Tuesday, April 25, 2006

April 25, 2006

Well, today has been a little bizarre. Mom & Dad are in Florida, so I was supposed to play taxi service & drive Donald (my grandfather) to the hospital today for some test. Got to his house at 8:15, he was at the hospital at 8:30, test was scheduled at 9, supposed to be done by 10:45. I was back a little early (just in case they were done early), and after finally figuring out what waiting area I was supposed to be in, found out that the doctor would be out soon to speak to me about the test (????????) and then I'd need to sign some papers and they'd wheel Donald out to the carport for me to pick up.

So Dr. S comes out, and immediately apologizes for having to tell *me*, but that Donald has a tumor. I asked about treatment options, whether there was an operation, and he said no, particularly not at his age and the stage of the tumor, but that they would probably try radiation and maybe some low-dose chemotherapy (not enough to make him seriously ill or lose hair, though, most likely). He had taken a biopsy, and the results would be back on Thursday when Donald has another appointment scheduled with Dr. P. And THEN Dr. S tells me that they're not going to tell Donald until then!!! He did want someone from the family to know, but he wasn't going to scare Donald until the results were in and it was definitely confirmed, although he has had a great deal of experience and is 99% sure. He said that what they were telling him (and it's not a LIE, it's just not all of the truth) is that there is some swelling and blockage and they've done a biopsy and Dr. P will have the results Thursday. He said that a lot of people *know* what those results will be, but they don't want to face it directly yet. So he encouraged me to just tell that to Donald, but not to lie to him.

So I get Donald home (he was feeling fine, not acting groggy or weird or anything), Dorothy was SO relieved to see him, because he had been late (he slept off the medication a little longer than expected). They both seem to be really relieved, and are focussing on there having been no mention of an operation, but that an appointment had been made for Thursday to discuss "how to treat it." I can't help but feel horrible because they are thinking the 'no operation mentioned' is a GOOD thing, and it's NOTNOTNOT.

So I called Dad from my cell while I was at the hospital (after Dr. S but before Donald woke up), and had to break THAT news to him. Hey great. I get to be the one to tell my father that HIS father has a tumor! Wow! What a great day!

And I was supposed to be TAXI SERVICE!!!!

More technical details: the radiation/chemo is not expected to eliminate the tumor, but to hopefully shrink it to a degree that Donald can eat and be comfortable. I've looked up esophageal cancer and at the late stage that it is detected when symptoms are such as Donald has been having, survival rates are "disappointing." (Disappointing?!?!?! THAT'S an understatement) Oh, and benign tumors of the esophagus are extremely rare, so we ARE talking cancer here.

I can expect calls tonight from Aunt Dianna, and possibly Uncle Kim. Mom & Dad are planning to go to St. Pete tonight to talk to Dianna, and they'll probably then call Kim. And like Mom said, even though I've told Mom & Dad everything, Kim and Dianna will probably want to hear it all from me directly again.

I feel more than a little weird about the idea that we're all going to know all this about Donald and HE doesn't even know yet. This cannot be a good thing. I would feel so betrayed if I found out my family knew all this and didn't tell me. I mean, don't you think that a person has the right to learn their own medical condition first?? I'm afraid that Donald will be hurt or upset with me that I kept it from him, even though I did it at the doctor's recommendation. Dad says he'll take care of that part and making sure it's okay. I hope so.

Anyway. I really should get something together for dinner, although I am really not motivated to cook. I got through Daisy Scouts okay, although it felt a little surreal, but I would greatly love to just bury under covers and sleep or something. Thank goodness I have nothing going on tomorrow.

Oh, by the by, Zoe loves me (Donald & Dorothy's dog). First time I've met her. I've heard a lot from Dad and Mom about how skittish this dog is, shying away from people. She did NOT like Lynn at all, barking at her and spooked Lynn quite a bit (Zoe's a German Shephard--if she didn't like me, I'd be freaked, too). Well, she just looooooved me to pieces. Licking my hands, my face, popped her paws right up on my lap, we played catch (in the living room, to Dorothy's horror Image) D&D couldn't get over it, they kept commenting about how they'd lost their dog (and truthfully, Zoe made more over me than Donald). She was acting like she'd known me forever and I was her best friend. It was altogether funny. Dorothy had to hold her collar when I left so she wouldn't try to go home with me.

OK. More later if I can get my brain together.


UPDATE: Just talked to Mom & Dad. They did NOT go over to St. Pete or tell Dianna....Kenneth rather hesitantly suggested (bless him!!) that it might be Donald's choice who and what to tell. I totally agree!! So the only people who know are me & Mom & Dad. Should it turn out that the doctor mentions that I know (as we explained to your granddaughter, etc), Dad is going to tell Donald how I was instructed by the doctor not to be the one to tell Donald. So it should all be okay. Dad is having a wicked hard time with all this, but he is trying to block it a bit so his entire vacation is not ruined (and really, to what point? he can't do anything about it, and his father hasn't even told him yet....hell, his father doesn't even KNOW yet).

Jeepers, what a soap opera.

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