Saturday, April 21, 2007

An Update on Papa Reid

As many of you may or may not know, the health of my father has been a major concern over the last few weeks. It has been a roller coaster of emotion and stress and indecision and all the fun stuff that goes with the territory. I haven’t blogged about it because…I just didn’t. It seemed that the word was slowly getting out anyway and my mother’s blog had a pretty good day-by-day synopsis going. But for those of you who are not in the immediate information loop but who would like to know how old Papa Reid is doing, I will summarize the last month or so, Cliff Notes style.

Two things before I do: 1) The story ends on n optimistic point, so don’t despair, and 2) Forgive me for moments where I just don’t know the specific details because I, too, am hours away from the direct situation.

Dad has been on numerous different types of chemotherapy over the last few years, and sometime in early March (?) he was put on a just-approved chemo called Vectibix. Long story short: The chemo made him very sick and did nothing to the cancer, which in fact, spread in his liver. So dad was feeling really bad. Erica went to see him late March and comes back VERY concerned with how he is doing. He’s been remarkably fit throughout this ordeal considering the circumstances, but this chemo really pulled the rug out from under him.

Mid April they found the progression in his liver because some of his blood work contained elevated levels of a certain enzyme which is always a cause for concern. So he was off Vectibix, given a CT scan, and there was the crap in his liver, some of it pretty substantial.

One of the complications with cancer is that causes and symptoms get tangled up and are hard to separate. Was the Vectibix still causing lingering symptoms? Was there liver damage surfacing due to the cancer? It turns out the answer is YES, and YES. Dad is yellowing and jaundiced from the crap in his liver. And we have since determined that some of his pains were still after-effects from the Vectibix. Wicked stuff.

Katie and I went home for Easter and he was still very sick, SO SICK, in fact that the whole family started talking in terms of the distinct possibility that he may not be around come Fall. He had fever constantly, took naps multiple times a day, and really had difficulty getting out of the house for longer than an hour or two. It was very disheartening. Yet he still managed to get to Daniel’s coffee shop, we ate a few times, and he helped hide Easter eggs for Katie and mom. And man he was all about this Stevie Ray Vaughn DVD* we were watching. He is still, after all, David Reid.

The Wednesday following Easter (4/11/07), he went in for a new treatment and the nurse there basically told them that she was reluctant to give Dad the treatment because he was so weak. We were all distraught and fearing the worst, but the next day my parents met with their oncologist and he didn’t seem so upset. They started dad on a new treatment, and he woke up the following day feeling better than he had in a good month or two. It was like he was a different person! We all breathed a sigh of relief and allowed a little optimism to creep back in.

And now we have settled into the regular routine of this new chemo (which is actually 2 different types of chemo combined that he has had before), and we’re getting a pretty good picture of what things will look like for a while. The chemo makes him sick and tired (which is only fitting I guess, because he is pretty sick and tired of getting chemo- har har). He spent most of the week in bed or at home. He is still turning yellow. And by the time he starts to recover, it’ll be time for the next treatment, which he is getting once a week. He is currently on disability while he figures out what, if any, type of work routine he can muster. Not a good situation, but certainly not as bad as it could be. Lots more enthusiasm and optimism that we were having around Easter.

So prayers and good thoughts are still appreciated. I'll keep folks posted about how he's doing.

* Great DVD set. Check it out.


pritcher said...

I'm really glad to know things look a little better. Your dad's in my prayers every day.

Princess Jibi said...

I just happened to crossed by your blog. I know how hard it is to blog about these things. I will keep him in my prayers...