God Loves Me
Curse You PS2!

Fuck You, Mark Burnett

Ok.

A new low point in my life.

Survivor All-Stars made me cry.

Scratch that. Survivor All-Stars made me bawl like a little freaking baby.

SURVIVOR.

MADE ME CRY.

Fuck you Burnett. Fuck you so hard.

For those of you who don't watch (and seriously, shame on you and I bet you think you're better than me for not watching well guess what no), tonight one of of the Survivors (the much-not-loved Jenna Morasca) quit the game. Because her mom had cancer and after six days in Panama she realized that she shouldn't be in the game. She needed to go home and be with her mom.

Her mom died eight days after Jenna got home.

I. Freaking. Lost. My. Shit.

When I was in ninth grade, my mom took me for a drive. I forget where we went, but I remember we ended up at a Taco Bell parking lot. She turned the engine off and stared straight ahead when she told me Dad had cancer.

I didn't know what to do. So I cried because she was crying.

Dad had radiation. I got a kitten in my Easter basket. I expected people in high school to treat me differently because My Dad Had Cancer. Dad was very, very sick. But then the cancer went into remission.

Fast forward: freshman year of college. My first and last semester at a godawful religious college in the Midwest. Calling home collect from the pay phone in my dorm lobby, telling my mom how much I hated this school. Dad's coughing again, his throat is really sore again. But it's probably nothing...he's almost five years into remission so This Is It. He's beaten it, right?

Yeah, no. The cancer came back right at the five-year mark. He needed surgery, and fast. I met Jason and immediately became totally obsessed with him and his hotness. Dad would be fine...and hey, I have an awesome boyfriend! Whatever!

Jason came to the hospital for the surgery where Dad lost his vocal cords and voice box. They created a new voice box out of the vocal cords that were left, but my dad's beautiful voice -- that classically-trained, radio-announcer voice -- would be gone forever. He was left with something rough and raspy. I have a tape of him reading Shakespeare for me...he recorded it just before the surgery. If my house was on fire, I'd grab my cat and my Dad's tape. And that's it.

Dad read I Corinthians 13 at our wedding. Out loud, in front of everyone.

In August 2001, the phone rang in the middle of the night. I. Am. So. Not. Answering. That. I managed to stumble downstairs after the answering machine picked up and I heard my brother-in-law's voice. Dad. Aneurysm. Or something. I'm so sorry sweetie. Please call us.

I looked at Jason, bleary-eyed, and told him I had to go home. He nodded. He understood.

I walked out the front door in my pyjamas and tried to get in the car. Jason patiently led me back inside and said it would be better to wait until morning. Or at least until I found my car keys.

Dad had an aortic aneurysm. They operated just as it ruptured. But because of all the throat surgery they couldn't intubate him. His throat wasn't normal and no one was able to get a drainage tube in place. Staph infection. Fluid building in the lungs. Pulmonary infections. I went home every weekend. I spoke to strangers on the phone, using big medical terms like I had a clue what I was talking about. My mom, sister and I straddled the line between gallows humor and batshit insanity for weeks.

One Saturday morning I drove home and hit Stupid Insane Traffic in Delaware. I tried calling my mom to tell her I'd be late but couldn't get through. When I finally arrived at the ICU my mom was already hysterical. Five minutes before? My dad very nearly died. The fluid in his stomach and lungs had built up to such a level that he went into cardiac arrest. Dying. A 20-something resident-on-call had been paged, and determined that a drainage tube needed to be inserted. Everyone else: Well, duh, be our guest. 17 doctors have tried to get a tube down this man's throat and failed so good freaking luck, rookie.

Attempt one. Tube down. Crisis averted. Corbett family women? Beyond hysterical meltdowns.

Oh yeah, and like a week after my dad came out of his coma? September 11. Good times.

But now we know that when Dad went into cardiac arrest because of the fluid build-up, he also had a heart attack. And they also found cancer in his thyroid. They removed part of the thyroid. They decided against an internal defibulator. They have him on synthetic thyroid drugs. They monitor him every three months.

I hate They.

But when Jenna M. talked about her mom tonight, I understood. I was convinced something Bad Would Happen when Jason and I went to Aruba last summer. Every time my mom mentions Dad coughing or not feeling well, my heart just about stops. No, not now. I haven't gotten my diploma, I haven't had a baby, I'm just not ready.

Anyway. This is my daddy. We're gonna splurge for the good seats and go to a Phillies game together this summer. And it's gonna be great.

Comments

Chris

I thought about you last night while Beth and I were watching Survivor and I was trying not to cry like a little girl.

I haven't had the experiences you've had with your father so I can only imagine what you've been through. It'll sound cliche but your father really and truly looks like a fighter.

Thank you for your post. Thank you for sharing.

Mom

Every morning I check amalah, and feel so proud of my little girl. (Okay, the f*** word makes me cringe, but I am Mom). Usually I laugh out loud and love your humor. Today I sobbed like crazy. Dad came up and saw me crying, he of course thought something was so wrong. Then he read the essay and he was crying. How can we ever tell you how much you mean to us. Always remember, you are strong and a survivor...no matter what!

Lauren

Oh, Amy. You make me cry, too. Check your e-mail, and I'll tell you why. You're a sweetheart.

Irma

THIS made me cry.

My dad had colon cancer, but he is in remission.

But the radiation from his cancer has seemed to hurt him more than save him. He's had heart issues and bladder issues ever since.

I moved here to Sweden last March, and I amc onstantly afraid something is going to happen to my daddy. When my parents called me inte h middle of the night last May to tell me my grandmother died I was initially scared out of my wits becasue I thought it was about my dad. And even though I eventually was devesated by my grandmother's death I was relieved it was not about my dad.

I get nervous everytime my dad has to go to teh doctor for something. I worry for days until I hear the result.

I understand how you feel. Glad to know that your dad is still here. And that's such a precious picture :-D

Now I can't wait to go home to visit and see my daddy (hopefully withint he next few months) :-D

amalah

Gah. Ok. I love y'all so much. Irma, I'm sending out tons of happy healthy vibes for you and your dad. I hope you see him soon.

Lauren, your email made me laugh AND cry, which is the bestest combination in the world.

Chris, as always, thanks so much.

And how awesome is my mom, people?? She makes me happy. (Sorry 'bout all the cussing, Mom, I totally didn't learn it from you!)

Chris

Your mom truly rocks. Her comment combined with your post is fantastic. Sounds like you have a wonderful family. You're a lucky person :-)

seger

Hey girl, I've been kinda busy working and finally had a chance to stop over. Alot has been going on here..I'm sorry to hear your dad was so sick! Thank God you still have him with you and I hope you enjoy your Phillies game! Make some awesome memories girl!

I watched my dad die (after caring for him 24/7 for 6 months) and it was so incredibly hard. Treasure EVERY moment you are with him and your Mom.

(((((hugs))))

Donato

you should of been watching "I'm a celebrity..." here in UK! ;-)

Shana

OK, now I'm getting a little weepy (though I didn't cry when Jenna left, I have to admit). Amalah's Daddy, you just keep on keepin' on. And enjoy that Philly's game!

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