As David and I are sitting in room 4224 at KU Medical Center, we are discussing the long and winding road that has been our journey in the battle against advanced prostate cancer. The last 12 months have undoubtedly been the steepest, most challenging terrain that we have endured.
David has been in the hospital since Thursday, September 20th. Liquid that was accumulating around his left lung was causing severe respiratory distress. He had over a liter of fluid drained, and in 4 days, had to have yet another liter removed. Anticipating this could be an on-going issue, we had a catheter placed below his left breast that allows us to drain the fluid as needed. After numerous tests, scans, xrays, etc. we were told that cancerous tumors have spread throughout his chest. These tumors are a main cause of the edema that he has been battling for months. The tumors are putting pressure on organs and his lymphatic system, which explains the fluid retention. Due to the strenuous testing schedule David has followed this past week, he has been reduced to ice chips. A swallow study revealed that due a combination of the advancement of the cancer and the physical weakness of his body from not being able to eat this past week, he is at risk for aspirating or developing pnemonia, if he swallows and the food/drink trails down his air pipe into his lungs. We have been trying to do tongue and throat exercises to strenghten the muscles, hoping that he will begin to start eating thickened liquids and soft solids. We stopped the MDV3100 regimen and were considering a chemo treatment. After careful consideration, we decided that the risks of the treatment would far outweigh any potential benefit.
We are prepared to make a transition to a new level of care at the Kansas City Hospice House. For reference follow this link to see the site, which contains a virtual tour as well, www.kansascityhospice.org. The Hospice House is a wonderful facility that was designed to provide patients and their families comfort and medical attention once they decide not to pursue further treatment for their disease. While this was a decision we did not want to have to make, we are comfortable that it is the right choice for our family. We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support that we have received over these very difficult days and ask for your continued prayers that David may continue to be comfortable and that we may spend many more days together.