Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Quick Update

Dogs do talk in their way. There is a difference in their vocalizations. Happy is indeed different than a warning. And so much more. Yes, Darkblack is right. You heard it here.

Therapy was much needed and mostly spent sobbing, wailing, and cursing. It was cathartic. And the conclusions we came to about my reaction to what is happening to my friend is completely normal. I am neither manic nor depressed. I am sad, terrified and very very pissed off.

Z may be running out of options for treatment. She has refused chemo so far. When she first saw Dr. Ackerly after he'd seen her medical records, he told her she had a 30% chance for a good outcome with immediate and aggressive treatment. She didn't like him and was thinking over her options. Now the latest estimate is a 10% chance for a good outcome. I think she's going to take her chances with a course of radiation and then trust her own instincts. How do I feel about this? See paragraph 2.

Ms M is on vacation and Roscoe sleeps at the foot of my bed for a few days. He is a comfort.


Fran said...

You know... it's a tough call.
Grandpa Mac, as 82 chose to go with chemo & radiation for a very aggressive non hodgkins lymphoma- widespread in lymph nodes.

I would have thought he would have opted out....
choosing instead to feed the pigeons on the park bench & live out his days "naturally".

I can understand how people may make that choice--
and a few times that lifesaving treatment seriously damned near killed him.

I think people intuitively know what is right for them. In a sense I admire a person's ability to be the lead decision maker on their medical team.

I have a list of questions to ask regarding a major medical issue or procedure.

One of those questions is what if I do nothing?
Because most medicos want you to do something.

Feeding pigeons on a park bench is not presented as an option & it should be.

I suspect your friend knew she was ill for quite some time, and made peace with it.

People can fight courageous battles with the treatment & they can also be as brave to decide they don't want to do battle.

So I hope you & Z can snag some of the quality of life stuff. Even if it is a stolen moment eating blueberries & watching a sunset, or logging time, making sure that park bench does not move.

Just sayin' explore all your options & enjoy whatever quality of life things you can do.

I'm glad you had a good session, you need to release your emotions.... because now you are restored enough to carry on & honor Z's choice, even though every fiber in your being wanted her to grasp that 30% chance or even the 10% chance with all she's got.

One day at a time.
Think Quality of life ........

sunshine said...

My mother in law did not want to have chemo or radiation with her breast cancer. We, the children, bullied her into it. The Dr's were telling her that her breast cancer was a very aggressive form.
Believe me, I know how frustrating it is to have someone refuse to do what dr's are suggesting is the best course of action.
Somedays I just want to shake that little ...... .... woman...until her teeth rattled.
After everything has been said and done, she's happy that she went with the suggested treatment.
I know exactly what you mean when you say that you are "sad, terrified and very very pissed off".

themom said...

Your friend has so many tough decisions, but you know that. We all look at these issues from such a deep personal view, and we are left to wonder sometimes, WHY? You have every right to feel all those emotions during this difficult time. When my very best friend (like a sister) passed away, I was able to satisfy my emotions, because I DID everything possible to make her comfortable. I had to clean her when she had accidents, which didn't bother me, yet I think embarrassed her. Whatever it took - I dropped everything for her. To this day, I have NO regrets whatsoever.

Luv ya and take care. You are a great friend to Z.

Randal Graves said...

A cycle of catharsis and anger is going to be around for a bit, but you can always know you were there for your friend, which is more than some could say.

sunshine said...

We put the application in to adopt the dog! We should know by tomorrow morning!
Think good thoughts for me!!!

Utah Savage said...

Fran, I wish I could believe that Z intuitively knew what was right for her. It was at least three years ago her internist said she thought it was cancer. Z refused any tests at that time since she didn't have insurance and couldn't afford the MRI's et al. I made a call to the only Dem Congressman from Utah and sobbed as I talked to his aid. I think the guy actually listened. They asked for my phone number for follow up conversation.

I have a widget on my sidebar that allows you all to sign a new petition for a public option for health care. I hope you all sign it and pass it on.

Your comments are so kind and insightful. I'm very lucky to have you as a friend.

Sunshine, I'm beaming energy to you regarding that little dog. He needs you more than you need him. I hope you have good news on that front very soon.

TheMom, Z won't let me do any cleaning or helping make her bedroom comfortable because she wants her son to do those things. I know he won't do it. But I can't convince her to let me do the clean up. But the things she will let me do, I'm doing. I won't be able to say to myself that I did everything I could, but I will have to settle for "I did everything she'd let me do.

Randal, thanks for hanging in there with me. I know I'm not a bag of laughs lately. And I'm a horrible friend when it comes to visiting you guys. Thank you. And I know you're right about that rage and sorrow thing. I had to get my clotting factor checked yesterday. MY clotting factor was perfect but my blood pressure was up and I have swollen glands on the right side of my neck. My doc wants to see me in two weeks, not the usual month. When I asked why, she said, "I think you need some extra looking after right now." I said, "Do you think Medicare will agree with you?" She said, "Yes, Medicare has a heart. If you had private insurance, I'd have to lie about the reason for the quick turnaround."

Sunshine, I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.

Mauigirl said...

I know, it's always a difficult decision, especially when the odds aren't good. I thought my aunt might not opt for treatment for her cancer, at 88, but since it hasn't spread she is anxious to get it operated on. She will have a rocky road to recovery, assuming she makes it, but I guess to her the risk is worth it. For someone else it may not be and it sounds as if Z knows what she wants. But it doesn't make it any easier.