Dad’s Cancer, Part II: The Battle Continues

Day 19: Relieve Me

Was there a moment in 2012 when you were truly relieved? Maybe you did something that you should have done a long time ago, and the weight is now off your shoulders. What was that moment like, and how did you celebrate the relief?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was going to my dad’s chemo sessions over the summer to keep him company and to see if progress was being made. At the end of the summer when his chemo was completed, he had a PET scan to see if the chemo did its job. What was great was that we got some good news that day:

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That was a day when I felt extremely relieved and felt that everything was going to be ok.

My parents were planning to go on a retreat with their choir in October, and the choir director asked me to write them a letter. Here is what I wrote to my dad:

Dad, when I was home for spring break and you got that phone call from the doctor that you had cancer, I went upstairs to my room and cried because I so scared and unsure of what was going to happen. You hear the word “cancer” and automatically you think of the worst. Luckily, I have Mike and so many good friends that have been so supportive of this whole process. I’m glad that you have found the choir as your support network as well.

But you know what, the turning point for me was when we saw Dr. Ramirez and he showed us that PET scan. How it changed from all yellow inside to just a little bit left. It was then, when I saw that more recent PET scan, that I knew that everything was going to be ok. You will be ok. And with everyone rooting for you and praying for you I am certain that you will kick this cancer’s ass and be able to go to Jamaica when I get married. Just know that I have been thinking of you and fighting along with you – I’m just like you, remember, so that means that I have to fight hard too.

I cried when I wrote that letter. And my parents cried when they read it. And even though I probably won’t be getting married in Jamaica anymore I want my father to be well so that he can go to my wedding, whether it is in Jamaica or Cherry Hill, NJ. I want him around to see me get my doctorate. I want him to play with my cute, mixed race babies when Mike and I start having kids. I just want him to be around.

Well, that surge of relief once again turned to anxiety and fear after my dad’s appointment last week. Turns out that the cancer has spread to areas that are inoperable, meaning that at this point the cancer is incurable. The doctor told us that the plan is to continue treating the cancer as much as possible in a way that gives him the best quality of life. To me, that means that they are going to try to keep it as much at bay as possible, until the worst happens and it gets to be too much.

My father and mother cried in the doctor’s office that day. I tried my best not to start crying as well. All things considered, I am doing what I can to remain calm, have faith, and be strong for my family. I am going to work hard to get as much done as possible during the week so that I can go home as many weekends as possible to spend time with my dad and my family. And I’m hoping, just maybe, I can once again have that surge of relief that I felt several months ago. So that my dad can be around with us longer, because that’s the way it should be.

About Rowena Winkler

Passionate Performer, Speaker and Writer by Calling, Dancer of All Good Beats, Yoga Practitioner and Enthusiast, Spiritual Trustee of the Universe, Traveler of Many Distant Lands, Lover of Derek the Logical but Amiable, Mother of Eponine/Dex/Teyla, Architect of Spoken Word Poetry, Trainer in the Craft of Communication, Unapologetic Individual, First of Her Name.
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