Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Month Four

I realised after reviewing my post on Month Three, I started counting from the 16th, when we met with the oncologist and David started treatment. The diagnosis was actually Friday, August 12, otherwise known to me as Black Friday.

Month Four was another turning point in David's health; chronically low blood counts weren't a problem before. David had his first blood transfusion in the hospital after the wedding, but in the past two weeks he's had multiple transfusions of blood and platelets. It's because the cancer has worked its way into his bones and has been affecting his ability to produce healthy blood.

We have a better idea of what the doctors were trying to spare David from when they backed off on the treatment. They did warn us that efforts toward extending his quantity of life would reduce his quality of life, and right now that quality is at an all-time low.

Chemotherapy and radiation, respectively, is essentially toxicity and rays to destroy cancer cells, but it does damage surrounding cells, too. David suffered from fatigue back in September when he was getting radiation twice a day, but nothing like what he's experiencing now.

I want to spare David his dignity so I won't go into great detail about the side effects, but it's comparable to going 30 rounds in a boxing ring and letting the opponent have a go at you with no resistance whatsoever on your part. Fatigue sets in when the body enters a restorative state, and all his body has the energy to do is repair itself, and nothing more.

I've been trying to maintain David's caloric and nutrient intake with cases of Boost, Ensure, and whatever food he can manage to eat. He's drinking a lot of milk, water, juice, and his kidneys seem to be working properly. (The chemotherapy/growth factor info sheets recommend lots of fluids.)

All David's body wants to do now is sleep. He has no energy to work on his railway project or read or sit in his computer chair. (Auntie Cris, I'm taking your advice about a bell, but I haven't been able to find one! I'll try again tomorrow.)

There's no radiation scheduled this week, only chemotherapy. Last Friday when David had his bloodwork done at the clinic, they said he was low on platelets, so we went to Mercy Hospital that morning. We thought he'd have radiation that day, too, but the technicians said the dose on Thursday was enough for more than a week. No wonder David feels this badly. But in his weakened state, parcelling out the radiation would probably add to his overall fatigue.

Month Four has been the hardest, I hope there's some reprieve in the coming days.