Bouncy
After the Fall

The L Word

I felt vaguely unsettled yesterday. I made multiple stabs at writing a semi-funny story, but every attempt ended with me losing interest and idly staring into space before holding down the delete key and obliterating everything I'd written. Noah was home from school because of the primaries, so I figured I was just distracted by the constant interruptions of Mommy, Mommy, look at this Star Wars toy I made it's from Legos but I put this piece here instead of here and now it's a pod racer Mommy do you like it Mommy it's from Star Wars pew pew pew!

I finally gave up and decided that we both probably needed to go play outside for awhile.

***

Three months ago, my mom mentioned my dad's platelet count. Among probably a good five or six other things that were of concern. Ever since the roller-coaster ride of his heart surgery and multiple bouts of pneumonia, I haven't written much about my dad, I know. There was almost too much to say, what with the continued irregular heartbeat episodes, his permanently damaged lungs keeping him tethered to an oxygen machine 24/7, his diabetes, his hearing loss, the falls, macular degeneration, mysterious bruising, overwhelming fatigue, and the depression that inevitably comes when your age and body and health turn on you so dramatically, when the few simple pleasures you have left -- reading and watching baseball on TV -- are slowly slipping away behind increasingly cloudy vision. 

He only leaves the house for doctor's visits, and there are so many, and there never seems to be good news or an all-clear from any of them anymore. Something else to watch and monitor. Suspicious growths that need to be removed, minor surgery to be performed, something new to be followed up on in three months, give or take the specialist's vacation schedule.

So I didn't really think much of the platelet count thing at all. 

Instead, we all threw our energy into figuring out the house situation -- to get them into a smaller, single-level place, preferably one for seniors that would allow my mother some freedom for the first time in years, where she could feel safe leaving him for longer than it takes to make a furtive trip to Target Pharmacy for prescription refills. So the need for her own visit to her own doctor wouldn't lead to a tearful, panicked phone call because there's no one to watch your dad that day

This lead to cleaning and purging and sorting and donating. Then came the discovery of expensive house repairs, at just how overwhelmed they've been in their small townhouse for all this time. Then we found out about a home equity line of credit and more debt than we were expecting. They'll only get how much for the house? The top-choice communities want how much upfront? 

The next-door neighbor had a psychotic break and did WHAT out in her front yard? OMG, that would almost be funny if the whole situation weren't so terribly, horribly sad.

***

The house is going on the market on Monday. The follow-up visit for the platelet count issue was yesterday. 

The doctor took one look at the bloodwork and ordered a biopsy performed on the spot. The results were definitive. It's leukemia. 

The lab is now looking at the biopsy and we'll know the extent of the cancer by the end of the week, but his doctor was kind yet blunt: We are probably looking at something acute. The diagnosis alone means he is already officially too sick for the senior community they planned to move to. He is already saying he does not want to go through chemotherapy. 

My mom related the information over the phone last night and I sat down on the floor. I felt like I was floating. I couldn't really cry. I remembered the time she told me about his throat cancer in a Taco Bell parking lot. The time I sat on the floor in my dorm hallway five years later and she told me it had come back. The time my brother-in-law called in the middle of the night to tell me about the aneurysm. 

At some point, the calls drift together and aren't quite as distinct, even though they kept coming. A mysterious fall. A heart problem. We're at the hospital. At the ER. Headed to the doctor now. Diabetes. Skin cancer.  Heart surgery. Pneumonia. Collapsed lungs and more pneumonia. Congestive heart failure. His eyes, his ears, his lungs, his heart, again. It was always something, he was always aging, always sick. Perhaps I'd started to just expect it, and the phone calls.

But I wasn't expecting this one. I just wasn't expecting it to be this.

EPSON027  

Comments

Amy M.

I am so sorry, Amy. I've been in a similar situation (though my dad succumbed to an aneurysm, not the cancer) & having been there, I'll be praying for you & your family. Stay strong

LauraL

Oh, Amy! I'm so sorry, and I'm sorry at how inadequate that sounds/is. I will keep you and yours in my heart.

