It was Valentines Day. I was celebrating with my significant other. We just pulled into the Inn we were staying at. It was 3:33. We checked in and got up to our room and I started feeling really really depressed all of the sudden. I started to cry and it lasted for about an hour. I took a bath and started feeling a little better. We decided to go have dinner. Got into the car. Checked my cell. Got this message from my mom "Hi honey, your dad's been admitted to the hospital. When you call me back I will tell you about it." I hung up the phone and said "I know why I was crying". My mom's message was left at 3:48.
I drove to my home that night because it wasn't fun anymore to be spending Valentine's Day away from home and I drove to my parents house the next day. I wanted to be there for my mom. I thought of how sad it would be to come home to an empty house when your husband is at the hospital. Every night I built a fire and waited for her to get home so she could talk about and process her long days.
My father went into the hospital because he was having pain radiating down his back to his legs that got worse each day. Turns out he has several lesions along his spine, along with a "mass" on T12. He started radiation for the mass the next day. A few days later his Oncologist called and said "I have good news! It's lymphoma" my mom hung up and said "if that's good news, what the hell is the bad news?" Apparently it's good news because it's treatable because it's so aggressive it responds well to treatment. Who knew. Lymphoma. The same cancer as the character Dexter (Michael C Hall) has and his is now in remission.
My dad starts chemotherapy Monday. Today he had another EKG, more blood drawn and bone marrow taken.
my father is on the right
I am just sleepy and cranky enough to be agitated by several people's responses, or lack of a response once I told them about my dad. So, I decided to compile a list of things you should do (or not do) when a friend tells you someone they love just found out they have cancer.
1. Don't ignore them because you are uncomfortable. It's okay to say, that sucks or I don't know what to say.
2. Respond to their text messages or phone calls. Hello.
3. Go out of your way to send a random text or call the friend to see how they are feeling or coping. It's just a nice thing to do.
4. Put yourself in their shoes. This is a good once since half the time we are so far up our own asses we can't see anything else but darkness in our own little bubble.
5. Ask them what they need. Obvious.
6. Do not let your friend be alone. Unless they want to be. Even then it's probably not a good idea to leave them alone for to long. This one especially holds true if you are the friends significant other.
7. Put yourself in their shoes. Did I say that already? Why yes, yes I did and I will mention it again because it's important. Think about what you would need or want and try to see what your friend's particular needs are. Everyone is different.
8. Listen. And I mean really listen. Maybe that should say listen and take heed.
9. Be attentive. If your friend has to drive home (3 hours away from her family) because she has a test and paper due for a Saturday class, ask if they want some company. Especially if they are going home to an empty house. This one especially holds true if you are the persons significant other as well.
10. Be encouraging. It shouldn't take a lot of time out of your day to say something nice. Here are some examples: Hang in there. This too shall pass. It will be okay. I'll be here if you need me. I am thinking of you. I am praying for you.
everything will be okay in the end. if it's not okay, it's not the end.