It’s been six months since my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. November 11, 2017. His 65th birthday. During an emergency surgery, a chunk of his intestine was removed and he was given an ostomy bag. He started chemotherapy in January 2018, and has completed eight treatments so far. He is supposed to have 12 treatments all together. This week he had to take a break though … the chemo is taking its toll. His hands are numb, he has no appetite, he is very tired, his hair is thinning, and he’s pale.
I looked at him today … I mean really looked at him, and my heart is breaking. My dad is sick, and not just a little sick. He’s sick enough that his oncologist has ordered 12 treatments when 9 is the norm. He’s sick enough that he can’t do the things he wants to do, like put gas in the tiller. He is sick enough that his dog lays at his feet, worried.
But today, my dad played Trouble with my four-year-old daughter, Madilyn, and he let her win. Today, my dad also played Candyland, and he let my daughter cheat (and win). Today, my dad took Madilyn for a ride on the side by side (with the dog, of course). Today, my dad teased Madilyn like he always does, and he was sharp and quick with his jokes and his tricks (she lit up watching him flip cookies and pretend to throw them across the room). Today, my dad made the baby smile, held her little finger, and talked to her … and it was all so beautiful, but it was also all so, so tough … another local fellow died last week of pancreatic cancer … they did EVERYTHING for him, including a trip to Germany for nano-knife surgery. Each time someone loses their life to cancer (or is diagnosed as terminal), one cannot help but grieve for that family’s loss while also considering our own potential loss in the years to come. Imagine how my dad feels each time he hears of someone dying from cancer … my heart breaks for him.
Upon his diagnosis, my dad was told WITH treatment he could expect to live five years. It’s longer than without, but it’s … not … long … enough. A blip really. My babies won’t be grown in five years! My babies are going to feel the pain and heartache associated with the imminent and incredible loss of their precious Papa (though right now, they seem oblivious … thank God) … how can I possibly coach them through that? How? Just how?