Saturday, June 26, 2010

Life Update

I know it's been a long time since I posted. The last several months, life has become complicated. Family comes first before all else, even writing. Last November (same time I broke my wrist and had surgery) my dad was diagnosed with non-Hadgkin's Lymphoma stage 4. I won't bore you with details, but here's a basic rundown.

In March my dad started having problems with his chemotherapy and went into the hospital for several days due to bleeding. He got out but had to go right back in a week later. April was the same, and then he stayed with my sister after he got out (sort of like a mini vacation from his, ahem, "wife" - don't go there, trust me). Early May dad went back in the hospital for the same problem but for a longer time. The doctors determined dad needed rehab to help him regain the strength he'd lost and help him recover. On Memorial Day he went into a good facility. Nine days later he started having trouble again.

A brief visit to his doctor put dad back into the hospital for testing. This revealed an ugly truth we were unprepared for: dad had two new massive tumors that has started and grown to the size of grapefruits over three weeks. These were inoperable and unresponsive to all treatment.

On June 11, dad went into Hospice care. My sister and I are sharing as much of the basic comforts as possible (translation = we happily do lots of "go-for"s) and being his "cheery" squad. We tell him stories about our kids (his grandkids) and remind him of all the good things that happened when we were growing up. Family and friends have driven and flown in from all over the USA to see dad. I gladly spend a lot of road time five days a week to get to the hospital over an hour away.

My dad is an amazing individual. He's got his quirks and faults, and he's made his share of mistakes. He's human. He also learned and grew into a better person.

He's survived car accidents, a plane crash, multiple surgeries, started several thriving businesses, went back to school after marriage and kids and got two degrees, built several houses, rebuilt several cars, and has lived all over the world. He use to sing little songs like "Dirty Bill" and "Alice" instead of reading regular bedtime stories. He's also a US Army Veteran, a tenor, gourmet chef, an avid reader, and a writer. He's lived joyfully, loved with all his heart, and laughed a lot. He also raised my sister and I.

I always had the feeling my dad could do anything he wanted. That's how he raised us too. But he's not going to be around much longer. I love my dad, and I'll stay with him as long a I can.