Stylocycle’s Blog

It’s been forever… and here’s why
September 10, 2011, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In February my step-dad fell ill with what we thought was a flu; he was tired, had joint pain, but no other specific complaints. You know what’s coming, don’t you?

Within a few weeks, he was seen in the ER for pain in his abdomen that was non-specific, but my mother was tired of him moaning and doing little, so she forced him to go. They sent him for a CT scan and discovered lesions on his liver. By March 17th, we were sitting with the general surgeon who explained that the lesions were likely a metastasized cancer… and so the hunt was on for the source.

By April 2nd, we had our answer: small cell lung cancer with metastases to the liver and the bone marrow. Spring and summer were consumed by palliative chemotherapy, and other clinical visits. His final chemo treatment was on July 28th, and his final CT scan was on August 21st. While the liver initially responded well, and the bone marrow was more resistant, by the end of the treatment regimen that pattern had been reversed; the liver cancer cells had become resistant and were growing like wild-fire. In the two weeks since his final clinical assessment with the head of oncology he has gone from tired but mobile to hospice care.

My step-dad is currently in hospice, and my spouse and I take turns staying through the night so that there is extra support there to prevent him from being in danger as a result of his attempts to get out of bed at night. If he were to fall, he would be seriously injured, and then he would have to go to the hospital, and nobody wants to see him in hospital.

We expect that it won’t be more than a few days now, but even that would be too much suffering. What the oncologist said was, “You won’t have any pain; you will just become more and more tired, and eventually you won’t wake up again.” That doesn’t sound like such a bad way to go. Too bad it’s complete bullshit. It’s true enough that he does not have much pain, but until you witness it, you have no idea what this kind of exhaustion (and severe jaundice) mean. He still has the mental will to do things for himself, but his body is incapable of cooperating. Swallowing is a task. Speaking is near to impossible. He has trouble breathing because the fluid in his abdomen and his enlarged liver compress his lungs. It’s not *painful* but it’s harrowing nonetheless. He has no muscle left on his bones, so his legs cannot take him to the washroom; he cannot go outside except in his bed.

I’d like to chain the oncologist to a chair and make him sit in the hospice for two weeks to witness what “tired” means.


Soon, my step-dad will be released from all this… but he gave us a gift that was meant as a bit of a joke… which we have kept as a joint effort with a friend. We now have a laying hen, a little Rhode Island Red, and she gives us an egg a day.

And so, from commuter cycling to the backyard farming… my life takes turns I could never have predicted.


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