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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.

I’ve been thinking about Dad lately.  I guess, around Thanksgiving was the time we found out he was carrying cancer cells.  Lung cancer.  Abnormal, freakish, squamous cells, non small cell in fact.  Death cells.

fucking cancer

I keep remembering the last day, the last hour, the last minute, the last time I saw Dad.  It kills me.  Makes me tear up and cry, clench the calves of my legs until they cramp up and hurt and twist my leg into a pretzel.  

Sadness.

I usually crowd these thoughts out and try not to think.

when it comes down to it.

Painful

I think often about my own mutating cancer cells.  I’m not diagnosed.  I just think it is invietable.  I will get cancer and I will die.  when?  I don’t know.  Probably sonner than later.  If not that then death by heart attack.  

That’s my body type, my destiny, my history, my future… me

So hard to believe.  The year is up.  Tomorrow.  I find myself moved to tears lately.  Especially when gathering up and putting out to display the Fathers Day cards, the Fathers Day plaques and other knick knacks  at the shop.

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…

Just got done visiting Dad’s gravesite…again.  Mark and the kids and I went up yesterday too.  We’ve had such a lot of rain (excess of 6 inches this past few days) that I worried the dirt would be swept away or sunken in.  Everything was as should be though.  A little yucca plant is growing behing Dad’s stone.  I think we’ll let it go there.  See if it grows.  I remember sticking a little green seed pod there quite some time ago.  I wonder if he would be mad.  Anyway, Mom and I got everything decorated and we went to Arapahoe and Holbrook and decorated graves there too.  The weather was hot but nice.  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year.  I know I keep saying that but it’s true.  The whole last year Dad was sick seems like a dream…another world entirely.  I think I’ve changed a lot since then.  I’m someone new…someone I don’t really know.  I can’t explain it and I don’t know if it’s even relative to what happened when Dad was sick.  I just know it’s true.

Last year at this time we were all waiting.

For the shoe to drop.  The final shoe.  Dad was so sick.  He was in the final throes.  Everyday another slipping away of something.  The body betrays you, the mind.  The importance of “things” becomes ridiculous in proportion to the importance of moments.

snapshot:  Dad, in a wheelchair in the cool early morning air, a coffee cup beside him, a cigarette in his mouth.  He liked to listen to the birds, enjoy a coffee and smoke in the morning.

snapshot:  Dad sitting in my little orange bug as we went for a ride through town, to our house, where he gazed at the gaily decorated driveway where we were holding my daughters graduation party.  He would spend the night at home, with my Uncle “babysitting” so my Mom could attend the graduation and a few minutes of the reception.

snapshot:  Mark carrying Dad and placing him into our vehicle so we could take him to the hospital for a “treatment”.

snapshot:  Dad, gone, quiet, still in the hospital bed, my mothers face, stricken, Dad is gone

Mom and I went to decorate Dad’s grave today. Put up spring flowers and took down the roses that mom called “winter”. The wind was blowing so fiercely we wonder if the flowers will stay put in the vase. Mom stuffed them with some paper and we will hope for the best. We drove around then and looked at all the graves. I actually like our cematary. It’s quite old with some really neat old tombstones.
Dad is gone now almost 9 months. I remember the awfulness of it all in waves. There was good too. Lots of good. I never spent so much time with Dad until the last two years of his life. I’m glad we were able to keep Dad at home. It was hard, but why must everything be easy.

It’s a sad day really. I think of Dad, gone for 7 months now and I can’t believe it. Again, it seems like a different world, a different time, place. I cried last night and felt sad. Mark’s dad died of lung cancer too. Mark was only 19 and I never got to meet his dad. I worry about my children. Will they be “prone” to lung cancer? Alec has already had a “cyst” removed twice from his lower leg at the growth plate, what does that mean for him? Katie, my oldest, is smoking. I am sick about it. So sick. So very very sick. I don’t know what to do. She is almost 19, in college. She has to be responsible for her own actions. She is not a stupid girl. I have talked and talked and talked about lung cancer and smoking forever. She saw her grandpa shrink slowly every day and die of lung cancer. She smokes. god it hurts to think of it.,,

Thanksgiving gone and already Christmas in few days. Time is flying by. I have been re-reading a book that is about a woman who takes care of her dad who is dying of lung cancer. I hate it, yet I read it. Sounds true to me. Hard to take and hard to put down. In some ways it feels good to know that other people have gone through the same experiences as you have. Some comfort in that. A week ago or so, Mom made a Christmas tree for Dad’s grave and we took it to the cemetery. It fits right over the vase. We also took a greenery type deer and put him there too. It’s so hard to believe that Dad is dead. I have been trying to block out thoughts of his sickness because it is hard to think of him like that now. It makes me feel so very very sad. In fact I can’t really write anymore now.

I keep thinking about Dad and when he died. The hospital room that day, the way he “talked” with his eyes until the very end. I keep remembering the last breath he took. I can’t help it and I hate to think of it and I wish I could think of other things. Better things.
Not long after Dad died Mark and I thought we would go fishing at the creek. I went into Mom and Dads garage to get Dad’s tackle box. I picked it up, opened it up and my mouth dropped open. Inside were a jillion cigarette butts. Neatly packed on top of his lures. In fact it looked like they belonged there. Obviously he hadn’t quit smoking. I guess I knew that…deep inside I knew it. I shook my head and Mark and Mom stood there with their mouths dropped open. I felt such a…dismay…it seems like I was always telling my Dad not to smoke when I was a little girl. I hated the smell…although sometimes now I like the slight whiff of a cigarette burning… I don’t smoke…can’t stand it…I remember thinking…I wonder when he will die of cancer back when I was little.
terrible thoughts
Mom and I picked out a headstone. There is a fishing scene on the back. The only thing it needs is a cigarette and the picture would look like him.
Wish I could sleep