As you may remember, my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last year. We all thought he'd successfully beaten it, until last month when the mass in his throat (which the doctors had previously thought was scar tissue from the radiation treatments) was biopsied and they found the cancer had returned. And this time, it's on the offensive. The doctors say the cancer has spread to his lungs, lymph nodes and bones, and they've said there's nothing they can do except palliative care.
I don't care who you are, or how comfortable you think you are with the concept of dying, this kind of news isn't going to be easy to take. My dad is dealing with it like a champ, having said that he rolled a Porsche in 1959 and "every day since then has been gravy." Yes, he's feeling some discomfort and sadness, and he's reacting heroically to the situation as far as I'm concerned. (And if you think I'm biased, or that I'm Daddy's Girl, you're right on both counts and I don't care.)
Dad had been neglecting his blog, but he's started it up again and is chronicling his journey. For me, it's incredibly helpful to stay updated this way because talking is difficult for him and the blog allows him to communicate with everyone without getting on the phone. Plus, he's able to say things that might be tough to say in person. Which means when I talk to him I already know all of what's going on and I don't have to ask a bunch of annoying questions. I can just tell him I love him and we can talk about whatever the hell we want to.
Go over and have a peek at my dad's blog - the first cancer-related post is here, and you can navigate through the archives (October and November 2007 are the cancer-related ones so far) under the "Archives" links on the right-hand column. And if you've got some spare kind thoughts floating around, send 'em his way. Being a staunch atheist, he's not so keen on people praying for him - so if that's the way you operate, just don't tell him that's what you're doing. :)
I've heard the debate so many times about, "Would you rather death be sudden, or would you rather know in advance when you were going to die?" And I've even engaged in the debate. But the truth, which hit me when I first heard about Dad's most recent diagnosis, is that it doesn't matter one iota which you'd prefer. Because you don't get a choice in the matter. You get handed what you get handed and you have to deal with it the best way you know how.
I may update y'all on Dad's situation now and again, but if you're interested in following what's going on with him I'd recommend that you check in with his blog.