My dad has cancer.
My dad is dying of cancer.
I have accepted the former, but I think I have to figure out how to accept the latter.
I was completely unprepared for the roller coaster that I’ve been on since last summer when my dad was first diagnosed.
He started with stage 4 lymphoma.
Then they wondered if it had metastasized to his brain (which meant he could get no treatment, and 4-6 months to live).
Then they said no, and he could get on chemo. Two months of chemo, and they find the chemo is not working, and cancer got crazy in his body.
Then he gets on second chemo, all last fall.
I went home for Christmas, and my Christmas present was a PET scan that showed 90% of cancer was GONE!! they thought two more rounds of chemo would take care of rest of it. Two more months of chemo, and last week, another PET scan.
Unfortunately, between Jan scan and last week, chemo had stopped working, and cancer had started aggressively growing back. Enter possibility of clinical trial, with good chance of remission. Then Friday they find that if growth is leukemia (vs. lymphoma) then he isn’t qualified for trial.
Every time we get bad news, I crash, and I wonder if I should move home. I’ve told my dad that he should tell me if he wants me to move home, because I will, but then I wonder if he’d ever actually tell me, because he knows I love NYC.
The good thing is (if there’s any good to come from this) is that my dad is at peace with whatever happens. He’ll keep fighting as long as there are options, but over Christmas he told me, “I’ve had a good life,” and “You have to play whatever cards you’re dealt.” So, I’ happy for that. But I
UPDATE JUNE 2014
Since I started writing this post last year, my dad died of cancer. August 5, 2013. I wasn’t planning on a trip home until after my contract had finished in September, but in June 2013 I had a bad feeling, so I flew home and spent three weeks with him. He was not doing well. He had terrible “tumor fevers” that we were worried would melt his brain. After three weeks I flew back to NYC, and was home for a week when I happened to call him to tell him a joke. He was in the hospital. “what are you doing there?”
“I’m dying, Charlene.”
His poor body just couldn’t take it. Couldn’t take more cancer, couldn’t take more chemo. He was in hospice. I flew home immediately. He was conscious for a day after I arrived, then slipped into what the hospice nurses called “between worlds” where he wasn’t conscious but he wasn’t gone. A day later, he was gone. It was a year ago that I had just arrived home, and saw what bad shape he was in. I miss him terribly.