Saturday, September 18, 2010

So here's the thing...

Things have not been going well around here. I suppose it's time to stop vagueblogging and catch you all up.

Long story way short, Mr. B has been losing serious ground for the past month, and since he only sees the oncologist (way over in The Big City) every three weeks, we haven't known if the chronic problems (nausea, fatigue, cognitive changes, etc.) were side effects from chemo/radiation or... whatever.

Yesterday was his follow-up appointment, three weeks post-chemo. I headed in there determined to get my questions answered. I should have realized I was setting myself up for a classic case of "Be careful what you ask for."

The doc asked Mr. B some questions and poked and prodded. Took some notes. She did not offer a prognosis. She did not mention any further treatment. As she was making moves to wrap up the visit, I asked for the prognosis, and she told us.

One month, maybe two.

She said "It's* a bad disease, and you've got a bad case of it."

So it's time to call hospice. No advantage at this point to trekking all the way over to The Big City, so it's time to find an oncologist close to home to babysit us. And we absolutely have to get those freaking papers finished up, the POAs and Advance Directives and all that.

(Safety Tip: PLEASE get all that living will shit done now. Having to have those discussions once someone is really ill is THE WORST. Much easier to do when it's all theoretical.)

I asked the doc how the disease typically progresses at this point, and she gave us a few scenarios. I asked what we are to do in any of those cases, because my instinct would be to call 911, and she indicated that not dialing 911 is the right thing to do.


But that's the beauty of getting hooked up with hospice: We call them instead and they can help us through.

Through my superior people-reading skills (snort!), over the past few months I had gathered that, despite what she was saying, she wasn't being real aggressive about offering treatment. I am irritated that she wasn't more forthcoming at our last visit. Or the one before that. However, from what she said yesterday, most people don't want to know so she doesn't volunteer that information.

Really? How could someone not want to know? I don't get that at all.

Anyway, there it is. I suppose our goal at this point is to celebrate our first anniversary in November.

In the meantime, we get to figure out how this is all going to work.

* Stage 4 melanoma, in case I've been too vague about it. Yes, he went from getting the all clear in June 2008 and July 2009 to Stage 4 this past June without passing go or collecting $200. WTF is up with that?


  1. Oh Liz, I am so very sorry. My heart aches for you. I wish I had something to say that would help, but I know that I can't offer anything more than a sympathetic ear and maybe a laugh when you need one. And tons and tons and TONS of virtual hugs.

    Life is so unfair. I'm so sorry.

  2. That is so sad, Liz. My thoughts are with you and Mr. B.

  3. I am so very, very sorry for you both. Words simply are not enough.

  4. I am so sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

  5. Oh Liz, I am so sorry for you and Mr. B. You are both in my thoughts and prayers. The hospice team are Dad had their care for several months and it made a world of difference on getting day to day support..physical and psychological and emotional.Unfortunately the jump from everything checks out OK to Stage 4 whatever is not as unusual as one would hope. And Melanoma is the most aggressive of all.

  6. Oh, Liz,I'm so very sorry. A blogger I followed, Jim Everson aka Depot Dad, just lost his brave fight from the same f--g thing. Please know I'm praying for you and Mr. B. and sending many hugs.

  7. Oh, my heart dropped as I read this. I don't know what to say, other than I'm sorry.

  8. The unfairness of Mr. B's prognosis is beyond belief. I hate for you that it's come to this. Good that you are hooking up with hospice though; they are generally quite awesome. Not only will they be able to help Mr. B feel more comfortable, but they will be a good resource for you.

    Cancer blindsides us so often, as I unfortunately know from personal experience. To say it sucks goes beyond understatement. I wish I had a magic wand to wave over you all, but since I don't, I will send you lots of positive vibes.

  9. I feel very sad reading this post and you are an amazing woman to be handling such painful news this way.

    I can tell you that Hospice will be wonderful for you both. I have had many patients who "outlived" hospice and the important thing is that they will provide everything you need to be comfortable, whether it is one day or 10 years.

    I hope Mr.B has a turn around and you enjoy much great quality time together

  10. Liz, I'm so, so sorry!! I know that it's all just hideously surreal for you both. I hope you can find some spaces to enjoy your time together. There are a lot of us out here thinking of you and sending our support! --Daria


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