Posted by: soulshinemoments | October 25, 2015

I am blooming from the wound where I once bled. -Rune Lazuli

My dad died three years ago today.

I was reacquainted with my dad when I was 18 and he was 36 years old. (My mom and step-father had raised me and, until I was 18, I had not seen my dad since I was 5 years old.)  One year before I met him, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.  He had been having pain but refused to go to the doctor until it was finally so bad that his girlfriend at the time (also a registered nurse) told him: “You are dying.  You either go to the hospital now, or you die!”

He consented.  The doctors did emergency surgery on him and found an 8 pound tumor buried in his colon.  They suspected that it had probably started when he was around the age of 25 and was slow growing.  After some genetic testing, it was discovered that my dad (and an entire family tree worth of relatives before him) have what is known as “lynch syndrome”. (Think: the BRCA gene but for Colon cancer). Basically, a genetic disposition for colon cancer. They removed the tumor and he went through chemo.

I met him when I was 18 and two months later, they found another tumor growing in his colon.  The doctors decided to simply remove his entire colon except for a tiny section which would allow him to not need a bag (colostomy).  He lived without issue for almost a decade.  During this time, he and I became closer.  He married an amazing lady (who I still love with all my heart to this day) and they moved in together on the Suwannee River in North Florida into a beautiful river home.  Modern medicine bought him a decade of pretty good living.  But it could only bring him so far because the cancer made an appearance again 10 years later.  This time, in his liver.  They had to put a stint in his liver and he lived with a bag from his liver so it could drain.  He lost a lot of weight and appeared sickly during this time.  But the cancer appeared to be slow growing and the doctors said he could live anywhere from 2-5 years, with chemo.  At one point, the chemo seemed to be working and they told him they might even be able to remove the bag.

The chemo was supposedly working, but my dad still felt sick.  Really, really sick.  The doctors thought he might just have some scar tissue that needed to be removed.  They scheduled him a surgery to remove the extra scar tissue.  After the surgery, I received a phone call.  It wasn’t scar tissue making him ill, his abdomen was chalked full of cancerous tumors.  When they opened him up to do the surgery, they saw the tumors, and closed him right back up.  Somehow, tests had missed that his cancer was all over his abdomen.  The doctors then told him he had 6 months to live and he should sign papers to be on hospice services.

Sometime during all of this, Jack and I became pregnant.  We had Jackson on August 7, 2011 and my dad drove all the way from Florida to Atlanta to see his first grandchild. I’m so glad they were able to meet each other.  I will always remember that moment.  Whenever I look at Jackson, I see a lot of my dad in him–his big blue eyes, his hyper-self, his intelligence, his social skills.

My dad fought hard and went in and out of GIP at the hospice center (where they think a patient has 10 days or less to live) at least 3 or 4 times.  He would always tell us, “I’m going back home to my house on the river.”  And, he would.  Every time but the very last time we he died–Oct 25, 2012. He didn’t want to die.  He had a beautiful, smart, kind hearted wife.  And now an 8 month old grandson.  He wasn’t like some of the patients I have now who are 95 years old and ready to let go and meet Jesus.  My dad still had a lot of fight and life in him and that’s what made it kind of a horrible death. He did know that he was loved and he wasn’t alone when he died.

Now, 3 years later, here I am…remembering my dad.  I also am getting a colonoscopy next Tuesday.  I had one when I was 22 and am supposed to get them every 3 years.  I haven’t had insurance or money so I had to wait 10 years to get one.  So, finally, I’m getting one November 3rd.  Kind of terrifying.  I’m also meeting with a genetic counselor November 24th to see if I have “Lynch syndrome”.  I have to find out for Jackson’s sake. Otherwise, I kind of don’t want to know.  So, all week I’m not eating meat and then starting my clear liquid fast 3 days before the procedure.  Fun times ahead for me this week, for sure.  Not to mention they psychological impact this week will have for me.  Maybe I ought to schedule myself extra prayer/meditation/yoga sessions, as well….

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Responses

  1. beautiful!! …..you will be fine, but I will make sure to say a little prayer for you this week! just in case:)

    • Love and miss you, CINDY! Appreciate the prayers!!! Hope you are doing great


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