Thursday, October 28, 2010

Two Days After

Hi guys, sorry I haven't updated the blog as quickly as I said I would.
The news isn't too good and, as you can understand, we wanted all of our family to be told in person, or at least over the phone, what happened before I blogged it.

As you all know, Dad went in for his op on Tuesday the 26th of October. The doctors were very positive about the operation and even said that it would be highly unlikely that they wouldn't be able to carry out the entire procedure. They said that there would be a small chance that the cancer would have spread, but they wouldn't really know until they opened him up. They told us that the later we heard from them, the better, and after about 2.00pm AWST we'd at least know if they could do the operation, or if the cancer had spread and it would be inoperable.

At quarter past two I mentioned to Mum that as we hadn't heard anything, things must be looking up and the operation must be going well. No more than 15 minutes later, the phone started ringing. The surgeons had opened Dad up, looked around, and found that the tumour had started associating with the main blood vessel to Dad's brain (the Carotid artery), and had pretty much wrapped itself around it. A partial dissection (where they cut away part of the tumour) wasn't possible since it would have exacerbated the already fast growth of the tumour, and would have spread it even more. They didn't bother touching Dad's thyroid, either. They closed him up after doing nothing.

This effectively means that there are no other possible curative treatment options for Dad. His illness is terminal. We have spoken to the chemotherapy doctors and they seem to think that they'll be able to give him a very low dose of chemo (once he's all healed from the incisions the surgeons made) to try and stop the growth of the cancer (which will give him more time with us). The dosage would be very low, so he won't be sick at all. Dad obviously needs some time to a) come to terms with the diagnosis and b) decide if he would like to explore the option of chemotherapy.

Dad is doing alright though. Today he was up and about. He's already gone for two walks and a shower, and it's only 12.00pm! He is being so brave.

So for now, that's really about it, and I'll definately keep you all posted.

Please, let this be a reminder to you all to spend time with your loved ones. Cherish them. Love them. TELL THEM HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU, because you won't always have them here so you can say it to their face. Yes, I know people argue. Everyone does. So argue. But don't say things you know you'll regret later, and don't go to bed angry at each other. Life is too short and precious to waste one more moment than you absolutely have to being angry at someone you love.

Please also let this remind you about how much damage cigarettes and excessive alcohol consumption can do to the human body. The original cancer 8 years ago was caused by Dads lifetime of smoking. He stopped after the first operation in 2002, but it had already caused so much damage. I know it's your own body and you can do with it what you like, but please remember that if you hurt yourself, you also hurt the people who love you and care about you.

I know I've said it in previous posts, but thank you all so much for your love and support. It means so much to us, and especially Dad. My father having cancer, both now and 8 years ago, is the most isolating and lonely experience ever. It's so hard on Mum as well, and I can't even begin to imagine how hard this is for my Dad.

Having to face not having my Dad down the track is so scary, and we're trying to enjoy and cherish every moment we spend together as a family. It sucks so much thinking that if one day I do get married, I won't have my Dad to walk me down the aisle, and when I have kids, they won't get to see for themselves how loving and funny and amazing my Dad is. Having you all sending texts, emails, whatever, makes it just that little bit less lonely and scary for us. It makes us feel like we're not completely alone. So thank you. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


... we got up at 5.30am, and were at the hospital just before 7.00am (AWST). We got Dad ready for pre-op and walked him as far as we were allowed down the corridor before he was taken to the operating theatre.
A few tearful 'I love you's and he was whisked off.

It'll be at least about 4.00pm AWST before we know anything.
When I know, you'll know soon after.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Hi Everyone,

Dad's operation is tomorrow morning. He has to be at the hospital by 7.00am, and he's the first cab off the rank, so hopefully he'll be in surgery by no later than 8.00am. It's an all-day operation if everything goes smoothly.

Dad had his final appointment at RPH today before the op tomorrow. We met the surgeons- there are two. One is a cancer specialist, and he will be removing the cancerous tissue, and a ring of tissue surrounding it. He will also be taking out part of Dad oesophagus. The other surgeon specialises in reconstructive surgery, so he'll be doing the skin and tissue graft from Dad's left wrist to his throat (for his new oesophagus) and also the skin graft to Dad's wrist from his thigh. Complicated, I know. The surgeons were fantastic though, they answered all my questions quite compehensively, which was really reassuring. They also cracked a joke or two, which I think helped Dad feel more comfortable (which is so important)!