Mary Ann

That fucking sucks. I'm sorry, for all of you.

TodayWendy

(((amy)))

TodayWendy

(((amy)))

Erin

I'm not a regular commenter either, but I am a faithful reader, and this just breaks my heart. Please keep us posted, and though I'm not the praying type I'll be wishing and hoping and keeping my fingers corssed for better news.

el

I'm so sorry, Amy. No one can ever say "well, he's been suffering so much..." because you don't want to hear it. You want him back the way he was in that photo (I have the exact same one of my dad and I in front of that sculptured lawn back in 1983). All you can do is make him comfortable and tell him you love him. Constantly.

Hairy Farmer Family

Oh, Amy. So very sorry.

Liz

I'm really sorry...terrible, terrible news. Wish I could say more but I know nothing will touch it.

Hamlet's Mistress

Hang in there. You've all been through the wringer and this is quite a blow. I'll be thinking of you and your family as you figure all this out and go through this together.

HM

JB

I'm so, so sorry. I've had several of those kinds of calls too. It sucks. I'm so sorry. If anything helps at All, you are not alone.

lisa

So sorry, Amy. I was a hospice nurse for several years and I can tell you there are viable options out there for your parents (not necessarily re: hospice care, but more like long-term settings that might make more sense). I know you all feel totally overwhelmed. You're in my thoughts. Hoping you really feel all this support for you and your family.

lisa

So sorry, Amy. I was a hospice nurse for several years and I can tell you there are viable options out there for your parents (not necessarily re: hospice care, but more like long-term settings that might make more sense). I know you all feel totally overwhelmed. You're in my thoughts. Hoping you really feel all this support for you and your family.

Mike

Ugh. I am so sorry to hear that news. The internet loves you and sends all their best wishes to you and your family.

Plano Mom

Prayers and tears. It's all I can offer. And prayers. And a few dammittohells thrown in for good measure.

Jacquie | After Words

All good wishes to you and your family.

Jacquie | After Words

All good wishes to you and your family.

annettek

Well damn. I'm so sorry. Believe me when I say I know exactly how much this sucks. Sending many good thoughts your way.

anne nahm

*Hugs* Thinking good thoughts for you all.

Antonia

So sorry to hear that Amy.
Thank you for sharing with us.

With heartfelt love and prayers,

Antonia
xxxx

Jess F.

So sorry, Amy.

jenny

I am so sorry to hear this :( I will be praying and send lots of feely good vibes your way :(

Melissa

So many thoughts of comfort for you and your family.

Katie Kat

I know everyone else will have said really wonderful things, and I second all of them. I also send my most heartfelt hugs and hopes that you ALL find a way to muster through all of this!!!

{{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}

Squorkymama

Fuck cancer is right.

Sending hugs, prayers and Virtual cases of wine. I'm so sorry.

Becki

So sorry about the news you are having to bear about your Daddy. It sucks being a grup. (Grown up). That picture just hurts with the yearning. My Dad was diagnosed w the big A last year and we are losing him gradually and it hurts. Can't imagine Earth without him. But Heaven will be wonderful.

The Yak

The L word is a bitch, to be sure. My mother died of the L word at age 71 in another country when my youngest was three months old. A logistical as well as emotional nightmare involving two kids under 21 months, no passport for the youngest, three days of separation, pumping and dumping... oh yeah and Mom died five days after I got there. Wasn't THAT a fun trip! The only reason I'm telling you all this is because the one good thing that came out of the experience was learning how great hospice can be (I mean, you know, not GREAT great, but better than the alternatives -- useless treatments, pain, more pain, johnnies, pegging out in a hospital even as strangers in scrubs run around after being paged, etc.) So I'd recommend checking out the hospice options as the best thing you could do for your dad, your mom and yourself. Best of luck -- I know this is hard.

Caroline in Hawai`i

Much aloha and many thoughts of comfort to you, dear Amy, you who have given me and so many others so much joy with your delightful words.

