Friday, February 22, 2013

The Blog Post I've Been Avoiding for Over a Week.

My mom called me last Tuesday.  I love my mom dearly, but we rarely talk on the phone, so usually when she calls it's not good news.  (Sorry mom.)  So when I saw Mom on my caller ID as I was waiting with Brian for our food at Subway, my heart sank.

Dad has cancer.

I knew that he hadn't been doing well, that he's been losing quite a bit of weight and is having a lot of difficulty eating.  He'd been popping Prilosec like it's candy and it wasn't doing any good.  He'd been pretty much living off of milkshakes, Ensure, and soup.  But it's still extremely painful for him to eat, so he went to the doctor.

Mom had gone up to WA to visit him, and he gave her the news the day after she got there.  He has esophogeal cancer, and at the time the doctor was thinking it was stage II or III.  Dad was set to have a PET scan later on in the week to find out for sure. In the meantime, appointments galore to get things moving.

Because he's lost so much weight and can't eat, he's having a J-tube put in today, as well as a port for chemo.  He'll be in the hospital for 2 or 3 days.  Soon he'll be starting six weeks of chemo and radiation.  They got the results for the PET scan back this morning as well, and the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the local area of the tumor.  There's also a mass in his abdomen that COULD be scar tissue, but will be biopsied today while they're putting in his tube.

Initally the plan was get the tube in and gain some weight, do the chemo and radiation, and decide after that if there will be surgery to remove the tumor from his esophagus.  Now, if the mass in his abdomen comes back as cancerous, there will be no surgery.

I don't have a lot of other factual information right now.  I'd been waiting to call my mom to find out more until after they got the PET scan results back.  I had texted her this morning to find out what time his appoiment was and learned he was getting his tube & port today.  I'll talk with her later on today, after Dad comes out of surgery.

So...emotionally, I'm not dealing with this so well.  I do research about esophogeal cancer, tube feeding, getting on Medicare early...but I don't allow myself to connect it to my dad.  And then I have those "Oh shit" moments.  Stupid stuff like, "OMG, he's going to lose all of his hair from chemo.  Dad has such awesome hair!"  I had told my friend April about my dad, and she shared with me what her MIL had to go through when she had cancer.  April was with her for all six weeks of treatment.  I think hearing April spell it all out was when it all became real to me.  This isn't just happening to somebody I know, this is happening to my dad.  And even though we're not close, he's still my dad.  He's the guy that came and rubbed my back and gave me cough syrup when I was up hacking all night.  He's the guy that brought me pickles as BIG AS MY ARM when he worked at Nalley's.  He's the guy that sent me a congratulations card when I was pregnant with Bethany, when I felt like everybody else had abandoned me.  He's the guy that reached back and held my hand when I broke down on the way to the airport to pick up Brian after my brother died.

Fuck.  I hate you cancer. 

This is my dad, and how I'll always see him in my head & heart. 

I love you dad.  You old goat.