One of my main concerns when we originally found out Dad's oesophagus would be replaced was how he would be able to swallow. I don't know if you're all aware, but when we swallow, there are waves of muscular contractions that push the food down to the stomach, called peristalsis. As the surgeons are going to remove Dad's oesophagus (and the surrounding tissue), the muscles that push food into Dad's stomach will also be removed. I asked the surgeons, and their response was that as Dad still has the top bit of his oesophagus (and therefore the smooth muscle used for peristalsis) he should still be able to get food down pretty well after he's healed. What peristalsis won't be able to do, gravity should. The food might just need to have a bit more moisture so it'll slide down easier (sorry, Dad, guess that means no more dry weetbix for you).

The surgeons are also going to remove Dad's thyroid gland (which controls cell metabolism), which we found out today is also cancerous. Around the thyroid gland are four other glands, called the Parathyroid Glands. These glands control the amount of calcium in the blood and bones. They are apparently quite hard to distinguish from the thyroid or fat during surgery, so there is a chance that these glands will be damaged serverely. Even if one gland is left intact, Dad will be ok, but if they somehow manage to damage all of them, then Dad will have to be on calcium therapy, as well as medication to replace the hormones the thyroid normally produces. After surgery, the amount of calcium in Dads blood will have to be monitored very closely, as that will be an indication as to if they have managed to save or destroy the Parathyroids. If it's not monitored and the calcium in his blood drops below a certain level, he will die. No ifs, buts or maybes. The doctors will be doing at least two blood tests a day, but within a few hours post-op we should know what's happening.

Now, I'm not a religious person at all, but I do believe in a higher power or something. I also believe in the power of the mind. If you all could, please think of us during your prayers to the diety of your choice. Or pray to the Universe, Zeus, whoever or whatever the hell you can. It'll be much appreciated. Dad is a tough bugger, but a little extra help surely can't hurt.

I'd like to thank you all for reading this, even if you don't follow ASOFB on Blogger or whatever. It means a lot to know we're not alone.

I'll post as soon as I know how Dad's operation is going.

Lots of Love,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Countdown

Hey everyone.

Just a quick update- Dad's operation has been pushed back to the 26th of October, and it is definately on.
The operation basically entails removing part of Dad's oesophagus and a large "ring" of tissue around the tumour. His thyroid gland will also be removed. The second part of the procedure will involve taking a vein from his left arm, and also a flap of skin from the same place, to rebuild his oesophagus. They may have to take some tissue from his leg or chest to "fill" the void left by the removal of the tumour. He will also need a skin-graft on his wrist (they will take skin from his thigh to replace the skin taken from his wrist for his oesophagal reconstruction, and let the wound on his thigh heal by itself).

FYI- They need to use skin from his wrist and not any where else. Not 100% sure why, but I'm learning that there is a method to their madness.

We've had some of the family over- it's been fantastic for Dad and for Mum and I.
We had Patrick over for three days (including Bathurst on the Sunday), and then after he left on Sunday night, we had to prepare for Syd and Bryan's (Bin) arrival on Monday night.
There has been so much shit-stirring and laughter- it's been totally fantastic.
I'm so glad they came over. I love you all <3.

We'll keep you all updated, as much as we can (I'm sorry I've been so lazy with my posting- I'll try and get my butt in to gear and keep you all in the loop).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kicking Cancers Butt: The Tour Dates

So, we finally have some dates and details.

Monday 4th October: Biopsy
Monday 11th October: Results
Monday 11th October: Anaesthetist Appointment
Thursday 21st October: Operation

That's all we know at the moment.
We're all ok.

My Uncle "Pud" (Dad's brother Patrick) is coming over to WA from QLD on Thursday the 7th to Sunday the 10th. The next day (Monday 11th) Dad's other brothers, Syd and Brian, come over and stay til Thursday the 14th (well it's really 12.05am on Friday, but whatever. It'll be Thursday night when we leave to go to the airport).
Dad's really excited, and so are Mum and I.
It's always nice to have a visit from the family- and the boys will cheer Dad up no end (though I'm sure there will be the usual amount of shit-stirring that inevitably occurs when the Lynch family members congregate, however small the grouping!).
Haha, no seriously, we all can't wait for them to come over.
If you're reading this Uncles Pud, Bin and Syd, we have tea, coffee and biscuits at the ready.