The day I found out that it was in fact cancer, and how advanced it was, Ben was out of town. I got the news during my kid’s quiet time, and spent the hour crying and texting a few people that knew I was waiting for the results of the biopsy. Despite kind offers from sweet friends to take the kids while I got myself together, I couldn’t, for some crazy reason, ask for that help. Once they woke, I took the kids to a playground so I could sit on a bench and cry behind my sunglasses without them noticing. I bought a movie, let them watch several hours of TV. They got pizza for dinner. I ate my version of comfort food, the junk I never let in my house, potato chips with ranch dip and cookie dough. I drank some wine. I basically checked out.
And then I got busy. I scheduled family photos so that we could have some good ones of my dad and the kids before he started to physically show how sick he is. I pulled my camera out every time Dad was near the children, frantically capturing memories. I made a list of things to do to help make sure the kids wouldn’t forget him. When he was gone. I thought about getting videos of him reading books so the kids could watch them. Record him talking about some of his past history, the stories he has told me a million times that I forgot because, until he is no longer there to tell them, they didn’t seem that important to remember. I’m ashamed to say it, but I started preparing for his death.
A few days ago, Ben casually walks up to me in the kitchen and mentions something he would like to get my dad. Something for him to enjoy during chemo. I literally froze. I stared up into my husband’s face and was reminded why I was so deeply blessed to have him in my life. While I was talking the talk of getting my dad the finest treatment available, while I was urging him to see doctors and be proactive, I certainly was not walking the walk of the faithful. How could God receive my prayers for healing when I was so clearly preparing for those prayers not to be heard, or answered? And how could my father fight the good fight when part of his support team wasn’t truly FIGHTING but had already thrown in the towel?
That day, Ben changed how I was going to cope with this tragedy. I quit living like I was waiting for the end. We began conspiring. Things for Dad’s treatment. Fun surprises. No more moping. I started planning meals and cooking for the family again instead of letting them survive on junk food and sandwiches. I showered. Stopped canceling on friends who wanted to see me. I rejoined the land of the living with a new purpose. Focus on life. On the right here and right now. On the FIGHT.
Dad has an appointment to see a team of doctors at MD Anderson in Houston next week. One of the best cancer hospitals in the country. Dad is ready for the fight.
And now, so am I.
4 thoughts on “Get busy livin’”
Hang in there, Liz. My mom is a two-time survivor. This will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever go through; it can shake you to the core. You’ll have good days and bad, but keep your faith in the man upstairs. That’s the only thing that will get you, your family and most importantly, your dad, through it all. PS – Those folks at MD Anderson are the best of the best. Rest assured, your dad will get the most amazing care there is:)
Thanks Jen, I can’t imagine going through it twice. But what a blessing that she is a survivor! Stories like this give me hope. I’m so thankful he is heading to MD Anderson, we have family down there for him to stay with during treatment and I’ve heard nothing but amazing things.
My Dad is also currently going through a fight with prostate cancer at MD Anderson. They think they got it all with the surgery to remove it and adjacent lymph nodes, although he won’t find out for sure until his next check-up. I’m so glad Ben got you to think positively. Cancer is totally beatable! And the power of positive thinking is amazing. Although, I still think the photo session is a good idea, but then again photo sessions are a good idea, no matter the reason.
Jennifer, I had no idea about your Dad, what wonderful news that treatment is going well! Keep us posted, I’m so thankful we live near MD Anderson, I truly feel so much better about my Dad’s chances going to such a great hospital.