Saturday, September 26, 2009

Update on Francis

We're glad that Francis did not get the kyphoplasty surgery on Friday because as Dr. Sheila pointed out, (and even the surgeon agreed with the oncologist on this) -- the priority is finding out the nature of what they referred to as -- the mass..or the tissues...or the cancer. When I inquired of Dr. Inhorn, the oncologist where Francis' pain comes from, he said -- "The tissues' pressure on the nerves."
Dr. Inhorn expects the biopsy results to be in by Monday. That's when we'll know more. For now, since the CAT Scan shows no obvious cancer (aside from the mass which surrounds the lumbar spine, )Dr. Inhorn thinks it's a "small cell cancer" because this "unique" cancer causes the person's sodium levels to drop. "I think that's the clue," he said. And that's why Francis is still in the hospital: His sodium was 120 Thursday night, (130 is normal.) and even though he was on an IV, it dropped one point to 119 by Friday morning. So they're now giving him a big dose of sodium which brought it up by yesterday and today -- to 127. The doctors add, -- "That's not a long term solution."
The enormity of what is happening is sinking in for me in spite of fervent hope that maybe the tissue is benign. Or even if it isn't, maybe they could get it all with surgery and then use the cement -- kyphoplasty -- to support the spine. But if surgery isn't enough, as I told Jo over the phone yesterday, Francis is inclined -- though not rigidly so, -- to opt OUT of chemotherapy. He admits we can't say ahead of time what we'll do when the time comes.
Francis remembers a friend whose doctor told him he could treat him, Tony asked: "Can you cure me doc?" " I can TREAT you," was the reply, "but I can't cure you." So Tony chose to say no to chemo. Francis remembers Tony's example with respect.
I'm happy to reassure you that Francis' spirit couldn't be better. His pain management could be better though, but we'll talk to the doctor about this. Some nurses don't feel authorized to act when they could.. And when I asked if he wanted visitors Francis said "No, My energy is depleted going from one test to another, and I need all the energy I can summons. Visiting takes energy, as beloved as the visitor is. It's tiring having to rise to the occasion." -- That's the message I'll send to our local friends when I update themafter the biopsy results.
But here's what I wanted to say about Francis' state of mind: He said to me smiling, shortly after I arrived, -- "I'm not having dire thoughts, you know! I'm having a good time. I just stay in the present moment." He added that yoga helps him. This practice of the present moment is part of yoga.
The same is true for me. The yoga posture "Savasana," ("Corpse Pose") in which one reclines and simply lets go, is my lifeline. I start out with muscles tight and tense from all I have to do. But this practice -- letting go like a sleeping child in its mother's/daddy's arms, -- imitating the non-movement of one who died, (like its name, "Savasana") is profoundly effective on all levels.
Thank you all, dear ones, for your loving support!
Francis and I feel surrounded with LOVE.
Much love and gratitude,

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