Sunday, March 26, 2006

I think we are all touched by cancer at sometime.

I've been catching up on many of my favorite blogs in the past week and though I suppose I shouldn't be surprised I still find it staggering how many lives are touched by cancer. I want to share my loss with you now. I lost, no that isn't right, I didn't lose my father he died from lung cancer almost 9 years ago. In many respects he was very lucky. He had several years earlier been diagnosed with lung cancer. He had 1/3 of his right lung removed along with a few radiation treatments and for the most part lived the next few years as if nothing had changed. He quit smoking except for the occasional cigarette he snuck from a friend or family member. He hid that from my mother, knowing she would go ballistic on him if she had found out.

Then about three years after his surgery he found out he had prostate cancer. As most of you may know prostate cancer when caught early has a high cure rate. Fortunately for my father it was caught in time and surgery was all he would need. Another couple of years passed and he began having trouble breathing once again. He was put on steroids and breathing treatments to ease the breathing and occasionally he required oxygen. Mostly however he appeared to do well as long as he kept up he daily regimen.

Several months after finding out the cancer was back in his lungs he required a hospital stay that lasted about a week. He felt much better and even went on a trip to the dog races in West Virginia with my husband. They had a fantastic time and it seemed he was back to his old self once again. Only a few short days later he was back in the hospital again having more difficulty breathing. I visited him and thought he would be back home in a couple of days and that he would just have to take it easy for a bit.

Dad knew better. He was trying to prepare me for what he knew was inevitable. I didn't want to hear it. I'm a tough cookie and I knew he was too and I had no idea that he truly knew what was about to come. I shrugged it off and told him I'd see him at home in a few days. I was a nursing student at the time and a couple of days later while I was at my clinicals at MCV hospital I received a phone call that said I needed to be at the Chippenham hospital and I needed to come as quickly as I could.

I kept saying that things would be ok I really thought that the call had come from my mother who always makes more of situations than she needs too and just wanted to be dramatic. I was wrong. I arrived in dad's room to find he was unable to verbally respond to me but I held his hand and kissed him and told him I loved him. I know that he held on to his last breaths for me to arrive. He did squeeze my hand once when I asked if he knew it was me. He died within minutes of my arrival.

I took his passing much better than my mother. I felt that he was now at peace and I also felt I now had a guardian angel to watch over me and my family. I have no doubt that my dad was there during many close calls that I or the children have had. I've not really mourned his death and I'm not sure why. I mean Bob will tell you that I'm the first to shed tear at a sad movie. Some may think I've a hardened my heart and perhaps that is the case. I think it is the thing that helps me to get through the hard times without completely losing my mind. However I guess it is debatable, I am sure friends and family could argue that I don't have a mind left to lose.

I've lost a cousin to cancer as well and I recently heard that a nurse that cared for Nickie for 4 years recently lost her battle with cancer too. More than anything I hope that cancer will soon be obliterated. I know life is not meant to be easy, we all have our trials and tribulations we must go through. I just wish cancer was one thing we could eliminate.

And here is a picture of my dad in happier times as a grandpa. This was taken in 1988 with my son Shaun and my daughter Jackie.
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