Facing Reality of Cancer as Autumn Leaves Burn to Umber

As I’ve written about previously, my father has cancer. He was diagnosed three years ago with advanced stage prostate cancer. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I have an interesting relationship with my dad. I wouldn’t say we’re the closet father-daughter pairing in the world, but regardless he’s still my father and I’ve always imagined watching him grow old and having him around as the grandfather to my future children — he was always good with really little kids. I wanted him to meet my kids, and for them to have him as a grandfather. I’ve always known he’d be a much better grandfather then father.

But everyday that goes by, I know this is more and more unlikely of how life will pan out. With cancer, you can be fine one day and the next your conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Living far away, I try to visit often, but in between there is little conversation. He doesn’t like talking about his emotions or what he is going through, though lately he’s admit to being depressed. He won’t admit to being depressed about dying, per say, more so that the drugs they have given him have removed his testosterone and have “feminized” him. Really, though, I know he’s equally, if not more depressed because he’s terminally ill. But I don’t know how to deal with that. He doesn’t want to talk about it. I want to be a support for him, but I don’t know if I can handle it, even if he was willing to talk.

The day today on the east coast is cool and crisp, with a heavy grey sky, and bright yellow leaves on the trees falling off in the wind to dry and die on the ground. Another year has come and gone — and things are slowly changing. Everything is aging, myself included. I don’t like change, but I’m not resistant to it. I’m more in denial about it. That will all change the day my father’s condition gets worse — which is any day now. That will all change when I need to decide how important it is for me to be out here with him through his final days, however long they may be, or to maintain my life across the country, far from his inevitable deathbed. I don’t like to think about it, but it’s getting to a point where I’m going to have to. I don’t know if he would want me here, he hates being seen as weak. But I’d want to be here. It’s strange knowing that in the next year or two, this is something I will have to face. It’s part of life, but he’s still young at 60, and I’m not ready for him to go. I keep hoping that someone will discover a cure for prostate cancer, and everyday there’s a new treatment available, but never a cure.

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3 comments

  1. Dustin K says:

    Hello, I found your site, through the Consumerist. 1st, I would like to say the "haters" out there about your DUI post, obviously, did not get the point, and do not allow that to temper your posts in the future. Honesty is one of the virtues I thrive for in a person. Anyone who "sugar coats", beats around the bush, or out right lies to me, has no place in my life.

    But, I wanted to leave a comment about you and your father. I do not know your history or past with him, as this is the first time I have visited the site.

    I recently lost my mother to lung cancer. It has all but destoyed me. Time? It has not healed any wounds. My mother was, and still is my best friend. She and I had a very typical relationship. But, I adored her. She's the most amazing person I ever met. (my eyes are welling up)….

    I guess, the reason I decided to leave you a comment, is that, PLEASE, do not make the same mistake I did. I was so close to my Mom, that It killed me to visit her. I could not bear to see her in the condition she was. But, alas, I visited, when I could. Then, as you described, one day she was doing well, and filled my heart with optimism, the next she was not. We lost her in August.

    The Regret I live with, on a daily basis, is nothing I would ever wish on anyone in the world. You sit back and reflect, and wonder if you did enough in life for your lost parent. You remeber the fights or tiffs, you may have had. But, most importantly, I allowed my feelings to get in the way of visiting her, when I did have the time. You feel as if you should have been there more, when you had the chance. If I was offered 1 million dollars or 5 mins with my mom, I think you know what I would choose.

    You only have one father in life. Do what you can now, because, when he does leave you, you want to be at peace with it.

    More importantly, at peace with yourself.

    Do NOT allow yourself to be put in a position of regret or guilt. It never leaves you.

    I would love to hear from you, as it may help you, as well, as myself to get some things off of our chests.

    Just my 2 bits. I wish you and your family well, through this.

    DK

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