In mid 1980 my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. He was operated on and went through a short course of chemo. He was lucky; he walked away from that with only the loss of 12 inches of intestines. Five years later his blood work kept coming back a little off. Yes, colon cancer was back. Surgery again, on the opposite side, but no chemo that time. Again he walked away with just a foot or so less intestines.
Over the years he had some minor heart problem and has a pacemaker. He no longer has high blood pressure; it’s actually a little too low at times. Other than basic old age the doc has been telling him he had the body of a 60 year old. My father was 87 in July.
In the past two months he started having digestive problems and the doctor ordered several tests, the last one was a CAT scan. I knew in my heart and in my head that it was cancer. I was convinced it was colon cancer again. I was wrong, but not in a good way.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The CAT scan shows it in the pancreas and just starting in his liver. At 87 there are no options. He asked the doctor how long he has and was told “about a year”. Right now he has no symptoms from the cancer, but is still having a hard time with his digestive problems. His way to deal with that is to not eat, or eat very little.
My father lives in New Jersey and I am about 800 miles away. It was suggested that I go up and see him while he is still “good”. So that is where I have been for the last week, and the reason I am so tired and pretty much worn out mentally.
Hearing about it on the phone and then seeing him were two different things. When I saw him he looked quite different than he did at Christmas. He has lost a lot of weight and truly looks his age. He isn’t moving too sure footed any more. The gray hair is a bit thinner and his color is very pale. But he still put me in my place a few times!
We didn’t talk about the cancer, he didn’t bring it up and I wasn’t comfortable enough to start the conversation. My husband and I took him to lunch and food shopping and ran some errands for him. We sat and talked, about anything other than cancer. I truly don’t think he will die from the cancer. I believe he will starve himself to death long before the cancer gets ends his life.
Since we moved to Tennessee the ride back to New Jersey seems to get longer and longer and the traffic gets worse each trip. This trip was the absolute worst trip I can remember. We drove through Southern Virginia this morning in fog so thick you couldn’t see two feet in front of the car. That lasted 1 ½ hours! A not go good ending to a not so wonderful trip.
I did what I had to do and tried to stay upbeat while I was there. But now that I’m home I wanted to share this story with you all. I know there is a lot of support out there and I sure can use some now and in the coming months!
So if you were wondering where I was and why I was tired that is the reason. Thanks for listening!