A Year Since My Father’s Anticipated Visit to Ohio

Today marks one year since I received that call from my dad. He was in Pennsylvania for his cousin’s daughters wedding. He was not feeling well since leaving Florida when he drove 1,000 miles for his semi-annual visit to Ohio, but first he made a pit-stop to PA for the wedding.

His cousin took him to the urgent care center in Pennsylvania where they recommended he go to the emergency room. He told them that he would be heading to Ohio in the morning and he would have his daughters take him.

He never even made it to the reception.

Looking back on it now, I cannot help but think that my Dad knew something serious was wrong.

When he called me and explained how he was feeling and that the urgent care advised him to go to the ER, I offered to come to Pennsylvania with my sister, and we could bring him and his car home so he would not have to make the drive. He declined.

He arrived at 12:00pm almost exact on Monday, October 8, 2018, and by 12:15pm, we were headed to the emergency room after stopping to pick up my sister.

We waited 8 hours in the ER waiting room. Little did we know that this 8 hours would be the last time we would spend with my father without the loom of cancer over our heads.

I remember the doctor saying that he doubted it was cancer because my father quit smoking 25 years before.

Unfortunately, the doctor’s doubts were wrong.

My Dad Secured His Place in Heaven Today

Today, at 9:05 am, my Dad took his final breath on this earth, and left us to be with the angels.

To My Dad:

I will never forget how much I loved you, and how much you loved me. I will never forget all of the things that made you a great dad, and a great father. I will never forget the sacrifices you made for your family. I will never forget all of the times in these past few months that you said to me “Miss, I don’t know what I’d do without you”. I will never forget the way you would play the drums on the steering wheel while driving in the car and listening to your favorite Bruce Springsteen song. I will never forget when I laid in that hospital bed with you just yesterday and wondered if you knew I was there. I will never forget the past 44 years, 6 months, and 7 days that I got to spend with you.

If I had to fight this battle with you again and again, I would appreciate every single day because it would be more days that I had to spend with you. More times that I got to hold your hand and tell you I love you. More times that I would have to say thank you for being the most wonderful father any girl could ask for.

I am grateful that you are finally at peace, but I miss you so much already that I can hardly breathe. I want to be angry, I want to scream at the top of my lungs, but I know that it is not what you would do. You would take the hand given to you, and you would make the best of it, as you always have.

You are the strongest man that I know, and I will be forever grateful that I can call you my Dad.


18 Days and a Port In His Arm

I did not post yesterday, so I will summarize. I decided to go away for a night with my husband to our cabin a couple of hours away. My kids stayed home with Dad, and I took a little time for myself, but not without guilt.

Dad is quickly losing his hair, and it is safe to say that he has lost about 50% at this point, but coming out in large amounts every day. He is still saying that he is feeling a bit better than he did before chemo, but I wonder if it has much to do with chemo and more to do with pain medication.

Today, November 12, 2018

8:00 am

We had an appointment this morning at 8:30 to have Dad’s chemotherapy power port put in his arm. This allows easy access to his vein for chemotherapy as well as blood work. Everything went well, although the Doctor came to get me while they were finishing up with Dad to tell me that “your Dad is built a little different”. He explained that the artery where they install the port is usually on the right side, but Dad’s is on the left. He said there is no need for concern, but it is important to know in the event that Dad ever needs something performed at another hospital where they may not be aware. He said that it would cause confusion because it is not common.

10:30 am

I brought Dad home, but this time I made him wait inside the hospital while I went to get the car. It is cold outside, and he was feeling tired and a bit weak, although he would not tell me. He wanted a cup of coffee and was going to read the newspaper. He may have read a page or two, and is now napping.

16th Day Since 1st Chemo Treatment

10:00 am

Dad got up at 10:00 today. He said that he stayed up until midnight watching the Steelers game.

The rest of today is somewhat of a jumble. Austin drove Dad’s car, and Dad rode along to go to the post office. They came home, and I asked Austin if he would run up and get bread. Dad said he would ride along. They came back, and as it turns out, they went to the grocery store. Austin asked Dad if he wanted to wait in the car, but Dad said he wanted to go in with him. This may have been a little much, but he needed to get out a little.

I took a nap in my room, as I was feeling a little down today. My sister and my niece arrived while I was in the shower, and Brooke and I went to the grocery store.

4:30 pm

Dad told my sister he was having pain, so she went up and got him a pain pill. Again, it had been 12 hours since he took one. I guess it is his decision, but I hate to see him in pain when there is pain medication that makes him feel better.

7:00 pm

I made chicken wraps for dinner, and Dad stayed up for a little while.

8:00 pm

Dad sat down to watch T.V., and fell asleep in the recliner.

8:30 pm

The evening is coming to an end for me as well. Hopefully Dad will feel pretty decent again tomorrow.


Day 15 – 7 More Days Until 2nd Chemo Treatment

9:30 am

Dad and I headed out for lab work that his doctor ordered. He said that he feels better today than he’s felt since he got here (from Florida on October 8th). It has been 15 days since his 1st chemotherapy treatment, and his only complaint today is that he is still unsteady on his feet. He actually said that he would like to go to the bank (by himself), and that he is sure he can drive but he is worried about walking.

We left after getting the lab work done, and Dad asked if we could go to McDonald’s for a muffin. He wanted to go in and eat rather than bringing it home. We ate at McDonald’s, and now I think Dad is ready for a pain pill and a nap. It’s 11:30 am.

4:30 pm

Once again, Dad waited too long to take his morphine pill. He tends to wait until the pain is bad to take it, as I think he believes that eventually he will no longer need them, and for this reason he tries not to take them. At any rate, I gave him a pain pill at 4:30 and he agreed not to wait so long in between. It had been 12 hours since his last pain pill.

9:30 pm

I went to bed, and Dad was still up watching the game with Austin and Eric.