Time goes slowly but races by. Each day starts and brings us closer to the day I dread. It is mostly at night, when the world sleeps that I think about what life is going to be like. Then, I can’t sleep.
I watch Mathew sleep. He doesn’t like to be alone anymore so John and I spend our time in with him ~ wherever he is. As I watch Mathew’s chest rise and fall with each sleeping breath I wonder how can it be that this insidious sickness is creeping throughout his lungs, silently damaging his lungs even as I watch. By all appearances Mathew still looks good. His oxygen levels are good and his lungs are still clear to someone listening with a stethoscope. In the quiet background though the cancer is growing, always growing with nothing in his body to impede its progress.
A second pain developed shortly after the last post, this time in his right shoulder. After conferring with Mathew’s health care team it is believed to be reflected pain from his right lung. There is nothing in the area of the tumour in his right lung that can radiate pain…so it travels somewhere else??!! This is a “thing”, a rather unusual pain effect I wasn’t aware of.
That pain comes and goes; mostly managed with the 30 mg of slow-release morphine interspersed with 10 mg of immediate relief morphine.
Mathew is now nauseous each morning when he wakes up. It could be all the medicine he takes or perhaps it is related to the cancer. He gets anti-nausea meds daily, at least once, to keep it at bay.
The appointments with his Oncologist and Radiation Oncologist went as expected. Unless Mathew’s cancer shows up in a bone somewhere they won’t do any radiation. Tumours in bone hurt…a lot. Tumours in the lung don’t because there are no nerve endings, except for along the outer lining (which is why Mathew is experiencing pain with the two tumours growing on the outer lung regions). If a tumour makes him cough up blood, press on a major organ in the lung region (by that I think they mean his heart) then radiation will be looked at as a palliative option only.
It should be noted that the health care team talk about end of life care now. What we might expect, some things to look for, and after death planning.
Mathew talks more about dying and is bringing the subject up into conversation when people visit and also on his iPad. He posted something to his Facebook status, for the first time ever last week, acknowledging his cancer will kill him. He and I discuss his worries and concerns when he brings them up.
He does have intense anxiety and panic attacks where he needs to vent some emotion. It is hard for him to do and so it is very intense when it happens. Once the pent-up feelings spill out a calm settles over us again, while our shell-shocked selves try to mellow out until the next venting.
He is not going quietly into the night. He stands by his decision to not continue with chemo last summer; the potential side effects were his worst nightmare and he wanted to enjoy his time left. I knew we might second guess that decision as the chain of irreversible events creeps ever forward but I won’t give in to it. Whenever the end comes it will be too soon.
It will always be too soon.