This is a hard post to write. That's how I know I need to do it. That photo up there is the most recent picture I have of me with my dad. That was back in July 2013 - just last summer. It was his 60th birthday. I don't get to see my dad very often but I sure am glad I saw him this past year on his birthday.
Right now he is in the hospital and as much as I don't want to say it out loud, I feel in my heart that it's probably only a matter of time before we find out that he's in for the fight of his life. The beginning of the end. My dad went through open heart surgery just about three years ago and hasn't been the same since. After that time, he began taking pain killers for what he called "stomach pain" and has pretty much been on them ever since. But just last weekend my mother and stepdad, who had gone to see him at home since he has not been doing so well, found him in pretty bad shape. He's been suffering for quite some time from intense body pain and just cannot get out of bed these days.
Fast forward to today. He has severe pain, low white blood counts, and is in an "altered state" of consciousness. After running a series of tests on him and doing bloodwork, the doctors are set to perform a bone biopsy on him. They never said why or have not really given him a diagnosis, but I can read between the lines. My suspicion is that it's cancer. An aggressive one.
So here I am 750 miles away, the oldest of my siblings, and my dad's next of kin. (He's not remarried) I've cried myself to sleep the past 3 nights since he's been in the hospital because I feel so overwhelmed with all of this. I know and feel I want to be there for my dad and I know I will, but I keep finding my thoughts drifting off to what lies ahead. My dad is only 60 years old and looks nothing like that photo above, even though it's been just 27 weeks since that photo was taken! My mom texted me a picture of him just the day before he went into the emergency room and he's aged at least 20 years.
I'm scared. So, so scared. I feel like I'm about to go down a road that I know nothing about and so, I won't be able to cope. Every night at bedtime my kids and I sit around the room and pray for my dad (their grandpa) and for the doctors treating him. But I know deep down God has made up his mind.
I'm a mess at the thought of my kids losing their grandpa at such young ages and that my sweet baby Andrew won't ever get to know his grandpa, except through photos. He's only ever met him ONCE in his life, and that was last summer - when that photo above was taken.
There are so many things that my dad still hasn't been a part of that I so desperately want him to be. I've always wanted him to come for a visit during football season (he's one of the reasons I'm such a huge football fan myself!) so he could see my boys play football on their respective teams and cheer them on. And then there's baseball season. I would love for my dad to be here to watch them play a game and yell for them from the bleachers. I want my dad's lively spirit and personality to return once again and for him to be able to lecture me with one of his wordy monologues. I would give anything.
I just have to say it so I can get it off my mind: I feel like I'm going to lose my dad!! And it is tearing me apart!
I don't want him to feel alone or in pain. So please, I'd appreciate any thoughts, prayers, well wishes you might be able to spare during this time for me, my family, and doctors who will be helping us sort this out. It feels so much better being able to write my feelings down and share about this uncertain and difficult time.