So, my dad isn’t doing well. Though, my ability to cope and understand this incredibly difficult concept of my dad’s inevitable demise is still a wild frontier to venture into. In the last few weeks, he’s been recovering from a mild procedure in which he had some super-cooled radioactive rods inserted into his kidney in hopes of killing the tumor that took hold. If in three months when he has his scheduled check-up the tumor is gone/dead then its’ 1/3 of his cancers under control. Still, even though the hormone + mild chemo treatment he’s had for his prostate cancer (the spectre that caused all of this) then it’s still an arduous battle against the bone cancer that’s taken hold.
And all of this, is just draining; for him and for everyone in our family. But lately, most days have been bad for him. He’s unable to sleep, his appetite comes and goes, and he’s in constant pain. Heavy duty options like Percocet don’t help for long and he doesn’t like taking them so he’s started smoking marijuana (which he begrudgingly does in the garage since mom won’t let him smoke in the house). His nicotine intake has cutting back considerably which makes me happy. Both my parents are and have been long-time smokers but it’s been slowly dissipating more and more to my sister and I’s delight.
Still, with all that said, he’s suffering and in a slow monotonous grind to his deathbed. The bank is giving my parents a hard time and may no longer honor the critical illness insurance they had in place well before this happened so he is considering working again. Even though – this weekend when I found this out – I told him no, he seems set on it. The fact that at 55, in a battle to the death with cancer, and worried about the family’s well-being has pushed into having to go back to work possibly is painful to grasp. I for hope the sake of TD Canada, that they just do what’s right rather than continue this battle that likely takes more precious time from my dad’s life.
All of this has been weighing heavily on me and it’s taking it’s toll. I’m hard enough on myself as is and I struggle with accepting that sometimes I can’t be doing everything at once. My roommate (Brian, you’re a really mensch) and Melanie (who is just perfect by the way) have been such huge supports lately when I seemingly hit my breaking point on the regular. Even with the success of getting a new job that starts in a few weeks, it’s taken a backseat to what’s going on with my dad and the constant struggle I have managing all of this.
On Friday, I had a really bad breakdown at work after listening to some music that sort of set me over the edge. Normally music doesn’t trigger me that badly, but Touche Amore’s new album Stage Four was really great at doing it. The fact that every song is about their vocalist’s [Jeremy Bolm] journey through life after his mom died from cancer was too much. Factor in a lot of the songs paralleling things ongoing in my life and things I’ve done like:
- Dodging calls
- Being unable to have conversations with my dad
- Trying to work and distract myself past the point of knowing what’s going on
- Worrying about every single detail
- etc, etc, etc.
All of that culminated on Friday night and it took Brian and Mel in two separate conversations to help me calm down and help me put things into perspective. Both of them beat the point home that I need to give myself more praise for how I’ve handled things this far, give myself more me-time, and to really be there when I’m really needed. The first point has always been the hardest though.
I’m trying to it in me to give myself credit for lasting this long, but even then I find it hard to imagine where I’d be without my support network. Even though a lot of this, I’ve still managed to find some positives and build upon some successes that I’ve talked about before here and on Twitter. For the first time in probably seven or eight years I’ve opened up enough to fall in love with someone and be loved. Anyone who knows me close enough knows how I usually never lower my shield and that being vulnerable on that level is a near-foreign concept. But here I am, smitten, and often overly zealous with how I feel in that situation.
I think with that – the whole fancy concept of being in love – I’ve been able to find a bit more joy in days where things aren’t going well. I’m not trying to put too many eggs in one basket here, but this element of my life in 2016 has been a huge boost to my self confidence and optimism in things advancing in the right direction. I’ve chosen to really keep a lot of this close to the chest, but it came up this weekend and I kind of dodged the questions presented. All of these thoughts and feelings have made me think about my parents and their relationship.
My mom was married before to a really abusive drunk. My dad was married to a woman whom he had two sons with and she bordered on abusive too. They found each other after these two failed marriages and it’s kind of hard to believe they’ve been together 30 years now. My mom struggles with anxiety and depression so all of this has taken it’s toll on her. The reality that continues to push harder and harder on my family really makes me question how my mom will do after my dad dies.
And it makes me anxious. I’m worried about how I’ll step up in the family, to take care of her, and help her in her life. It’s difficult enough most days living my own life so the very concept of this scares me.
My sister is slowly getting her life back on track and she’s going to school for library sciences, but there will be a point when she has to leave home and head back to school. Hopefully it works out and she gets to start a career of her own. I worry a lot about her and we really reconnected this weekend which was nice. We’re a year and four days apart so growing up we were always really close. Unfortunately at times I’ve done a shit job keeping our relationship as strong as it once was, but hopefully things can get that way again soon.
I just want my family to find their way and these obstacles we’re battling through to go away. I fucking hate cancer and I hate the impact it’s had on my loved ones. It’s unfair that anyone would
Anyway, thank you for reading. This helped. Thank you to everyone who has been so, so, so supportive since December when my dad was diagnosed. It’s been an ordeal and I truly appreciate all of you. I’m still really afraid and I’m still really unsure about everything. This weekend at home with my family really helped and my dad was in great spirits as we watched hockey all weekend and took some naps. He’s my hero.
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