Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Beginning Of The End

Despite the best efforts of all involved, it looks like my wife's treatments will be coming to an end and hospice will be the next step.

We went to the cancer center yesterday to investigate some problems she's been having (most notably fatigue and trouble breathing). After ruling out a pulmonary embolism and/or pneumonitis, the cause of the breathing issues became obvious - the tumors in her liver (one in particular) has grown to a point where it is taking up the space the lungs need to inflate; she's down to about 50% in one lung and 75% in the other.

The largest tumor is now almost the size of the small lobe of a healthy liver. It's never a good thing when an experience oncologist says something like "I haven't really seen anything like this...".
Because she had an immunotherapy infusion already scheduled for this week and it won't do her harm, we're going to go ahead and do that. If there isn't evidence of improvement in 7 to 10 days, it'll be hospice. There's a theoretical > 0% chance that this second infusion will start making a difference, but that's not the expectation of her doctor (or us).

It's a morbidly fascinating experience to hear the oncologist talk about how she cannot believe my wife is still able to walk and talk as well as she can, let alone that she's not in agony. Apparently most people with her level of disease would be in severe pain. Much as I'm happy for her that she hasn't had that experience, it's tough to see someone fight so hard against an enemy they can't beat.

So, we're probably down to a few weeks or months. I'll still be writing here and there, but likely more erratically than in the past. I have appreciated all the kind words and support I've gotten from readers through this, and I know it has meant a lot to her. Thank you so much for that.

And a little lecture/PSA - please take as good of care of yourself as you can manage. My wife's oncologist believes that she's doing as well as she is (pain-wise and function-wise) because she was in pretty good shape beforehand. She wasn't a healthy living nut or anything, she just ate reasonably, tried to be active, and avoided stupid stuff. Please do the same - it may save you a lot of pain later.

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