Details the effect of being a non-alcoholic person married to an end-stage alcoholic. Frustrations, trials, tribulation... and yet... there is comedy hidden in the insanity. This blog also provides useful insight and facts concerning the complexities of conflicting information.
I sat down yesterday to write a post about colorectal
cancer. I’ve done a bit of research and found a few things that I wanted to
share, but not really as much as I would have liked. I have been very
distracted by Riley’s behavior and the opportunity to concentrate on writing or
videoing has been elusive.
So far I’ve discovered that colon and/or rectal cancer seems
to be the cancer of choice for the alcoholic’s body. The chance for survival is
dependent on how quickly the cancer is caught. Since it’s hard to know exactly “when”
the cancer started, the scale for survival rates is determined by using the
stage of the cancer.
Over the past six weeks, Riley has been poked, prodded,
scanned, vampire-ized, measured, and violated in very unpleasant manners. We
still have not been told that the butt tumor (which we have named Tommy) is, in
fact, malignant. We know its cancer and that Tommy is growing. We know there is
a suspicious something in his groin lymph node – but not one doctor wants to
say that lymph node issue is a part of Tommy’s mischievousness. We are told
that we must wait for the biopsy on September 8th.
Anyone who knows me knows that is not good enough for me.
While in the oncologist office, I said “This is my theory that I’ve surmised
from Drs. Google and Wikipedia. Riley most likely has Stage IIIA colorectal
cancer classified as such because it has spread to at least one of his lymph
nodes. With treatment he has about a 53% chance of surviving.” The doctor’s
response was that, in her opinion, I was correct but could not be 100%
confident until we get the results of the biopsy.
This is where things get interesting – or – absurd depending
on your point of view. Riley states that he does not want surgery if it means
he will have to wear a poop bag. He would rather have chemo/radiation therapy.
That’s understandable logic. Then Riley continues by saying “I want to have
chemo and radiation so that the cancer will be gone in a couple of weeks and I
can go back to drinking.” The doc and I look at each other. She is without
words. My hands touch my forehead and then slide down my face as though I’m
trying to wipe away the confusion.
(I need to explain
that I was contemplating giving Riley metered glasses of wine over long spans
of time. However, after the first couple of glasses (2 glasses at dinner every
three weeks) his behavior became hostile and I stopped allowing any alcohol at
all. So he is booze free knowing that no more is on the way. I believe letting
him have monitored wine was a mistake on my part – which I have corrected.)
Back to the doctor who is trying to think of a response to
Riley. It was a long pregnant pause. She comes back with something about it
takes a lot longer than a few weeks for the treatment to work. She also reminds
him that the drinking will kill him just as quickly as the cancer. At the
present time, it has not been determined if he is healthy enough for treatment
I chimed in and tried to explain that chemo/radiation will
not, cannot, fix all the damage that was done to his body by excessive alcohol
abuse. That he is still on the brink of another heart attack, stroke and that
it appears his brain is still atrophying. I also point out to him that as long
as he lives with me, he will not be drinking. Uh… ohh, I’ve left the door open
on that one.
Riley: I’m going to have the treatment, get well,
move out and drink myself to death. I’d rather die of drunkenness than die of
Doc: Well, Mr. Riley, with that attitude I’m
worried that treatment will be wasted on you and that you will not be a good
candidate. It is possible we will not treat your cancer. Turning to me –
this the way things are at your house all the time? Do you have any help?
Linda: Yes. This is the way things are all the
time. No. I don’t have any help.
Riley: She hired a housekeeper to come in one day a
week, but now the housekeeper only helps Linda because she turned her into a
Linda: What? No… let’s move on. The bottom line is
no decision has been made because not all the tests are completed. Correct?
Doc (relieved that she didn’t have to respond to Riley): Correct.
So, while I wanted to post about everything I can find about
Colorectal Cancer, the frustration and confusion has taken hold and I’m
fighting the urge to run for my life. I cannot image this situation getting any
easier as Tommy grows and Riley’s anger rises to a crescendo.