Cancer sadly is a part of a lot of people’s daily lives, I know, but nothing could have prepared me for that day in April when I got the call that someone I love very much was going to have to fight in a way they never had before. My Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer on April 27, 2012; and yes, it is one of the most treatable kinds of cancer, but to me all I could hear were the words, “it’s cancer Heidi”.
The days and weeks to follow were a couple trips back and forth to the central coast, crying, lots of phone calls, crying, research, writing, more crying, and prayer. Over the months I really became numb to the whole situation and really just started to operate in cruise control mode, until a choice was made to which route he would fight.
July would be the month of his surgery, they would open him up, remove the cancer, and call it a day.
July has come and gone and that early Thursday morning seemed to drag on like no other day, but it all went well and they got it all! Some of the best news one could hear, but it was the days following that really showed me what I was made of and capable of. I learned how to be a “nurse in a pinch”, communicate effectively in stressful situations, and learn to love my parents in a whole new way. I made a couple of new friends and I realized I just can’t control or take care of everything no matter how hard I tried.
One of my new favorite friends is Piper. She was my Dad’s main nurse and truly such a thoughtful, caring, attentive individual. Come to find out her life had been impacted by cancer as well. Just a couple of years ago her husband lost his battle with cancer and because of the interactions with his nurses and the lack of interaction, she thought she could do a better job and went back to school for her nursing degree. It broke my heart to hear her share this story, but I was so thankful for her story too, that she chose not to roll over and die herself after losing the person she loved. She chose to make a difference in those who were fighting the same fight she and her husband had. I loved getting to know Piper, seeing her put up with my Dad and his stubborn side, along with dealing with my somewhat overbearing Mum. She’s an incredible person and if it were only for this reason for my family to meet Piper and get to know her, it would make sense in a strange sort of way.
Cancer has been around my life, but now it has been a part of my life, and will continue to be as Dad gets his regular check ups and tests, but like so many other things in this life it doesn’t define me or him. It just changes you and impacts you in a way I think most of us are never prepared for.
On a lighter happier note…this is Max. Since he couldn’t come to the hospital with us, he wanted to make sure to send Dad a get well and come home soon bouquet…