perhaps .5mg a week. Dad was supposed to have been weened off them about 4 weeks after diagnosis, but changing the dose seemed to have a significant effect on Dad.

No more than now… within days Mum and I had noticed that Dad was ‘phasing out’ more and was far less responsive than what we have come to expect as normal. But it wasn’t just that, it was other things like his ability to function day to day had changed… we were repeating ourselves more often for the same things… Dad’s ability to assess his daily needs was slipping. After about a week of this, we consulted with the Dr’s and they said to return to the 4mg… We hoped it would improve things… it hasn’t.

Now, this could be one of three things… 1) the drug is getting less effective, 2) There are more lesions growing, or 3) the ones he has are getting bigger. None of these are a great prognosis. Dad’s self care has been significantly effected by this and he’s becoming so frail Mum and I are starting to have to help him get in and out of bed some days, if he gets out at all… It’s… difficult.

I’m feeling more than a little guilty because I was in Perth over the weekend just past for an event much like the one in April, and once again, Mum was home with Dad. Though I was a phone call away and Mum said she was fine… I am now seeing the deficit in her from her being here on the weekend and now I am feeling like I should have been able to read between the lines.

I guess, this is where it’s finally starting to hit me… I learned this evening that Val Doonican had passed away age 88. For those who may not know him Val was an Irish singer who I remember going to see when I was only about 11 down in Albany… Three songs really stuck in my head, Paddy McGinty’s Goat, O’rafferty’s Motor Car and Delany’s Donkey – nonsense little ditties that make me smile every time I hear them… But I had forgotten one of his other songs, until I stumbled across it on you tube this evening… Marvelous Toy… within seconds of listening to the tune I remembered how it seemed to remind me of Dad when I was young and even back then it could bring a tear to my eye… Now, I can’t even get past writing the name without losing my shit near hysterically…. I was even standing in the shower not fifteen minutes ago and the tune popped into my head and I broke down there. Which seemed to set me off even more…

I haven’t told anyone this before, but about three days before Dad had his first turn I was having a shower at my place and a thunderous thought imploded in my brain… I am an only child, I have no partner, no significant other, hell I don’t even have anything remotely resembling a romantic relationship… When Mum and Dad have passed away… that’s it… I’m alone! I know people will tell me that I have extended family and friends, but truthfully… the buck stops with me as they say… I can’t fall into the arms of a sibling who will be experiencing the same pain I am, I can’t turn to my other and cling to them for support… There will be nada… zip… zilch…

Remember this joyful little bundle turned up BEFORE Dad’s problems

Tonight those thoughts are weighing heavily back on my mind… and once again, for some ungodly reason they decided to hit me while I was in the shower…

Watching Dad wither away is most probably the hardest thing I have ever faced, and to anyone who has gone through it… I never truly understood what you’ve gone through and I apologise for any callous or flippant remarks I may have made inadvertently…

I am trying to make every day count, but to be honest… The towering strength that is in my Dad is eating itself alive and day by day we seem to be losing more of him and soon Mum and I are going to have to face the very real possibility that we will no longer be in a position to give him the care he needs.

Fortunately we do have a couple of wonderful cancer nurses who are arranging to get some people out for an assessment and to see what can be done to make our lives a bit easier with Dad’s care… but that still doesn’t diminish the fact that these little shits decided to set up shop in Dad’s brain… GBM has a frequency rate of 2-3 per 100,000!!!!! The little bastards couldn’t have set up shop somewhere else… like perhaps a convicted child rapist or something???

I think I am done for the evening… my head is pounding, my eyes are sore and I need to get some sleep… I only have one more thing to say…



5 thoughts on “A Skippers Tale XX

  1. Dear Yoli

    I have written a long reply then realised that it may go on this page for all to see so have saved that for when I get home to Brisbane and can send it to your personal email address.

    I am currently in Melbourne for the funeral today of one of Kim’s aunts who has died of cancer. Kim’s mother and two of her three sisters have all died from cancer as well as Kim’s dad. Only telling you this because I understand something of your grief and suffering.

    Please know that your Dad, Mum and you are in my thoughts and prayers and hope that is of some comfort and reassurance for you all. My only comfort during Mum’s Alzheimer’s was my faith but I recognise that we all cope in different ways.

    Sending lots of love, hugs to each one of you – and strength and good health to you and your mum to cope with the physical and mental demands on you both.

    Erica xx

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Dearest Yoli, it is such a shit of a thing. I agree with your last words! I was going to phone last week to see if you would all like to come for a lamb roast last Sunday ! I now realise that may not be possible for your Dad. As it was I got the super shit virus and spent two days in bed! Are you guys up to a short visit? Please let me know. Love to you all Lyn and Tony xxx

  3. My fondest regards to you , your mum and dad. cancer is a hard road to travel for anyone involved in it. My father died of lung cancer and he withered before our eyes. I think it is worse for the families and cancer support units than the person with it. My dad accepted his fate with strength and dignity. Hope you can find strength from your dad as i believe he is a strong individual. Warm regards Tony Critchley On Business assignment for DEFAT in the Philippines. Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2015 17:16:02 +0000 To: critchat@hotmail.com

  4. Barbara and Yolie my thoughts are with you both. I am deeply saddened to hear that my old shipmate is still unwell. Please pass on my deepest and heartfelt regards, he was pivotal as my mentor and is a great friend. I think of him often and wonder when I’m at work, faced with one of them navy issues, “what would Fred do here?” My love to you all.

  5. Both very sad to hear about Fred and the way his illness is progressing. We have been trying to contact you and will try again at the weekend.
    Love to you all
    Vi and Dave

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