Even typing this, I'm crying -- which is why I can't actually voice it. So to my friends who are reading and hearing about this for the first time, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I can't say it in person. I wanted to, but it's too hard. I hope you understand why. (I hate crying in front of people, or even my own family.)
My dad has cancer.
There I said it. Still doesn't make it easier. We just got through my maternal grandfather dying from it on March 14, 2016. And then my maternal grandmother passed on February 4, 2017. In between that I lost two friends, one on November 20th (to cancer) and another on Dec 29th. I'm really tried of Death hanging around. Seriously, it needs to chill out and take a vacation --- far away, like Antarctica or something. In the fall, we dealt with what appeared to be some serious health complications with my 10 year old son -- which THANKFULLY on November 16, turned out to be inaccurate, and my son will NOT need new lungs anytime soon.
I figured that was the end of our medical woes and bad news for 2017. We were on the home stretch and a fresh, new year was on the horizon.
Wednesday November 29th my world was rocked once again.
My dad is a colourful character, and anyone who's ever met him, will remember him. Even if they've only met him once. He just has a way with people, good, bad and interesting (he has NO issues telling you what's on his mind, and giving you his opinion. In a way, it's refreshing, and irritating. LOL). Call it charisma, call it charm, call it whatever you want. He's okay with that.
Many people say I am just like my father as far as looks, mannerisms and personality, although I tend to err on the side of diplomacy. But there's no mistaking who my father is. None. My dad and I are pretty close, at least I think so.
He started having some pretty bad pains on Tuesday November 21 -- two days after he renewed wedding vows with Mom -- and spent a few hours in emergency, several times over the course of a week. He met with his personal doctor a couple of time. I'll spare you the details but he went from a robust 60+ year old man to being unable to walk because of the pain in the span of a few days. His life went downhill fast.
I thank GOD everyday that he has a kind and caring doctor, who fast tracked him as the whole thing was out of the ordinary for my dad. Tuesday November 28th my parents spent the night in emerg (again) and dad had more tests done. He wasn't supposed to but he saw the results ahead of the doctor he was meeting on November 29th.
My parents phoned and asked to meet me at the McD's near my house. My heart stopped. This wasn't going to be good news, I just knew it, and I figured they wanted to meet me there rather than at my house because I'd cause less of a commotion (as diplomatic as I can be, I'm also highly emotional).
I sat down, and my parents, who usually sit side by side, changed seats. Dad sat beside me, Mom across from me. I could barely hear from the race of my blood as it pounded through my veins. I see my parents every week. I saw Dad on Sunday. Four days later he looked like he'd aged a decade. His eyes were tired, he could barely move. And he dropped the news.
"My kidney is full of little tumors, and one very big one. That one is full of cancer."
I offered my kidney, after all, since we're so similar, I'm sure we'd be a perfect match. But he won't need it -- for now, so I'm saving it and making it the best kidney, just in case he does.
I'm thankful for a system that got him in, with the ultrasounds and CT scans and bloodwork and catheters and genuine care he's felt over the past 8 weeks.
Friday he goes in for surgery to remove the bad kidney.
Friday, I will be sitting/pacing/praying at the hospital with my mom and brother, and we will wait (and pray) and worry. One of my dad's so-called friends told him he'll die on the table (WTF? Who says that???) But he has to have more time on Earth as he's not finished yet. Plus, I'm selfish. I'm not ready to lose him.
I'm scared. I'm terrified and I don't know what to do.
Death needs to be nowhere near the hospital. My kids still need their Papa, and my mom needs her liver (a nickname). Cancer is a bitch, and I'm mad that it's touched someone so close to me. It's always been an arm's length away, as I know several who have had it, or been affected by it. But it's never been this close.
So if you know of any ideas on what I can do, to either help Mom through this, to help Dad post-surgery, lay them on me. I'm completely open. I want a care package for them both but I have no idea what to include??
The hardest day will be Friday for Mom, the night before for Dad.
Thank you for reading, and if you can, say a prayer for my parents. They're going to need it, even if they don't believe.
Dad's kidney was removed Friday Jan 19. It was a long morning as Mom, Brother and I waited in the waiting. It was a relief to have the nurse tell us he was in recovery, and even better when we got to see him. The road to recovery is going to be a rough one, if the past three days are any indication, but the doctor confirmed what we hoped:
There was no metastasis beyond the kidney and the lymph nodes looked clear. :) Yeah. He is cancer free, and alive. The best news of all.