Regular user

Not really about me, but about my Dad. I am the only surviving child of my widowed 91-year-old father. Following a minor operation to stretch an anal stricture he had a colonoscopy as he had been bleeding quite a lot for some time. (I only found out about the bleeding fairly late on, unfortunately, and asked why he hadn't been to the doctor about it. What is it about men and doctors?). The colonoscopy showed signs of a tumour about 8in from his anus so they took a biopsy which confirmed it but they thought it was contained or possibly just touching one or two lymph nodes. He then had an MRI scan and CT scan of his chest (standard procedure, I understand) in his home town in December 2021. His chest was clear at that point. The position of the tumour meant that he wasn't a suitable candidate for radiotherapy and, as they don't do colorectal surgery at his home hospital, we were able to get him referred to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital near where my husband and I live. Unfortunately this meant repeat pre-surgery consultations but he eventually had a Hartmann's procedure in early March 2022. In hindsight, I wish he'd had his anus removed, too, because the anal stretch he'd had earlier meant he now has no control of his anus and he's plagued with anal mucus plopping out. He now wears maternity pads (the best option we found for his after trying several other types) to mop it up.

The colorectal surgery was successful but he developed a bad infection around the stoma whilst still in hospital. He went for an emergency CT scan to check it out and they then discovered that the cancer had spread to his liver, lymph nodes and blood in the short time since his December scan. Being otherwise fit for his age, he was offered palliative chemotherapy (FOLFIRI) which starts on 1st June 2022 at fortnightly intervals for six months with a review after three. So, from the expected few weeks' stay with us before going home 70 miles away he is now living with us permanently. In the meantime, he is getting steadily more wobbly and 'walking the furniture' at home and has had two falls, fortunately nothing damaged except a washing up bowl that he landed on in the ensuite. We've now removed the ensuite door and replaced it with a curtain. His memory - particularly, but not exclusively, his short-term memory - is also getting worse.

Somehow, on the non-vulnerable days between the fornightly cycles when the district nurse isn't visiting, we need to get back to his house to sort out a lifetime's collection of 'stuff' before putting it on the market.