Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Cancer...

I've wanted to blog about this, well, since I started my blog a little over a week ago, but I just hadn't gotten around to it yet. So, here goes. Tomorrow I will be doing something that I have done every Wednesday for five weeks now........taking my dad to his chemo treatment.

This is not a fun thing to do. Let me start this by telling the whole story. To tell the whole story I feel compelled to go back to what I feel is the beginning. Back in March of 2008 my mom came on the day after my daughters birthday, to take her to go get her 4 year old pictures taken. She came, and they went, had a good time, and mom brought Audrey back to the house. We stood and chatted for awhile, and then mom left and I waved to her out the door.....little did I know this would be the last time I would ever see her on this earth! Later in the evening, we received a phone call from a paramedic that was at my parents' home. My mom was dead...just like that. I will spare all the horrible details, but she had a massive stroke, and was gone before my dad could even figure out what was going on. Needless to say, this was a major shock. My dad was a wreck for a time (that is really an understatement), but he is a man of strong faith, much like my mom was a woman of strong faith. We were trusting the Lord. Over the course of the last year, he was doing pretty well. Learning how to take care of himself, and the house, and even finding time for the grandkids.
Fast forward to March of 2009. Shortly before the one year anniversary of my mom's death, dad fell ill (which was unusual for dad). After a few days his general sick feelings began to go away, but he also had some strange symptoms. He had a little bit of abdominal pain, and his body was itchy, even though he had no rash. There were some other bizarre symptoms as well. But because he was feeling a little better, the doctor gave him some antacid type medicine, and told him to call if anything felt worse. Well, the following Saturday night, dad came to our house for supper. Rob and I could tell right away that he looked a little yellow, especially the whites of his eyes. So, I had him call the doctor back, and I took him to the emergency room.....on the anniversary of mom's death, he was told he had cancer of the pancreas. Wow. We were trusting the Lord!
It was believed to be only a small tumor, and they thought they could easily take it out. So, dad was preparing for a major surgery to take out part of his pancreas, and part of his intestines, and his gallbladder, and part of his stomach. All to get the cancer out, and make sure all of it was out. The surgeon sounded very promising about how easily this could be done. We were trusting the Lord. He went in for surgery as my brother and our spouses, and some good family friends of ours waited for the news....we got it all. But, when the surgeon finally did come out 3 hours later, it wasn't what we expected. They could not take the tumor out. The tumor had infiltrated a major vein called the portal vein, and it was in nearby lymph nodes. The surgeon told us that dad would likely have months, and there was nothing they would be able to do for him without surgery. We were trusting the Lord.
After a few weeks of recovery from the surgery that he did do (he rerouted some bile ducts and took out the gallbladder to relieve the jaundice), dad finally saw an oncologist. The oncologist was very upfront with him, yet he gave a small glimmer of hope. " I want to try to shrink the tumor off of that vein and try the surgery again", he said. I wasn't sure how this would go over with dad, the idea of another surgery, but he wanted to try it.
So, the prescription......chemo and radiation treatments! Not the words anyone wants to hear. I think the words chemo and radiation rank right up there with the word cancer itself, in words you don't want to hear. But....we were trusting the Lord.
Dad has been through five weeks of chemo now. Because they have him on a low dose, he has been doing really well, with no major symptoms. This has been encouraging. As I go with him to his chemo every week, I see people who are in much worse shape physically than my dad, even though he has one of the most deadly forms of cancer. It makes me feel good, and yet sad that dad may very well deteriorate to that point in the future. Next week he will start radiation, and that is more likely to make him sick than the chemo itself. We are trusting the Lord.
I wanted to tell this story for many reasons. Most importantly for prayer. If you think about it, pray for my dad. Pray for strength for him, and for me. It is not easy to have to take care of him now that my mom is gone. Having my own family to take care of, makes things very difficult sometimes. I will be trading off with my husband to take dad to daily radiation treatments for 5 weeks this summer, and then if he is able to have this surgery again, it will be right before the beginning of next school year. This will be a challenge!
Cancer is such an insidious thing. In my mind...The Cancer, is equal to sin itself. It creeps in slowly and for a time you don't even realize its there, until one day it rears it's ugly head on you, and you come to realize that it is destroying you. Not only is it destroying you, but it is harming your entire family, and everyone that loves you. You can put band-aids on it and try to cover it up for awhile (chemo and radiation), but it is still eating at you, and you have to realize in the end that there is only one thing that can kill the Cancer (or the sin). God is the only thing that can kill the cancer. In the end it will really be up to Him. We can try with our human ways, to hide our sin, to "cure" it, but in the end only reaching out to God will cure us. Much like with Dad's cancer..........I am trusting the Lord!


  1. Elizabeth~thanks for the update on your Dad. I hadn't heard how he was doing or what the plan was...now I know how to pray! Lenore usually updates us, but she hasn't been feeling well. We are praying for all of you...praying for strength and a miracle!!

  2. I'll be praying for your dad and you.