Thursday, September 3, 2009

The other shoe dropped

Now it's Dad's turn:
Tuesday, my dad phoned early in the morning and asked if I could accompany him to his doctor's appointment in Urology. He forgot about the appointment the day before and the doctor had called him to make sure we got in to discuss his diagnosis and possible treatment plan. The first thought I had was "It's starting. The march towards death is beginning." Breathe. Breathe again.
That already doesn't sound good.
It just so happened I had the day off (as I work this Saturday) so I had all day for this. Other nameless errands can be put off.
Mom decided to come too. Six ears are better than 2, I say!
When Dr. Harris came in I was pleasantly surprised. He was quite charming and totally cute. Just the kind of guy I'd like to date--no wedding ring, decent physical shape, a little on the short side, but I'm willing to overlook that, nice smile, beautiful blue eyes...) I started day dreaming immediately. But pulled it together quick enough--I only lost the first 20-30 seconds of the introductions. :)
Aww. He's probably gay. But maybe not. How can I find out? Isn't this way inappropriate??
Dad has prostate cancer. He had bladder cancer last Spring but that was totally unrelated to this, according to the cute doc. We were told that 100% of men that reach 90 have prostate cancer, and about 2/3 of men in their 70's have it. Dad is 78. So this was expected, I guess. Good thing is that prostate cancer is the slowest growing cancer known to man (or woman). He layed out the treatment options: surgery, radiation, hormone therapy or expectant (do nothing and continue to monitor PSA blood tests). All treatment plans except the last one have side effects, and it didn't sound too appetizing.
So after all the talk and questions answered, Dad decided on just following the PSA tests every 6 months and if they spiked unexpectedly he might consider the hormone therapy. That sounded about right to me too. It's weird that you wouldn't treat cancer aggressively, knowing that something else is much more likely to threaten the life of a 78+ aged man. Scary to stare down at death's door.
Dad had a bone scan done a few weeks ago and the results were inconclusive. He may or may not have cancer metastasized to the right femur, but it was impossible to tell by the scan alone. Dad has no symptoms. So that's good.
But dad is very good at denial of any diagnosis. He calls it being "Christian Science--like" and just thinking positive about health. Letting God or the universe take care of it. It doesn't really help when the diagnosis is diabetes and so there is no effort to change diet or exercise routines. Dad has always been passionate about 2 things: Food and music. So I don't see him changing his ways on account of a little thing like DM II ("number two" he says--like it's a little thing and way less serious than DM I. I guess it is in many cases, but still shouldn't be discounted either!)
Dr. Harris asked if I could be present at all future visits since dad's memory isn't as good as it used to be and to help explain things should he forget. Dad seemed a bit surprised that he would make that request. I guess it's more obvious to others than just my mom and I. But I'm listed as the go-to girl in both their Advance Directives and Trust/will so I really should be there and hear things from "the horse's mouth" instead of relying on what dad tells me is going on.
I wrote Dr. Harris an email the next day and gave him my contact information to be place in my dad's chart. (And of course, I fantasized that he might continue to chat with me socially. Ha! It's you can see I've got nothin' going on in that department.)
After the visit we had a nice cup of coffee at my house and then walked over to the nearby Chinese restaurant for a lovely lunch that dad sprung for.
In a couple of weeks he'll undergo another cystoscopy to check on the bladder cancer treatment success.


Wishing 4 One said...

Um, maybe Dr. Harris asked you to be present at future visits for his own reasons....hmmm???

Really hoping for the best for your Dad!

And Dr. Harris.....

Care said...

Your Dad certainly has a lot going on. I think monitoring his PSA and just taking a wait and see approach makes sense. Hopefully it will be a really really slow growing cancer.

And I'm with Wishing...maybe there was a secondary reason Dr Harris wanted you present. ;-) A girl can hope!

cmay said...

Thanks. Well, I wrote Dr Harris and left TONS of contact information (mainly to be placed in my dad's chart). But he never wrote me back. And I put my feelers out there will other docs that I work with and the consensus is that he is in love with himself--typical of the average male surgeon. Oh well. It was a nice little fantasy....


Oh well. It would be nice to find someone who will love you at least as much as he loves himself! It was nice to fantasize, anyway!

Hope your dad is doing okay. Who knew that ALL men get it in their older years? That just seems kind of strange. Maybe that's a clue that evolution needs to do something about that!

How's your mom doing?

Jo said...

Wow, sorry to hear about your dad's health issues. He's so lucky to have you looking out for him.

Liking the sound of Dr. H!

Kevin said...

i will pray for you and your dad stay strong