Cholangiocarcinoma. One word. That’s it.
That one word is all it takes to change the shape of a family, to leave holes, to open wounds. It’s been just over two months since my grandfather had to have his gallbladder removed, a routine procedure that missed a huge underlying issue. It’s been just under a month since the doctor considered removing a section of his liver, went in to do the surgery, and realized that it’s simply not going to be effective.
In the past month, I have spent maybe two weeks at home, near internet access. I haven’t been blogging, mostly because of the lack of internet access and because of the major things happening.
Many of my days have been spent visiting my grandfather. A few other days were spent with my grandmother, as she is also facing illnesses.
But nothing really could prepare me to hear that someone who is beloved to me, is dying. It’s not something you can ever really… grasp.
Cholangiocarcinoma sounds pretty intimidating just as a word itself, but when you unpack that word and realize that it represents a rare bile duct cancer, one with a very poor survival rate, you being to recognize why that one little word has impacted our family so intensely.
There are only 1-2 cases of the illness per every 100,000 people in the Western world. Abdominal pain, abnormal itching, jaundice, weight loss, fever… those all begin to define the life of someone with cholangiocarcinoma. For the cases like my grandfather’s, where surgery can’t be performed, the 5-year survival rate is literally… zero. The six-month survival rate? Very small.
It’s a difficult prognosis, absolutely. It’s hard to hear about, hard to deal with… As in shock, sadness, frustration as I am in, I can’t even fully empathise with what my grandfather must be feeling.
If you haven’t seen me around the blogosphere in awhile, this is why. I know I have a list of things I want to blog about a mile long, and I promise those articles are coming soon… but right now, I’m spending some much-needed time with my family.
Love and hugs,