How is it that, despite having watched closely as my sister, grandmother and mother wasted away, I am still stunned when I learn that yet another case of cancer may have reared its head in my family? I'm on auto-pilot right now. I'm kind of numb, and feel like I'm walking in a daze. This morning, I got a call from my father's oncologist. I didn't even know he HAD an oncologist. Apparently, Dad had gone to his cardiologist for his regular check-up on his pacemaker and complained of difficulty breathing and rapid weight loss (~10 pounds since I saw him 2 weeks ago).
So the cardiologist ordered a CT scan, and discovered a large mass in Dad's neck that also appears to be fused into some of his spinal cord, shoulder and brain. This led the cardiologist to send Dad to the oncologist. She met with him yesterday, and called me this morning to talk to me about Dad being admitted to the hospital for 2-3 days for intensive testing. Mind you, Dad didn't tell me a word about any of this.
She also confirmed that Dad does indeed have Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a degenerative neurological disorder that is fatal, usually within six years of onset. Based on his medical history, he's been displaying symptoms for the past two years. She also stated that Dad should not be living on his own anymore, and definitely should NOT be driving himself anywhere anymore. So, I'm taking Monday morning to go pick up Dad and his dog, drop the dog off at my house, take Dad to the hospital, and check him in. Then the oncologist wants to meet with me and Dad to discuss his living arrangements. I don't know what to do about that. To protect my child, I really can't have my Dad living with me. He can be violent, he's mean, and the emotional damage to Jamie would be great. I also don't have the ability to take care of everything he needs for the PSP, much less if he has cancer as well. I have no idea what to tell the doctor, much less while Dad is sitting right there with me.
That same day, I have to take Jamie to start his vision therapy for the convergence insufficiency. It took me a month to get an appointment, I can't reschedule it now. Sometimes it really sucks to have no one physically in your life on whom you can lean when you need help. I need to be 10 places at once, and somehow manage to do it all - including not missing any work, or else my boss won't wait until January to terminate my employment. This. really. sucks.
I know I complain about my father - A LOT. I also know I've said a million times that I love my father, I just don't like him very much. And this is true. But I wouldn't want to see my worst enemy waste away like what will happen to my father - whether by PSP or cancer. Either way, the prognosis is not good, and he's going to need a lot of assistive care. And knowing my father, he'll be kicking and fighting the whole way. God help us all.