Those of you who have been hanging around here for a while will be familiar with my ramblings about my Dad and his experiences of Bile Duct Cancer, technically known as cholangiocarcinoma. The most recent update on it is here but I rarely seem to write a post without linking it to Dad and his experience, you can find lots of waffle on it here. I guess it’s fair to say that seeing someone so close to you battle with such a hideous disease is fairly life changing and shaping. I really feel like I’ve moved in my thinking on this recently. Last year I heard James from @patientopinion describing ‘the angry patient’ that you sometimes find willing to give feedback at every opportunity – as I reflected on James’ words and Patient Opinion’s brilliant work I realised how much anger I still had, I didn’t want to be the angry relative any more; blogging has helped me loads as I hope that it might at some point provide some info or ideas or inspiration to someone else facing a similar situation, but even if it doesn’t have that impact, it makes me feel better to get my feelings down.
So I have shit news. We heard from the hospital today and now know for sure that Dad’s cancer is back, the dreaded recurrence. His consultant was very clear that at this stage if it came back there would be no cure. These are harsh words to hear but when you hear them alongside the 1 in a 100 chance that it might be something else it is really easy to hold onto that, however ridiculous the odds are. Consequently you are never really prepared to hear the bad news.
I spoke to Dad at the weekend and he was very stoic, as he always is. Him and mum had been having conversations last week about what the future might hold and he’d told her that he wouldn’t want her to feel like she shouldn’t move on and try and build a life with someone else…I assume he means in due course ;). My parents celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary last week – I can’t really imagine having a harder conversation on your wedding anniversary but they seem to be doing ok by it really.
So today I am struggling to remember that it’s all about perspective, even though I know it is. I have cried, a little, not too much considering. I had a skype call that had a mini-meltdown in the middle but apart from that I seem to be doing ok – my procrastination skills have in no way been affected as I sit typing this instead of the work task in hand 😉 My boss sent me an awesome email which I’ll share with you as I couldn’t say it better myself:
I know this will be the news you were expecting but hoping against hope wouldn’t come. We prepare ourselves but it never protects us completely. Your dad sounds a fine man and one you must be proud to have as your dad. I hope that he and you feel he has a good medical team around him, and that you all feel the right decisions are made about what to do next. I know how hard all that is, balancing quality with length of a precious person’s life. I’ll be thinking of you.