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I'm a survivor driven by purpose to fulfill my mission...

It's never easy to write about things like pain, suffering, illness, grief, loss, and sorrow. It is even more difficult to write about these things when the reality of these emotions is so personal and involve a loved one. However, these are all the feelings that I have felt and or experienced during the time that my father battled cancer. 

 

Though many may view it that my father lost his battle with cancer, I would argue that he is winning.  It's quite difficult to see it that way, I know. However, if it were not for this battle I would not be in the position I am. And if you knew my father, the one thing you would straight away know and understand is that my father was a fighter!  He embraced the fight and gave it all that he had!  While that may not have been enough to have my beloved father here with me right now, physically, I know that his fight has filled me with purpose!  As my father would say, I may have lost the battle but I'm winning the war!

 

My father's battle with cancer started 16-years prior to his passing, with prostate cancer. This resulted in his prostate being removed and for the years thereafter he lived everyday cancer-free. He continued to work, spend time with his family and help others.  All the most important aspects of his life were given his utmost attention. It was as if nothing ever happened. 

 

Remarkably, after being diagnosed again, you would never have known in the back of his mind he was always worrying about when the day was going to come when he would die from cancer. I was truly blessed, for I had a wonderful father who taught me so many life lessons, as well as the fact that he led by example. 

 

As I reflect on the time two years ago when his final diagnosis would be his demise, I reflect on how much pain he was in during that time.  Since he was diagnosed with liver, lung and stomach cancers; my father’s body became a host for the deadly disease. He intended to fight the good fight once again but he was understandably tired. 

 

The cancer that his oncologist decided to focus on (the worst of the three) was the liver cancer. Unfortunately, the type of liver cancer that he had was found in only 3,000 people in the United States.  That's correct "had".  Most of these poor patients had died from the cancer with no known chemotherapy or other treatments to help them.  In my father's circumstance, they tried a chemotherapy specific to liver cancer, but when I asked his oncologist for the clinical data to support the type of liver cancer my father had, there was none to be provided. The oncologist was merely shooting in the dark with this chemo regime hoping that it would work. Being in the clinical field, I immediately jumped "all-in" and began looking for clinical trials that my father might be able to participate in. Unfortunately, there were no clinical trials, experimental treatments, or other means of treatment to be found. 

 

The physicians gave my father six months to live. He didn't make it 2 months past diagnosis.

To attend my father's oncologist visits and see other families taking their loved ones to the oncologist; it seemed like many times there was nothing but a feeling of hopelessness in the air.  People were doing their best to follow their oncologists advise, but many of them were not going to get better.

Sitting in the waiting room with these patients and their families during our visits was one of the saddest experiences of my life. I knew based on speaking with them that many of them were going to die. Why aren't their further advancements in cancer that can help more people?  When you are diagnosed with cancer, why is it "ok" to feel like it is a death sentence because we haven't beaten this disease? 

 

Cancer, truly, pisses me off!

One of the most painful lessons I've learned is that oncologists do not prepare you, as a family member, for the worst. Then again, I'm not sure anyone can prepare you for what is in store. Never the less, they give you the treatment recommendations, the side effects and possible improvements, if any, but they do not prepare you for what you will experience watching your family member die.  That's right, die.

I watched my vivacious, tough, energetic father become a frail, very ill person battling this disease. He no longer looked like my father physically. He was not as present in this world as he always was. I was losing him. 

 

I did not focus on that though. For me, I wanted to keep pushing forward with his treatments and his visits and stayed on top of what was going on when he was in and out of the hospital. In some way, despite my knowledge, even I felt that this was all that I could do. 

 

My father was only 62 years old when he passed on from this world. He is gone, and now I only have the memories of him. He was a trailblazer in many circumstances and impacted everyone's life. I have learned to live without him being here and I must admit it has not been easy. There are many times that I wish I could give him a call. I suspect that all who remain long after the battle has been waged feel this same way. It's beyond unfair, but as I have learned cancer doesn't care about fairness. 

 

I do know this, I will always make sure that I will do all that is within my power to help patients. I would not wish this experience on anyone. Cancer is the very definition of devastation and we need to work on solutions to remedy this.

 

So here I am!  A family member filled with grief but remaining to take up the fight against cancer!  My father may have lost the battle, but I promise that I will do everything in my power to ensure that we win the war!  I am left with the memories, each so beautifully embodying my father's legacy and thankful to have been a part of each. As I said, and it truly is the beauty within this horrible circumstance that I focus on, my father's fight continues and he is going to win no matter the cost if I have anything to say about it. It is about the collateral beauty after all.

 

No one else should suffer as I have and be forced to be a part of this collateral beauty.

