Overview of Dad’s health and plan

Kenny has been quiet about how he’s doing because he feels like crap and doesn’t want to bother anyone. He also does not want me “spreading morbid rumors,” which is a direct quote. I am going to share what I know because I keep getting many many many messages and feel guilty that I can’t respond to them individually (i can’t even get it together to go to the grocery, much less get my inbox to zero). I’ll stick to the facts without flourish or drama (I PROMISE, DAD, if you’re reading this). He has a recurrence of the Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the sinus. SCC are technically a skin cancer, but his SCC had nothing to do with sun exposure. Sinus cancers are rare — only about 2000 cases a year — and are caused by environmental exposure to hazardous chemicals. Dad spent many years as a chemist and working with hazardous waste disposal (which i used to think meant “mafia,” but apparently it literally means hazardous waste disposal), so he certainly had exposure to a variety of dangerous chemicals. He tried immunotherapy in February, March, April, but the tumor did not respond. It has grown tremendously and looks incredibly painful. He says it doesn’t hurt much. I believe he is being stoic (sorry, sorry, I said I would stick to facts and not get flowery). His team of doctors at University Hospital (Brown Cancer Center) believe that the tumor is still resectable, though it is a long surgery. Surgery is scheduled for June 5, but he will need to go into the hospital on Monday, June 3, for some pre-op procedures. During the surgery, they will remove his right eye and part of the skull/brain to wherever the tumor has invaded because, of course, the goal is clear margins. It’s a 15-18 hour surgery that involves the ENT surgeon and a brain surgeon. He has not been eating much, though he would disagree with me there. I’ve only seen him have a few bites a day. We’ve been doing our best to encourage food without being pushy or making him uncomfortable or annoyed. The surgery, though it is risky and has a long recovery, is his only option for potential cure. Otherwise at the rate of growth of the tumor, doctors say they would expect 2-3 months at most. They also say that because the tumor is likely very painful, the surgery would give him better quality of life and ease the pain. I think Dad doesn’t feel like he has much choice in this, as it’s either “try surgery for a cure” or “this will kill you in 2 months.” PLEASE do not inundate Dad with messages. He doesn’t want the attention. If you want to visit with him, send me a message and i’ll try to arrange it — it’s best if it’s a casual thing, like, “hey, I was going to the pool anyway and thought I’d pop in.” He sleeps most of the day, so timing visits is tricky. *** There is a MealTrain Calendar here: https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/m8q29l

People keep asking what they can do to help. If you’re at the grocery store, pick up some extra fruit for my kids and drop it off at the Talbott house, maybe? We don’t know. But the few times that dear friends have dropped by with dinner have been wonderful. Brigid is stretched thin caregiving for the kids, her career, and her dad, managing everyone’s schedules, arranging childcare (we have an au pair, but that functions more as regular daycare, not as an extra family member — she’s not around on weekends or during off-hours) and David is stretched thin taking care of Brigid and also traveling 4 days a week and spending any off-time trying to fix up Dad’s house to make it inhabitable for the us and the boys. All that to say — bringing dinner so Brigid doesn’t have to meal plan or grocery shop is extremely helpful. We are putting a few available dates on the calendar. Please don’t feel any pressure to do this, but so many people have been asking if they can help that we thought we’d throw up some ideas.

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