( a letter written to family and friends back in February)
As some of you may know, my father has been experiencing stiffness in his right leg. The symptoms were similar to something he had around twenty years ago. After falling twice, first while walking the dog, second inside our home, he was confined to bed rest due to painful spasms that overtook his body. The medicine that helped so long ago, was not as effective as we’d hoped. On January 26, my parents decided to admit him to urgent care.
There, it was discovered that he’d lost half of his blood supply over the course of the last few months. After being transferred to the ER later that day – X rays showed a fracture in his femur. It had occurred more recently than either fall, we were told, perhaps even while he was being treated at urgent care. My dad was given four blood transfusions in those first couple days and since he’s been admitted to the hospital, the number is closer to fifteen. There have also been lots of tests, scans and procedures. At first there was talk of a metal hip replacement, then eventually a possible amputation.
At the end of last week we were told the biopsy results came positive for angiosarcoma; an aggressive form of cancer resistant to chemotherapy and radiation. After an internet search, I found that there may be a connection between angiosarcoma and the arsenic water + pesticides that my family was exposed to while we lived in Central California.
My mom has been at father’s bedside every single day. She prays for him, watches out for him and cheers him on all while somehow maintaining her work schedule. She is also thankful, as am I, for your prayers, support and visits during this difficult time.
At this moment, my dad is undergoing a surgery that is expected to last 6.5 hours. The doctors will be removing the affected area. Amputation is still a possibility depending on what is found. My dad is nervous about the procedure but we are rooting for him and hoping for a swift recovery.
Please keep him in your prayers. Thanks!
My dad ended up getting a hemipelvectomy, which is an amputation that includes the lower pelvic region. They removed a large tumor and declared him cancer free at the time of the surgery. It was amazing to see how quickly the procedure benefited him. He no longer had high fevers, the pain was manageable and there was no longer a need for blood transfusions. He had twenty two in all!
Recovery took a little longer than expected – mainly in the strength gaining department. He was initially frustrated in having to relearn tasks as mundane as walking, however, my family and I are super excited that he is finally able to get around when for months he was confined to a bed.
He came home about two weeks ago and although he is doing remarkably well, several things have come up. The most crucial is that he developed an infection within the incision while he was in rehab. Personally, I feel that not enough was done to get rid of it initially. If it is not gone within two weeks, he will need surgery again.