I'm 20 years old, and my grandfather was diagnosed with Glioblastoma 4 days ago. He's been given an expectancy of 6-10 months with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. With no treatmeant, he would have had 6-8 weeks. It's been such a massive shock. He's never had any other medical problems, never been a smoker or a drinker, and has always been so healthy, fit, and strong.
Today he went in for brain surgery to have as much of the mass removed as possible. It also happens to be his 75th birthday. I've spent the past couple of days with him, and it's been horrible. He's lost 9kgs in about a week, wouldnt eat, sleep, or leave his bed. He just sat there awake all day and night, staring at the ceiling. He was still quite with it and able to comprehend everything going on around him, his only difficulties were with balance, short term memory loss and occasionally forgetting/using the incorrect words.
I was with him this morning while he was being admitted to hospital and being prepped for surgery, and I've never, ever seen someone that terrified before and I hope I never have to again. It was the most horrific thing I've ever seen in my life. I'll never forget that look on his face or the terror in his eyes until the day I die. It was heart-wrenching, I almost wished I could trade places with him. I couldnt even begin to describe what he looked like, no words could do it justice... but I suppose many of you on here will understand exactly what I mean.
I wanted so badly to say something to reassure him, but couldnt find the words. What on earth can you say to someone who's having brain surgery on what will more likely than not be their last ever birthday? They don't make halmark cards for that... I ended up going with a simple 'good luck, love you'.
I've had the longest, most exhausting 24 hours of my life. I was up all night, tossing and turning, wanting time to speed up because the wait was agonizing and at the same time wanting it to slow down because I was dreading the morning. My nan didn't want to wait in the hospital while he had the surgery, which I thought was quite harsh but in hindsight I believe was a very good idea. We would have driven ourselves crazy waiting there. We instead went out for a really nice lunch, which did distract us for a few brief moments, but every time there was a lull in the conversation, or someone texted us asking if we'd heard any news, our minds would go straight back to him. Apart from that, we spent the time at my auntys house (not far from the hospital), just pacing, pacing, not knowing at all what to do with ourselves. Every time the phone rang, we jumped.
Some relatives went to see him once he woke up, but I didn't join them. Apparently he's paralysed down his left side, but they're confident that will subside once swelling begins to ease. He's been very agitated, trying to pull his bandages out and his drips off, and they've had to restrain him. I'm going to see him tomorrow morning, and I'm so anxious as to what he'll be like. He was always such a kind and patient man, now he's irritable, snappy, demanding and rude. I miss the old pop so much, he was amazing, and I'm so scared that he'll never be the same again. I'm also feeling guilty that I have hardly seen him much in the past couple of years...he was such a big part of my childhood, and now, even though he is still with us, I know that those prescious, carefree years with him are gone now, and things will never be the same again :(
I'm also not looking forward to seeing him go through chemo and radiation... he's been through so much already, I cant believe that hes going to have to go through even more...
Everything is happening faster than I can process it. I havent even properly process the first news, brain tumour yet, let alone cancer, terminal, 6-10 months, brain surgery, half paralysed!! I have so many conflicting feelings at the moment. You name it, I'm probably feeling it!!!
It's so overwhelming. Nothing can prepare you for it. No matter how many brochures you read or stories you hear, you really have no idea at all until its happening to you. Terminal cancer is just hurdle after hurdle, but if you jump one the next one just gets higher. As there's no chance of recovery, there is nothing really to hope for...nothing particular that you want to happen...just what you dont want to happen. Doing all we can to hold off the inevitable, not knowing whats going to happen in a month, a week, or on days like today, an hour.
Waiting, waiting, waiting...
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.