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2015-11-15 05:56:56 (UTC)

Ron Price's Health: 15/11/'15 to 25/1/'16.

As of 15/11/'15, 19/12/'15, on 1/1/'16, and again on 25/1/'16 I began to come home from the George Town hospital & enjoy more time with my wife in what my GP calls 'quality time.' The GT hospital had, by 16/1/'16, been my venue for twelve weeks, and the Launceston General(the LGH) for several weeks.

This post will update this alternating 'home-care' and 'hospital- care' package. I will not comment on the details of my illness from its onset in August 2015 until 15/11; that comment is found at other posts on this website. This post only deals with the weeks and months ahead up to and including the first three weeks of the New Year to 25/1/'16.

A. 15/11/'15:

In a meeting between myself, my wife Christine and my GP, Dr. Tim Mooney, whose care I am now under, we discussed the probable course of events to follow in the weeks ahead. I mentioned to him my extreme fatigue and the desire to reach the end of this disease process. I told the Dr. that I'd like my wife to make decisions about my medical care from now on if and when I'm unable to process information to make decisions.

Dr. Mooney, my GP, advised that the cancer was now grapefruit-sized, that positive outcomes of the by-pass operation in September by Dr Pande may not become apparent till up to 6 weeks after the operation(i.e.the last 2 weeks of December. He also advised that for now the enteric feeds at night should continue. If there is no return of appetite, then the feeds should be reduced and the natural passage to death be allowed to take its course. All efforts would be taken to ensure as peaceful and comfortable a process as possible. One could not ask for more than this in this situation. As of 15/11 several patterns that would continue for the months ahead had been established.

B. December 1, 2015 to December 18, 2015.

At the beginning of December enteric feeding ceased and the feeding tube removed. My appetite had not returned, however. Of the limited range of things I eat I must be sure not to eat too quickly or too much or nausea and possibly vomiting occur. Nausea is a constant companion but it is well-controlled with various medications. Meds also help me relax and sleep, hence my relative comfort. Chris visits 2-3X daily and with children, other family and friends visiting I have more than enough social interaction. My capacity for interaction decreased as the weeks passed so the visitor had to carry the conversation ball. By mid-December I started to eat again, but only a little at a time.

C. December 19 to 25/1/'16.

On 19/12/'15 I began to come home for a few hours each day. I had been eating with at least some appetite for 4 days & walking independently. My wife and I each have our own bedrooms; she was able to go on with her life without having to care for me every minute while I was at home and I, too, could move around on my own and even do a little writing--like the update of this medical account.

The months that lie ahead will require: (a) an increase in my appetite so that I can eat more and put on some of the 80 pounds or 35 kgs I've lost in the last 2 years; (b) greater body strength, stamina and energy; and (c) a continuation of physical comfort and good sleeps. If I am to take on any chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment these factors(a to c)will be important ones to consider. I will discuss these factors when and if they become part of my regime for the extension of my life into 2016 and the years beyond 2016, if I last that long. At the moment I am still contemplating the possibility of having chemo or radiation.

My GP, my wife and I decided I would go home for a day and, after considering a number of factors, the decision was reached on 1/1/'15. That 'overnighter', as it is called, was successful, and I was discharged from the hospital on 4/1/'16. On 11/1/'15 and 18/1/'16 my wife and I had an interview with my GP, Dr Tim Mooney. We discussed the following and made the following decisions: (i) have blood tests for liver function, thyroid, electrolytes, pancreatic enzymes, cholesterol and iron (ii) have a CT scan, & (iii) get scripts for the several medications I now take. From now on I shall only provide general statements due to the continuing and heightened complexity of this medical process.

It was decided that on 20/1/'16 I would have an iron infusion since my iron levels were low and it was hoped the result would be an increase in energy thus decreasing the fatigue that stalks my life just about all the time. My wife and I decided to: (i) write to Dr Pande thanking him for what has proved to be the highly successful operation back in September, (ii) get a script for ondanzetron, an anti-nausea drug, and (iii) discuss the psycho-social life we have since my coming home.

The CT scan showed the tumor has not increased in size although its activity has increased. I also decided, quite firmly on 18/1, that I would continue to discuss chemo or radiation since. Even if successful, they would only increase my life by a few months and I am not hanging on to life and looking for a few more months by going through some treatment process. Chemo and radiation have downsides and can see no point in experiencing them for the sake of a few months of life.But they also have upsides which Chris and I will discuss with Dr Mooney at our next visit on 27/1, and possibly a specialist in the following weeks.

For now I shall close this statement to be updated on another post at this site later in January as this month goes through its final few days. After nearly five months of dealing with this pancreatic cancer the story, in some ways, has just begun.