When someone you love is dying, they tell you to say everything you want to say to that person. Get it all out, don’t leave anything behind.
I struggled with this thought over the past weeks. I felt as though, luckily enough, I had said everything to my dad, while he was alive, that I ever wanted or needed to. He knew how much I loved him, admired him, cherished his love and his time, his tender heart and his wickedly funny sense of humor and irreverence.
But yet, I sat wondering if there was something else I should say. Was I missing something?
The past two weeks have been hard.
Watching my dad’s condition deteriorate and seeing him struggle with the pain while we cared for him at home, was more than I could bear. I have no words to express the torment I felt. I could do nothing. I could do nothing but be there and hold his hand and as tears fell down my cheeks, he apologized to me.
I of course kept talking, that’s what I do. I would tell him stories, read him prayers, let him know of the mundane stuff that was happening in our life.
It wasn’t until I realized the end was drawing near and even though I had told him everything I loved about him, I still hadn’t said goodbye. I hadn’t told him to go. Go and be free from pain.
Why the hell would I tell him THAT? I didn’t want that. How was I going to tell him that? He CAN’T leave yet!
And one night, when the pain was great, I told him that he should go. With sobs and tears and my body draped over the man that took my little hand in his as a child, it was time…time for me to tell him to let go.Filed under cancer, Dad | Comment (1)
My sister-in-law Shannon found out last week that she has breast cancer.
She is amazing with her quiet resolve and fortitude to persevere.
In light of everything that is going on, she and my brother are facing this hurdle with great grace and style.
Here was the email I received today:
As some of you know, Shannon is going in for Breast Cancer surgery on Friday.
So to kick things off right, let’s get together at the Leaning Tower of Pizza in Uptown on Thursday night.
Happy Hour kicks off at 4 until 6pm.
We will be having fun and merriment.
Some of the things that could happen are…
*Guess Shannon’s new cup size!
*Pin the new nipple on Shannon!
*See if Shannon will show us her soon to be eliminate left lady!
*And many other fun and exciting things to be figured out on the fly!
We would love to see each and everyone of you.
If I missed anyone, please forward this msg.
Thank you for your thoughts in advance.
p.s. if I freaked anyone out with the levity of the email, Get over it. :-}
If you can make it out on Thursday night, do.
Come and raise a toast to Shannon!Filed under cancer, Family | Comment (1)
Last night was my second night “on duty” with my dad and there was very little sleep found in the living room between either of us.
As the night wore on and the movies were changed and we took bathroom breaks and walks around the livingroom, the clock ticked by so slowly that the seconds were defening.
I didn’t realize until this morning, that my dad was scared to go to sleep for fear of not waking up.
Oh the crushing thought. It has plagued me all day, bringing tears to my eyes and sorrow to my very core.
Can you even imagine your body breaking down around you and your mind not ready to give up the fight? You DON’T want to die, leave your family, friends and everything else including the memories of your life that you hold so dear, but your body is making it happen regardless of what your mind is saying.
YOU have no choice but to travel the path, like it or not.
That is where the fear sets in. The fear that you will lose what earthly things you know, have and love.
I just can’t wrap my head around it. So I cry and wish I could do something, anything.
But I can only sit and hold his hand and hope that helps the fear, just a little.Filed under cancer, Dad | Comment (1)
I like to think of myself as the master plate spinner, keeping them all going in a whirl over my head. A delicate dance that not many can do well.
And last night, when KP walked into the kitchen and BARFED all over the kitchen floor, they all came crashing down.
That was my limit. I instantaneously felt the tidal wave crash over me, knowing my night would be a long one filled with back rubs, little sleep, vomit clean up and butt wiping.
Along with trying to keep my house healthy, are thoughts around my dad coming home from the hospital tomorrow. My brother and I will be taking shifts sleeping over and visiting during the day while my mom will bare the brunt of the load. Life will change for me, my kids, Adam. Everything needs to shuffle, everyone needs to help.
As much as I want to spin this plate and make it look easy, it just isn’t. This plate has a life of it’s own and I can’t keep it from falling, but I’m sure going to try to hold it up for just a touch longer.Filed under cancer, Dad, Family | Comment (0)
I just wanted to give everyone an update on my dad’s health status. As some of you know, he went into Methodist hospital on Monday night. He was confused, had a fever and was unable to walk by himself safely.
The fever that was present in the ER was an indication that there was some sort of infection and the doctors have been trying to find the source since Monday. Today they were able to do an MRI and the doctors came in to tell us that his cancer has spread to his skull, the dura mater around his brain and that the cancer already in his liver has grown a great deal.
