I've decided to encorporate some of my life into this blog, along with the same quotes/pictures/videos that I have in it already. I'm not saying my life is like important or people should want to know about it, but I feel like it could relate to some people that need someone to relate to them. I know that sometimes I try to look for a blog or a website or anything to be able to relate to and it's really hard to find! So, I hope that someone, even if its just one person, can find this and it will maybe help them through some of their hard times.
On December 23, 2002, when I was in fourth grade, my dad was at a basketball game with a client. I was so young at the time, but from what I remember, he collapsed in the bathroom. He was brought to the hospital, which is when they found that he had a non-cancerous brain tumor. They decided they needed to remove it right away, so my mom and grandpa drove there (the hospital was about three hours away in a different state) on Christmas Eve. My brother, sister, and I celebrated Christmas at my grandma's house. I remember being really confused and sad, but again, I was so young so I couldn't really grasp what was going on. Luckily, my dad was able to come very quickly on December 26th. He was completely fine, except for having a headache for a couple weeks after getting home. He totally recovered and continued going to work. Our life was completely normal.
Then, in June of 2006, things started to feel eerily familiar. My dad had fainted at a party earlier in the year, but he was fine. He started taking tests to figure out if something was wrong, but I didn't really think anything of it, being in seventh grade and all. We had planned all these vacations that summer, and were about to leave for one the next day. My parents sat us down and broke the news- a doctor figured out that my dad's tumor was growing back and they needed to go back and remove more of it. Honestly, I wasn't worried whatsoever. I was actually relieved to have an excuse not to go on the trips because I wanted to stay home to see my friends. So, my sister, brother and I went to grandma's, expecting to only be there for about four days like last time. But oh, how things were different..
Looking back, it's all really unclear, but all I really remember hearing about is how my dad had surgery and it didn't go so well. During the surgery, there was a brain hemmorhage (spelling?) which caused bleeding in his brain. My dad was having trouble waking up/responding. I could tell that it was not good, even though my grandma tried to be as positive as she could. My mom sounded totally drained on the phone, and my grandma would have us talk to my dad really loudly in the phone and say "I love you" and "I miss you" but not expect a response.
He was in the hospital for a total of six weeks. It was three hours away, so we only got a chance to visit him once for a couple days. I was totally taken aback when I got there. I didn't really know what to expect, but I definitely did not expect what I saw. He was still in the ICU, so he had bandages all around the top of his head and tubes coming out everywhere. He was awake and aware (word used loosely) at this point, and could recognize us. He started saying bizaare things that did not make sense, like "Hey guys! Did you hear about the car accident I was in!? It was pretty crazy!". I don't remember how long I stayed in there, but eventually I just ran out sobbing. Looking back, I'm now realizing how young I actually was. 13 years old. My friends back at home were worrying about talking to boys on AIM and which pool they were going to go to that day.
Anyways, those few days were pretty much like that. I remember holding back my tears the majority of the time, and never really feeling comfortable to let them out. I don't know if I just wanted to appear strong for my younger siblings, or I was ashamed, or what.. But that feeling definitely is one I get often in times of hardship. The whole time we were there, my dad was saying the most confusing things. He would forget how old he was, or he would think that we were on vacation. He would also sleep a lot, and when he would, we would just hold his hand. I remember how tightly he grasped our hands; it was like he never wanted to let go.
The day we left was very traumatizng for me. We were tearfully saying our goodbyes and my dad confusedly turns to my mom and asks, "Where are they going? They're coming back soon, right?" And when he realized that we were crying, he got even more confused. He said it almost like how a five year old would. It was so scary to see my dad, the one who always had it together and was in charge of the family, so unaware of his surroundings and so dependant of all of us, even his thirteen year old daughter.
When he finally came home in July, he had to stay at the local hospital for a couple weeks. After that came rehab every day. Finally, maybe around September, he had gotten back most of his physical strength for walking around that he lost during the weeks and weeks of laying in a hospital bed. His mental strength, though, was lost forever. He had, and still has, short term memory loss. He remembers facts about years and years ago, and things that are drilled in to his brain again and again, but he won't remember what he did that day or what he had for lunch, or simple things like that. He does not work. It was definitely a huge change that our family had to adjust to.
That kind of thing is impossible to adjust to fully. There are days when it feels almost normal, but then days where you just wanna go back in time to when things were seemingly perfect. By last March, though, our family was finally adjusted for the most part, and leading on a life as normal as we could make it. Then on March 9(?), 2009, things took a turn for the worse again- my dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer in the blood. I should probably know more details about the cancer itself, but I don't.
Anyways, things felt totally like deja vu- back to staying at my grandma's house or my grandma staying at our house. My dad was in and out of the hospital for the first month. It almost felt unreal, and still sometimes does thinking back. I surprisingly can't remember as much about it as I think I do. By the summer, he was feeling a little bit better. He started high dose chemo and had a stem cell transplant in September, which caused him to be in and out of the hospital again. He had to take steroids for it, so his face puffed out (I didn't realize it that much at the time, but now when I look at pictures I'm shocked about how big he looks- think 'chubby cuppy cake boy' on youtube). All this was well worth it though, as it put him in remission.
He is still in remission, and doing great. I'm so thankful that at the time he is healthy. It is still scary, though, because Multiple Myeloma is a kind of cancer that is not curable. The doctors have said, and my mom has explained, that it is not a matter of if he will die from the cancer, but when he will die from the cancer. And that freaks me out, but at the same time, it still hasn't fully sunk in. My dad will sometimes ask my mom questions about it at the dinner table because he's forgetten all the details of it. He doesn't even try to beat around the bush or sugar coat it. He'll flat out say "So I'm gonna die from this cancer right?"
But, at the same time, I am constantly reminded, by my optomistic mom, that it could be 10, 20, etc. years! It doesn't mean he's going to die anytime soon. I try to think like that, but sometimes it's really hard. Questions run through my mind, like "Will he be there for my wedding to walk me down the aisle?", "Will he see his first grandchild?", "Will he see me graduate college?"..
....... Okay so sorry for this extreeeeemely long post. It's probably not very organized as I just wrote whatever came to mind. I'm going to be writing about this from time to time- updates, stories, or just random memories that pop in my head.
Oh, and if someone comes across this and can relate in any way, please don't hesitate to comment! I want to be there for anyone who is going through something the slightest bit similar to me! We are not alone in this world.. which is possible to see through the simple things, like blogs!