March 19, 2012

A Possible Miracle

I don't use the word "miracle" often.  I am a "I'll believe it when I see it" type of person.  What is that word?  Pragmatic? 

Well I feel the word miracle is fitting in this situation.  The neurosurgeon told us during the pre-op appointment for my father that he would be pretty much back to 100% after the tumor was removed.  We prayed for this, but being who we are, we were all willing to accept 50% I believe.

Dad is going on 3 days out from his surgery today.  Yesterday was a great day!  He was a lot stronger than on Saturday, with less "shakes" in his arms.  He still has a visible shaking in his left arm when he tries to use it, but this has been coming on for years, so not a huge shock.  But the right arm, he was struggling to eat Saturday because he kept dropping food.  Yesterday he didn't at all.

PT came in to see him in the early afternoon and gave him a walker to use.  He walked 40 feet down the hall before getting tired.  By later in the afternoon, he was able to use the walker to stand from the bed and chair without any help from either my mom or me.  He is obviously getting worn out, and needs to take cat naps, but that is to be expected.  They did just put a hole in his head and take out a 4cm tumor.

His speech is probably the biggest difference.  Prior to the surgery, it was very difficult to understand him, because his speech was a bit slurred, and he struggled to find the words he wanted to use.  He was also all over the map when it came to concentration....losing his train of thought easily, or just talking about random things that had nothing to do with each other.  That is all gone.

There is some confusion about his outcome in his mind.  We are attributing that to the fact that his comprehension was so affected by the tumor, so he only caught bits and pieces of what the doctors actually said, and it has since gotten all jumbled in his mind.  We are reminding him daily of what the doctors actually said, and what they believe his prognosis is, and he is started to "get it". Although, in reality, I don't think he still comprehends just how AMAZING this really is.

Did you know that only 20% of small cell carcinoma patients survive when diagnosed with stage 4?  My dad did.  His tumor in his windpipe was hit hard with chemo and radiation 22 months ago, and the tumor completely disappeared.  Remission within a year.

Did you know that 50% of all small cell carcinoma patients develop a brain tumor within 2 years of their initial diagnosis?  My dad did.  But had it not been for his seizures, we wouldn't have known that he had it.  That could have been deadly, to not find out in time.

Did you know that 18% of all lung cancer patients who have a craniotomy survive past 2 years?  I do believe, with all that has happened, my dad will be in that group.  It's a small, blessed, and select group of people.

I give credit where credit is due...G-d first; the oncology radiologist, who dad trusts with everything he has (and he has never let him down);  the neurosurgeon, whose skill was able to completely remove the tumor without any lasting effects; my mother, without her, my father would not be fighting so hard to survive; and all my friends (online and off) and family, whose prayers meant the world to us.

Dad will continue to practice walking today, and as it stands now, will be able to come home Tuesday.  He still has a long road ahead, to build up his strength again, but that is easier to do in familiar surroundings.  He is a stubborn old bugger, and will give us a hard time occasionally, but I am up for the challenge, considering what the alternative could have been. 

It just keeps getting better every day!! :)

3 comments:

  1. THAT IS REMARKABLE AND I DO KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BECAUSE THAT IS THE SAME EXACT CANCER MY SISTER-IN LAW HAD BEFORE WE LOST HER LAST FALL. SO ALL IS SAID AND DONE ,IT JUST MAY WELL BE A MIRACLE AND I BELIEVE IN GUARDIAN ANGELS TOO

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  2. I am glad to hear things are going well.

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  3. What a lovely post! Lovely to read and, I know, lovely for you to be able to write. (Huge sigh of relief, huh?) Tell that "stubborn old bugger" to get well fast or there are those of us out here that will personally come to shape him up! ;o)

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