Friday, August 22, 2008

9 Lives

Monday I waited and waited for the call to come in and when it finally did my mother put it simply “the doctor said dad must have nine lives as he dodged the bullet again”. What a huge sigh of relief…but wait, I guess I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind a bit:

Some of you know my dad’s story some don’t so in brief (haha…me, brief) my dad was your typical dad of the era. Lot’s of kids and worked lots of hours to make ends meet. He wasn’t around a ton as a result and when he was he was typically beat and grouchy from long, hard hours. But he was always a good dad. About 30 years ago he quit drinking cold turkey as he had issues with it and never looked back. About 15 years ago he stopped smoking for good after a few misfires. At age 60 he took an early retirement buy out and around the same time had full hip replacement. Well, the inactivity for a guy who doesn’t drive and had no real hobbies and honestly nothing to keep him preoccupied (along with the psychological damage from my sister’s tragic passing) was BAD for him and he started to become a shell of himself mentally and physically. It was scary. While all this was happening, hip pain was recurring. The pain killers kept him awake, the sleeping pills made him pee, the urologist said it was not normal for pills to make you pee so a quick scan revealed a massive tumor on his kidney. They took the whole kidney and that was that. In short order, over the next few years he had his gall bladder take, suffered what may have been a breakdown, and had his other hip done. As he is now 70 he has a full body scan done every year and this year something turned up…on his lung. OK, back to where we started…

Things have been so awesome for him lately mentally as he’s back to being the normal pain in the ass he always was and not the “crazy” pain in the ass he’s been the better part of the 2000’s. We worried the news of a growth on his lung would cause him to come unglued. But he simply said I’m getting all my stuff in order just in case but until we find out, we aren’t to talk about it in any way but positive. Wow, way to go dad!! As a result I found myself putting it to the back of my mind until, with a week to go and dealing with someone at work who has a sibling struggling with cancer that I started thinking, holy crap, dad could have lung cancer. I mean, CANCER! I never questioned the fact that dad and mom could handle it no matter what but was unsure of myself. You always judge people, whether you mean to or not, with how they handle certain situations. I’ve always thought I’d be the tough, strong, there for you no matter type of guy but now I was questioning it. I was, plain as I can say it, scared to death as, even as they’re getting older, I can’t imagine my parents not around. What was harder is I’m a guy and Irish so I didn’t share these feeling with anyone until the very days before hand. To add to the emotional duress, my sister Eileen one year to the date of major reconstructive knee surgery broke the tibia on her leg just below the bad knee teaching an aerobics class and had to have emergency surgery and my brother in-law’s step dad was placed in hospice care to live out his remaining days

Well, he really does have 9 lives. 3 cancerous tumors were successfully removed. It wasn’t “lung cancer” but rather cancer cells from the kidney tumor years ago. As of now he’s clean and won’t need chemotherapy or radiation treatments but it could turn up somewhere again so he needs due diligence. He scheduled to come home tomorrow where my poor mom will have both him and my sister laid up for the next week or so. Poor mom lol. It was scary to me more then any of his other issues for some reason and my level of relief were hard to calculate. He’ll never know how scared and worried I was because we’re not like the but, man, am I happy to still have him in the relative good health he’s in. Way to go dad, way to go!