Saturday, December 19, 2009
I've begun and erased this entry a thousands times. Every time I've started, it's snaked along different paths of memories and the glossing over of years. Which, in the big picture, seems like an injustice. Frustrating but it's also allowed me to focus about what I want to write.
Daddy has cancer. Stage 4 metastatic squamous cell carcinoma. I was devastated when he first told me that he had Cancer. After all, he'd kept it all to himself until his initial diagnosis. He'd been in the hospital with pneumonia in May and a lymph node on his collar bone swelled. His doctor waited until he was well to see if it would go back to normal. When it didn't, she took a biopsy.
Now his days are filled with finding the energy to fight this evil that has invaded his body, without his permission. And it's brought into focus exactly how he wants the rest of his life to go, however long that may be. He has sold his goats, his cattle and his used car business. He's put all of his financials in order and has shown my sister and I where all of his important papers are. There is a good chance he will beat this but I think in the initial stages of any terminal illness, one tends to overreact.
In the last few months my mind has gone over and held on to 46 years of memories with my dad. I vacillate between smiles and tears. Smiles because we always seem to hold on to the happy memories in crisis situations, and tears because it's not fair when circumstances dictate that you do so.
Daddy's thick hair is gone and just a few stragglers remain. We've always joked about his hair--he takes such good care of it, making sure it's styled just so and if it gets mussed, it's quickly fixed. He's having a hard time with this. He knows it's part of the treatment and that it will return when he's finished with his treatments, but that's no consolation right now.
It's a hard adjustment to see my dad change through this disease. I find myself transitioning from an adult child to a (part time) caregiver (and full time worrier), something I never thought would happen.
Another phase of life. We'll do this together. With my dog, Sandy, too