I hesitated to blog about this, because believe it or not, there are some aspects of my life that I prefer to keep private.
But to blog three times a week, pretending like this isn't going on, would be pointless. So rather than quitting my blog entirely, I have to blog about it. There are only so many times Sam can fill in by saying, "Brodi's attending to family business" without people getting suspicious something is wrong, or assuming I've run off with the Italian mob.
Over three years ago, my dad was diagnosed with pancreas cancer, even though he had none of the risk factors. He was/is a young, healthy, non-smoker, non-drinker. At the time, he wasn't even eligible for Medicare.
We were told there is only one chance for cure with this disease. To cut it out. And with that, you get only one shot to cut it out. There are no do-overs.
Then, all you can do is live life, and hope it doesn't come back. We cut my dad's cancer out, and for three years, it didn't come back.
Three years is just enough time for a person to become comfortable in the idea that maybe, he will dodge this bullet. Three years is long enough for my dad to become a practicing pediatrician again. Three years is just long enough for the chance of recurrence to drop below 50%. Three years is a "miracle".
But sometimes, even miracles hit road blocks. Last week, they found some spots in his lungs. They said it would be incredibly rare if the pancreas cancer returned in the lungs first. It was normal for it to come back in the abdomen, the liver, the pancreas, the colon... but not the lungs.
Of course, my dad lives to be rare! On Wednesday, we got the news it was cancer. And not lung cancer, which would've been better news, but metastatic pancreas cancer.
They have no idea where those little pancreas cells were hiding out, and for so long, but hide they did.
I admit the news dealt a blow to me and my little family. My sister, my mom, my dad and I have always been a tight foursome. We live within 2 miles of each other. We are frequent lodgers in each others houses. We pass around the grandkids like they belong to all of us.
When my dad was first diagnosed, we joked about how close we'd become. We travelled to each doctor's appointment together. We likened ourselves to a blood clot, because we stuck together. And now we're here again. Clotting up.
I hope you will put up with me during this time. I'm warning you now, I've already become a little crazy.
For instance: Sometimes when doctors say, "To be honest, this treatment would be for the good of science only," I want to punch these doctors.
Sometimes when acquaintances say, "Oh well, we're at that age where we lose our parents," I want to say, "You may be at that age, but I'm not." My dad lost his own mom only three years ago. My dad is at that age. I'm not.
Sometimes I envy friends who are estranged from their dads. Sometimes I'm sure life would be so much easier if we could love each other a little less.
Sometimes, I watch the news, and I'm surprised when the anchor does not mention my dad, and this strange new crack that has suddenly appeared in the earth.
Sometimes, I wonder why a total internal organ transplant is not a viable option. Sometimes I want to punch the people who tell me it's not. But then I laugh, because sometimes I love to disprove the theory that there are no stupid questions.
Sometimes my urge for violence surprises even me.
Sometimes, I see old people, and I wonder, "What did they do that we aren't doing? Why is growing old so easy for them?"
Sometimes, I see strangers on the street, and I can't help wishing it was their dad who would have to go through this, and not mine.
Yes, I'm that angry and crazy.
But it's the crazy people who make the best fighters, and I'll tell you it doesn't come any crazier than my family. We're going to fight.
It's rare to find an effective chemotherapy regimen for pancreas cancer. But then again, my dad lives to be rare. (see above). We're going to shed the naysayers like dead cancer cells. We're going to fight the tumors with everything we've got, and when the cancer adapts and mutates to become resistant, we'll find something else to throw at it, even if it's the kitchen sink. I always hated my kitchen sink. I am not afraid to throw it.
And we're going to party.
Who's with me?
|Erin, my dad and me at the Huntsman Cancer Institute|
Sometimes, even when I think I'm okay, I go to talk to someone and that person says something nice and I start crying and then it's like five hours later and I'm still crying. I'm a little thermonuclear right now, but I want you to know the kindness is very much appreciated.