This is a necessary post, and yet it is one I don't want to write. I need to let my dad's community know that his condition is worsening. I keep hoping the bad days are a fluke, an anomaly, but unfortunately, the more he has and the longer they are drawn out, I'm being forced to painfully see the writing on the wall: something is shifting. Without a crystal ball, we can't know for sure if the pain and fatigue and weight loss are from the cancer itself, or the chemo fighting the cancer. In lieu of a crystal ball, he's going in for a CT scan this afternoon. Hopefully that will give some clues as to what is going on.
Simply put, he's spending more days resting. Sometimes on the couch, sometimes in the recliner, sometimes in bed. This man who very rarely took a sick day, who could always be found in the Christmas Trees or the apple orchard or cutting firewood, is now spending a lot of his time lying down. The pain he's experiencing is in his abdomen, and seems to feel a bit better if he is stretched out flat.
Fortunately, a couple weeks ago, after a particularly difficult week, he was able to go visit my youngest brother, Kyle, in Oregon. To see Kyle and Whitney's new stomping grounds since their move from Montana.
The trip was tentative until the very last second. I literally wasn't sure he was going to make it until I actually saw him board the plane (I was able to get a security pass and accompany him to the gate, which was awesome!). I felt as though I was passing the baton to Kyle in that moment.
We've got our fingers crossed he can make a similar trip to Dale's house later this month.
The main message I'm needing to convey is this: Something has changed in his body, and he might be entering what he calls "the next phase" of this illness. Till now it was difficult on the chemo weeks, but by the weekend he was feeling better, and then would go on to have a good non-chemo week. Then, the weekends after chemo started feeling more like the days following chemo. And now he isn't getting that good non-chemo week. If anything, the shift has been toward the non-chemo week before more painful than the crummy chemo week. Good days are becoming the anomaly.
Take away: He appreciates the calls and the visits, still. However, if you call you are likely to get the answering machine, and it may be awhile before he feels up for calling you back. And if you come to visit (to get some of the wonderful Granvensteins that are now ripe!), he'll greet you if he feels up for it, but there is a 50/50 chance he'll be unable to be social.
Please continue to keep him in your thoughts.
Thank you to everyone who's been sporting the purple "pancreatic cancer awareness" bracelets. It's been so fun getting requests, sending them out, and then seeing your pictures. I've mailed out 56 bracelets to date (and still have 5 sitting on my desk -- who wants them?!). Keep the photos coming! Here's a sampling of bracelets out in the world, helping to remind my dad that No One Fights Alone:
And the guy for whom we wear the purple also wears his, every single minute of every single day:
We love you, Dad!!