February 19th, 1973: Good news. The tumor is about the size of an English walnut. Not the size of a fist, which they had figured it to be. Dad is all done at the hospital now, and will go to Quincy for his liver scan. Things look a lot better anyway, as small as the tumor is (we still don't know if it is malignant). They might be able to burn it off with cobalt. Maybe there is a God.
February 19th, 2013: It must have been a one night stay at the hospital for dad. They were able to establish the size of the tumor, probably by x-ray. Thinking back, I would believe they must have already known this, based on the fact that it was surely x-rays that showed spots on his lung and liver in the first place. Dad, out of breath, not feeling well, goes to the doctor. Initial x-rays are performed, confirming something is wrong...
The liver scan would be done in Quincy, at Blessing Hospital, for whatever reason. Better technology, or Illini Hospital just didn't have the means to perform something like that in those days.
Hope was hanging on by a thread. Four days earlier, on the 15th, Dr. Bunting had said, "It looks malignant." Not, "It is malignant."
Typing this now, and trying not to look too far ahead in my original writings. But I had too. It appears there was a lot of testing going on, but none of it conclusive in findings. I'm not interested in turning this story into a medical journal. In looking ahead a few days, I don't know if there ever was a day when dad was told, "you're going to die." The process just kept moving forward. Tests, treatment. Treatment, rest. More treatment. Time at home. Time in the hospital.
I'm not even sure of the clinical name for the type of cancer dad had. I was told it was "oat cell." I know that is small cell cancer, and is typically more aggressive. Carcinoma. It's highly malignant, and people who contract it are pretty much getting a death sentence. Would he still be alive if he didn't smoke a couple of packs of Salems a day? Who knows? I will not get on a soapbox. But I can not see anything, not one thing, appealing or beneficial about cigarettes.
Mom was just as bad, or worse. But she beat the odds. Years later, on trips back home to visit mom, she'd moved into a small apartment. The walls were yellow. The t.v. screen had a yellow film on it. I'd leave to come home and my duffel bag, my clothes, my hair, absolutely reeked. If that stuff can turn the walls yellow, imagine what it's doing to your lungs.
I try not to judge. We all have vices and faults. Cigarettes are a bad one, though.