Penny's cancer is back. =(
Penny and I just received the results of the Operative and Pathology report from last Friday's Cystoscopy (her 13th Cystoscopy since February of 2012). The tumor was at the Bladder Neck (@ the 7 o'clock position) and was 3 cm in size. It was designated: "Papillary urothelial carcinoma, high grade". So it was a fast growing tumor. We will determine the course of treatment with her oncologist / urologist on January 2nd....... (hopefully more Valstar Chemo or BCG). Penny has made it almost 3 years with her bladder intact, and the goal is to continue that effort. She can use a few more prayers in her direction.......
So, what else has occurred in the last 3 months?
September/October - I was taken to the VA hospital to the Psych Ward for observation. I was released after a week there (a very eye opening experience regarding treatment and the lack of help for other vets who are in more dire need than me). I spent my 23rd wedding anniversary (9/11) in isolation from the world, a very lousy experience. The VA facility is essentially, a dumping ground for some vets who are homeless or who can't take care of themselves and where Navy Recruits who get out due to mental anguish get processed for discharge. The VA staff wanted me to do ECT - Electroshock Treatment and after interviewing me, decided my issues were environmental as a result of stress, not physical like someone with a Bi-polar disorder (I was emphatic I would not do ECT unless it was a last resort). So of course, they put me on Lithium. 36 hours after I got home, I was taken to the ER for a Bleeding Bladder. Unfortunately, when the ER nurse put the catheter in, she tore up my urethra trying to force the catheter upon a path that was not the urethra path (I was in so much pain, I was screaming and Penny was crying while begging them to stop). I spent the next 4 weeks of hell having bleeding incidents (I was hospitalized 4 different times). The urologist then threw up his hands and recommended I go to a hospital downtown. I went to the VA instead, and the Urologist on staff there got things somewhat resolved within 8 days. I no longer use a catheter and a bag (and I'm having no more bleeding incidents).
October - Penny's 81 yr old father fell down at his home and was rushed to the Hospital. After that, it was evident he needed assisted living. Penny and I had 6 weeks to get his mobile home emptied, his cars sold, and get him into an assisted living home. With the help of our Church friends, we were able to get this accomplished (despite the 20 years of old "stuff" we had to pore through). Nobody would let me do anything physical, so I tried keeping things moving regarding projects (not an easy task considering the medications I am on).
November - our 16 year old dog "Maggie" (Border Collie mix) had gotten to the point where she could no longer see, could barely stand, couldn't go down stairs, and was going deaf. Along with Maggie's vet, we decided that we needed to stop her pain as her quality of life was very difficult (so she was put to sleep). Given Penny's attachment to her, I found a way to fill the hole by finding an animal rescue organization who would let us "foster" a dog (which we did at the end of November)... another Border Collie mix (her name is Lolly). The rescue pays for the vet bills and for food, and we provide the home and "care".
December - 2 weeks later, when we went to have her spayed, we were told she was pregnant with 7 puppies. Lolly gave birth less than a week later to 7 puppies (which we are now fostering also - our son is doing a great job of caring for them). Then Penny had her Cystoscopy (and her Cancer had returned). She goes to the Social Security doctor tomorrow (for additional xrays on her knee (that needs replacement). It is simply amazing we have been fighting for her to get Social Security for 9 years........
As of January 1st, we will be officially 4 months behind in our mortgage (this is the only thing we can't afford). Given we are upside down by $100,000 due to the fact the VA will not allow a reduction of the principal, we are looking at foreclosure very soon (and we have run out of options save winning the Lottery). Alas..... the hard part will be to find affordable housing in this area so Travis will continue to be eligible for services here (and can continue to work for Walmart here... where he is accepted and it is close by). Of course, unemployment was never extended by Congress..... but they are willing to fund other pork instead. Oy.....
So that is the quick breakdown. I am going to try to get back to weekly updates.... as it is cathartic for me to do this once in a while.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.