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?