Life is a Terminal Disease

2003 > America

Lung Cacner is a real bitch!

Ma & Pa on a good day
Be strong, kids

One day we must all die, for like the Oracle in Matrix Revolutions says, what has a beginning, has an end. Most of us ignore this little fact until we have to face it directly, and for some it’s a millisecond realization before a quick death. For others death comes slower, over days, weeks, or months. Long enough that it becomes a new friend that you’d like to meet, but not quite today.

Now my Dad is aware of such a friend and he is about to fight like hell to make sure and not meet him for many moons to come. My Dad, the strongest and bravest man I know, was just diagnosed with lung cancer.

Technically, its Adenocarcinomic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and he’s Stage IIIB T2N3Mx, which means that he has the most common lung cancer and it was caught a close to the most common stage. Unfortunately, even though it is so common, science hasn’t much improved the survival rates for it since the 1950s.

The survival statistics for this type of lung cancer at this stage is roughly 50% for the first year, decreasing to 5% after 5 years. That means that 95% of NSCLC Stage IIIB patents are dead in five years or less even with multiple rounds of chemotherapy with new wonder drugs like carboplatin and taxol.

Yep, its pretty much terminal.

Then again, life is terminal.

My Dad is taking this as best anyone can. He spent the first few days wrapped in a ball, sleeping and crying. Now he’s getting more active, realizing that it will take all of this mental as well as physical determination to maintain or improve his health.

Today we all, Dad, Mom, and me, went to see the oncologist and had a chat about his treatment and prognosis. The meeting went as well as it could, with all of us quizzing the doctor who took his time to explain the diagnosis and course of treatment; chemotherapy with a carboplatin/taxol cocktail once a week for three weeks, every month.

Still, it was all I could do not to scream out “No! You must be wrong!” when the doctor wrote and underlined twice “No Cure.” There was such finality to it even though I knew, after a week of studying, that chemo is just a palliative treatment with lung cancer.

So I guess we all are taking it as best as we can too, for its not every day you see you’re husband’s or father’s life so fragile before you.

2 Comments on “Life is a Terminal Disease

  1. my mom has been diagnosed with terminal illness, and here i am again, far away, instead of being there for her. i pray to god that her illness is transfered to me. it’s all i can do given the circumstances. life is indeed a terminal desease. not a beach. making through a day every day is a big deal. wish you all the best. what you do is inspiring and helping to make it through.

  2. Oh Sarah, I am so sorry. Sorry that yet again you are tested by fate and life to have more pain. Especially since you just re-affirmed your desire to stay and finish grad school.

    While I don’t know your specific position, or your mom’s health, the limited time I spent with my father after he was diagnosed and before he passed, gives me great comfort. Memories of those two weekends keep the sadness from overwhelming me, as he was able to convey his peace with death. Peace that I only hope to find when it is my time.

    I wish you & your family luck and health.