Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Update on Dad

Haven't talked much about my dad's been mostly babies and Steve, so I thought I'd throw a little love Dad's way. (Or, as Fletch calls him, Paw-Paw.)

 Waaay back in October '08, Dad got diagnosed with "moderately aggressive" prostate cancer. At the time he had no health insurance and so his doctor decided on a treatment course of something called Lupron, which is in short a hormone shot that turns off the production of testosterone thereby giving the cancer nothing to feed on so it can't grow. The idea was to basically hold the cancer at bay until Dad turned 65 in August '10 and started Medicare.

 A major drawback to the Lupron is that it causes menopause-like symptoms, the worst for Dad being weight gain. It's made him hungry all the time and he's gained probably 50 pounds which is really bothering him. However, the Lupron has done its job and the cancer has not progressed, so Dad had his last shot a few months ago. He recently started what I consider to be the "real" treatment - radiation and implants. In February, he got the radioactive seeds implanted, and this week he went in for the first of 25 radiation sessions. He goes five times a week at noon for the next five weeks.

We’ll find out in a couple months how it goes. He's been told side effects should be minimal, including the possibility of a sunburn-like effect on his abdomen. It’s only been a few days, but so far, so good. He’s feeling fine and I think, like me, relieved to be doing something more proactive. I know he’s happy to be done with the Lupron, although they did say it would take a while – at least 6 months or more, for it to clear his system. Hopefully once it does, he can start losing some of the weight he’s gained and will be feeling generally better.

In addition to quitting drinking in June ’08, Dad also quit smoking probably a year ago and I am so proud of him for doing both those things. I have always worried about his health and cutting out these two things is the best thing he has done for himself. And aside from the major health benefits, I feel like I have my dad back.

When he was drinking, you just never knew which Dad you were going to get. Some days would be good and I’d love spending time with him and other days I wanted nothing to do with him. Now that I have my son, and a daughter on the way, I am so thankful to have all my days with Dad be the good ones. I am so happy they will get to know their grandfather and hopefully have a lifetime of wonderful memories of him like I do with my own gramps.

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