wedding-rings-169580_640I haven’t written much about my long-distance caregiving for Dad, because he’s doing so well. Other than a few odds and ends (like him calling me to remember how to wash the towels…do they go in whites or darks?), Dad is moving on with life and staying busy. What a relief for me, as I was able to start getting my life back together. In fact, I was very happy about maintaining an even keel emotionally and physically while moving back into my art and writing.

Then, last Monday, my husband went in for a routine colonoscopy. The nurse called me to come pick him up. When I arrived she asked us to wait, because the doctor wanted to talk with us. My husband, Hugh, was slightly intoxicated from the anesthesia, and I was laughing as he struggled to get dressed. Then, the doctor stepped in to let us know in no uncertain terms–with photographs–that Hugh had colon cancer.

I struggled for air and felt everything spinning around me. Hugh was calm, but he also was coming out of a deep sleep. The nurse left the images with us and I looked at them again. Wow — that tumor looked like the size of New York. And…I saw blood. Did the tumor penetrate the intestinal wall? Are we looking at metastasis, or is the cancer contained?

I had flashbacks to my mother’s diagnosis in March 2013, and remembered how long it took the specialists to determine her type of cancer, the staging, and the prognosis and treatment possibilities. When I returned home, I researched colon cancer, but everything was so generalized. I decided to not worry about anything until our appointment with the surgeon. That appointment occurred within three days.

It was during that appointment that I learned that Hugh has what is known as “adenocarcinoma of the rectosigmoid region.” In other words, the tumor is located below the end of the large intestine. We now have a name. Next up is staging. Unlike my mother’s bile duct cancer, we’ll know exactly what we’re dealing with within the next two weeks. That’s more like how we were dealt the cards in Dad’s situation with his bladder cancer…first, some scans, then some surgery, then some treatment options.

That’s where we are now. Hugh is scheduled for a CT scan on Monday. We’ll know if the good doc can operate and remove that part of Hugh’s intestine by Wednesday morning. That operation all rides on the actual size and location of the tumor and the condition of Hugh’s liver.  If operable, then Hugh will go under the knife on Friday — his room is reserved. That’s when they’ll also remove a number of lymph nodes and check out a few things to determine if the cancer has “traveled.”

If the surgery goes well and the cancer hasn’t “traveled,” then Hugh should be fine. If the surgeon can’t operate right away, Hugh will need some radiation treatments first to reduce the size of the tumor for surgery. And, if the cancer has metastasized…well, I’m not ready to enter that territory yet. Just one day at a time.

But, I did notice yesterday that I’m seeing Hugh differently. I think I’m seeing him through the eyes of a caregiver, and I think I’m noticing changes. But, that’s just nuts.

Am I ready for this? I seriously don’t know. I don’t think I have a choice.

About Linda

Currently I'm writing a memoir about caregiving my mother with a focus on my late husband and how this caregiving affected our marriage. I am also an artist and I have changed my learning lately to more healthful endeavors in an effort to take care of me.

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Ladyleo
Member

Gosh, what can one say which can help, even a teeny, tiny bit when you hear that your husband has been diagnosed with cancer. Please just know that someone from very far away will be keeping you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers and I pray that you will be given an extra large, daily dose of courage, physical strength and all of God’s support through this next challenge you are facing.

Colette xoxo

Jean
Member

Linda, I’m so sorry to hear this news. Doesn’t it feel like just when you started to regain your energy, relax and return to a ‘normal’ route, that another issue hits? I don’t have words…. keep us posted and we are here for you.

Hussy
Editor
Hussy

How very upsetting, Linda. I know all too well the my-life-has-just-been-turned-upside-down feeling that accompanies the news that one’s spouse has been diagnosed with cancer. I’m glad — if that’s the word to use — that Hugh is able to have his CT so quickly and that you will have the results on Wednesday. The waiting can be the worst, so glad that the doctor is fast-tracking this. I so hope that Hugh is a surgical candidate. And yes, one day at a time — it’s the only way. You and Hugh are in my thoughts.

Mar
Member

Linda, this just knocks the wind out of you, I’m sure. I too will be holding you and Hugh in thought and prayer. If having some listening friends from the site will help, there are two daily chats, 2 pm Eastern and 9 p.m. Eastern — there are folks there ready to listen and care.