Arthur Irvine Rice 11/08/51 – 01/16/15
( This was composed on 02-08-15) I just was not sure if i should post it
or not, it was not done for sympathy, or to hurt anyone’s feelings.
I did this mainly so Arthur’s family and friends would Know what
The word cancer, can mean different things to different people. There are different types of cancer, and different types of treatment, some can be mild and some severe.
Cancer can affect people in many ways, from fear to terror, and beyond. some cancers can kill and some can maim or disfigure.
Cancer is a trying ordeal for both the patient, and the caregiver.
The reason I have not been posting to this blog more frequently than usual, is a very close friend suffered with cancer.
Arthur found out he had cancer in June of 2013, we went through the feelings that most people would have denial,acceptance,fear,terror.
We could not accept that it was cancer, Doctors are sometimes wrong, it must be something, anything! else, but no in the end it was confirmed through a biopsy.
Arthur was ready to survive his cancer, he never cried, or got down about what was to come, and was ready and eager to start his treatment.
Arthur was scared, but not deterred about what had to be done, by October 2013 we both knew about what treatment he would be receiving.
On October 7th 2013 Arthur had a Power port placed above his heart, so that the chemotherapy could more easily be done. The procedure was a simple outpatient affair and Arthur went through it fine.
Arthur’s Chemotherapy began on the 8th of October and continued for eight sessions of one day a week.
On the day of his treatment Arthur and me would go to the treatment place, and he would check in. then after a short amount of time, he would be taken back and have his port accessed which consisted of a worker placing a port needle in his port. A power port has three dots in a triangle, and the port connector is in the center. A small syringe with a tube attached and a clamp on the tube completed the setup they used heparin (you could always tell by the yellow stripe on the side of the small syringe) to flush the port and then we came back out to the waiting area. the power port was painless to access (only slightly sometimes) the room where the treatment took place was large with many areas (pods) which had a heated reclining chair for the patient and a comfortable chair for a second person (husband,wife,caregiver) also there was a television hanging from the ceiling (lcd) so it was quite cozy.
Arthur had two iv bags of chemo fluid which he needed to receive, (the names of which I can’t remember) one took an hour to go in, and the other took 45 minutes. they had snacks and even served lunch, I always felt embarrassed about eating anything because I thought it was mainly for the patients. ( it’s for anyone who comes with the patient as well) I wanted to make sure Arthur had everything he needed or wanted, and would do without things if he needed something, often I would pay for his medication, so he would have more money to buy things he liked. I bought him several stuffed animals (he liked lions and tigers) because I knew it would cheer him up.
Arthur had other problems besides cancer, he had COPD and had a heart condition. Arthur had two rounds of Chemotherapy and one round of Radiation, Arthur’s cancer was called “Carcinoma squamous of the oral cavity at the base of the tongue”.
The first round of Chemotherapy was fairly easy for Arthur, and after only three treatments he was showing marked improvements.
but the second round with the Radiation was worse, The Radiation treatment scarred the inside of his throat and caused thick mucus to form, Arthur was severely claustrophobic, and could not be in a room with the door closed. so he was given a tranquilizer injection before every treatment his treatments were 35 in all (monday thru friday) because of Arthur’s cancer location he had to have a feeding tube (g-tube) installed. he went through enormous pain afterwards for a week, when they put a g-tube in they have to fill your stomach with air so they can place the g-tube correctly.
That was the problem, Arthur could not get rid of the air. Arthur’s always had a problem with air in his stomach, or heartburn. But when he went for his first treatment of chemo, (second round) they gave him benadryl, and zofran the benadryl was because some people can be allergic to the chemo drugs and zofran for nausea.
Something did the trick, all of a sudden he belched so loud, that everyone in the room turned to look, he said the pain in my stomach is gone. I was glad, because I got little sleep for that week prior, because I was so worried about him I came downstairs, from my apartment and slept on the floor of his living room in case he needed me.
Arthur weighed 150 pounds when he started his second round of chemotherapy plus radiation, by the time he finished the treatment he weighed 103 pounds. he never dropped below 98 pounds and never got above 106, they said his cancer was in remission and that his pt scan was clear. but he developed other problems, for one he could never take more than 4 cans of jevity 1.5 in a 24 hour period, even though they wanted him to take 5 cans. but the 4 cans worked well and I tried adding anything I could think of that he could swallow (or through the tube) to put on the calories.
But his weight stayed the same.(moving a little up or down) Arthur’s treatment ended the end of April 2014 but he was in and out of the hospital (ER or admitted ) most of 2014 with a host of problems from diabetes to high blood pressure to afib and others, mostly to do with anxiety and copd (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) I went with him every time and even pushed him several times in his wheelchair to the ER (during summer or good weather) hoping that the fresh air might negate a need to go to the ER (sometimes it worked, most times not) after a while I noticed problems of my own.
I was born with asthma and now it’s turned into copd, I was born with my left leg shorter (1.3/4“) than my right leg and I have constant pain in my back and left leg (the right leg is as strong as a ox) but over the years (47) I have learned to deal with it, and some days are better than others.
Arthur’s anxiety got much more severe, and I had to stop going out altogether, as long as i was in his apartment, he was relatively calm. I did everything from the internet rather than go to the store to get what was needed.
I did everything for Arthur, helping him get dressed or cleaning up and helping him feed himself.
But I started getting pains around my heart and under my shoulder blades, and having numbness in my hands and feet, I never told Arthur about it, to keep him from worrying. (which he did’nt need to do)
Around December 2014 our city had a flu epidemic, everyone was sick. and Arthur was diagnosed with double pneumonia they kept him for two days and gave iv antibotics. and I paid for his take home prescriptions.
January 11 2015 I went to the ER with Arthur (breathing troubles) and checked myself in. They said I had pneumonia, (not serious) and I got worried that I might not be able to care for Arthur much longer.
We, me and Arthur came up with the solution, that he could stay for a short time in a nursing home near where we live (within walking distance) everything was setup two days ago.
But it was not to be.
Arthur was in the Hospital the 13th – 15th for breathing problems, they transfered him to the nursing home. I called both places to see if everything was o.k. and was told yes.
When I went on the 16th to visit Arthur and take him some clothes, I was informed that he had passed away, just minutes before I arrived.
I always told Arthur “ I’ll take care of you for as long as you need me to I won’t abandon you and I’ll be here if you need me.
But it wasn’t enough.
Arthur was my close friend for 23 years I will miss him forever.