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Friday, June 6, 2008

Cancer

How do you write about a man who was the first love of your life? The man who brought us home coffee candy on Fridays after work, the man who walked me down the aisle, the man who helped us renovate our first house when we were newly married?

I’m talking about my Dad. Here he is as a Korean Vet in the late fifties with his twin brother. He’s on the right. Turns out he has lung cancer. Lately he’s had a nagging cough, and after an x-ray that seemed cloudy, and a procedure that ascertained he has a tumor, he is beginning treatment. But, believing in good karma as I do, there is a positive side. This tumor is in the center of his bronchial tube, aggravating it. As a result, the cancer was found early which I have read only occurs in 15% of patients with this type of lung cancer. Had it been directly in either lung we would have found out at a later stage. Thank God!

My Dad has had other health issues. When my son was 4, I had a heck of a time deciding whether or not to send him to preschool. Finally, I did, but as a working Mom could not be there on the first day of school (as it was my first day of school, too!)

Instead, my parents took him. On the car ride there, my Dad was complaining of tingling and chest pain. Quickly, they dropped off my son and drove to the hospital. When they entered the hospital and said they thought he might be having a heart attack, all the bells and whistles went off and he was quickly hooked up to heparin. He did have the heart attack but it was milder than if he had been at home.

We always credit my son with saving Hobba’s life; had he been home alone and taken a rest, had they not been driving to preschool, he surely would not have survived. Karma? You bet! Why did he have a heart attack on that day? I know my son relishes his role in my Dad’s heart attack story.

This week my Dad has been going to Memorial Sloane Kettering Hospital in New York City for his second round of chemo. This is one of the premier cancer facilities in our country. If you are ill, I cannot stress that you must get to the best place possible for your illness. As usual, my Dad is making light of it. “Daughter, they have a great coffee bar when you get in there and they give you a menu and you can order lunch!”

My Mom, saint of saints, is taking copious notes in a notebook. I recommended she log everything because you just cannot remember. Yesterday, they were on a train and realized they’d left the carry on bag with the notebook on another train. My mother had me cracking up as she retold the story of how she and my Dad, both in their 70s, hopped off one train, ran as fast as they could to the other, and grabbed that bag. “Honey, we have not moved that quickly in years!” When I visit my son at college in Manhattan, I wear a backpack. She is going to do the same.

I have offered to drive them in to the city but my Dad feels like as long as he can, he wants to do everything himself. I understand this. It makes you feel more in control of your destiny.


But having caught this early, I feel good about it and am always looking for signs of good karma. He recently opened a fortune cookie when eating Chinese food: “You will only hear good things”…can his karma be better than that?

36 comments:

amanda said...

I will keep you, your dad and your whole family in my prayers. It's rough to watch and not be able to fix - when they've done so much for you throughout your entire life.

Amanda

Rue said...

Hi Tara,

I'll be praying for your dad and all of you. I'm glad your family has a bit of humor about this. I think it's easier to deal with it when you can laugh at the little things.

rue

Alison Gibbs said...

You are so right about the karma thing. The power of positive thought is also wonderful.
Your father will be in my thoughts.
Alison

Kathleen Grace said...

Hi Tara, I will add your dada to my prayer list. I wish him, and the rest of your family only the best.
Hugs

Kathy

Mary said...

I will keep you (and him) in my prayers. The whole "bring the notebook to chemo" thing is what my whole life is about right now (my husband ... also caught early ... also has an amazing attitude)but it's funny how most of life is just normal.
Mary

bluemuf said...

Tara, What a beautiful uplifting positive post. I will keep all of you in my prayers and thoughts.

Hugs karen

Janet said...

Tara,

So sorry about your Dad. I will send good thoughts and positive karma your way. I love the image of the two of them train jumping to get the notebook.

Janet

Adrienne said...

Hi Tara -
I'm sorry that your father is dealing with cancer. My dad had cancer in another part of his body and was treated for over 18 years before he died. He had such wonderful - though at times hard - years and we made so many special memories during that time. So I, too, have watched my father deal with this disease and make light of it. He was always 'just fine'!

You and he and your family will be in my prayers. Thank you for sharing so we can support and pray for you.
~Adrienne~

Mary said...

What a terrific attitude to take -- so often we are just scared out of our wits at such a diagnosis. Your parents sound so wonderful! I will remember them (and your whole family) in my thoughts and prayers.
xoxo,
Mary

Firefly Hill said...

Tara,
I am sorry to read of your dad's illness. Your amazing attitude is inspiring and I am glad to know he is at MSK. I will thinking of you all.

annie

kelly said...

sending more love your family's way!

Susie Q said...

I will keep you all in my heart and prayers...
I am so happy you have a sense of humor..it helps so much.

When my dad spent months in the hospital. my mother and I relied
on humor to get through the darkest days.

I send you warm hugs and love...
Sue

KarenHarveyCox said...

Tara, I am sorry that your father has cancer. I do know that you and your family is filled with so much positive energy that it will surely bless the situation. A friend of mine had lung cancer twice and she is strong and well now. Your father is blessed to have found it early. My prayers are with you and your dad. Karen

Brenda said...

