The beginning of illness is very abstract, that is especially the case for something like stomach cancer. We don’t hear about stomach cancer, often. Cancers with higher visibility gain more attention. As much as I’d like more people to know about it, I’d be happy to never hear anything more about stomach cancer for the rest of my life.
After the cancer diagnosis, my father and I left the hospital. He was quiet at first then he started to talk about cancer and information that he’d read on the Internet. He spoke of an alkaline diet and the route he wanted to take in fighting this if it was in fact cancer. He was not buying into the diagnosis. I listened because he was my dad. I wanted to believe him with everything in my being because he was my superhero. Also, the alternative was unfathomable.
Dad started taking the Acid Reflux medications and seemed to be doing well. It seemed to keep the symptoms at bay. Dad had a burst of energy and went about his days getting things done. Just as before, that was very short lived due to side effects. The symptoms got worse, he got skinnier; and substantially weaker.
One day, I called as I always did during my lunch break. I would call dad to make sure he was eating and to see if he needed anything. This day I inquired what he had to eat. He said he was trying to get up enough energy to walk downstairs to the kitchen. RED FLAG! I didn’t panic on the phone with him, but I was panicking internally.
I asked what he could eat because there were lists of foods that he couldn’t eat. I contacted GrubHub and had his food of choice delivered. They left the food hung on the doorknob because it would take my dad a long time to make it down the stairs. RED FLAG #2!
Later that night, I told my son that he would have to move to the upstairs apartment. I knew that I had to move my dad to my house. I talked to dad that night and asked him if he would be open to staying with me until he felt better. I told him that I would cook his food and he wouldn’t have to maneuver the stairs as he had to at his house. He said YES. I was so relieved.
I rushed to get everything ready. I had to get a bed, tv, cable hook up and move my son upstairs; even though the upstairs apartment still needed renovations.
The day dad was due to move in, I called him at around noon. I was prepared to make the 10-minute drive to pick him up. He said he wanted to grab a few things, pay bills, and drive himself because he wanted his car at my house. By 6:00 PM, I was concerned that he wasn’t there yet. I called and he assured me he was on his way, but it was taking longer because he was tired. By midnight, I called again. He said he’d be there shortly. 2:00 AM he arrived, in the rain. He was so skinny and so exhausted. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t because that’s not what he needed to see.
Dad came in, sat on the bed, and cried. He said, “Thank you so much for bringing me in; I felt like I was going to die in my house all alone.” I hugged him and when in the bathroom and cried.
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