A year ago today, I received a devastating phone call from my father. After being cancer free for 7 years, a scan showed a recurrence of lung cancer he had battled in 2006/2007. To say that my world was rocked is a huge understatement. There are so many emotions when you receive news like that. Although numb, you go through the motions, appointment after appointment, prayer after prayer. The past year has been an unbelievable roller coaster of the highest highs when we received good reports on his progress to the lowest lows when not one, not two, but THREE different cancers were discovered. Tumors were found in his lungs, then his back, and our biggest fear, in his brain. Surgery, chemo, radiation, more surgery, more radiation, and enough meds to fill a pill organizer of a size I never even knew existed. Going through something like this, you find in yourself a strength you never knew you had. But then again, you really don’t have a choice. You have to keep going. People keep telling me how strong I am. The truth is though that I’m just trying to match my dad’s strength. He has met each step of this horrific journey with such bravery and optimism. I’m honestly not sure I could do the same if I were in his shoes.
We’ve shared so many tears over the past year, but we’ve also shared as many laughs. This nightmare has brought our family closer together and allowed us to spend time with each other that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Dinners out, artery clogging lunches at Shake Shack, fun nights in hotels, inappropriate comments in exam rooms…we definitely know how to make the best of a shitty situation.
So, the fight continues. In 10 days, my family, my sister’s family, and my dad and stepmom leave for Disney. We pray that my dad will feel well enough to enjoy “the happiest place on Earth”. But really, if we wind up sitting by the pool all day, it’s not the worst thing.Please cherish every moment you have with your loved ones. I know that sounds so cliché but it’s true. You really never know when you’ll get a phone call that might change your life. You want to be able to say that you loved and laughed and valued each moment. And be there for people you care about who are going through a difficult time. My husband, family and friends have saved me over the past year. They’ve listened to me vent and cry (and cried with me), offered to help in whatever way possible, given me hugs that made me want to crumble, and cards that always seemed to say the right thing. I could not have survived this without some very important people in my life so thank you. You know who you are.