This is a blog I never wanted to write. A blog I've been struggling with for eight whole days now and yet I don't know if these words will make any sort of sense by the time I've written them down.
It's been one week and day since we (my family & I) found out that my dad has cancer. Adenocarcinoma – Esophageal cancer. A 3.54" malignant tumor at the base of his esophagus. It has, thankfully, not spread to any other part of his body, which was a huge relief.
Later today he has an important appointment – his first with the oncologist at the University of Pennsylvania who will work to save his life. I'm anxious and uncomfortable and worried overall but my nerves are frayed as we wait to learn the treatment course that will likely, and hopefully, be outlined this evening.
Those are the facts as I have them up to this very moment.
I don't know how this entire process works, I don't know what goes on in meetings that discuss chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. I don't know what I'm supposed to expect versus what everyone else tells me to expect. I only know how I feel and how I feel I promise to always share here on this irrelevant website. As uncomfortable as it may be for me, or even you, I never skirt the truth and have no plans on changing this.
What I feel is a lot. I'm scared but hopeful. I'm afraid and sad, too, and the broken record playing over and over in my head that My Dad Is Sick blares at the forefront of my thoughts almost all the time now.
Suppose that is normal, the way it goes for everyone who experiences this directly or even indirectly if it's someone you care deeply for. But unfortunately, it's a part of life. A scary, unknown, difficult part of life for many many people. Dad just so happened to draw the short straw this time around, and it fucking sucks. It just sucks.
My intent is to journal this journey as it goes, sharing how my father is doing and his progress as it happens; right now he's very positive and hopeful going into this and I'm latching onto that for the foreseeable future. Not at the expense of his emotional wellbeing, but rather following his example early on so in those times where he is unable to push away the fear on his own I can be there to take over for him.
I try to be that way with everyone I love and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I'm approaching the road ahead with the same mentality as best I can.
For now, I'd like to end this blog with a small behind the scenes: the relationship I share with my father is special to me beyond words and my emotions are absolutely unstable since the news. He's my dad, I'm the baby of the family and we share the same exact temperament and a million other attributes I wouldn't trade for the world. He's the one man who, over the course of my entire life, has stood in my corner, supported, encouraged and loved me through my darkest, worst moments. Through my best and greatest as well. He would be here in an hour if I needed him and the thought of what he has to endure is killing me. It's just not fair to him.
But if I've learned anything over these past 35+ years, and trust that I have learned plenty, there's no way around it but through it. Grab the bull by the horns and fight.
I know it'll be hard, it already is, but he's the bravest, toughest man I know.
So here's to the start of this terrifying next phase of life none of us wanted or asked for.
You got this, Dad.