I’ve said this before and anyone who has been through cancer treatments knows that when a scan is coming up it is the most nerve racking time that you can experience. The nine weeks of Dad’s chemo were coming to an end and it was that time again. The facts were that we didn’t know how this round of chemotherapy would work, but the doctors were confident. Dad’s doctors could make no guarantee if it would even work to shrink the tumors that had grown back in his chest and liver. All we could do was pray and be hopeful.
In the week leading up to the scan, Dad suddenly started having an awful pain on the right side of his chest where there had been small pea-sized tumors that just wouldn’t go away from the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. This made him very uneasy about what the scans would show. The spot then became swollen and red within the next few days. Dad was feeling very discouraged by this and was dreading the upcoming scan. He told me that he had the same feeling about the results as the night before he went into his 15 hour surgery: the feeling of the possibility that he would lose this battle. Hearing your father speak like that is hard to take, but all you can do is encourage him that everything will be okay and keep positive.
Monday came around and he had an appointment close to home to get the scan done. They asked him if he wanted to see the results that day and he told them he did not want to know. He wanted to wait until Friday to discuss what the scan showed with his doctors in Philadelphia, so they could talk about a plan of action. I understood his reasoning, but it was burning a hole through me all week. I cannot imagine what it was like for him to have that lingering feeling of what the scan showed, but I know how I felt and I was on edge. I could tell that everyone in our family was too each time I talked with Mom and my brothers. We all wanted to know so badly, but knew that it was best to wait to talk about what to do next.
Friday came along and I was at work. I carried my phone around in my pocket all day waiting to get the call from Dad. I didn’t even know if I wanted to find out during work, or if I just wanted to wait to look at my phone until the end of the day. Around lunch time I saw a text from my dad, “Just left doctor’s office. CT scan shows that the cancer is shrinking, but still need 3 more series of chemo at least.” I took a deep breath and the feeling of relief overcame me.
After work I called to see how the rest of the day went and how his treatment went that day. I asked about what the doctor said about the pain in his chest and it turned out to be effects of the radiation showing up. Dad seemed to feel relieved, but still felt a bit discouraged in the fact that he said he has accepted that he will probably be on some sort of treatment for the rest of his life. He knows how sick he was on this last nine week cycle of chemotherapy and he was going to have to go through it again.
Once again, all I can do is keep encouraging him to keep fighting and that everything will work itself out and it will be okay.
Continue reading next week about the side effects and changes in my dad while he is on chemotherapy.