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We are bringing Lesley home

by tdowning

My experience in dealing with my wife's cancer
05 August 2017 at 08:42

Where did it begin?

We know the ending, but what was the beginning?

About 20 years ago Lesley had breast cancer. Surgery followed by tamoxifen in an early drug trial worked. Kids were young and didn't know the details at that time. I worried about losing her so young--I'm sure she worried as well but we didn't talk so much about our feelings. I wish we did.

18 months ago she complained of stomache pain, initially we thought it was the usual bugs from Kenya and Colombia as we travelled mostly for work. The cover photo is from the Kenya coast at that time, looking back our last good holliday.

The first diagnosis was diverculitis, an inflamation of the gut. Which is probably true but not a complete picture. She went back to the doctor in December and asked for a full scan as the pain had increased.

In January we got the bad news--a kidney tumour. Still not a bad prognosis and we opted for surgery. That took ages (well many weeks) to arrange in between NHS and private options and people going on holiday--not us but doctors.

By the time the surgery was scheduled in March a second scan revealed she also had breast cancer and suspicious nodes in her neck and lung. Surgery might have reduced the pain of a growing kidney tumour but would not have helped the prognosis. Biopsies were ordered and drug therapy with Sutent planned.

This was some of the hardest times as the pain dominated everything. I have our daily notebook from early March in front of me:

Oral morphine at 1:30 and 6 AM; paracetemol at 2 and 6 AM.

Sick at 10 AM: we kept bowls at her bedside with plastic bag liners to make it easy to dispose

More oral morphine at 2, 6 and 10 PM and paracetomol at 2, 6 and 10 PM. A week later we added anti-sickness pills. A month later we switched to codeine with a combination of slow release pills and oral solution; different anti-sickness stuff.

She lost weight as eating is less appetising with nausea. We tried energy drinks (Fresubin and others).

More disturbing was the gradual decline in health--not able to move about much due to the pain. Still alert for the most part but reluctant to entertain friends.


Tagged with: renal cancer

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