Some would say that Valentine’s Day is the day of love. I have never really thought much of the holiday, whether I was single or not. The flowers just die, the chocolate is eaten in a couple of hours and the stuffed animals are just lame. Of course I decorate the house and always do something small for my children. For the last two years, I have dreaded pulling the decorations out and putting them up. I hate helping the kids with their Valentine’s boxes for school and all the crap that gets sent home. I hate the “love” being shown.
Two years ago on February 14, the day of “love”, I was sitting in an oncologists office with my father waiting on an answer that no one wants to hear. This was the real deal appointment to tell us what exactly my father’s fate was. We sat and sat and sat. My father was a nervous wreck and in a lot of pain. We knew they found tumors along his spine, but we had no clue what this asshole of a doctor was getting ready to tell us. This was the day of the results of his PET scan, a scan of the entire body other than the brain. My mother showed up just in time for us to be called back to the conference room. It was too much for her to handle. I’m always the rock, the foundation that holds everyone together. It’s not such an easy role considering I need a rock and a foundation.
As we are called back, my father looked at me and said, “Everything is going to be fine hun.” I have some medical knowledge and I’m no fool but I let him believe that I agreed. It was in his bones, so it came from somewhere and that means metastatic cancer. My mother was already crying before the doctor even opened the door. I was kicking her under the table thinking to myself, get it together for your husband of 35 years and your bipolar daughter. Emotions were flowing and not in a good way.
The asshole doctor whom was also the Oncology Director walks in and throws a paper on the table with results. He wears his glasses at the bottom of his nose, he can’t be trusted, and wants money was my first thought. Asshole was my final thought. He says, “Read this and I will be back, I have another patient to see.” Are you serious right now? After about twenty minutes, he re-entered with his falling glasses with his empty eyes looking at us above the lenses. He just busts out with some heartbreaking news with no emotion. I understand that they diagnose cancer patients every hour, but a little sympathy goes a long way. Maybe his wife said screw you and left his Valentine’ card at the store or she forgot to pull the stick out of his ass for the day of “love”.
I did however talk the doctor into palliative radiation just to try and shrink some of the tumors for pain reasons. We were really worried about him going paralyzed. Every morning I was up at 3:30-4:00am so I could get him to his radiation appointments. Again, too much for my mother. I am blessed to have the time in the car with him on the way to get his treatment. I learned things about him, that without cancer, I never would have known. His doctor was right on track with the time he had left. Full diagnosis was made February 14 and he passed May 21, with some help from the angels at Hospice.
My life will never be the same. He was my light when I couldn’t find one. He won’t get to see his grandbabies grow and flourish. I was with him for his last breath and held on tight while we listened to Free Bird and Stairway to Heaven, his favorite jams. I even found a way to play his music at his Celebration of Life.
He came back in and asked if we understood what we were reading. Well… we aren’t the oncologist… you tell us. He seemed perturbed by my questions and concerns. He sits down and explains that the cancer started in the liver and is metastatic to the lungs, pancreas, bones and possibly brain. He wanted an MRI to check the brain. More money! It’s all over his body and you want another test? My father was very vulnerable at the time, as I’m sure you can imagine. He gave my father 3-4 months to live unless he wanted chemo and he would maybe survive another month or two and actually recommended it. Again, more money!
My father initially agreed until I demanded the oncologist bring in a paper on all of the symptoms of chemotherapy with Stage IV cancer. That really pissed him off, but I was my dad’s advocate. Chemo would have made him sick, compromised his immune system and it would probably kill him faster than the cancer did. I am very assertive, sometimes too assertive. Once I explained everything to my dad, he told the doctor, “If it was a poker hand, I’d fold.” I’ve never seen such sadness in his eyes
Losing the only man that loved me unconditionally was the hardest things I’ve had to deal with EVER. He always believed in me, we had an unspoken bond and connection. He always had advice for me, he thought I was his world.
My father was the most optimistic man you would ever meet, always had a smile and believed in the good of people .So yes Valentine’s day is my most dreaded holiday of the year. Screw you cupid!!!