Monday, December 20, 2010


Hi guys.

Just a quick update- Dad came home from hospital on Friday night (the 17th of Dec)!!!!!!!!
The nurses and doctors are just so amazed at how strong he is. If you saw him now, you wouldn't know he was sick. Those who saw him after the first bleed and who saw him this weekend were in shock- he looks like a completely different person!

Monday, December 13, 2010

One Thing After Another

Hi everyone.

Dad had been getting so much better after his bleed and subsequent operation- so much better, in fact, the doctors allowed him day-leave from the hospital on Saturday and Sunday, and were going to look at discharging him Monday (today) or Tuesday (tomorrow).

On Saturday we went to Kings Park in Perth and just had a little walk around (with Dad in a wheelchair, as he was still very weak). It wasn't much but for Mum and I, and I hope for Dad, it was just the most blissful day. On Sunday we picked him up from the hospital about 10.00am and took him home for the day. He walked into the house (for the first time in a week and a half) and checked everything- making sure we'd fed the birds, locked his shed up, etc etc. Then he fell asleep in his favourite arm chair for most of the afternoon, on-and-off. Again, it wasn't much, but it was magical, having him home even temporarily.

About 5.00pm our time we decided we'd better take Dad back to the hospital (we didn't want the nurses to tell us off! Haha). He insisted on walking half the way from where we parked the car to his ward, which was so amazing considering we were told that he'd never be "Dad" again after the bleed last Saturday. We'd just gotten him up to bed and settled, when he started bleeding gushing out blood from his nose and mouth.

This time the nurses were ready for it, in terms of knowing what to do with medicines and stuff- they sedated him immediately and gave him a whopping great dose of morphine so he wouldn't feel anything. It had pretty much rendered him unconcious- he was breathing but not awake or aware. About 5 minutes after he started bleeding, the bleeding stopped as soon as it started. The nurses told us to come in and say our goodbyes, as there was no way he'd survive the second bleed, especially as there was nothing they could do surgically and blood transfusions were pointless. We spent all night with him, holding his hand and telling him how much we love him, how proud we are of him, and how amazing he is. At about 11.00pm, something amazing happened. He started moving, and he opened his eyes. By 5.00am this morning, he was lucid, awake and aware. If I thought last Saturday was a miracle, then this was... something else. I can't describe it.

Dad is now awake, and talking, and giving us lots of cheek. He's holding our hands, telling us that he loves us and reminiscing. It's amazing. He is amazing. He is so very, very amazing. I've said it once, and I'll say it a million times again, but I am so in awe of him, and I am so very, very proud of him.

It's a friggin' rollercoaster ride of emotions, going from thinking you've lost your father, to knowing he's ok, to thinking he's coming home, and then thinking you're going to lose him again, to knowing he's alright again, but I wouldn't change it for anything or anyone at all. I wouldn't trade one second of this for all the peace or happiness or riches in the world. I'm trying to make seconds count as years now.

I'll keep you all up-to-date, as always, with how he's going.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Go

Hi everyone.

Dad's had a turn for the worse. As I said in the last post, Dad went in on Wednesday to start chemo. They settled him the Wednesday afternoon/night, and then Thursday morning he was taken down to Radiology to have a PICC line inserted into his upper arm. This was so the chemo can be pumped into him 24hrs a day without having to fiddle around with a cannula's (needles in the hand). On the Saturday, they decided as he was taking the chemo so well, that he could come home (with the chemo pump attached). He was due for discharge at 10 am Saturday the 4th of December.

They had to order a cleaning solution for his PICC line (as one of the lines had blocked up) and for some reason it didn't arrive before 10, so he obviously had to stay in longer until they could flush the line. At 3pm he called us and told us to come in, as he was ready to come home and we needed to know how to work the chemo pump before he could go. In the half hour it took Mum and I to get to the hospital, Dad started haemorrhaging, with blood streaming out of his nose and mouth in very large amounts. By the time Mum and I got to the hospital, the nurses and doctor had cleaned him up and the bleeding had stopped. We were there for half an hour and then Dad needed to cough, as he'd swallowed a lot of blood during the first bleed and a little of it had gone into the back of his throat and his lungs. Dad leant forward to cough, and the bleeding started again with Mum and I standing not even a metre away from him.

Without going into gory details, I have never seen so much blood come out of a person. The only way I can describe it is like a tap turning on, from nothing at all to a full-flow instantly. There was no warning. The MedEm (Medical Emergency) doctors and nurses were called in as the ward staff couldn't figure out where all this blood was coming from. They tried to do what they could, but they also couldn't figure out where the bleed was coming from, as they obviously weren't familiar with Dad's case and there was just no time to go through pages and pages of notes from his oncologist, speech pathologist and ENT specialist. They worked on him for about half an hour and still hadn't made any headway, besides pumping six bags of blood into him to replace what he was losing. Mum and I were getting very frustrated, as we could hear everything that was going on, and informed them that as the tumour was on the Carotid artery, there was a chance it was the carotid that had ruptured. Having told them this, they prepped him for surgery and whisked him away to theatre.

