Happy Fathers Day in Heaven Dad

I woke up early this morning to the realization that today is going to be a very difficult day for me.

I think about you every day, and sometimes all day. I laugh, I cry, but I always try to end with a smile. Maybe about something that you said or did, or just the sounds you would make when you ate a good meal. Those memories never fade.

I know that you are at peace, and I think it is great that you have your father in heaven with you. Have a beer and catch up.

I am thinking about getting the truck out today and taking it for a spin. I know, the tags are expired, but there is nothing I can do about that right now, so I think I’ll take my chances. Both of the kids have a part of you in their necklaces, so maybe I will borrow you for a bit so you can ride along.

I miss you so much, but I am trying to stay strong because that is what you would be telling me to do.

So for you Dad, on this Fathers Day, I want you to know that if every child in America had a father like you, we would have a country filled with love, laughter, and strength. That is what you have always been to me, and will always be.

Happy Fathers Day Dad! I love you!

 

 

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Papa Joined Nana in Heaven Today

For those of you who may not be familiar with my blog posts, on October 24, 2018, not even 2 weeks after learning about my fathers lung cancer diagnosis, we lost my husbands grandmother Lorraine (Nana). Today, we lost her husband Mike (aka Leo, aka Papa). Mike was my husbands step-grandfather, but if you wanted to remove the “step”, it would be appropriate. Mike was a great grandfather to my husband for the majority of his life, and was a very big part of my children’s lives as well.

He owned and operated a body shop for many many years, and enjoyed his spare time at Lake Erie with Nana, and anyone else who was able to make the trip for the weekend. As a family, we spent many weekends (but not enough) at the lake where we enjoyed summer days on the boat while I tanned and my husband and children fished.

There is something to be said about a marriage that lasts 50+ years, and Mike and Lorraine spoke volumes about love and commitment. They laughed, they fought, and they loved. Papa, I am sad to lose you but I am happy that you and Nana are united once again. In less than 6 months, your love for Nana won, and you joined her in heaven to fish while Nana drank her Vodka on the rocks.

We will miss and love you both, and we are so happy that we were able to tell you good-bye last night. May you both rest in peace, and enjoy one another for eternity.

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2 Months Since I Lost You

Dear Dad,

I cannot even speak your name without emotions creeping up one me. I can’t watch a commercial without emotions creeping up on me. I can’t hear of someone else who has a terminal illness without emotions creeping up one me.

Honestly Dad, I just can’t think of anything at all without emotions creeping up on me. But you know what, I would not have it any other way. If I have to cry every day for eternity I am good with it. If I have to cry for every person that I know who is diagnosed with cancer, I am good with it.

I know that I will forever be grateful that I had you as a father, and I am convinced that you are watching over me, us.

As I type this, once again, I am listening to Pandora through your waterproof Bluetooth speaker that we got you for your 69th birthday last year. I am balling my eyes out right now to Tuesday’s Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I can’t help it. When I hear a song you liked, I like it even more. I feel at peace when I listen to music, even if it means that I cry.

Although it has been a little while since I wrote, this blog is my therapy. It allows me to cry, scream, smile, love, and every emotion in between because no one else is watching.

I love you so much that I can’t explain it. I never thought about how much it would hurt to lose you because I never had to. But now I have to think about it… every single day.

All I know is that I love you more than words can say, and I miss you dearly every single day. Please keep watching over us and know that you are loved unconditionally by everyone who ever had the pleasure of calling you their father, son,  grandfather, brother, relative, or friend.

You were one of a kind!

 

 

 

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9 Weeks Since Stage IV Lung Cancer Diagnosis and I Am Terrified

When Dad’s oncologist said that his prognosis was “2-4 months without treatment, and 6-12 with treatment”, my heart sunk, and I truly felt like we were in a nightmare. I could not help but be positive, I mean, people beat cancer all the time, right? Why can’t Dad be one of the few who manage to beat the odds?

Once the shock wore off, the “realist” in me began searching for answers, and I was just trying to “deal with it all”.

Now, the shock is back, and I am in complete disbelief that the man who I have adored my entire life is lying in a bed that he has become prisoner to.

My feelings today have completely changed.

I would give anything for a prognosis of 6-12 months, but I have come to the realization that it is not in the cards for Dad, and I cannot even begin to explain how terrified I am of losing him.

