Friday, August 21, 2015

Sharing my heart

This post is for me. It is not about Prostate cancer. It is not about treatments. Cancer can wait. My heart is sick. I have never known such pain. I am writing this entry because I don't know what else to do. My dad is going to die. Each day it becomes more apparent.
  My dad is the man of steel. He is my hero. Everything I ever learned I learned from him. There was nothing he couldn't do once he set his mind to do it. He use to carry me to bed on his shoulders. I thought he was the strongest man in the world. He tought me to hunt and fish. He taught me to ride a bike. He and mom always knew what to get a 12 year old boy for christmas and birthdays. He bought me my first guitar. He introduced me to Waylon Jennings, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard. He gave me my first b.b. gun, bow, and hunting knife. He taught me to respect my mom. He took off his belt and tanned my hide when I needed it. He showed me it was okay for a man to cry. He taught me to fight for what you believe in. He was strong enough to watch me fall when I messed up my life. He was there to to help me up when the prodigal son came home. He taught me to water-ski. He taught me to build. He taught me how to work on cars, do plumbing, and electrical. He taught me how to say I am sorry and to swallow my pride when I was wrong. He taught me that a man may not like going to work every day but a man supported his family. He worked at a place he hated for 39 years and 11 months. I asked him the day he retired at age 58 why he didnt stay 40 years to get bis gold watch. He said they could keep their frigging watch. Fibre was in the rear view and he didn't  need  a watch on his wrist to remind him of it. Now it appears he has one lesson left to teach me and I am not ready to learn it.
   Dad is 73. He and my mom have been married for 53 years. It wasn't always a bed of roses but their love is eternal. They knew that marriage was a hard road but quitting was never an option. For better or worse meant something. I heard my dad say the F-word one time. It sounded out of place. Dad is too young for this. He is a young vibrant 73 and seeing him like this is breaking my heart. If there was one consolation to having advanced prostate cancer it was knowing I would never lose my parents. I am glad that they won't have to lose a son to cancer or watch me die. I am learning just how hard it is to lose someone you love. We lost gramma and grampa but they were really old and it was hard but not lime this.
  I am holding on by a thread. I have to. My mom needs me. She is as tough as a barnyard rooster but the cracks in her armour are starting to show. Her heart is breaking. I feel helpless and weak.
   I still have hope that treatment will help but they have not started any treatment yet. He spent last night in the hospital with severe pain. He appears broken and small. He looks defeated. It is a difficult thing to witness. If you read my blog and believe in God and our lord Jesus, please pray for my mom and dad. Thank you for reading. Todd

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A time of peace

  I awoke this morning intent on writing. It took 15 minutes to choose a title. I threw my phone on the couch in disgust. I wanted to write but had nothing. It was easy to write when life was a whirlwind. There was always something happening or Cancer news to report. My life has become incredibly normal. That thought opened my heart. I have been on this road for a very long time. The road has seen many battles. There are many to come. For now, there is peace.
   Wednesday last, Mandy, our daughter, her boyfriend, and I were drifting an Riffe lake about a half mile upstream of the dam. As the boat moved gently with the breeze and Otis Redding sang "Dock of the Bay" the peace was shattered by a pair EA18G Growlers doing a practice bombing run on the dam. They were a mere 300 feet directly above us. It was awesome. The roar of the turbines shattered the silence and echoed across the mountains. Moments later they pulled up in a near verticle climb and were gone. Once again peace returned.
   My most recent PSA is still undetectable. Each morning and evening I take my pills. I am not due for infusions or Lupron for 2 months. For now the beast is quiet. I am adrift upon a still sea and being pushed along gently by the winds of life. I rarely think about cancer. It is there. In the dark recesses of my mind. I know that at any time the peace can be shattered by the roar of the beast. 
  The next day we took our cameras out on the lake and waited for the jets to return. I wanted to record a video of me skiing with the planes flying over. It was a two hour waste of time. The planes did not return that day. We drank a few Coronas so it was not a total waste of time. In this story lies the epiphany.
  In regards to stage 4 Pca, recurrence is inevitable. The beast will return. Remission is temporary. Life goes on. In the mean time how we choose to live is paramount to our overall survival. 
   My dad has been diagnosed recently with stage 4 cancer of the esophagus. It is a devastating diagnosis. Still, he may have several years and yet he seems to have lost the will to survive. There is no fire. There is no fight. He appears small and defeated. It is unsettling. My dad is the man of steel. He is my hero. I have never seen him like this. I hate cancer.
   I have a disease. It most likely will cause my flesh to die one day. It cannot harm my spirit unless I allow it to do so. It is powerless. I will not allow it to define how I live my life. I will not waste this gift waiting for peace to be shattered by the roar of death. That aspect is for those who do not yet realize they are terminal. One day they will come face to face with the reality that life on earth for them is over. They will look back on their lives and regret the wasted year. 
  We, we lucky few, have been given the gift of mortality. How we spend our months and years between now and the grave define our character. Time is truly a precious gift. Choose wisely how you use it.