The words we have learned to NEVER EVER trust. These are words that we have also heard MANY times over the last year and a half. Words that I would bet 98% of the population hears and TRUSTS.
Have you heard them before? Have you believed your health care professional to be giving you the absolute most accurate diagnosis of your loved one? At first, we did
My dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer in April of last year. He was given 2-6 months. It has been almost 16 months and he has been on the worst roller coaster ride of his life. I have been called multiple times with the “he only has a few days to a week left” speech. I had him and my mom move in with me last November so that I could help and be more involved in his care, while also caring for my own husband and children.
My dads first oncologist was a gal in Florida with a name closer to something we would order at a sushi restaurant than a name we could pronounce. We thought she was fabulous. At first. She wore designer shoes and always had the best handbags. She was new. Lack of experience meant diagnosing from statistics.
Statistics in my dads case meant he was a walking dead man. That left us ZERO hope.
After months of arguing, chemo, CT scans, blood work and the dreaded “its just the disease progressing..” we decided it was time for change. We got a second opinion. Then a third. Then a fourth. And a fifth…..
Each doctor was amazed at the appearance of my dad when they read his condition. He shouldn’t be alive. The fifth opinion even said “you are defying all the “rules” of this cancer”.
It has taken massive amounts of time, energy and research for us to learn what we have learned. It as even taken several hospital stays. We have even learned the term “snow”. To “snow” the patient means to heavily drug them up so they have no pain (a good thing) but it also means your chances are over. Done. That, in my opinion, is hospice. Don’t get me wrong, I know cancer kills. I know hospice is a fabulous program that is much needed in time. But if we would have said ok when they first told us it was “time” for hospice, we would have lost my dad over a year ago
We have fought over and over for proof. We are now with our 7th oncologist. He has been great. I say that because he doesn’t run the show. WE DO.
Today we were told AGAIN that “he is declining rapidly”. I smiled and said “not to be disrespectful, but if we believed that every time we heard that, my dad would have been dead a year ago.” The nurse was in shock.
So, again, I say PROVE IT.
His condition does look bad. Today he looks terrible. BUT, every time we have been in this exact situation before, it has been side-effects from medication. EVERY TIME. So, after his meds are reduced and/or changed and his condition continues to decline, I will NOT choose to believe that the cancer is progressing and he is rapidly declining.
I HIGHLY recommend if you are someone you know is going through the cancer battle with someone, please don’t just take the advice of your doctor or nurse. Get a second, third, fourth…opinion. Change meds and fight for the patient. Don’t let your loved one get “snowed” too soon.
This picture was taken 9 months AFTER they told us he had 3 days to live.