It’s Time to Hit the Bricks

In the final stages of cancer guide that was given to us by Hospice, it talks about the final days and hours. It talks about how people that are getting ready to let go begin “planning for their trip”. With women, they tend to talk about things like making sure that they remember to get milk, or to make sure that the laundry is done. With men, they tend to worry about things such as fueling up the car, or making sure the car is tuned up for their wife.

This morning, my sister heard my dad say very softly, “It’s Time to Hit the Bricks”. To many of you, this may seem insignificant, but to my sister and I, it meant something. My dad has been saying this since we were young. Every time we were going somewhere, he would say “It’s Time to Hit the Bricks”. He said it when he got called to work on the railroad, he said it when we were going to visit family, he said it for a variety of reasons, but it always meant one thing; IT’S TIME TO GO.

I called my Uncle Jimmy (Dad’s brother) because he wanted to be there with Dad during his final hours and/or days. He came to the house to be by dad’s side as well as ours.

Now, all we can do is wait for whenever it is that Dad decides “it’s time to hit the bricks”…

Merry Christmas Dad

First of all, Christmas is supposed to be a time of family and joy. Unfortunately, this year, the Good Lord had different plans, at least for our family. Although Dad is home with us for Christmas this year, he is barely recognizable as the old “Frank” that everyone was familiar with, but it is clear that everyone still loves him regardless. He has had more visitors to the house in the past couple of days, and we are so very thankful that he is with us. He did not get to enjoy the Christmas tree, as he is unable to get out of bed. In fact, he is unable to do anything at all. The last time he ate was the few bites of macaroni & cheese that my sister tried to feed him the night we brought him home from the physical therapy center exactly 3 days ago.

It is so weird to think that just last week (even days ago), Dad was talking, joking, laughing, eating, going to the bathroom (although with help), and enjoying his time with family and friends. He was even going to physical therapy every day.

Did dad decide that it was time? I almost feel that way. It’s almost as if he just wanted to come home (even though it is not his home in Florida, it is his home) so he could be at peace with his family by his side.

Hospice gave us a book on what to expect during the final stages of cancer, and we have been following it and realizing that Dad is every bit the cancer patient that they were writing about.

I am scared, sad, and angry, but the love that I have for my dad is beyond anything that cancer can take away from me. I refuse to let my dad think anything other than the fact that there is an abundance of love around him every second of every day that he has left.

Merry Christmas Dad! I love you!

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.

 

 

Brain & Spine Metastases and Physical Therapy

This past week has been a whirlwind of emotions. Sunday, we took Dad to the emergency room to try and get an answer on why he is unable to walk and use his hands. He spent nearly 5 days in the hospital, and during this time we found out that Dad has brain and spine metastases. He was discharged on Friday to a facility that specializes in physical therapy. His spirits seem to be good, mostly because he has had so much support since his hospital admission. This includes a visit from his brother who he has not seen or spoken to in 15 years. We were able to locate him, and he made the trip from Florida the following day. It proves that blood is thicker than water.

So much has happened in the past 2 months since his arrival from Florida. It’s impossible to believe that a man as good as my Dad would have to succumb to such torture.

As if the stage IV lung cancer wasn’t bad enough, we now have to accept that it has traveled to his brain and his spine, which will potentially shorten the already limited time we have left with him.

His oncologist says that he is not strong enough right now to continue with chemotherapy, and this is even harder to accept because it was actually working. After only 2 treatments, his tumors have shrunk, but now we have to worry about his brain metastases. They are planning on doing radiation, but only after he is discharged from the physical therapy facility.

I don’t even know what else to write other than I am growing more anxious by the day worrying about the unknown.

 

Another ER Visit, But This Time Dad Was Admitted

My last post mentioned how Dad was struggling to get up/down the stairs due to weakness in his legs. This condition has only worsened to the point where Dad was confined to the bedroom (with the exception of going to bathroom, but even this has become a struggle).

A few nights ago, Dad fell in his room. He was trying to get up and get to his walker so he could go to the bathroom on his own. His legs gave out, and he fell.

This morning was the first time Dad admitted he was scared. It broke my heart to see him so vulnerable.

Last night, Monday, December 3, 2018, Dad was admitted to the hospital. My sister and I took him in at around noon because of his severe weakness, uncontrollable pain, and he was even complaining of dizziness.

They did a scan, but still no MRI’s. I am hopeful that they will schedule MRI’s on his brain and spine because the ER doctor seems to believe that Dad’s cancer has now spread to his spine, which is something that I have been wondering for several weeks now.

Dad is confused to the extent that he thought the year was 2013. I thought this was odd because for the most part, he seems to understand things. He knows who everyone is and can still have conversations with people, but for some reason, he is confused about the year.

My sister and I left the hospital at around 8:30pm when our Uncle Jimmy arrived. He said that he would stay with Dad until they got him settled into a room.