Sunday, 20 October 2013

Eff you Brain Tumours

In April this year, my friend was diagnosed with a Brain tumour. After further tests, they found several brain tumours. Cancerous Tumours. After MORE tests, they found he had lung, kidney and god knows what else cancer. He died in July, just 3 months after diagnosis, leaving behind 2 young boys.  I was asked to read a poem at his funeral - You can Shed Tears. It was heartbreaking and awful and miserable and devastating and unbelievably sad.

4 weeks ago my Dad collapsed in a supermarket car park. We were phoned by our stepmum later that evening to hear the devastating news that a CT scan at the hospital showed he had a 'shadow' on the brain.

Our worlds fell apart as we dropped everything to be by his side. Fight or flight mode kicks in and all you want around you is your family. People who you can do the ugly cry with. People who understand that when you're laughing and joking about the doctors drawing all over his bald head in felt tip - all you're really doing is trying to make light of a f**king awful situation, when really, you're sobbing inside.

My brother and sister raced down from Kent and arrived at my house at 2am the next morning. Everyone trying to be in good spirits. Everyone secretly sh**ting themselves. What was he going to be like? How was he going to react? Would he be his normal, jolly, proud, business-man self? Would he be angry we were there? Happy? Sad?

No-one or nothing prepares you for seeing your parent in that situation. Scared. Vulnerable. Frightened. F**king terrified.

For 2 days we sat with him in the hospital, trying to keep his spirits up, his heart happy and him fed and watered.  Every doctor or nurse that came round made us jump up with the hope of some news. Any news. What next? Please for the love of god stop the Waiting. And Waiting. And Waiting.

Eventually a consultant came around after an MRI scan and confirmed that Dad had a brain tumour. 6.5cm in diameter. Benign.

Benign - immediately we flooded him with reassurance that if it was benign, that was the first bridge crossed. Benign - Hallelujah! He could get some pills, have some radiation and go home.

Unfortunately in the world of brain tumours - this is just the beginning. Benign means bugger all until they can figure out where the tumour is, what it's pressing on and what treatment plan to follow.  We instantly bombarded him with stories of friends, friends of friends, Google triumphs about how people have this All.The.Time and go on to live normal lives.  All of us aware that we were fooling no-one. Especially our Dad - clever enough to talk his way out of a room with no doors.  There would be no talking his way out of this one, no amount of charm in the world can help this time. There is No Plan B.

In Dad's case the tumour was found to be Skull Base. One of the most complicated tumours to treat. It affects the part of your brain which controls Mobility, Speech, Memory.

Movement, Communication & Memories. 3 things you hope to God you are never going to lose.

He was sent home with some steroids and the order to bed rest until the Consultants could meet and work out a treatment plan. They have now decided an operation is the best way forward. An operation. On his brain. It doesn't get much shitter than this. Post-op he will need 3-6 months rehab depending on how his brain reacts to the surgery. If they can remove it. If. If. If.

And now we wait. Wait for a briefing. Wait for an operation date, which will hopefully be sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Watching him trying to organize his affairs and sort his business out while he will be in hospital is heartbreaking.  I'm trying to keep up good spirits in front of him and I'm probably blabbing far far too much, but I don't know what else to do.  As soon as I drive away from his house I cry and cry and cry. I'm not a crier. But I can't help it. He's my Dad and this is totally heartbreaking - ripping me apart inside.

I don't want to lose my Dad. I'm not ready to lose my Dad. I still have so much to ask him. So much to learn. Who will I go to when I need advice? Who will tell me funny stories about life - oh man can he tell a good story...Who will spoil the kids and make them laugh like only Poppa can? He still has so much life to live. It's not fair. It's just not fair.

This is our lovely Dad. He needs all the prayers, blessings, positive thoughts and whatever else you've got spare. Please, send some his way. x