Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Next Few Weeks

I honestly believe writing to be one of the most therapeutic of mechanisms used for coping with all of the curve balls life tends to throw at a person.  In the past I've used it as a tool for dealing with everything from a broken heart, a sorely ended friendship, mother/daughter angst, and the usual injustices of life.  In all, my life was pretty average.  The only issues I ever had to deal with were superficial and pretty easy to handle with a little time and my keyboard or a pen and paper.  In fact, I've always considered myself fortunate enough to never have had anything incredibly tragic in my life of which I've had to cope with in one way or another. That all changed in the last few days.

I've always been much, much closer to my dad than my mom--a fact of which has annoyed her.  It's not because I favored my dad over my mom, but because my dad has always stood by me.  When my mom and others in my life turned their backs on me, my dad was there. He never judged me nor did he chide me for making stupid mistakes.  Instead, I lived my life and when I failed, he was there to pick me back up and help me fix what I'd royally screwed up without so much as a complaint.  In my head, I always knew that if something--anything--happened in my life, my dad was there to get my back. 

As he (and I) grew older, his mortality became present in the back of my mind.  Even though he never (up until just under a week ago) stopped working 50-60 hour work weeks, there was a definite weakness in him that wasn't there before.  For two months, he'd been experiencing intense pain in his abdomen.  After a litany of tests were conducted, doctors found an abnormal amount of fluid around his stomach.  More tests were ordered and all the terrifying diagnoses were ruled out from those tests...or so we thought.  As it turns out, even though a certain test sounds promising and final in its determination, it really isn't. 

My dad's worsening condition prompted immediate exploratory surgery.  As a result, instead of harmless gallstones and an unexplained accumulation of abdominal fluid (which can happen), my family has been informed that my dad has terminal cancer and has only weeks (3 to 4, to be exact) to live.  I don't think I have to say how horrifically shocked we all are.  After delivering the devastating diagnosis and saying he was sorry, Dr. Doom immediately put the kabosh on any hope of chemotherapy being of any actual help to my dad and told us that we will just have to do our best to make him comfortable at home.  Thus, these past few days have been the worst days of my and my family's lives.

However, through all of this, there has been one ray of hope in that we've encountered one doctor who believes chemotherapy may actually be of some benefit.  It won't cure my dad, but it may add months (possibly up to a year) to his life.  This hasn't been confirmed by an oncologist as of yet and we're all on pins and needles awaiting the doctor's assessment.  All of us that is, except my dad.  Instead of lying in bed comatose (as I would be), he's been joking with the nurses and taking it all in stride.  Inside, I suspect it's a different story, but the way he's been handling everything exhibits nothing less than the strength he's personified throughout his entire life.  Truly, my dad is my hero.

I've left the hospital for now, but anticipate spending many days there (if we are fortunate enough to have chemotherapy even be an option) and am turning to the one thing that has managed to heal all the superficial problems of my past.  My posts for the next few weeks are going to be sparse, but I will continue writing to maintain my sanity. 

Not to be construed as a public service announcement:  For those of you who are holding grudges or are just plain peeved at your parents, siblings, friends, dogs, or whoever may be irking you, it isn't worth it.  Just a week ago I though I had years left with my dad, now I've been told that I only have weeks.  Assess why you're mad at that person or why you no longer speak to them and ask yourself how you'll feel if they pass before you've had a chance to make amends. Chances are, it's more petty than you think it is.


Sarah Pearson said...

Sara, I'm so so sorry to hear this. I know there is nothing I can say that will make this any easier at all, but know that your family are in my thoughts.

Melanie_McCullough said...

Sara, I'm so sorry. I lost my dad a little over a year & 1/2 ago. It's not an easy thing. My prayers are with you. Enjoy him while you can. We're here if you need us.

Rob "Sharky" Pruneda said...

My heart aches for you and your family, Sara. I'm so sorry to hear about this. Know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

God bless and stay strong.

Lake said...

Hey - Thank you for sharing this. Know that I'll be thinking about you and that you're never alone. Peace, LL