Every single day when I look at him, I realize that I am losing my Dad to Cancer, and I am not ready to accept that. Not yet. We haven’t had one pleasant day since he arrived from Florida in October. NOT ONE! He has been filled with pain and nausea, and has become dependent on everyone to help him with all of those daily tasks that we all take for granted. This man is not my Dad, yet he will always be. He will always be the first man I loved, the first man that I drove in a car with, the first man that taught me responsibility, and how to work hard, the first and only man that my husband had to ask permission from to marry me.

If I could just have one more good day with my Dad, one more day that we could sit and talk about all of the things that we used to talk about, go for a drive, cook out on the grill. Just one more day!

I cannot even write this without clearing the tears from my eyes so I am able to see. I cannot imagine life without my Dad in it. Not being able to call him, text him pictures, visit him in Florida and go to the beach, or go play miniature gulf just to come home and lounge in the pool. I’ll never again get to feel the excitement when he calls on his trip from Florida to visit and says that he’ll be at my house in a few hours.

All I can do now is be there with him while he fights the pain and the fear. Tell him I love him every chance I get. Hold his hand while he sleeps. At least I still have that. I still have the chance to love him unconditionally, the same way he has loved me unconditionally for my entire life.

I still have that.

 

 

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6 Weeks Since Stage IV Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Yesterday marked exactly 6 weeks since Dad received his incurable stage IV non small cell lung cancer diagnosis. At that time, he had severe pain in his stomach and diarrhea, which he was treated for before he left Florida to come for his visit. His doctor was treating him for diverticulitis, and told Dad that if symptoms did not improve, he should return to the doctor. Well, the 5 days were during his trip from Florida to Ohio.

He arrived on October 8, 2018 at approximately noon, and within 15 minutes we were out the door headed for the emergency room. His pain was severe and debilitating. After our 7+ hour wait in the ER waiting room, we were on our way to learning about Dad’s cancer. He was admitted to the hospital where he stayed for nearly 4 days.

Where We Are Now

Just before Thanksgiving, Dad’s legs had become so weak that he was struggling to get down the stairs. Now, he can no longer get down on his own. My son has been helping him up and down just so he can enjoy some time out of his room, but even this has become too much for Dad.

Monday, he is scheduled for a scan to see if his chemotherapy is working. I mentioned in my last post that Dad has decided if the chemo is not working, he no longer wants the treatment. It may be easy for others to say “why would you refuse chemotherapy”, but the reality is, his time is limited and he wants to try and enjoy the time he has left without feeling the way that he has felt for 5 weeks now (since his first chemotherapy treatment).

Part of me wants to believe that his condition is 100% due to the chemotherapy, but the realist in me is struggling to accept that. I believe that his health is declining more and more every single day. Today, he has not been awake for more than an hour (total for the day). As I write this, he is sleeping in the recliner where he has been for several hours. Before that, he was in bed where he had spent the entire day… sleeping.

He has not had a chemo treatment in 2 weeks, so for him to be feeling worse rather than better is a very big concern, as well as a potential indicator that the chemotherapy is not responsible for all of this. I am no doctor, and that is why we are reluctantly anxious to get the results back from his scheduled scan on Monday.

He barely has any feeling left in his hands, and is losing more in his feet every day. He can hardly take his own pills anymore because he is having a hard time getting them in his mouth.

Complaining of Dizziness

Yesterday, Dad began complaining of dizziness to where he worried about falling, as am I. Today, that condition is worse to the point that he did not even want to come downstairs early in the day because of the fear that he may not make it down (even with Austin helping him).

This is really concerning to me as he usually gets up in the middle of the night or early morning to go to the bathroom (it is right across the hall from his room and he uses his walker). I am very concerned about him falling in the middle of the night, and I can only pray that I hear him if he does, or he calls for help.

I just talked with my son (remember, he is 20 so he is no longer a child) and told him that I was considering having Dad admitted to the hospital, but then we both agreed that it would be more dangerous due to his low white blood cell count and the risk of infection. So, we will wait this out a couple more days. I do think that I will have Dad call the doctor tomorrow (or I will call for him), and ask if this dizziness is normal or if we should take him in to be admitted.

This blog has been instrumental in keeping track of Dad’s condition, and I would recommend to anyone in the same or similar situation to keep some type of journal of your condition so that you can track symptoms. I hope that it will help some of you who are looking for information on what to expect, but I also want to remind you that everyone is different, so your condition may not be the same as my Dad’s.

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