Friday, December 8, 2017

Rising From The Ashes of Loss, My Voyage Through Grief: excerpt # 33

January to September, 2009
More Chemotherapy
Not long after the second chelation therapy treatment was over, tragedy struck again and this time it meant business; ascites were accumulating in her tummy like there was no tomorrow.  Ascites is a gastroenterological accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity.  It is a viscous fluid produced by the body to help internal organs slide smoothly on each other sort of speak.  The body normally processes and excrete this fluid out of the body by natural means, but sometimes due to diseases such as liver cirrhosis or cancer, the fluid is not eliminated properly and thus accumulates in the interspaces between the internal organs.  The stomach area then swells up progressively causing a lot of pain and discomfort.  
If Louise thought she was afraid of needles before, she hadn’t seen anything yet.
Her condition worsened so quickly that we could not wait for her next appointment with the gyn-oncologist, and we had to rush to the Cornwall hospital’s emergency to have this monster looked after.  The wait was short thank gawd and after a quick x-ray of her stomach, the doctor on duty made his diagnostic and arranged to have the fluid removed a.s.a.p.  A specialist was needed for this sort of process and they had to fetch one somewhere in the hospital.  Meanwhile, Louise was moved into a small room and the assisting staff prepared her for the procedure.  It is then that I saw ‘IT’ lying on a table by Louise's side; a long and huge curved syringe that looked more like a long narrow siphon, which is what it was actually.  It was frightening to look at and in horror I could only guess what it was for.    
I can still hear her screams coming out through the closed door as they where inserting, twisting and poking that horrible beast inside her tummy in search of the unwanted liquid; "Sorry but this had to be done, no choice and no other way, it had to be sucked out,” the ‘sweating-bullets' doctor said later on when it was all over.  This moment in time will forever be imprinted in my memory and I wonder if one day I’ll be able to recapture it without sorrow and resentment.  Time heals all wounds they say and I pray it’s true for my own wellbeing.
“This liquid will come back as it is due to her cancer and this procedure will have to be repeated,” the doctor said, “but we are not equipped here to do this on a regular basis, so you’ll have to see your gyn-oncologist for advice.”
So, here we go again in a panic and our tails between our legs en route for the cancer centre to visit our 'not-so-much-our-buddy-anymore' Dr. F the gyn-oncologist to see what the hell can be done about this situation.  As we were waiting nervously, he entered the room swiftly (I thought he had a smirk on his face, but that may just be me), sat on a stool while reading from a bunch of papers he was holding in one hand and mechanically asked Louise to lie down on the examination table.  I guess his request must have been just for show for his exam merely consisted of putting his free hand on her stomach while looking at her and saying condescendingly; "Mrs. Milot, when will you understand that this is not going away?”, and if I could have read his mind, I’m sure it would have said something like: "Can’t you get it into your thick head that you’re going to die".  
Well, excuse me for wanting to live you SOB, What did you think I would do, lie down and die, just like that?  Don’t I have the right to at least try everything I can to beat this? a teary eyed Louise later admitted to thinking at that moment.  
As a last resort, he offered more chemo (how original), the only intervention possible at this advanced stage according to him; "This is meant to make you more comfortable you must recognize, not heal you" he said to Louise. When I brought up 'immunotherapy' to his attention as a possible treatment option, he snuffed my comment and brushed it off immediately saying he didn’t know anything about it.  “Well," I rebuke in an effort to stab back at him, "You should visit the Canadian Cancer Society’s website, maybe you would learn a thing or two about it".  My feeble retort I have to admit did not even make a dent in his thick hide, but at least it made me feel a tiny bit better; one for me, twelve for him.
Why is it that conventional medicine operates with visors and only considers chemotherapy as their sole weapon when it comes to cancer?  It seems that it's the only therapy they know or want to know.  I’ve been told over and over again by critics of modern medicine that the all mighty dollar motivates their actions.  "The humongous 'money making' pharmaceutical industry is behind all research in that field and lobbies massively to the government to keep it that way" they claim.  Even though I am not a strong believer in conspiracy theories, I sometimes wonder about the veracity of these sayings.  There are numerous other fields in which researches could be done; alternative medicine, nutrition, immunotherapy and especially psychosomatics which promote the concept that our emotions could be responsible for our physical demise or well being.  Why not investigate there for a change.? But noooo, these natural approaches do not bring in enough 'bacon' to the massive money making pharmaceutical industry and are therefore of no interest, are slipped under the carpet and forgotten in file 13.  I for one have decided to put a hold on my donations on cancer research until I see a serious change of attitude in that field
Coming back to us, the situation was so dramatic and pressing that we did not have any other choice but to go ahead with another round of chemo in an effort to eliminate the ascites.  In our heads though, this was a temporary solution and we were going back to complete the chelation therapy sessions.  Both therapies were going to be given in the same span of time even though in different locations and the needle problem became even more evident, a solution had to be found and it came in the form of a 'PIC' line.  It was Chinese to me when I first heard the name, but the concept made a lot of sense after a few explanations.  A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC or PIC line) is a form of intravenous access that can be used for a prolonged period of time or long chemotherapy regimens or extended antibiotic therapy.  It is inserted in a peripheral vein and advanced through increasingly larger veins, toward the heart.
The tube is neatly rolled up under the arm and held in place with medical grade adhesive tape until it is needed.  At each session, it is unrolled and the needle through which flows the treatment liquid is inserted into the soft connector at the end of the tube instead of into the patient’s skin.

After Louise gratefully accepted the offer to install the PIC line, arrangements were made and it was to be installed on the same day as her first chemo treatment would start.  Energy wise, it was a bit much for her I thought but it was well worth it.  Also the fact that the same PIC line could be used for the chelation therapy was an added benefit. I was very glad and relieved for Louise as it would render her treatment so much more tolerable. Bravo for modern technology.  


Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Life Transitions Counsellor - Relationship/Grief/Stress/Spirituality Coach 
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation
Tel: 613.774.4389

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