I am doing a post on our soldiers can I add your dad? If so Id like his name.

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

So sorry to hear about your father's diagnosis, but very happy to hear that it was caught early. Sounds like your dad has a great positive attitude. He can beat this! He is blessed to have such a loving family around him. He'll be in my prayers.

Pat said...

{{{{{{{{{{Tara}}}}}}}]]

I am so sorry to hear this hard news, but I am happy, too, that it was caught early and that your Dad is being treated at Memorial Sloane Kettering. Stay positive and keep up the good karma!

I'll be praying for your Dad and your entire family.

{{{{ Hugs}}}} Pat

Sandi McBride said...

Tara, I'm adding your Dad to the list on my Prayer Warrior chain...sounds as though he is going to make a full recovery and for this I'm sure everyone is thankful...prayers for you, too...
hugs
Sandi

Brenda Kula said...

First of all, I want to tell you how much I like your blog banner. It evokes such coziness. And secondly, I will keep you and your family in my "karma thoughts", as that is how I too believe. Also, my very good friend and neighbor had lung cancer that was detected a little over six months ago. They too caught it early, but had to take out the main lobe(?) She has been in rehab for months now and is doing great! And I have to say, though I know this is a long comment, that I truly admire the fact that your parents seem to love one another so much! Makes me believe in miracles!
Brenda

M.KATE said...

Dear Tara, I will pray for your dad. I lost mine due to cancer 9 years ago, it was stage 4 stomach cancer and really tough times for all of us then. Take care and be positive.
Happy weeekend my friend.

Cori G. said...

Hi Tara,
I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I have a friend whose sister was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer awhile back and a bunch of us have been praying for her. She went in for a check up and is completely clean. The Dr.'s are just amazed! I always say, "Where there is life there is hope."
I will keep you all in my prayers.
Cori

Gina said...

I'm so sad to hear this news Tara.. keep up the positive attitude and it's good that they picked it up this early and that your dad has the best care available. Thinking of you and your family Gxoxox

Kari & Kijsa said...

Prayers for your father, and blessings for you. What a great story with your son! Have a fabulous weekend!

blessings,
kari & kijsa

TattingChic said...

I'm sorry to hear that your dad has lung cancer. He and your family will be in my prayers.
I just did a post about a fortune cookie, too, what a coincidence. Hope you do hear many good things.

pve design said...

Tara,
My mother is a cancer survivor! She has a tumor - lung cancer, they removed it all and she is now 81 and still going strong, that was nearly 20 years ago! She had moved a heavy birdbath and fell on it and cracked a rib, she went in for an X-ray and that is how they discovered the tumor. The rest is history!
I will keep your father "Hobba" in my prayers.
I too believe in Karma. Keep spreading all the good and it will come back to you!
Patricia

Tracy said...

Oh, Tara...I'm so sorry to hear what's happening with your father! Many thoughts and prayers going out to him and all of you at this time. But your positive attitude will "win the day"...and so glad there is a lot of hope here. That forturne is perfect timing! Happy weekend to you all ((HUGS))

Sunnispace said...

Wow - what a wonderful story! I'm so happy to hear about how things are turning out for you dad - what a blessing! Good Karma indeed!!

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

Oh Tara, I am so sorry. I too am very close to my daddy and understand that special bond and relationship. It is so important and so beautiful to have that closeness with your dad. I am so glad you have this with yours. I am so glad they found it early. I will keep your sweet family in my prayers. Thank you for telling us about your beautiful parents!

Much love and hugs,
Amy

Magnolia Street Style said...

I'm wishing your father strength and a smooth recovery during his treatment.

Connie

Beth Leintz said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad, but it sure sounds like he has a great attitude. I'll be thinking about you- wishing more good Karma coming your way!

Barb McMahon said...

Tara - I've been remiss in my blog-reading, or I'd have left a comment sooner...

This is a tough time for you and your family. Glad you're able to pull together and keep a sense of humour. And it's good that they caught it early.

Will be thinking of you and him.

Rhondi said...

Hi Tara
WHat a wonderful tribute to your dad. For a girl, I think having a greatdad is the best gift you can receive growing up. I'll be praying for him for a good outcome.
Hugs, Rhondi

JeannieTheDreamer said...

Hello Tara, may I borrow your hammock? hahaha
Sorry to hear about your dad but at the same time i admire your faith and love.

Blessings.
Jeannie

annechovie said...

Hi Tara~
So sorry to hear about yor dad, but I am glad it was caught when it was. Nevertheless, I know it's tough for all of you to go through and I will be praying for you and your family!

Janera said...

Oh, those daddies! We love them so! I know you love him, talk to him, pray with him, enjoy him every day. Write your memories. Take lots of pictures.

Be blessed,
Janera

Coveiter said...

what a heartwarming read. i will keep you and your family in my thoughts.

{ julie }

Firefly Nights said...

Very sorry to read about your father's cancer. I'm glad they found it early. And, yes, that is one of the very best hospitals.