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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Adventures in Cancer Land...

I know the end of this video may generate some hostility, concern, controversy... whatever... please leave all you both positive and negative comments on my www.lindasfrontporch.com website in the Immortal Alcoholic page.

In a nutshell...

Ever since Riley had his heart attack and was released from hospice back to me, I have steadfastedly refused to allow him any alcohol. Now, I'm wondering why I did that.
At the appt to have an ultrasound on his tumor last Wednesday, we discovered that they don't want to do an ultrasound, but rather a CT scan. OK. I'm fine with that -- so let's do it. Whoa-- we have to make an appt for that... soonest they can get him in is in 4 weeks! Hmmm... I thought everything about cancer was urgent and needed immediate attention for best results.
But the shock and awe doesn't end there. While telling us that he wants a CT scan rather than the USound, he explains that he would rather go in and surgically remove the tumor because he doesn't feel Riley's health is in good enuf shape for chemo and radiation. Well... if the surgery is easier, then why not? The why not is because he will most likely lose any of his remaining bowel control. I don't know if that means a bag or what. I was too busy trying to take it all in to ask the question.The doctor seems to think it's an acceptable sacrifice. He is certainly entitled to his own opinion.
But... let's break this down... Riley already dislikes his life... he has no social contact, cannot use the computer, isn't allowed to drink, can't drive. His entire day consists of sitting and watching TV. He already feels he has no life. Now consider this -- he had been having very bad diarrhea and only recently has the issue been resolved due to a simple change in medication. He now has control over something -- the ability to poop like a normal person. If that's taken away -- what kind of quality of life will he have since he already feels there's no quality to his life anyway?
I asked Riley if he understood what the doc had said. He said "only marginally." I tried as best I could to explain.
His answer was -- "I don't want surgery. I'll stick with chemo and radiation and see what happens. I've been told so many times that I'm going to die -- doesn't he know that I'll probably survive this too. AND still have no life."
I don't feel that I can argue with logic like that. I gave him a glass of wine with his dinner tonight.


Anonymous said...

Linda, my prayers are with both you and Riley. I can see how difficult your post was, and I am wishing strength for you during this time.

Anonymous said...

I don't feel that I can argue with logic like that. I gave him a glass of wine with his dinner tonight. - You really should change the name of this to "the immortal enabler" - I'm disgusted!

Anonymous said...

In my opinion anyone who is a caretaker of an alcoholic will probably end up in a situation like this. When I question my decision to divorce my alcoholic exhusband almost 30 years ago I reread the medical information on this blog and today I have no regrets for leaving. And am grateful I am not in Linda's place.

Three weeks ago I was at a hospital looking at a friend of mine who is 60 years old and has been drinking her whole life. I knew she liked to "party" and worked a job her whole life and was still working.

She started to throw up blood and her husband took her to the hospital. They sedated her as she went through detox, found out she has cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis and her liver is totally shot, kidneys failed two days later, entire body is bloated, skin is yellow, and she has a bleeding hole in her stomach, on dialysis 24/7 for first 2 weeks in Intensive Care and now daily for 2 hours.

Her husband is in shock. Machines are keeping her alive I guess. Doctors say she will probably die. Who knows. She has insurance and is still in the hospital. She just lays there all bloated up with the ventilator and all the other machines pumping away. It was a sight I never want to see again. My friend laying there like that. If she lives she might be a vegetable. Probably need organ transplants. Who knows. Her husband and the doctors will eventually have to make decisions.

I am not sure what I would do if I was the caretaker of an alcoholic. I just could not do it.
Last night I went back to Alanon and spent a long time just crying the past few weeks. So sad.

And I found out that the alkie exhusband is now in a hot prison in Texas. Apparently he got sentenced to probation for 6 months, later extended to a year and 6 months and then it was revoked. He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison and locked up. Drinking is a violation of probation.

I am just going to keep going to alanon meetings for a bit to get me through this. I hate alcoholism. Just got to turn it over to God and let it all go. It is too much for me. So much grief.

You are in my prayers Linda.

Anonymous said...

As a recovered alcoholic who was previously diagnosed as end stage at the age of 59, I don't know why you'd give Riley a glass of wine. All it would do is reawaken the insatiable thirst for alcohol. It's not going to make Riley feel better, or improve his quality of life. In the end, it's only going to make him more miserable, because the physical craving will be reawakened.

Sure, I have a psychological craving, but I no longer have a physical craving, and would no more take a drink than I would stab myself in the foot.

If you continue to give Riley alcohol, you may as well forget him having surgery, or chemo and radiation. He's already 70 years old, in poor health, and all you'll be doing is killing him a little bit faster.

Sorry to be so harsh, but I was lucky; today I'm healthy and physically active, engaged with my family and friends. This is after I was given six months to live.

As someone else said, you seem to be the immortal enabler.

Anonymous said...

linda i think you are doing the right thing, if the old man is going to conk out anyway and he's not doing anyone any harm i don't see any problem with him drinking if he wants to, if he was you know, younger and in not as bad of shape as he is in i would advise against it but i dont see anything wrong with fufilling his last request.

Jan said...

Linda, such an emotional upheaval to deal with after all you've been through. It sounds as if you are saying, I got him through drinking, just to be faced with cancer. Please know that one risk factor for colorectal cancer is heavy alcohol use, so this may be part of the continuum. I would recommend that you take the same approach with the oncologists that you did in your workbook, and gather all the information you can. For example: what is the recovery period post surgery? How long would he be in the hospital? What is the aftercare once discharged, and can Riley and you handle it? Same for chemo and radiation: what are the side effects, and how are they managed? How often would he have to come to the clinic for treatment? The same questions go to whether Riley should drink again: can you handle the results, assuming it's not just one martini a night, but soon half a handle...

Be well,

Stolen Kisses said...

You never cease to amaze me with your strength and ability to handle all that you do, and on top of it, share it with the world to help others. I knew when I met you and worked with you that you were awesome.
I believe that what you do for Riley is in his best interest, even if you do give him a glass of wine. If not one way, then another. Love you.