No one tells you what it’s really like. They don’t tell you that it’s going to change your life forever. Instead, they offer positive albeit transparent quips about how we are going to take things one day at a time.
I talked about how my mom and I knew it was cancer in my post, My Dad Has Cancer. You would think that the initial diagnosis would be the most devastating part – that after that shock to your system, you could buckle down and get treatment. That’s not how it went for us – for me.
My dad missed out on a lot of things in my life growing up and I only really got to know him when I went to college and moved closer to where he worked. We became super close and good buddies. He was my guy and we made some awesome memories together. He was there to take care of me when I needed it, too. When I was dating Matt, one of the most important things to me was that Daddy liked him, and he does. And at my wedding, my dad surprised me by dressing in is Blues (his fancy Army Blues) to dance with me.
When his diagnosis came, I felt sick.
Not my Daddy.
I was so angry at first. But I put my anger on the back burner and did my job – to buoy him up and get him healthy. Yet, after each blow that was dealt us, I felt that anger creep back in… That anger which turned to sadness and hopelessness at times…
My dad’s surgeon botched his surgery. He screwed up so badly that the cancer became a new Stage. He messed up to the point that my father is worse off now than he should have been. But that’s a story for another time.
No one told me how to be okay with everything that was happening. Sure, I have a Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but this was different. This was gut-wrenching. My heart literally hurt in my chest for him… my daddy.
No one prepares you for the raw feeling that you feel after months of taking care of someone and being scared all the time. Then, suddenly, its over. My dad is luckily still with us and “tentatively” in remission. But, I still worry.
I have been permanently changed by my dad’s cancer (besides the fact that is a genetic type of cancer and I will begin screening for it next week, at age 23). I have become hardened in some aspects… things that I used to find important not seem frivolous. But I’ve also become more aware of others going through illnesses and other struggles.
It’s now possible for me to say, “I truly understand, and because of that I am here for you”.