We waited for hours for news... about 4 or 5 hours, I honestly can't remember. All I know is that Mum and I were both convinved Dad wouldn't pull through- we (Mum, Dad and I) were told explicitly at the beginning of our fight that if the carotid burst, there was nothing they would be able to do.

At about 11pm we were told that they'd managed to put a stent into the part of the carotid that had ruptured, which had stopped him haemorrhaging. He was alive. Being told that was the single most greatest moment of my life, bar none. The surgeons were worried he might have some brain damage as his brain could have been deprived of oxygen for a while (as the carotid artery takes oxygenated blood to the brain). Thankfully, though, he is alright. He is fully aware of what's going on. He knows what happened.

After the surgeons got him out of theatre, he was taken straight to the High Dependancy Unit, which is where he's been since. He is very, very weak, but at the moment he is ok. Mum and I are spending as much time as we can with him.

When the surgeons spoke to us after they'd put the stent in, I asked how long they would have estimated he would have left. They said before the operation, they would have given him approximately 3 months. Now, after this has happened, they have obviously drastically shortened this expectation. Yes, Dad is aware of it and he doesn't want to talk about it right now. Please respect his wishes and do not bring it up on the off-chance you get to speak with him (no phones allowed in HDU, and he's not able to speak at the moment anyway).

Mum's sisters (my Aunty Robyn and Aunty Donna) came up to the hospital to be with us on the Saturday night, as did my Mum's best friend Karen (who, as far as we are concerned, is family). They were so amazing and stayed with us right through to midnight. They waited so patiently in the corridor for us while Mum and I spent almost 30 minutes with Dad straight after his surgery in HDU. Mum and I were quite upset (as I assume you would be when you watch your father/husband start to bleed out), so my grandparents picked up our car, and Aunty Robyn, Aunty Donna and Aunty Karen drove us home (and Aunty Robyn stayed with us that night to keep us company, as no one slept much).  My grandparents and Aunties have been driving us to and from the hospital every day, which has been a massive help- neither Mum and I have been in any state to get behind the wheel. So thank you to you all.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers and love. This is a very, very distressing time for Mum and I, and obviously more-so for my father, who is as brave and strong as ever. The doctors couldn't believe how much of a fighter he is- they are all amazed. He is, without a doubt, an absolute hero, and I am a very, very, very proud daughter.

I'm sorry if this post is a bit rambling and incoherant at times, Mum and I spent all day at the hospital again today and we're exhausted. We are doing alright, just taking one day at a time. Like I said earlier, Dad is alright as well. He is very weak, but he knows what's going on, what's happening, what's going to happen... and he still managed to (jokingly) give us "the finger" today, so he mustn't be doing too badly!

Thank you to everyone else for your love, wishes and prayers. They might seem so simple to send or say, but they mean so much to us and make us realise we're not alone- especially for Dad. If you would like to send your well wishes, thoughts and love to Dad, please feel free to email me at, and I will pass them on.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Medical Oncology

Hi everyone.

Dad had an appointment with medical oncology (chemo doctors) yesterday. The results of his latest CT scan showed that the cancer has grown, and is now starting to associate with the main vein in his neck (and it has already tightly grown around his carotid artery, like I mentioned in this post). The doctors are happy to give chemo a go for a few cycles, to see how it will affect the tumours growth (it won't shrink it, but hopefully it will slow its growth). They gave Dad two options concerning how they can administer the chemo:
A) A huge "blast" of chemo, non-stop for four days (which he will have to stay in hospital for as they're giving him the drugs 24hrs a day) every month,
B) Just "normal" chemo (i.e. he'll go in as a day patient, have it infused and then go home again).
He can choose to stop treatment at any time, and if the "blast" of chemo makes him feel too sick he can switch to "normal" chemo.
These are only rough explainations- I'm not going to go into a lot of detail as it's just so confusing and hard to explain.

Anyway, Dad chose to have the "blast" chemo. He'll have to have a PIC line inserted into his upper arm, so they can give him the continuous chemo. Depending on how he takes it, for the next cycle there's a possibility he could have it at home and just carry around the chemo pump with him- but we'll see how that goes.

They sent us home and told us to expect a call in the next few days. Today we got a call from the hospital saying they have a bed available for him, so at 2.15 today he's getting admitted and they'll put the PIC line in, and then hopefully they'll start chemo tomorrow.

Dad is starting to get really tired, but he's doing okay.
Thank you for all your love and support.

Sorry we haven't called anyone, there's been no time. I'm writing this as Mum's packing Dad's bag for his hospital trip. Rush rush rush.