Jun 27, 2020 Latest post:
Dec 18, 2020
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Hi folks, Carole here. Want to give you the background of George's new journey. If you already know, you can skip what I have to say. We arrived back in Michigan from Florida, Thursday evening, June 4th. It was the usual 2 day drive, we split the driving, stayed overnight with our 2 fur babies, Melvin & Tabby. The car was packed to the roof, as usual. Upon arrival, George was exhausted, unable to help me unload the car. Got it done, piecemeal over several days, to get belongings on each of their respective floor in our 3 floor townhouse. George was very short of breath, fatigued, loss of appetite, unable to eat much at one time. but didn't want to go to ER. Repeated recommendations were rejected. As this didn't improve over the weekend, his daughter, Diane, was able to convince him to go, so on Monday, June 8th, we went to Ascension Hospital (formerly Crittenton) in Rochester. And so, it begins....... Tues. - had CT Scans of his heart, but wouldn't discharge him due to an elevated heart rate, 125, staying overnight again. Wed, - CT Scan found a mass in his stomach, took a biopsy, cancer is suspected. Thrs. - Did an Endoscopy to determine the extent of the cancer. Regretfully, his cancer is not operable, as it has spread into lymph nodes & another spot at the bottom where his stomach meets the intestine. It also has started to break through his stomach wall. The extent of the spread make surgery impossible. Possible chemo and/or radiation might extend his life, but will not cure it. With the help of George's SIL, Sue, who used to be high up in admin in St. Joe, we started a search for another oncologist for a 2nd opinion. We located a Dr. Yousef Hanna, out of Troy Beaumont, a 5* rating out of 330 reviews, and a doctor to other doctors. Mon., June 12th - Contacted Hanna's office, made arrangements to get Ascension's records to Hanna's office. Tues. - June 16th, - we had an appt with Dr. Shah, Ascensiion oncologist, who confirmed George had stomach cancer, but since there are different kinds, wanted to send biopsy to CA lab for further evaluation. Knowing what kind of cancer determines what kind of treatment he should have. Suggested there might be a possibility for Immunotherapy, which is newer than chemo, and doesn't make the patient as sick. Instead of poisoning the body, it aids the Immune system to fight the cancer itself. We have to wait 1-2 weeks to get results from that to see if he would be a candidate. Dr. wrote a prescription to stimulate his appetite (to date, it still hasn't been approved by his insurance company, out of pocket cost is $426. ) He also felt George wasn't a candidate for radiation either, since again it is too spread out. Thrs. - June 18th - George's 80th Birthday! Dr. Hanna's office called, we have a 7:00 AM appt with Dr. on Wed., 6/24. This am George reports he doesn't feel well. I give him a protein shake. His family wanted to give him a small celebration, & it was decided upon Sat, 6/20. Just immediate family, he wanted his favorite food, Coney Dogs, and Carrot cake. Sat. - June 20th - Had breakfast of a muffin & some applesauce. Lunch at party consisted of 1 coney dog, period. This lack of appetite is a big problem, and even when he eats, he has to choke it down after a couple of bites. Some homemade carrot cake. His color is ashen, pale, noticed by all. But, he perservered, visiting briefly with folks. We were inside, because it was too hot outside, & inside he didn't have far to walk to visit folks. Returned home at 5:30, I offered him some chicken noodle soup, but he refused. Too weak, fatigued. I was, as well, & went to bed at 8 PM. 10:15, I was awakened by George walking in hallway, then screams, moans thumps as he fell down the whole 10 step flight of stairs. He didn't want to turn on the light for fear of waking me up, just wanted to go to living room to read a while, then perhaps sleep on the couch. It appeared he had no broken bones, which would be a miracle. Sitting on his butt, he managed to get back upstairs to his bed. Sun., June 21st - Very sore, cannot put any weight on his right leg, his right arm, couple of sore ribs, so we decided he should stay upstairs. I secured a walker from my brother and was able to set up an intercom system using Alexa. Doesn't want to go back to ER. Started him on Aleve, and Extra Strength Tylenol. Mon. - June 22nd. Ate some breakfast, toast, hard boiled egg, coffee. Lunch cottage cheese, nectarine. Doesn't feel too bad while lying in bed, but using the walker to use the bathroom, is exhausting for him, breath short, arms weak, excruciating pain in his leg, when he steps on it. Dr. Kale, his primary physician phoned at 5:10 after a 2nd terse call to him from me to PLEASE CALL. Dr. wanted George to go to ER, but George didn't understand him. Also, so set up appt to see his Orthopedic surgeon for xrays. Tues., June 23rd - Bad nights sleep. not interested in food. Just wanted to sleep. Secured appt with Orthopedic office Wed., June 24, 2 PM. Now he's got 2 appts on same day, cannot walk on his leg without great pain, cannot walk 2 steps without panting. Again, refused ER, just wants to get to Dr. Hanna's appt. next day. Wed., June 24th - Getting up at 5 AM, to get George ready to make a 7 am appt, took 45 min. to get him dressed, down the stairs and into the car. His breath was so short, and the leg pain so great, unable to go 2-3 steps without panting. Dr Youself Hanna - concurred with Dr. Shah, inoperable, and incurable. Still waiting for lab results from CA to identify what kind of stomach cancer he has. He can eat whatever he wants AND, can tolerate. And, George was happy to hear he could have wine! Next step is a Pet Scan to determine if the cancer has spread further into his body. Gives him 1-2 years, depending on how he responds to treatment. Dr. Joseph Ward, Orthopedic Surgeon - Again, it was brutal for him to try, once again, to get to car, so terribly weak, & paining. But, the xrays didn't reveal any broken bones. Said to call his primary again. When we did, it was difficult, because Dr. uses FaceTime, but voice goes directly into George's ears, I cannot hear what he is saying. And, Dr. talks fast, got mad at George. So I texted him. He wants George to go to ER immediately. So, I called EMS, rather than have him go through again, trying to navigate to car in his condition. 7:00 PM - Paramedics arrive and transport him to Troy Beaumont. In spite of shortness of breath, oxygen is good. So, here we are, back from Florida for 3 weeks, and he's back in the hospital. Journal entries will follow.