Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: HEALTH (10/13/16)
TITLE: God Gave Us Peace
By Joy Bach
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We were not delighted to be so special. But we did ask if that meant we would be traveling to Milan. Sadly, the answer was no.
Let’s begin with the fact that he had been diagnosed with diabetes in 1983. Diabetes is hard on the kidneys, so by 2012 his kidney function was already compromised…down to 42%. That meant Stage 3 kidney failure had to be factored into the bags of poison that dripped into his veins.
As we traveled this journey, I learned far more than I ever wanted to know about radiation, disease, contraindications and the myriad types of doctors. Whoever heard of an Interventional Radiologist?
I began to travel from appointment to appointment carrying a binder that had dividers for each doctor. As they talked, I took notes. By journey’s end, it held 38 typed pages.
Even though I had never been to pharmacy school, I soon knew names like Diltiazem, Amlodipine, Hydralazine, Torsemide (not to be confused with Furosemide), Losartan, Gabapentin…and the list goes one. As I typed each one of those names, I remembered the disease for which it was prescribed.
I never wanted to know that stuff.
Unable to be given any more IV chemo, a drug called Sutent was tried next. This is targeted chemotherapy in a pill. The litany of side effects of the mixture of drugs being ingested into his body included severe heartburn, chunks of skin falling off, feet too painful to walk on…with occasional admittance to the hospital.
Sutent cost $12,000 a month. Insurance did not cover that, but our doctor found a private foundation to pay for the treatment. After a wait of ten days off before he could begin the medication again, we had to re-apply. That’s when I learned the donations were for specific diagnoses. I was told his diagnosis no longer received any funding.
Unbelievable choice. Go bankrupt or let him die.
His thyroid was affected by one of the medications. That pill was to be taken after fasting. Some pills required food. An excel spreadsheet keeping track of what was to be taken when graced our kitchen counter. Anemia set in and a blood transfusion was discussed.
We never knew what the next minute, hour or day would bring.
Good news, bad news day. The Lymphoma was in remission, but now tests showed a cancerous tumor in his kidney…his good one. Kidney cancer is curable if you just remove the kidney. His other kidney was not functioning well enough to process urine, so that was not an option. He would have to go on dialysis.
Another momentous life decision. He wanted quality of life, not life hooked to a machine, so he voted no.
Then came the day he fell. And fell again. And fell again. No longer mobile, he was confined to a hospital bed…at home…in our bedroom. Another hospital bed was placed beside it for me. We still held hands.
I can’t tell the whole story in 750 words. This is just a brief overview of our three-year cancer journey.
He stopped eating. Then he stopped drinking. As he wasted away, we talked, laughed and prayed. His message for any visitor was very clear. God was in charge of this journey. There was a purpose for it.
And all through the rollercoaster ride, we had peace.
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