My dad's health at 85
It has been over a year since my last blog post, in which I have been overwhelmed with juggling my duties as a daughter caring for an elderly father, as a mother of two teenage boys, and as the sole breadwinner of the family (thankfully, with a job I love).
In the last year, my father's health and cancer journey had a number of ups and downs:
He recovered very well and relatively quickly from his TURP surgery in March 2022, giving him a much better quality of life
His PET scan in June 2022 (11 months after he was diagnosed with lung cancer) showed positive results, where the tumours in his neck and abdomen areas had disappeared
We had an enjoyable family holiday to Kuantan in June 2022
He started a series of CyberKnife treatments for his lung tumour at Mount Miriam in July 2022
We had a visit from Jack, his grandson from the UK, in October 2022
His PET scan in November 2022 (after his CyberKnife treatments) were disappointing, showing that his cancer had spread to the bone of his hip
He started another chemo cycle in December 2022
We had a visit from Kat, his granddaughter from the UK, in February 2023 (around the time of his 85th birthday)
He had two bouts of cellulitis on his right hand that required hospitalisation in February and March 2023
Left to right: Holidaying in Kuantan (June 2022); With Jack, Caleb & Joshua (October 2022); Waiting for his PET scan (November 2022); Starting chemo again (December 2022); With Kat (February 2023)
Very sadly, at present, he had a fall two days ago on April 11th, 2023 and has been in the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the hospital since then. After 2 nights, his condition has worsened.
Yesterday, he had difficulty forming sentences, but we were still able to understand him. He was repeating "Love you" to Joshua and me over and over again. He could not hold up his daily newspapers, but was still able to mumble out the headlines as I held them up for him. He had difficulty eating, but still managed to consume some food and drink albeit very slowly.
Today, his speech is completely slurred, and he isn't able to even drink from a straw. He was scheduled to do an MRI, but was too fidgety and unable to stay absolutely still for the 30 minute procedure, even under sedation. He has just gone for a 3rd CT scan, and I'll be discussing the next cause of action and treatment plan with the neurosurgeon, neurologist, cardiologist and oncologist after that.
Looking back, I am glad he had the opportunity to enjoy the many durian seasons in 2022, even though many people had told me I should not let him indulge in his favourite fruit. I had made that mistake with my mum by controlling her intake of her favourite 3-in-1 coffee and sweets, and I did not want to make the same mistake with my dad whilst he could still find pleasure in food (that included KFC and lor bak).
Now, I can only hope to see that same joy in his face again.