In my last blog (25/3/12) I was optimistic because my wife’s blood results appeared good. I was wrong, oh so wrong.
The cancer is progressing. My wife’s liver has blown up like a balloon, she is in serious pain, and as a result spaced out on painkillers. At the last consultation, her Oncologist talked about stopping the chemo when this current schedule finishes. We have now been put in touch with Palliative Care.
My wife is a real fighter—if sheer will power could beat cancer the disease wouldn’t stand a chance—and she bristled at the suggestion that treatment stop. And when the oncologist asked if she wanted to know what her prognosis was my wife said she would prefer not to know, what is the point.
She is right—how can knowing help a cancer suffer—but I need to know. I phoned the oncologist later that day. The news was not good. I asked if it was weeks or months. I was told it was a bit of both but the doctor would be astonished if my wife was still alive in 6 months.
It was awful to go behind my wife’s back like this but I am going to have to take time off work to care for her and I need to plan.
Last week was bad. The hospital arranged for us to be contacted by the Palliative Care Service. When my wife heard they were coming round to the house she was furious, furious with me. Boy did I cop it: I had gone behind her back, no way was she going into a Hospice etc.
As it turned out the Palliative care doctor was brilliant. She charmed my wife, calmed her down and even got her to open up about her gravest fears. She is not worried about herself of course, she is most concerned about the children and particularly my son who suffers from depression.
We are going to have a family meeting in a few weeks time and talk things through. Hopefully it will relieve my wife’s anxieties.
What worries me most at the moment is my wife’s vagueness and confusion. For someone who was/is bright and highly intelligent it is really difficult to see her like this. The doctors assure me it is the painkillers causing it at the moment but I know that when her liver starts the fail it will affect her brain function.
It is hard to deal with her in this state of confusion and forgetfulness. She insists on cooking meals and then forgets what she is doing half way through. A leg of lamb was partially ruined on Sunday because she turned off the oven thinking it was the grill! And this evening when I got home from work she asked me to put a crab quiche she had made in the oven. The problem was she had not actually put anything into the pastry shell she had baked. It would be less stressful if I did all the cooking myself but she doesn’t see it that way.
And then there is keeping check of the medical appointments and visits by the community nurses etc. She has a book to write things down in but is constantly misplacing the book and then getting anxious about that.
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.