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Today, I saw someone who reminded me of Dad. I was at a wrestling meet of my youngest son and as I glanced over at one of the coaches in the corner I saw my Dad. The same white hair and high cheekbones. The same white hair I am getting and the same high cheekbones my oldest boy has. Those cheekbones only showed up so hollow and defined after Dad lost weight during his bout with his cancer. I was so startled I almost called out and said, “Dad!” What are you doing?” I caugth myself. The man really looked nothing like my Dad when you started staring. So strange that I hadn’t done this for such a long time.
Dad has been gone 3 years and 6 months. Time passes so quickl

Life is moving by.  I am not forgetting Dad but time has helped to remove the pain of grieving.  We talk of Dad and things that he did or said.  We drive his truck on occasion.  There are seasonal flowers replaced at the gravesite.  Fall now, yellows, golds, reds.  Soon, we will replace them with Christmas flowers or greenery.

Lately I’ve been thinking of my own death.  I am dreaming that I am dying.  Actually it doesn’t feel as if I’m dreaming, just…half asleep half awake.  The episodes make wme wonder if I really am going to die soon.  Like, a foreshadowing, forewarning…etc…  Guess we won’t know until I wake up tomorrow.  If I do.

Dad’s birthday is coming up.  January 18th.  I can’t believe it going to be his second birthday gone.  Time is passing so quickly.  

Mark drove Dad’s pick up around a few days and it seemed weird to see it parked in our driveway.  I caught myself glancing up at it and remembering Dad sitting out there, cigarette in hand, waiting for the boys to come out, waiting for us to see him and come outside and visit with him, all the while smoking one of his “little friends“.   

In reality when I think of Dad, I think of cigarettes.  The two go hand in hand.  The smell, the sight, I can’t think of him without those damn cancer sticks.

How ironic that Fathers Day is one day after the 1 year Anniversary of my Fathers death.  Flag day, June 14th will be one year.  In some ways it seems longer, in others it seems just a few months ago.  There is no “blunting” of the pain, just a gradual acceptance.  No one can describe in full how it is to lose a parent.  I liken it to seeing a beautiful view of the mountains, getting your camera, and being unable to capture the moment.  There is no way to tell anyone else the full blood and guts truth of how you are doing, or how you are feeling.  But, the support of those around, is appreciated AND so very necessary.  Without a hug, or word of encouragement, one would simply dry up, shrivel into a shell, a husk of nerves.

I carry on…sigh…

Today Dad had a Dr appointment in Kearney. The oncologist decided he needed to have his heart checked out. See if the fluid problem lies within that area. He doesn’t think cancer is the culprit. So…now we pursue that. Good report really. The chest x-ray showed fluid in the left lung, as always but no tumor growth. We are happy but remain watchful.

Dad’s scan showed, hold your breath, fluid in his lungs…again.
duh
I’m afraid this is how things will be. Take the fluid out, back the fluid comes.
I would have to say that Dad doesn’t have as many symptoms of the reaccumulation of fluid…as he did last time.
We went to the oncologist today.
Basically she said she thought the fluid was reaccumulating because of “cancer”. I really think that Dad thought his cancer was, well, gone. Because of all the radiation, the chemo, the procedures he’s undergone and the side effects of these things he had forgotton one thing. He has cancer. Cancer AND side effects of those other things.
The oncologist gave us three options. One…a different type of chemo, Two…consult with a thoracic surgeon who could put Dad in the hospital for several days, insert bilateral chest tubes, drain both lungs, “scar” up the pleural spaces and MAYBE this would work to keep the fluid from reaccumulating, Three…go on as we have been, still getting monthly Zymeda, draining the lungs as needed.
I don’t know, for some reason I had convinced myself that the fluid was related to, perhaps, the radiation or chemo. As we were about to leave I thought to ask the Dr. this question. She said, No…the fluid is not caused by these things. She seemed sure. I still question it. I don’t think she likes me. I don’t think the nurses like us either. I hate that place. I see them visiting with other patients, caring, asking questions, touching, making eye contact…and then…they seem very very different to us. I wonder why.
Anyway, we have to talk about our options and figure out what to do now.

Dad is to have a CT scan tomorrow. We haven’t seen the Dr. in a month. Dad is pretty short of breath. His activity is very limited. His appetite is poor but he eats anyway. Time is flying and we don’t know what is in store for us. Everything revolves around the cancer.
We maybe should have went to North Platte for treatment.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.

We are heading up to Kearney soon. I talked with the on call (new guy of course…so new he is squeaking…but he did see Dad last Thursday os he sort of “knows” of him) Oncologist who is supposed to be setting up a thorecentesis this morning. All hinging upon the INR results to be < 1.5 (if not then it’s fresh frozen plasma first) and really if we can make it to all the different buildings we have to go to in order to get the treatment done. I wonder if we can.
Every movement is difficult now. Air is a precious commodity.
I listened to Dads lung sounds and the left lung is completely filled up with fluid except for a small area of air movement. The right has a few rhonci.
We are supposed to get on the road and try to be up in Kearney by 8:30 – 9 this morning. I am to call the Oncologist while on the road (cuz it takes us 1 1/2 hours to get there) and they are supposed to be telling us where to go and what to do and yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda.
I know it’s going to be a cluster.
We cannot have a bunch of wasted trips here and there. Dad won’t be able to tolerate it.
I hope to hell they get it set up and set up so that this will be as easy as it can be.
I doubt it.

Since Dad has his right lung drained things are looking up…as up as they can look. The fluid is caused by the chemo and we hope that no cancer cells will be found in this 1 1/2 litre of fluid. He is only using O2 when he rests at night…for the “healing” effect it has. He gets a bit short of breath when the humidity is high but other than that…he feels better. His BP remains a bit low and the PT/INR is an ongoing lab to check and change the coumadin.
Dad’s hair is now coming back in. His fingernails and toenails are brownish and now growing out.
One wonders…now that the hair and the fingernails are growing will the cancer start in again??
Time will tell. For now we enjoy the fact that Dad can breath without assistance

We thought we might see a Dr today.
Nope.
Just because Dad had an invasive procedure…a right thorecentesis and had around 1 litre and 1/2 of fluid drained is obviously no reason to expect that a Dr. should want to see him.
At least the nurse called us and told us that there were no cancer cells in the fluid and the CT scan showed no obvious growth in the tumor.
We thought we would be scheduled to have the other lung drained this week. The CT scan showed bilateral pleural effusion…large pleural effusions. But…no. No Dr…no appointment. Just a lot of hurry up and get ’em through.
This centre is starting to really disappoint me.