So an update from the land of cancer. Last week was a pretty good week, all things considered. Pat and Trent met the oncologist and started the process in the public system of working out what life with cancer looks like. That was on Wednesday and Wednesday brought relatively good news. The cancer team thought it was possible that Pat’s cancer may not be a pancreatic carcinoma but instead a lymphoma. Still cancer, but a much better outcome relatively speaking. Lymphoma has a much better survival rate and treatment is far more effective, so considering the rollercoaster we’ve been on for the past month, it was a win.
So Thursday was PET scan day, this meant 3 hours of scanning every last detail of Pat’s body on a cellular level. The weekend brought some much needed relief in the form of friends and frivolity for Trent. Pat enjoyed his coastal life, taking in the international bowls tournaments across the road in preparation for next year’s Commonwealth Games. I asked Trent what the entry fee was and he laughed and said he was pretty sure his dad was standing outside just looking over the fence. That’s Pat to me, it’s the essence of him, he’s into everything, aware of what’s going on and when someone else might need to pay to see, he just looks. Where someone else might be shooed away, he’s welcomed with a smile. People love this man, he cares deeply for those around him, not just his family but his friends and neighbours and in turn, those who meet him care deeply about him. Talking about Pat’s health has visibly shaken my friends here in Bangkok, he’s just that type of guy.
Today is Monday and it’s the day when the cancer team (Team C), meet to discuss cases. On today’s agenda, how to get a piece of this cancer for a closer look. So, after our hopes for Lymphoma and a possible better outcome last week we received a devastating blow this morning. Team C called and said that their plans to do a endoscopic biopsy are canned and they are going to take a piece from the groin. That’s right, the groin. We have new mets in new places. Not good news. Yet through it all Pat’s still strong, and has no symptoms (how is that?!)
Unfortunately my 7 year old son (Ninn) intercepted the message about the cancer having spread, so it’s been a rough morning for him. We’ve all felt so hopeful since last Wednesday’s lymphoma option that I feel we’ve really crashed again. Ninn has been so strong and brave through it all. I’ve been so proud of him, but it’s not without a toll. He misses his Dadda dearly, last night he sobbed until he fell asleep because he just wanted his dad and his nights have been haunted by nightmares. He’s never been a kid to have nightmares so this is new for him. We wake in the morning, more tired than when we go to bed. Cancer is hard, it’s even harder for kids. I’m trying to be there, to help him process it, but how do you process an incurable disease? How do you explain that treatment will attack the good cells too, making his seemingly healthy Poppy feel sick?
Our 3 year old is struggling too, in her own way. I guess it’s hard to be 3. Her Dadda is gone, her Poppy is gone and she’s asking me daily why her Dadda won’t come back. My usually fiery but easy to manage Cha has become inconsolable at some point almost every day this week. It’s unlike her but it seems that’s her way of managing.
In good news, it’s 5 more sleeps until we reunite with “Dadda”. What should be a time of celebration as my son finishes Grade 1, has been tinged with sadness. 5 sleeps. We can do 5 more sleeps right? We have dinner sorted for the next few nights courtesy of a workmate. The kindness of others will be a powerful memory to keep throughout this. The kids loved the freshly baked cookies – no need for moderation when you’re dealing with cancer folks, we ate all those cookies in one sitting!