F. Murray Abraham said this line in the 1989 Tom Selleck movie “An Innocent Man.” And it pretty much sums up life today.
Let’s get this over and done with: DH has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Around 5 years ago, he was diagnosed with liver cancer resulting from the hepatitis he contracted due to an injury he was treated for while working as a chef. They treated the cancer interventionally by burning the tumours out as they formed, but his condition was worsening on an increasing basis. He was given 2-5 good years and put on the transplant list. At 8:30pm November 29, 2009, we got the call to go in and the longest night of my life began.
Well DH was resting in a hospital bed, peacefully sedated, I paced in the visitor’s lounge, watching late night and early morning television while waited for determination if the donor organ was healthy enough to transplant into DH. Luckily it was and he went into the operating room early the next morning and I went home to pass out and wait for the phone call from the hospital.
DH recovered, with a major setback on December 7, 2009 when I got called in and informed they were going to read his last rites as he had contracted an infection and his body was shutting down. I was given INCREDIBLE amounts of support through the chaplaincy office, social worker and psychologist, not to mention my friends and family.
DH pulled through and eventually recovered, coming home in time for Christmas and we never looked back.
Until 3 weeks ago, when he began noticing that his skin was getting itchy. We initially thought it was an allergic reaction to something in the atmosphere or the sun. When the itching got worse to the point that Benadryl wasn’t touching it, he sought medical attention and they ran blood work.
Red flags were raised when his liver enzymes were up. Our family doctor faxed the results to the transplant clinic and they brought him in on an emergency basis to run their battery of tests. An ultrasound and blood work later and he was scheduled to have a stent installed in the bile duct. He was sent home as this can be done as an outpatient procedure and I was given a list of symptoms to watch for.
Later that night, we rushed him to the local hospital’s ER. They ran their tests and contacted the transplant program and the doctors at the ER were given instructions to make DH comfortable and I was told to wait by the phone the next day. The second call came and we rushed into Toronto to the hospital the next morning.
DH was admitted and began treatment to make him comfortable while he waited for the procedure. When they did the procedure on Tuesday this week, they noted that the bile duct was not blocked, but constricted from the outside. They immediately did a biopsy and ordered an MRI of his abdomen.
The tests came back this morning: it was our old enemy cancer.
The surgeon thinks the tumour can be removed through surgery, but they won’t know until they’ve opened him. However his liver is currently compromised to the point that any operation at this point would kill him. Once his liver has had a couple of weeks to recover, they will have one of the transplant surgeons operate on him. Once they’ve had a chance to get the lay of the land, they will determine what will follow.
Needless to say, this news went over about as well as a hoof to the crotch, especially seeing DH is to sign a contract with the Toronto Eaton Center to be their Santa this upcoming holiday season and the recent good news I’ve had in my life.
The surgeon commented that life is incredibly unfair sometimes. No shit.
DH and I have been doing well without you in our lives for the past three years and now you’re back as an unwanted guest. Please leave us and don’t take any more of my husband and life mate from me, you’ve stolen enough from both of our lives already.
Ain’t life a motherfucker indeed.