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No good news.

Just before I was ready to head for the hospital (around 1) I got a call from Dr. Gosewehr's associate at Northwest Cancer Specialties.

The results of the biopsy done on the 29th are positive for adenoma. The CT scan showed this stuff strewn throughout her abodomen, not just in the liver and in one place on the intestinal fascia, which is what I had understood from earlier reports. Damn them for not telling us the full information, but I guess it was inevitable given the comedy of errors which this whole business has been.

So. This is an inoperable cancer. Penny is too weak to tolerate chemotherapy at this time. That does not mean, by a long shot, that this is an untreatable cancer. It cannot be cured - but it can be treated, and there are things they can do, but it will not be easy.

They can give her blood-building drugs and anabolic drugs, if they won't stimulate the cancer growth. Since it's endometrial cancer in origin, they can certainly give her an estrogen blocker which might reduce the cancer, or stop it growing.

We were supposed to talk with the nurse about home care and about hospice. The idea is to get her into something less expensive than the overnight stays at the hospital. Her blood pressure was still a bit too low, so they gave her more red cells and more saline, and I suspect they will still keep her there tomorrow night - since we would have to turn around and get her in to see the doctor again on Monday.

At this point, we refuse to despair, but we're also making sure we're prepared for the possibility that things won't work out.
Our 25th wedding anniversary is the 14th of February ... we had planned on a few days at the coast, at the resort where we stayed on our 20th. That probably won't happen. We'll do something, though.

I stayed with her until 9:30; she slept part of the time, but was also awake some, and they kept doing things like taking blood pressure and so forth. She ate lunch, we had communion (our lay eucharistic minister came by) and we found out that they plan to look at her stomach tomorrow to see why she can't eat much and whether that's where she's bleeding. That will happen sometime in the morning.

I will update sometime in the afternoon or evening.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 8th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear this. My thoughts, love, and prayers are with you both.
Jan. 8th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
I don't have any idea what words I could say to help this be easier on you or Penny. I'm very, very sorry to hear, and cancer is one of those things that hits me very, very deeply.

There is a point in time, though, where one has to look at the situation, and see that things aren't going to resolve themselves in a wonderful manner. I wish they would, I wish they could. At some point, the indignity of it all is going to catch up with both of you (if it hasn't already) -- and you're going to be pretty close to giving up.

Don't give up. Don't let it get to you. It is likely that she's not going to survive this, unfortunately, and I can't really say much one way or another... but just remember: nobody lives through 30 years together without a major commitment. Not just love, but the willingness to take that love and forge it into a tool with which to survive the trials of years. You feel that way about her -- you'd beard a lion in its dead, naked, if it were the only way to save her -- and while I don't know her as well, I think she'd do the same for you.

Cancer, though, is one foe that we don't know how to fight. It's not even a foe we know how to effectively treat. All we know how to do, with it, is try to lengthen lives... but at some point, the indignity and the pain of the treatments outstrips the pain indignity of the disease itself.

When that happens, please don't try to cajole Penny into living with the treatments -- let them manage her pain as best they can (see about hospice for the most dignified way to do that), and get ready to say good-bye. It's going to hurt, certainly -- but it'll hurt less, being able to say goodbye, than if you railed and railed against an implacable foe and didn't notice that she'd already slipped away.

side note: I believe that Oregon allows medical marijuana. There's at least one study (suppressed by the government) that showed that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) could reduce or even eliminate some kinds of cancers -- and even if it didn't, it certainly helped relieve the pain associated. I realize you're against recreational drug use, but pot is much less damaging to the system than opioid narcotic painkillers, which is what they normally give for pain management to cancer patients. (Even if she healed the cancer, she'd then have to deal with being weak while trying to reduce her physical dependence on narcotics -- pot's easier to get off of, physically, and it stimulates the appetite, and it does a whole host of things that help. What's it going to do, cause lung cancer? :P)

[/medicalmarijuanaactivism] I'm sorry if your LJ isn't the best place to discuss this. I know you need emotional support, but I'm not in a place where I can give it, more than to tell you that I think about you, and I think about her, and I hope that things go well.

Be well. I hope Penny becomes well. Failing the latter, I hope you both learn how to be emotionally okay with her imminent passing.
Jan. 8th, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC)
Cheeseburgers and kumquats! Well, like you said, there is non-chemotherapy treatment. Not much Chrono and I can offer right now, except good wishes.

More love and hugs from Los Angeles.

Jan. 8th, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)
That just utterly and majorly stinks. Not that this fact is news to you. Here's hoping for you both, even so.
Jan. 9th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
As always, ya'll are in our prayers.
Jan. 9th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
You all are in our prayers as well.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )