Friday, August 28, 2009

I've been waiting on test results before I posted anything new, and after several trips to the doctor, several scans, and many frustrating phone calls, Mom finally got the results: there is indeed cancer on several parts of Dad's spine. This is not unexpected, Dad has been weakening gradually over the last several months, and even with relatively good results from his chest CT and brain MRI, something has just been terribly off. He has been in a fair amount of pain, and he has had trouble walking. One leg appears to drag from time to time, almost like someone who has had a stroke. He began radiation today, it is Dr. Massey's hope that this will alleviate the pain and difficulty walking, though it may not do any good at all. He also has chemo on Tuesday, and we're not sure if Dr. Kelly will want to continue treatments if the cancer is spreading to other areas.

Nothing is set in stone, we cannot predict what the next few days or weeks will bring. I am no seer, but I can tell you that none of this is good news, and we are all too aware that Dad is living on borrowed time. There are hard decisions to be made sooner rather than later. Dad continues to fight on, he has not given up. He will not give up. Please send a prayer out for him, for Mom, and for our family.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"when something broke the surface, just to see the starry dome"

I relented about 11:30pm on Tuesday. Tyler had been begging me to take him out to see the meteor shower, but I was tired and had fallen into my routine of wanting to lay in bed, comatose, and watch mindless TV. But I’m trying to practice what I preach, to break outside of my comfort zone and enjoy life as it comes. Living does not equal sitting around in a rut. That’s merely existing.

We headed out in search of darkness, away from the city lights. Not an easy thing to find anymore, but we headed south, and found a dark street and empty parking lot at 133rd and Roe. We lay down on a blanket and looked up at the heavens. We watched the meteors streak across the sky and then disappear as they vaporized into our atmosphere. We both sat blot upright as the brightest of the evening came shooting almost over our heads, blazing on the horizon and lighting up our faces.

We are just Mother and Son on this little blue planet orbiting a star in the middle of the universe. We are two of many, no more or less significant. Our hopes and dreams, accomplishments and joys, our trials and sorrows are infinitely infinitesimal in the Grand Design. But to me, they are infinitely important. They are everything.

It’s good for the soul to be reminded how insignificant we all are. I like to think of it as God grabbing me by the back of my shirt and yanking me back from total self-absorption. Our lives, even with the heartache and sadness and death and disease, are nothing short of miraculous. We all need to be summarily shoved off course from the tunnel vision of day to day life and be reminded of our true gifts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Age has brought me wisdom, but faith has brought me tears"

Dad had scans yesterday and they received results today: astoundingly, unbelievably, the tumors were 'a tiny bit better' - which given Dad's prognosis at this point, is truly remarkable. They went ahead with his chemo today, but Dr. Kelly is very concerned about his brain. He's been not only weak and unsteady, but at times his legs simply don't work. He has more bad days than good ones, so she suspects it may be an issue with tumor growth in the brain. Dr, Massey had suggested awhile back that we might consider 'spot treating' some of the more severe spots with gamma knife, so hopefully, that's still an option. He had a pretty nasty fall a few nights ago - gash on his head and a huge laceration/bruise on his back - and we're hoping to avoid that in the future.

As I've said before, countless times, we know the ending to all this, we just don't know how or when we'll get there. Dad's stubborn spirit and determination to prove everyone wrong is what has kept him going this long, along with the excellent care he's received from his doctors. I truly feel that Dad's situation is a marriage of science and faith. He has had top-notch treatment by one of the best specialists in the country, but he has also had many, many prayers by people all over the world! The last comment on this blog came all the way from the United Kingdom. A woman stumbled across this blog and left me kind words of prayer and encouragement - how amazing is that? A total stranger, halfway around the world, that is absolutely miraculous to me!

The last 16 months have been hard, I won't lie- for all of us in this family. But I like to think - and hope- that we're all taking something away from Dad's illness. What is the point of suffering, if not to learn and grow? I can't quite put into words what I have learned yet, but I know that as cliched as it sounds, I know life is way too short. We say the words often, but it's another thing to really feel that concept, deep in your bones. The clock is ticking. Time is too precious to stress and worry about things we can't change, or what other people think of us, or what we don't have. We all get caught up running in our little hamster wheels. It takes real thought and effort to stop, break out of your comfort zone. I'm worried I'll blink, and then the kids will be grown and gone, and I'll be old. I want to be in the now, to appreciate what is before me. It's not as easy as it sounds.

I thank you all for your prayers, when you think of how long ago Dad was diagnosed, can you believe how far he's come? Don't underestimate your role in the big picture, it all matters! Look to the sky tonight, it's the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. Make a wish on a 'falling star' if you see one. I know I will. For Dad.