Hi everyone, well where to begin.
So that son-of-a-bitch shortness of breath came back again. Kind of makes me laugh, like Nige has ever really been able to take in and hold a decent breath during the last 2 years. But as I think I’ve explained before, cancer is just different levels of acceptance. When it’s a gradual progression each dip down is met with initial intense fear, but when nothing changes too much for a while, and life seems under control, you adjust and just get on with it. If Nige had been experiencing the symptoms he has now way back at the start I would have been a blubbering, hyperventilating nervous wreck. But time and knowledge gained means I can now mostly tell the difference between life-threatening and quality-of-life.
But hey there’s always room for more learning right?
So in the space of a week Nige went from comfortably moving around the house, and showering pretty well, to once again gasping and panting following small (for him) exertions. Really scary stuff.
What the hell huh? A week after the doc had told us the chemo was working and showed us how Nige’s tumours had shrunk and his left lung opened up. You probably have no idea how many times I’ve figuratively torn my hair out and thrown it on the ground shouting “what the hell?!!!!” But cancer doesn’t give a shit that it’s not logical or that you might be on the edge of the “spectrum” and can’t find any patterns in its behaviour. Cancer is like “whatever man, chill the fuck out, I’m just trying to live my life man, just like you”. Sometimes I liken cancer to mankind on earth. Slowly destroying everything even though we know in the end it’ll be the end of us too.
Anyway we did something we’d waited too long to do in the past, we called the nurse. And we put back up Nige’s steroids. Again. Those bloody steroids. We suspected that they once again had something to do with this latest debacle, as Nige had been trying to wean himself off again. But hang on, we have to be cautious with our thoughts here, don’t want to be attributing this to steroids when every other time it’s been, surprise, surprise, the cancer. “Surely it’s not the cancer fighting back already ” I thought. In one week? But the last 2 years have made me cynical and squashed my positivity somewhat. I always try to expect the worst so that the trip back down the depression pit is a little shorter, perhaps a little less painful. Perhaps.
My beady eyes stabbed into Nige for the next few hours, looking for signs of improvement or decline. A decline would mean a trip back to A&E. Not our favourite place to go for the school holidays. But he improved a little. And the next day we were at the hospital for chemo, so the docs could give him a good checking over. It’s funny we’ve gone from wanting to stay as far away from chemo as possible to being afraid of being turned away. It’s become a life-line instead of a poison, because it had to. There was nothing else left. Nothing fast enough and good enough. No time. No space. We know the odds we know the stats and can only hope to keep defying them. 2 years since Nige began to exhibit symptoms of lung cancer. Two long, too short, two years of a half-existence. Of living on the fringe. Watching the lives of others with a kind of wonder. That used to be us! Putting one foot in front of the other. One….granny….step…..at…..a……time.
So Nige had blood tests and an X-Ray. And guess what. His X-Ray looked great. When he was admitted to hospital a few weeks ago the whole left lung was white – filled with tumour, fluid, collapsed lung. This week the top third had opened right up. His bloods were good! a couple of weeks ago the liver bloods were a bit dodgy, this week they were better! So what was going on? First let me breath out a sigh of relief. Okay, the chemo is still working. On we go with the plan. Then questions for the doctor, why is this happening? Why is Nige still so short of breath? Well it turns out that because the tumour in his left lung is growing around the bronchial tubes that are the only source of air for that lung, any inflammation can partially block this precious source off. Cancer causes inflammation, so can chemo, and steroids reduce it. It’s as simple as that. If Nige drops his steroids down too low, the cancer inflammation starts to block the tubes. So until the chemo reduces the cancer enough to keep it away from those tubes, Nige will have to watch his steroid dosage closely. Because if the inflammation gets too bad, all his bronchial tubes to that lung could be blocked off. And that is not good. Did you think, like me, that the other lung would compensate? Apparently not so simple. Bugger.
So good news in that the chemo still looks to be working, but bad in that Nige is still in a very precarious position.
Such is the roller coaster ride at the worlds shittiest theme park. And no I don’t mean Rainbow’s End. But hey, at least we’re still riding the fucker.