Jul 26, 2012

I went to chemo

I went to chemo.
I was brave.
I smiled.
I joked while I waited.
and then I bawled like a baby when I got in my car.

I was just visiting.  I wasn't there for myself but I wish it was me that needed to be there instead of all those others that were there.  I wish I could have stepped in and done something magical to wipe the worry away from all those in that room.  I especially wish I could have taken the place for my dad.

I watched him grimace as they poked the needle into the port into his chest. He didn't complain.  He just joked with the nurse and was his usual friendly self.

I tried to joke, too. It was hard but I was strong.  My dad didn't know I was struggling.  He didn't know that behind the smile was a big lump in my throat.

I watched the others that came to lend support to their loved ones.  Most people in that room had somebody.  I was grateful for that.  Those people come and sit, they read the paper.  They knit.  Some chat quietly with others who are waiting too.  I couldn't help but wonder how they were all holding up.  What their circumstances were.  How are they doing.  They are lending support but do they need someone to support them?

My dad has cancer.   My dad has a good woman who supports him.  She sits with him during his treatments and she is patient.  I'm thankful for that.

After I left I got in my car and bawled.  The reality of the situation hit pretty hard.  Until recently I didn't know the stage of his cancer.  But, as I sat in that room I felt the finality, and the fragility of life.  His life.  My life with him.

Compared to the time we've already had together, 39 years, the time left will be short.  I'm sure of this.

To add to the tears that I was crying for my dad, I remembered that my dear friend, Judy, and my mother-in-law, Shirley, just went through this last year.  Judy made friends in chemo.  She's like that.  She took the opportunity to socialize as she was getting her weekly dose.  I can picture it now.  I have a visual.  But I couldn't then.  I was naive as to what both these women went through.

I appreciate their trial so much more now.

The tears kept coming because as I was leaving the office, I approached the exit and the door out was blocked by a woman who was being hugged by another woman.  She had just been told she has cancer.  The emotion was uncontrolled.  The pain was real and my heart broke for her.  She sobbed and all her friend could say was "I'm so sorry!".  I didn't know her but I wanted to hug her too.

Cancer!  Why do we have cancer in this life?

I don't have the answer and I know there isn't one.  All I know is what I tell my kids.  Every situation we are dealt in this life leaves you with two choices.  We can consider it a blow to our existence and wallow in our sorrow or we can make the best of it.

Right now, I'm still raw with emotion but in time I will make the best of it.  I will try to appreciate life for what it is, cancer and all.

* P.S. - The courage pendant shown above was made in honor of my friend and Mother-in law who both had breast cancer last year.  If you want to make one there is a full tutorial, go here for details and step-by-step instruction:  http://www.thenshemade.com/2011/08/word-pendant-tutorial.html

* P.S.S - I'm in Utah again but will be heading back to Colorado on Saturday.  Normal craftiness will resume on Monday.


Gingko said...

Your article is very moving. ...
I have just finished some pendants following your tutorial. I found the idea so perfect...
Thank you very much.
I wish you all the best for you and your family.

jaki said...

Hugs. xx

Costa Rica Baby! said...

<--HUGS--> to you Amy. I will give you a real one when I see you next. This was beautiful...the love that is seen at such a tough place to be...well written. You reminded me of a story my mom told me of trying to brighten someone's day there. Thanks for bringing that memory back for me. <3

Judy said...

Amy, I am grateful for your new understanding. Cancer and chemo are such personal experiences and it is almost impossible to understand what it is like, but you come really close. I'm sure you saw the hope in the room as well. My heroes are the caregivers, the infusion nurses who have made a career out of dealing with cancer and the people who laugh and joke. It is very serious business, but Anita, Jane and I found laughter to be the best medicine. Thank you for writing this. P.S. my one year check up is next week.

Anonymous said...

It is so tough when your parent has cancer, I was not there for my Moms treatments,(same time) but I was there for my Sons treatment everyone of them..I learned so much from others there. There where some friend that I lost along the way.I learned the most about courage from my Son and so much more from him. 6 years survivor living life to the fullest and taking nothing for granted You may not know the stage that your father has but you now have the gift time to get to know your father as a person and not Dad..We all should be doing this now. I was a lucky one I had a year to say goodbye to my Mom and there was nothing that I didn't know or have questions about, and life is more peaceful because of this, not saying that it is easy I miss her everyday but I am at peace and I am sure she is too. Remember Cancer does not define your Dad..My support to you as you take this Journey with your Dad

Lula said...

I am so sorry,I lost my dad to cancer 14 years ago.I wish your dad all the luck with his fight.hugs to you and your family.

Jil ~ said...

Amy - Loved this post. It made me want to cry. I love your dad. He is a very special man. I've never seen him when he wasn't smiling or joking to make someone else happy.

My heart and prayers are with you and your family as you go through this!!

I will be in touch with your sister to see how things are going since I don't see you as often!! Keep the faith and hope that your dad would have!!

AH said...

Amy, I am right there with you. My father starts another round on Monday. I will pray for your father when I pray for mine.
Blessings to you.

Judy said...

Regarding the comments left by "anonymous"...my son had cancer at nineteen. Back then, only 21 years ago, chemo was almost in the dark ages. He was so sedated that I practically had to carry him back to the car, so nauseated, so thin. He was in his first year at Oklahoma State and did not miss that much school, even though I new he did not feel good. He was then, and is now my hero. To a very large extent, he helped me through my chemo...for him to be courageous at 19, I had to be so at 67. I am very thankful for his example. He just turned 40, is in excellent health and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in January. That example I probably will not follow....

Rachel said...

I don't always leave comments, but I had to on this one. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer towards the end of May and did her first chemo treatment 2 weeks ago. I was with her. Even though I knew what was going on, that day was the day I could no longer deny it. I know the feeling. It's a helpless feeling. My mom has been pretty sick. I just hope she has some good days before she has to do it again on the 6th. It's scary stuff. Stay strong! (and crying doesn't make one weak ;)

Anonymous said...

reading your little lines seemed so unreal and thoug so right.
After my first chemotreatment for breastcancer in 2005 I'll have a second series within two weeks. It will be a big challenge, but I know I'll be stronger once done. Wish all the people dealing with this te courage and good spirits!

Ann said...

My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. I lost my Dad to cancwer at Christmas this past year. reading your blog this morning, was like you were living what myself and my Dad had gone thru for two years. what you said is exactly right, we have two choices and we have to make the best of it while we are all still here. I do have one bit of advice for you, take lotss of pictures, which I know you already do, and spend as much time as you can with your Dad, he knows how you were feeling. If you and I are anytrhing alike, my Dad was my go to guy, sounding board, and the dragon slayer to his dying breath for his 39 year old daughter. thinking of you, Ann

jules said...

I have not commented much on your blog..even though I do love all of your work, words and daily talks. but this one moved me to tears and the need to write.
I am sorry that you are having to watch your father go through this. I know-first hand what it is is like to watch your father die of cancer. Mine did...when I was 19. And as this 46 year old writes to you...my heart still aches for him being gone.
So..thanks for sharing this with us. And you are not alone. We will pray for you and your family. And continue to teach your kids how life is a fleeting thing.

Vikki said...

Sending prayers up for you and your father. Lost my mom to pancreatic cancer in '09. Watching a parent suffer has to be almost as bad as watching your child. The very best thing you can do is to be there, help when needed but don't take over. Love him and share as much time and as many memories as you can. Pray with faith and never lose hope.
God bless and keep you all.