I was going to edit my last post to thank you all for the hugs and well-wishes, and to let you know the update we got yesterday, and then I realized that my edit was just turning into a post, and posting feels good, so here it is.
First, the update:
The doctors were not satisfied with the results of the biopsy they did on my dad's pancreas. They feel that they have not pinpointed the origin of the cancer, and now want to biopsy his spleen and ct his lungs. This means that he'll be in the hospital even longer (he's been there for 13 days now), and that he'll have to go through even more painful procedures. And I'll have to delay my trip to see him. That's because:
My dad is VA. He is a Vietnam Vet who spent 4 years in the Navy relaying code to ground troops. My dad's sense of pacifism is only outweighed by his sense of responsibility, which is why he didn't high-tail it to Canada four years earlier than he did.
This means that he can only be treated at VA clinics and VA hospitals. My dad lives on the east coast of Florida, near Orlando. There is a VA clinic near his home, but the VA hospital is in Tampa, 2 1/2 hours away. I have nowhere to stay in Tampa, and I can't afford a hotel for a week right now. So, as long as they keep him in Tampa, I can't be there. We have no idea if he'll be able to be treated closer to home, as that means outsourcing medical care, and of course, who wants to pay for that. My dad does have a patient advocate, and she, as well as the oncologist, believe that it is in my dad's best interest to be closer to home. However, we have no guarantees that the powers that be will agree. I have also heard that VA benefits expire at age 65, which is how old my dad will be in June. Don't know where we'll go from there.
This is by far the most frustrating part for me right now, and I am trying to keep in mind that my dad is actually one of the 'lucky ones' - he doesn't have to pay for his medical care right now. As a Canadian, the unfairness of the health care system in the US boils my fucking blood like you wouldn't believe. I also try to keep in mind that if it were not for the Clinton administration overhauling Veteren's Affairs, my dad would not be one of the lucky ones. Fucking ridiculous.
So today we'll find out when they might schedule the ct scan and if they can even do another biopsy. (Apparently it is difficult to biopsy the spleen. I don't know what the alternative is right now.)
My dad remains in good spirits, which is characteristic for him, and he is enjoying flirting with the nurses who come every day to give him a shot of morphine for the pain. He's not even complaining about hospital food yet.
There are so many of you who have said 'I know what you're going through.' I'm sorry for that. But you are helping. Several of my very best friends have gone through this already. You will all keep me sane. I'll take your advice, your encouragement, your hugs, and I'll just keep positive and keep going.
And for Chris - bureaucratic. Ha.