It's never easy to write about things like pain, suffering, illness, grief, loss, and sorrow. It is even more difficult to write about these things when the reality of these emotions is so personal and involve a loved one. However, these are all the feelings that I have felt and or experienced during the time that my father battled cancer. 

 

Though many may view it that my father lost his battle with cancer, I would argue that he is winning.  It's quite difficult to see it that way, I know. However, if it were not for this battle I would not be in the position I am. And if you knew my father, the one thing you would straight away know and understand is that my father was a fighter!  He embraced the fight and gave it all that he had!  While that may not have been enough to have my beloved father here with me right now, physically, I know that his fight has filled me with purpose!  As my father would say, I may have lost the battle but I'm winning the war!

 

My father's battle with cancer started 16-years prior to his passing, with prostate cancer. This resulted in his prostate being removed and for the years thereafter he lived everyday cancer-free. He continued to work, spend time with his family and help others.  All the most important aspects of his life were given his utmost attention. It was as if nothing ever happened. 

 

Remarkably, after being diagnosed again, you would never have known in the back of his mind he was always worrying about when the day was going to come when he would die from cancer. I was truly blessed, for I had a wonderful father who taught me so many life lessons, as well as the fact that he led by example. 

 

As I reflect on the time two years ago when his final diagnosis would be his demise, I reflect on how much pain he was in during that time.  Since he was diagnosed with liver, lung and stomach cancers; my father’s body became a host for the deadly disease. He intended to fight the good fight once again but he was understandably tired. 

 

The cancer that his oncologist decided to focus on (the worst of the three) was the liver cancer. Unfortunately, the type of liver cancer that he had was found in only 3,000 people in the United States.  That's correct "had".  Most of these poor patients had died from the cancer with no known chemotherapy or other treatments to help them.  In my father's circumstance, they tried a chemotherapy specific to liver cancer, but when I asked his oncologist for the clinical data to support the type of liver cancer my father had, there was none to be provided. The oncologist was merely shooting in the dark with this chemo regime hoping that it would work. Being in the clinical field, I immediately jumped "all-in" and began looking for clinical trials that my father might be able to participate in. Unfortunately, there were no clinical trials, experimental treatments, or other means of treatment to be found. 

 

The physicians gave my father six months to live. He didn't make it 2 months past diagnosis.

To attend my father's oncologist visits and see other families taking their loved ones to the oncologist; it seemed like many times there was nothing but a feeling of hopelessness in the air.  People were doing their best to follow their oncologists advise, but many of them were not going to get better.

Sitting in the waiting room with these patients and their families during our visits was one of the saddest experiences of my life. I knew based on speaking with them that many of them were going to die. Why aren't their further advancements in cancer that can help more people?  When you are diagnosed with cancer, why is it "ok" to feel like it is a death sentence because we haven't beaten this disease? 

 

Cancer, truly, pisses me off!

One of the most painful lessons I've learned is that oncologists do not prepare you, as a family member, for the worst. Then again, I'm not sure anyone can prepare you for what is in store. Never the less, they give you the treatment recommendations, the side effects and possible improvements, if any, but they do not prepare you for what you will experience watching your family member die.  That's right, die.

I watched my vivacious, tough, energetic father become a frail, very ill person battling this disease. He no longer looked like my father physically. He was not as present in this world as he always was. I was losing him. 

 

I did not focus on that though. For me, I wanted to keep pushing forward with his treatments and his visits and stayed on top of what was going on when he was in and out of the hospital. In some way, despite my knowledge, even I felt that this was all that I could do. 

 

My father was only 62 years old when he passed on from this world. He is gone, and now I only have the memories of him. He was a trailblazer in many circumstances and impacted everyone's life. I have learned to live without him being here and I must admit it has not been easy. There are many times that I wish I could give him a call. I suspect that all who remain long after the battle has been waged feel this same way. It's beyond unfair, but as I have learned cancer doesn't care about fairness. 

 

I do know this, I will always make sure that I will do all that is within my power to help patients. I would not wish this experience on anyone. Cancer is the very definition of devastation and we need to work on solutions to remedy this.

 

So here I am!  A family member filled with grief but remaining to take up the fight against cancer!  My father may have lost the battle, but I promise that I will do everything in my power to ensure that we win the war!  I am left with the memories, each so beautifully embodying my father's legacy and thankful to have been a part of each. As I said, and it truly is the beauty within this horrible circumstance that I focus on, my father's fight continues and he is going to win no matter the cost if I have anything to say about it. It is about the collateral beauty after all.

 

No one else should suffer as I have and be forced to be a part of this collateral beauty.

 

 

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