That said, it looks as though the only option left is hospice. Any options of chemo that we thought were plausible went out the window with this new information. His prognosis at this point in time is one to three months.cancer, current events, Dad | Comment (0)
My friend Jen tells me that I compartmentalize things.
I tell her I know, but that’s how I make it work.
She then tells me it’s ok to “feel” whatever it is I’m feeling and that I can be sad and sit in my sadness if I need to.
I don’t like to sit there often or for a very long time and I usually don’t go there all by myself.
Yes, I do compartmentalize, but sometimes those compartments open and it all spills out.
Which happened today.
Maybe it was the news of the passing of my old bosses husband or the sound of my dad’s tired voice on the other end of the phone or the In Memory of Jim band around a tree I saw when I was taking pictures at the lake or maybe it was the wonderful article my friend Ellen sent that her father wrote about one of his cancer patients or possibly is was the sweet card I got from my friend Megan, telling me she was thinking of me.
Maybe it was all of it washing over me, all in one day, all too much to take.
So I sobbed.
Wishing I could take the pain away for my dad or my mom for that matter. Wishing I could change the future. Wishing we could walk down a different path. Wishing I had control, some kind of control over this, just one ounce of control…but I don’t.
So I sobbed even harder.
Then I gathered up all the emotions that spilled out, put them in their box and shelved them for later.Filed under cancer, Dad | Comments (4)
Last week we got the news that my dad’s cancer has spread to his liver.
It was the first time, in the past 2 1/2 years, that I “lost it” in the room with the doctor and my parents as she shared her fine news. As I continued on with my award winner performance, the doctor said in her oh so very cold oncologist trying to be warm and trying to help kinda way said, “At least he’ll make it through the Holidays.”
WHAT? AT LEAST WHAT??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME…WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY? The voice in my head was screaming. As I calmed that voice, I found my voice saying, “He better fucking make it to Easter!”
Yeah, the F-bomb and crying and new metastasized cancer all in one visit. That was something.
So with the kids off of school for a week, I decided to throw out the idea of a road trip to my parents at Sunday dinner.
And tonight, after a 10 hour car ride filled with movies, candy and 326 Johnny Cash songs, I find myself sitting in a pitch black hotel room in the middle of Indiana, listening to my three kids snoring away and my parents sleeping across the hall. We are on our way to Cincinnati to visit my dad’s sisters, my cousins and my dad’s old friends.
Oh the stories we will bring home.Filed under cancer, Dad, Family | Comments (3)
First of all, thank you for all your kind words of support!
Secondly, have you been to The Mayo Clinic? Holy buckets. It is a city in itself that is impeccably maintained, staffed and is visually stunning. Not to mention its sheer size and the amazing art work that hangs from its walls. It is something to behold.
Behind all of that, the patient care that we received while we were there was extremely thorough.
The doctor felt the main item of business was to see if my dad’s hip and leg pain was due to compromised bone structure (due to the cancer) or fractures. If the bones were 50% compromised then he would need pins put in. Needless to say, he did not like this idea but since those bones hold up your body, what can you say?
Turns out that his bones are good enough to move forward with his planned radiation, which will start this week (here) and hopefully ease some of the pain he is dealing with.
We also found out that there will be a Clinic Trial he could be involved in after his radiation is complete. Since he has used all the drugs that doctors typically use for matastesized prostate cancer, this is the next best step.
If he doesn’t choose to do the trial, the doctors gave us another chemotherapy drug he could try.
So all said, I am glad we went. We came away feeling that his doctors here are doing the best job they can and that there are a few options left to keep the cancer at bay.
I’ll keep you posted.Filed under cancer, Dad | Comments (2)
This cancer thing my dad has, doesn’t seem to be getting the picture that we don’t want it around anymore. That said, my mom, dad and I are heading down to the Mayo Clinic to get a second opinion or better options or different options or another option or something that might stick.
Seeing that my dad is on his Chemo Holiday, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to just see what else was out there, so we are.
The kicker came last weekend for he and my mom as they fought off mind blowing pain and sleepless nights. So with a visit to the doctor earlier in the week, new and/or increased pain meds and radiation, he is on a better playing field. Or, at least we can make the trip down to Rochester without him losing his mind.
Birthday trip to Stillwater
Here’s to hoping our Mayo Vacation (that’s what we’ve decided to call it) will be fruitful. If nothing else, it will give us peace of mind that the very competent Dr. that is in charge now, is doing all that is humanly possible to ward off what she can of this intruder into our lives.
I’ll be back, sometime.Filed under cancer, current events, Dad | Comments (6)