February 24

With today behind me, I have a much better understanding of dad’s recent lapse in coordination and spirit. Robbie, dad, and I headed over to PAMF early this morning to have a checkup with radiation oncologist, Dr. Ray. Mom spoke with Dr. Ray yesterday about my dad’s concerning symptoms, so this was a checkup to get the steroid medication back in check. 

Dr. Ray is your typical doctor: balding, bifocal glasses, middle aged, and a refined bedside manner. He performed a physical on dad to determine his cognitive functioning. From there, we determined what the healthy balance for continuing the steroid. According to Dr. Ray, many patients continue on the steroid for up to six weeks post-treatment. We upped his dosage from 2mg / day to 8mg / day. This should help dad’s coordination, give him a bit of euphoria, as well as keep dad’s appetite as voracious as it has been since the surgery. Side note, dad is definitely not missing any meals. In fact, a surprising and entirely unprecedented belly has begun to emerge on his frame!!!! 

I stayed to speak with Dr. Ray privately while Robbie and dad went into radiation (only three treatments left!). Though it’s so difficult to pinpoint any explicit sense of what the future looks like, I’m trying to understand where dad falls in a doctor’s line of patients. I’d really like to know what the doctor sees when he looks at dad’s chart, because we’re all moving around blind here. Dr. Ray was as helpful as he could be, though I still struggle to understand. 

Robbie, dad, and I headed to breakfast once we finished up at the hospital. I’m studying for the GRE, so I’m carrying around a box of vocab flashcards. The three of us worked on the words together – no surprise that dad offered a definition for each of them without delay or question. A lifetime of crossword puzzles and reading will do that for you. 

It was that time again! Dad and I headed to the nail salon to get our monthly mani-pedi. I’m doing my best to draw the line between “taking care of” and “caring for”. Though I have cared for dad’s nails recently, I realize that it’s more enjoyable for both of us to get the nails taken care of. So we headed to Touch of Elegance where dad indulged in a long foot rub. We left happy. 

Dad spent the rest of the day snuggled up in his sleeping bag reading the history of the Ukraine. When I got back from a run, I found him in the middle of an atlas, a world map, and his computer researching different aspects of the Ukraine. He’s retaining the information he reads, and is reading a ton these days. I’m relieved he got those skills back post-op; they were heavily weakened initially after his surgery. 

Dad got a Rosen session from mom after she finished up work for the day. From there, the four of us sat together while dad had a late dinner. He was evidently wiped from the day, and blissed out from the Rosen, and he soon went to bed for the night. Robbie, mom, and I spent the rest of the evening discussing all the options for further treatments and upcoming decisions that need to be made. 

I’m exhausted, but had a full, fun day with dad. Though he was a bit manic (side effect from the steroid dose increase), he was highly engaged and available. My hope is that tomorrow brings more of the same. 

With thanks, 

Mikaela

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