Monday, August 21, 2006

Cancer Through a Daughter's Eyes

It's been a little longer then 6 months since my father's diagnosis and the pain is evident everywhere. The truth is I cannot imagine a world without my daddy when all the odds are stacked up against us. I feel the injustice of it all. It was not the lung cancer that prompted an emergency 911 call and ride to the hospital last Feb 6, but the pressure of the tumors on his brain that made him act funny and incomprehensible. Since then, not only has his stage 4 lung cancer gotten more aggressive, but so have my family's fears, cries, and anger.

My dad has always been strong. Never one to take a sick day, he taught me to bear it through, sometimes more then necessary. Now, seeing him wince in pain, trying to ignore it always makes me teary eyed. Then I get angry. How is it that some fathers are healthy, have wonderful children, wives, jobs, etc., and don't ever appreciate, or tell their families how much they love and cherish them? Why do they judge and complain, as if they are never going to get sick. How is it that my dad is always there for us kids and his time is spent in agony. This I will never understand and it will always make me angry.

My dad has lung cancer that has spread causing 3 tumors on his brain, tumors on his right shoulder and arm, his right knee, and now one on his clavicle which is right on the collarbone.

My life is torn in two. There are times when one part of me wants to destroy and ruin me. It wants to deny my ambitions and my relationships and I get to feel okay with that. Then there are days when I feel so very lucky. I've got two great and awesome parents, my own apartment completely paid by my parents, a 3.8 GPA which I am very proud of. I thank God every day that He has given me strength that goes against all odds. The last semester alone was one in which my dad was diagnosed, and my best semester gradewise ever. I can't forget my boyfriend whom it seems is a direct Godsend. Although sometimes I can. There are times when I need so much more than what I know may be his absolute best. Is it fair? Maybe not. But what I wanted in a guy maybe a year ago, is revised. I also absolutely hate that I have met him only two months after my grandmothersdeath.

I have a best friend whom I've grown closer with this summer. I guess people go through different phases and I know she might have went through one where school was the most important thing to her. She, out of all people, knows exactly what to say when need be. And she is honest in that ability. I know that her life is tough as well, maybe that's why I don't get angry or frustrated with her and don't say, "oh she's another one who doesn't understand." We both have huge responsibilites within our families but manage to have a blast whenever we hang out. That common ground keeps us together.

I don't know what my Babcie would have done if she were still alive. Knowing that her son has cancer would cause such hovac that I don't think she would ever have lived through it.

There are moments when I wish I was older-married with kids, employed, and just "set". This way I know my dad would have seen all of these milestones and I would be happy that we had shared them. But what of all these moments? What of my graduation and future? Who will look after me then. Who will look after my mom? My future husband- Jason or not, needs to welcome everyone. And I likewise, need to be welcomed by his entire family. Its funny how the thought had never even crossed my mind before all of this happened but now I cannot stand any other way. Even though I am asking these questions and have these feelings, sometimes they do not feel my own. It feels as though none of these horrible things are happening to me. Then I get the feeling that because it is, I should be compensated with something especially great in my life.

For now, my dad is a trooper, if not for himself but for his family. As the baby of the family, he knows I need him longer. I think back to those early days when I felt, "how am I going to look at my dad during his chemo sessions or when he won't have any hair?" "How am I ever going to get used to saying that my dad is retired and disabled, as he currently is?" No one understands until he or she has lived through it. As daddy's little girl, I know that these are the hardest moments in my life. Seeing the markered X's all throughout his body don't only signify "radiation" marks but life marks that enable my dad to live for another day. I will take these days over any knowing that my dad is safe and breathing in thenext room beside me.

1 comment:

xxroxymamaxx said...

Joanna, these are all honest feelings that you have written.  The emotions you are having to endure are overwhelming and painful.  I'm glad you have a place here to get them out.   There really isn't anything anyone can say that will help to ease it.   Thinking of you.   Love and hugs, Shelly