Tomorrow’s an Early Morning

Posted in cancer, hospital visits, Illness, Personal on June 16th, 2009 by Jim Hughes – 1 Comment

Tomorrow’s going to be an early morning.  I’m supposed to have Dad at the hospital by 6:00 a.m. for his procedure.

I’ve never been a fan of early mornings.  Even for fishing, although that’s about the best reason I can think of for getting up early.  Eloise and I enjoy late evenings and slow starts to the morning.

Tomorrow morning’s difficult for another reason.  Dad’s procedure is to remove a tumor from his bladder.  The doctor seems confident it’s cancer.

Fortunately, the procedure itself is quick, although performed under anesthesia.  It only takes about 30 minutes to perform, and then after a couple of hours to let the anesthesia effects dissipate, he will be able to go back to his apartment.

We’ll appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we take this step which will help us learn what’s next.

“Your Dad Has Cancer”

Posted in cancer, Caregiving on June 7th, 2009 by Jim Hughes – 6 Comments

“Your dad has cancer” are words we never want to hear.  But in fact, those are the words the doctor spoke when he called me Friday.

My dad, who is approaching his 85th birthday, is happily quite independent.  We went through a spell a few years ago when that was not the case.  He was quite dependent on me.

But for the last year or so, he has been functioning quite independently.  That includes scheduling and going to his own doctor’s appointments.  In fact, I was unaware that he was visiting his urologist on Friday.

So the call from the doctor’s office came out of the blue.  I was in the process of mowing, and was just taking a break when the call came.

Mr. Hughes, your dad is here, and this morning I scoped his bladder to determine the cause of his frequent urination and urgency.  He has a tumor in his bladder.  If you asked me to guess, I’d say it was an aggressive cancer.  We’ll schedule a procedure to remove it and get a pathology report.

I asked a question or two, and asked that he also talk to my daughter, a nurse practitioner at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

It’s Sunday night as I write this, and I’m still in the early stages of processing what I heard mid-day Friday.  But here are some of the things that have been running through my mind.

  • This is more evidence that life’s not fair.  Dad has survived two wives who both died of cancer.  It doesn’t seem fair that he should have to battle cancer too.
  • I spend a lot of time with cancer patients.  I really don’t want my dad to be a cancer patient.  I don’t want to be a cancer caregiver.
  • Maybe because I know a lot about cancer, this won’t be as hard as if I were a novice.  Then again, maybe it’s gong to be harder because of my knowledge.
  • None of us gets an exemption from life’s struggles.  Being an oncology nurse practitioner doesn’t exempt your family from cancer.  Serving as a lay chaplain to cancer patients doesn’t get an exemption either.
  • Dad’s doing better with this news than I am.  He’s been expecting everything that comes along to be cancer.  I think that’s because he saw Mom develop it, and then his second wife, Carol.
  • We really don’t know what to expect until we get the pathology report.
  • I’m going to have to work a lot harder on my own self care.  I’m going to have to take my advice more seriously.
  • This is not a good time for me to take on additional care giving duties.  I’m already kind of full up.  I don’t guess that matters a whole lot, however.

I’m trying to take this news as much in stride as I can.  I’ve spent time in prayer about it.  I’ve asked my church family to also pray about it.

Because through all of the other thoughts I’ve had the last few days, one predominates.  Dad is in God’s hands.  This whole situation is in God’s hands, as are all of our situations.  Whatever is ahead, we will be sustained.