We have had a series of disappointing news. The first of September, helping a vaccinated elderly neighbor, Dave got the virus. Because his immune system is compromised from experiencing stage four cancer, the situation became intense, and he quickly became very ill. The monoclonal antibodies saved his life.
Dave’s PSA had been surging (tripling) every few months and despite eight months of hormone therapy, his bloodwork shows that he is anemic (a side effect of the hormone blocking drug and an indicator of bone metastasis). He also has been suffering from back pain another side effects of the drug, so we had hope that it was muscle related as the pain moves around and was never consistent.
After regaining his strength from the virus, we decided with natural immunity, it was safe for us to venture out to visit family. We drove to Kentucky to see Dave’s niece and her family, then chose the scenic route and wandered through the beautiful Kentucky hills, stunning sprawling horse ranches and up into Ohio where Dave was able to visit the University of Dayton where he graduated college and we enjoyed lunch with his old college roommate in Lima too.
We continued our drive up to New York, astounded by the numbers of trucks on the road. At one point, we were at a standstill, and I took this photo. We have never seen so many trucks, businesses and factories which all seemed to be in need of employees and advertisements of job offers with ‘sign on bonuses’. Another shock to us was the excellent condition of the roads, so many of them were new. It felt like we had entered a twilight zone.
We saw a cousin in Rochester, stayed with Dave’s childhood buddy in Syracuse who happens to still live in the neighborhood they grew up in, who said “nothing has changed but the trees are taller” but it did make us miss his family, his adopted parents who passed away several years ago. We saw his birth Mom, and some of his sisters, and visited our old home in Oswego while we marveled over the size of the Dawn Redwood trees, we planted so many years ago.
The fall foliage was more beautiful on our trip home, but I also became very aware of how much Dave was suffering. He has been so tough through all of this.
We waited three months to get into a new Oncologist. This one we feel that we can work with. He planned a change in medication and ordered a bone scan and a CT Scan with contrast dye in which he stated he wanted done ‘tomorrow’ but we had to wait almost two weeks for the appointments.
The pain became so severe, Dave realized he was no longer able to do inspections and he needed help. We went to the ER. There, we were able to go ahead and get the CT Scan and the results. Unfortunately, there was evidence of the cancer spreading to his ribs and thoracic spine. There was some good news, it is not in the liver or lungs and even more worrisome to Dave, the kidneys, after ablating that cancer about a little over a year ago.
The bone scan was easier to schedule and was done last Tuesday. The ER visit saved us some time. We then were able to meet with the new Oncologist again on Friday, who went over the results. The last thing we wanted to hear was that his ‘bones lit up like a Christmas tree’. Not only was the news disappointing to hear but even more, the pain was intensifying.
We tried alternatives during the day and the Opioids at night. But the pain has been so severe, he has almost been out of his mind and the Doctor encouraged Dave to stay on the Opioids every four hours. Nausea had been a very big problem for him through the virus and has continued to be problematic. He does get some relief from smelling peppermint essential oil. But with the four-hour medication schedule, he has had to go to a prescription anti-nausea mediation too. We were also told to add in Ibuprofen which is also hard on the tummy but we are doing what we have to do to get him through these medication changes.
One of the new hormone medications was injected into him on Friday and a second shot of a bone strengthening medication to hopefully prevent fracture. But since the shot, Dave has really gone downhill. However, this could be what is referred to as the ‘flare up’ where it gets worse before it gets better. Frankly, I didn’t think it would happen so quickly. At this point, Dave is in bed and he needs help with everything.
It has been hard for me to think about what to share and I have written several posts that I have not posted. Emotionally, it is difficult to stay positive but to also understand and be rooted in the reality. Cancer, as well as any serious disease, affects the whole family. We are fortunately surrounded by so much love from our family, our real estate agents and so many people Dave has met through our work who have built our business’ together. Oklahoma people are so dear and genuine. We are blessed by you all, not only our new friends in Oklahoma but our old New York friends too. Thank you!
We continue to make changes. We enjoyed our trip and went off our diet but since we have returned home, we chose to go completely vegan. At this point, the current prostate cancer philosophy is to remove the hormones from the body. It is a cruel transition and the drug he has used has completely failed him but at this point, it is the only thing we have to fall back on from the Allopathic medical community. Sadly, this technology is old. Ultimately, chemicals are cheap and who cares about old men diseases? Dave and I do, we are living it.
I leave you with this: This Thanksgiving, please put Dave on your prayer list. He needs you. Ask for his pain to be relieved and ask that these new medications provide the time he needs to put his body in remission and to give him time to strengthen his body. Should this not work, ask God to take Dave as no one should have to experience this type of pain. Mid sixties should not be the end of life but the torture I see him living is not one that I would like to live. Whatever God’s plan is, I feel that Dave has been a good man and he deserves relief, compassion and all the love you can send him.
Tonight, one of our sons and my brother are coming over to help with Thanksgiving preparations. Tomorrow, we are going to have turkey. We are going to have pie, yes, reduced sugar or monkfruit as a sugar alternative, or as healthy as we can make it, but we are going to celebrate another day of living on this beautiful planet. We wish you all an incredible day of family, friends, alone or working, however you enjoy it, just love it and love everyone that is there with you or anyone that you will be serving. It feels so good to be thankful! We are blessed. We are going to eat, drink, and be merry, as it should be. Bless you all!