The Unpredictable Side of Life
Until two months ago I knew almost nothing about cancer. I obviously knew it killed people. I knew there was not a cure. I knew there were types of treatment like chemotherapy and radiation, or even surgery to remove the cancer, but that was the extent of my knowledge. I never thought I would have to worry about cancer. I never thought my family would have to deal with one of our own having cancer. I sure as hell never thought that at only twenty two years old I would have to think about the possibility that I will be losing one of my parents.
When my dad was first diagnosed and the cancer had not been staged, I had a lot of hope. I prayed that treatment could slow the cancer down for years and possibly cure him. I thought he would have a hopeful prognosis, because something this tragic could never happen to my family.
His first appointment at the cancer center informed us that his cancer was at least a stage 3a. This was not the best situation, but I knew it could be a lot worse. There was hope he could live quite a while longer with a good quality of life.
His second appointment, and after more testing, revealed that the cancer has spread to his bones, liver, both lungs, and brain. Radiation was no longer a treatment option, only chemotherapy. Surviving was not a word that came out of the doctor’s mouth when discussing treatment. The doctor was focusing on preserving quality of life and slowing the progression of the cancer. The goal is ultimately to keep my dad comfortable for as long as possible.
The doctor did not discuss length of time my dad had left, nor did we ask. We shook our heads as he spoke about the type of chemotherapy that would be used, where each spot of cancer was throughout his body, and what to expect in the coming week. I was trying to digest this news that seemed to have happened so suddenly…
Flashback to my nephew’s birthday in the beginning of March, my dad sat across from me in the restaurant and he seemed perfectly fine. We ate, joked, and laughed as a normal family does. Everything was fine as far as we knew. Now, three months later, we are all finding out he has stage 4 lung cancer. It just does not seem real.
This experience is making me see the harsh reality of life for the first time. None of us know how long we have on this earth. I assume most of us think we will live well after retirement and maybe even hit 100 years old. We work our entire adult lives in order to save and live out our golden years in comfort, yet that can be robbed of us without any warning. The memories, love we share, and experiences are what we look back at in order to feel complete. Live your life for the people in it, not the objects you own or money you have.
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