In November of 2011, my dad was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer called Myelofibrosis.
Most people diagnosed with myelofibrosis don't survive for long. This Wednesday as I sat in front of his doctor, I asked her if looking back she thought that he would have survived and her answer was "no." What his doctors didn't know is that my dad is a fighter. What they also didn't know is that he comes from a family of fighters. There were times during his brutal treatment that my dad wanted to throw in the towel but when those moments arose, we stood strong for him and pushed him to fight. And it paid off.
My dad was declared cancer free just a few weeks ago. But the battle isn't over. While dad's body is cancer free, the effects of intense chemo and radiation have wreaked havoc on his body, leaving him with kidney problems, loss of vision and more. Dad will be under the care of cancer doctors for the rest of his life, but that's okay with me because it means he's still here with us.
Something came up and my mom wasn't able to take my dad to his appointment at Dana Farber in Boston this week, so I did. This is a peek into our journey as chronicled on the Hawk Morning Show Facebook page.
Since nobody is exactly sure what the weather will bring, I'm ready for it all.
Listening to the Hawk until out of range and then this will be the trip soundtrack. Today's mission? Listening to #Rubberband on repeat until my dad knows all the song lyrics.
Dad failed the co-pilot mission. He's been sleeping the last 2 hours. Good thing he's cute.
Without realizing it, my dad has helped me shed 20 or so pounds. I swear the temp inside this car is a good 2408000 degrees and he's still cold. I have a new appreciation for those who "sweat off the pounds."
Massachusetts: where the people are wicked nice, but turn signals are optional. About an hour to Dana Farber. Stopped to stretch our legs-old age is definitely setting in because my knees are killing. So far the trip has been uneventful. Dad is pooped and has been sleeping most of the last 2 hours, but in true dad fashion when I asked him how his sleep was he told me he wasn't sleeping-just resting his eyes. Coulda fooled me by the snoring...
We spied an old fire call box.
My heart is caught in my chest. I'm filled with such sadness yet hope for all of the beautiful cancer fighters here at Dana Farber. There is so much sickness in this place yet everyone is filled with such joy. I can't help but think that within their darkest of hours, they've grabbed a hold of the simplest of moments in life and their eyes are more open and their minds are more clear than most. And I envy these lovelies because they are so much braver than I.
My dad- who has always hovered around 300 pounds now weighs 174. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around this.
Dad is peacefully sleeping while we wait to see his doctor and I'm sitting here with tears spilling down my cheeks. My heart hurts so much today. Each time I see a cancer fighter walk by alone, I want to reach out and grab them and hold them and let them know they're not really here alone-that although we're strangers, I'm saying a silent prayer for them and that I care. Nobody should have to walk into a place like this alone. Nobody.
Waiting to see dad's doctor, Amy Joyce, and hoping the news she's got for us is good.
Very happy to tell you my dad's cancer has not returned. His doctor wanted to see him because his kidney tests raised some alarms. It turns out he's been dehydrated. So we're in the infusion center pumping him up with fluids and then he'll have to come back in 3 weeks for a 2 hour infusion to help his immune system.
If you ever have to go to the infusion department at Dana Farber, I hope you get nurse Kristen O'Brien. She's one of the kindest souls I've ever met.
Positively exhausted. Exuberantly happy. Emotionally drained. And I'd do it all over again tomorrow. I thought I had a handle on this thing called life. Wrong. I was schooled in life today and let me tell you, it was a smack in the face, but so desperately needed. From this point forward my mission is to let the insignificant crud roll off my shoulders and instead seek out the small yet majestic moments of life.
The most joyous part of my trip to Dana Farber? When dad got in the elevator and pushed all the buttons for all the floors because he'd always wanted to. I winked at the woman in the elevator with us and said "bet you didn't know you'd be seeing each floor today, did you?" And she laughed. An honest to God belly laugh that welled up from deep inside.