Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Out Of The Woods

Talk about life imitating art. I was watching Johnny Sacramoni get the prognosis from his oncology specialist when the telephone rang. Last week my father had been in for yet another round of tests. This morning he’d seen his specialist for the results. Now my mother was calling to pass on the news.

Early last year he’d begun complaining about getting up in the night to take a piss. I bellowed at him down the phone to get it checked. It took a while before he finally did. When you’ve lived on a farm, going to the doctor doesn’t happen unless you’ve had a limb torn off or barfed up a vital organ. Anything less is just girlie.

Even broken bones aren’t considered urgent. On holiday in New England some years back my mother slipped on some loose shale in the Vermont countryside. After a restless night, she eventually went to the hospital to discover her ankle was broken.

While it’s easy to put it down to folk in their mid–seventies simply being set in their ways, I’ve run about with torn ligaments in my foot for a week and still get twinges in my arm from untreated tennis elbow. Which is either down to ingrained plain bloody–mindedness or just being a doofus.

So the old man eventually went in for the tests and the results came back the day before his birthday, just less than a year ago. Which was a real treat for him. The first thing he said on the phone was “Well, I’m buggered!” Stoic at first, it hit him pretty hard. The cancer was identified grade 4 to 5, meaning it was an active and aggressive little fucker, and on the verge of taking up shop in every vital organ it could muscle into.

Luckily he could afford to go private rather than be subjected to the utter joke that is the NHS. Initially given barely enough time to read a decent sized book, that estimate was cautiously revised to three years after they bombarded the living crap out of his prostate with radiotherapy, then nine years. He had told my mother that he’d be happy to make it top their Sixtieth Wedding Anniversary in four years time. Isn’t that the sweetest? Deep down he’s a big softie after all.

Today’s update, thankfully, confirmed the treatment had managed to catch it in time. While clear on that score, he’s still not skipping in the meadows just yet. Monthly injections that started pre-treatment now leave him short of breath – which means only playing nine holes instead of a full round when he heads off to the golf course at seven in the morning.

Next week he goes back in the metal tube for another full scan. Coming off the injections may sort the fatigue out, but they don’t want to chance the cancer taking root again. As inconveniences go, we all agree it’s better than ending up in an urn.

Coming close to something like this, it’s good to know the internet can be used for a whole lot more than getting a peak at Lindsay Lohan’s vagina.


At 7:29 pm, Blogger Sal said...

Glad your Dad got treated in time, and I hope this latest round of tests comes back with good news. My Dad's been through the same thing and just got his 5-year "all clear". Wishing the same for your Dad.

At 9:34 pm, Blogger Lianne said...

I'm so glad it was caught in time, GD.

At 11:28 pm, Blogger Valentine Suicide said...

I too wish you and your Dad well.

I've just taken a look at the first episode of Kidnapped on your recommendation, looks like it's got promise.
I'm also watching, with bated breath, the brooding edge towards a finale on the Sopranos.

Episode 15 beckons...

At 4:54 pm, Blogger potdoll said...

that's really good news. x

At 5:11 pm, Blogger wcdixon said...

swell news to you and your pops (me old man went through a similar stint in his throat coming up on 9 years ago now - still clean)

At 11:17 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Thanks guys and gals.

Sal and Will, good to hear your fathers are free and clear.

What especially honked the old man off was the specialist explaining his cancer was seriously active because he was, which seemed a bit unfair.

Still, fingers crossed.

VS, hope you like Kidnapped. Yeah, The Sopranos looks like it's heading toward some serious grief.


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