Friday, June 10, 2011

One week.

We've been home in Lancaster for one week now, but it's seemed like a lot longer than that for some reason. I'm glad to be here, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, but it definitely has been a challenge to be away from our home in CO so much especially with Calvin. I am finding a hard time describing the emotions that I'm going through at the moment, but I will do my best.

The first thing that I noticed when we opened the door to my parents' house last week was the hum of the oxygen machine set up in the dining room and the long, clear tube stretched across the room to reach my sweet dad sitting on the sofa. As I rounded the corner into the living room, I saw my dad's face light up like he had been waiting weeks for our arrival. Immediately, he began to talk to Calvin in his classic high-pitched, cheerful tone. It felt so good to lean over and give my dad a hug. I felt like I had been waiting weeks for that. It amazes me so much that as shitty as he feels, my dad can still muster a smile and playful tone for Calvin and a fighting, positive attitude for us (not to mention how polite he is to every single nurse, doctor, aide, social worker, and food service employee he's come in contact with during this journey). Sometimes I just shake my head in disbelief as he says, "Thank you so much for your care" with a smile to an aide who just took his blood pressure. Who the heck are you?! I'd be cursing out people left and right. Well maybe not, but it'd be closer to that end of the spectrum...

Over the past few days, Katy and I have been trying to do our best to support my mom and take care of my dad. Keeping track of his medications and going to dialysis and oncology appointments have been keeping us busy. There really aren't words to describe how it feels to watch my dad have to endure this. Even saying "there are no words" doesn't seem to do it justice. I really don't understand why so much gets unloaded onto one person...I really don't. It just isn't right. Today was day ten of my dad being on the "chemo" medication, Sutent, and the side effects are coming on full force. His level of exhaustion has reached an entirely new level, and now it's combined with nausea and dizziness. The plan is to give this medication it's 28 day course (if tolerable) and then repeat scans to see how the cancer is responding. If it's responding well, they will repeat another course of the medication. If not, there will be other options, so they say. We are trying to take one day at a time...that's really all we can do. All of our lives our being changed by this beast, mainly my dad's, but our hope remains a constant.

I'm not sure if he sees it this way, but I think that my dad is truly extraordinary. Even in this awful situation, he finds moments to drop a one-liner that is pee-your-pants hilarious. He pushes himself to stay independent in every way he can. He listens to the doctor's orders and continues his fight. Even on the roughest of days, he loves his family with every ounce of energy he has left. He kisses and snuggles with his grandson, thanks Katy and me every time we do the littlest thing for him, and holds my mom's hand to tell her everything is going to be alright. Some of the best moments we've had together as a family this week have been in my parents' bedroom, plopped on their bed talking about anything and everything, laughing and crying, playing with Calvin and sitting in silence. I'd be kidding myself if I said that this wasn't going to be a battle. It already has been. But, I know that my family will continue to stick together, and that is what makes this doable. Not easy, not fun, but doable because we've got each other, and we've got the force that is my amazing father inspiring us to go on.

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