In an earlier post Nine months – part one I talked about the first nine months of my dad’s illness – he had cancer of the bile duct, cholangiocarcinoma. The nine months marked the period between when he was diagnosed and when my sis got married. So in June 2009 dad walked Abi down the aisle and all was well with the world.
In terms of his treatment, dad had to finish chemo early but his side effects soon subsided; he appeared to have no long term effects from MRSA; his scar had healed and as far as he was concerned it was time to get on with life. My dad was a postman for over 30 years so he was physically very fit before he got ill, he had the stamina of an ox and very matter of fact mindset so his view was that he was better now and he had to get on with normal life. So that was the plan, gradually do more and move on. Dad had spent the best part of nine months in hospital having a lot of treatment and it was quite shocking to see how much his stamina had depleted and how much he had aged – well how much both my parents aged in that time; but they were both keen to try to return to normality.
Fast forward twelve months to June 2009 and Dad’s health has improved massively and he is convinced that he is better. He has been spending time with his mate Pete helping out in his carpentry workshop, doing odd jobs around the house and helping mum sort their garden. In a rather drastic, and I might argue misguided, attempt to get ‘back to normal’ him and mum decided to get a puppy, Stella (named after dad’s consultant David Stell not the lager), but something was not right. Dad had always loved walking and had talked for years about getting a new dog for company but his heart wasn’t in it, I’d never seen him so lethargic or disinterested – despite an oscar award winning performance of normality.
Anyway to cut a long story a little shorter, dad was not better. He ended up being admitted into hospital with an infection that turned out to be linked to an abscess that had formed under his scar. Surgery followed and he was home again within a week under the care of the district nurses. No signs of MRSA and he recovered from surgery fairly quickly. It goes without saying that we were all bricking it that this was the cancer back, especially given that we’d always been told that there was a chance they didn’t manage to remove it all but we carried on regardless – not that you have a choice, especially when we’d always been aware there was no further treatment that dad could have.
So what’s with the nine months – back to my sister. She found out the week dad left hospital that she was pregnant with her and Steve’s first child. Queue banter between her and dad, “You can stop attention seeking now dad, it’s all about me”. Except dad had other ideas!
Cast your mind back to August last year, do you remember all the fuss about swine flu? Dad had recovered from his abscess but was still a little lethargic and not completely right. Well towards the end of July he was fighting another infection and ended up with an emergency admission to hospital – that whole saga warrants a post of it’s own so I’ll spare you the details suffice to say it included angels from the ambulance service, an arsehole junior doctor who was convinced dad had swine flu, the phrase ‘with all due respect’ spat at me, a four hour wait in isolation, a second opinion (but really I’m obviously not over that yet so that’s for another time)…anyway dad was eventually admitted into hospital where he spent two weeks receiving intravenous antibiotics for blood poisoning caused by an MRSA infection.
The next six months saw dad recovering again and Abi blooming. He had a biopsy in November on some lumps, they turned out to be benign lipomas (harmless fatty deposits) and in December he was officially told he was in remission. I can’t begin to describe the relief.
So all good stories have a happy ending right?