I lost my dad to squamous cell carcinoma earlier this year.

Fuck cancer, and the horse it rode in on.

Soumya G

My prayers and good thoughts with you and your family in these hard times. Its sooo unfair!!

Patti B.

So sorry to hear -- thinking of you all.

Kelley

I'm sorry. I'm SO sorry. Cancer is a bastard.

Jessie

So, so very sorry to hear this about your dad. I'll keep you in my thoughts, and continue to hope for good news down the line. Please keep us updated.

ksmaybe

I am so very sorry Amy.

amie

I'm so sorry. If it helps to have strangers thinking about you and your family and praying for strength for all of you...well, you've got that.

jen

I am so sorry.

Kim

I am so sorry. My mom had multiple battles with cancer also. I thought hearing she had cancer the first time was hard but you explain perfectly what it feels like to get that second (third, fourth, fifth) diagnosis. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Sarah

Just another person who is so very sorry, and wishes all of you the best. I have shed a good many tears of emotional joy over your boys; this is the first time I have cried for sorrow for you.

Laura

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this. Thinking of you guys.

Rima

Oh, man. I am so sorry. Sending peace your way . . .

Dawn K.

Well shit. This utterly sucks.

Sending positive vibes your way. Also drinking wine for you tonight.

Susan

So sorry.

Susan

So sorry.

Susan

So sorry.

Britt

What Jenn said. And anyone else who used lots of profanity.

I don't know how much comfort it is to read about folks (okay, me) totally crying and wishing the best for your family, but we're out here.

KT

Amy. So sad to hear this. Unfortunately these are things that happen as people age, but there's nothing normal about it when it's your own parent. My grandmother is in a similar boat as your dad - breast cancer survivor, macular degeneration, and now, recently...leukemia. I can completely relate, and the only advice/words of hope I have to offer is that you should allow yourself to grieve completely, and then focus all of everything that you have on making his time wonderful. There will be enough grief in the meantime -- be a ray of light. Sending love, hope, and understanding your way.

Rachael

I'm so sorry to hear about this. You guys are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Kris

Fuck fuck fucking fuckity fuck fuck fuckitall, anyway. It's not fucking fair.

Much love to you and yours, and especially your very brave Dad.

Toni

My thoughts are with you ((()))

LaLa

My thoughts and prayers are with your family. xx

Swistle

It seems like a train going by, car after car after car.

Starrynite

I'm so sorry for you. My thoughts are with you and your family xx

heathabee

The internet loves you. I'm so sorry Amy.

My heart aches -- absolutely ACHES!-- for you. I know how you feel, with the devastation that comes from those phone calls, those wake-ups, that news. And I'm just so sad for you. Your dad sounds like the strongest man in the world. I am praying my tail off for your family.

Kendra

I'm sorry, Amy. I lost my father suddenly almost two years ago and it's still like a punch to the gut. Your dad has been through so much...this isn't fair. Life really has a way of sucking big time. My thoughts are with you and your family.

kim at allconsuming

Oh bloss, how utterly devastating.

Currently having my mother in hospital having a 'revision' of a hip replacement (ie replacing the replacement), a father having just had a knee replacement, a stepmother convinced she has everything and all the rest I am now firmly convinced that growing old totally sucks.

kim at allconsuming

Oh bloss, how utterly devastating.

Currently having my mother in hospital having a 'revision' of a hip replacement (ie replacing the replacement), a father having just had a knee replacement, a stepmother convinced she has everything and all the rest I am now firmly convinced that growing old totally sucks.

Sarahd

I am so, so, so, so, so sorry! Sometimes there aren't enough sos.

Shauna

I just want to say I'm sorry. Fuck cancer.

Missy

I am so sorry.

Kimm

I'm so sorry, what an awful shock. Praying for your Dad, you, and your family.

Zanbar

Ohhhh. Love to you and your family. Especially your mum and dad. I'm a mum and still my daddy's girl and can't imagine losing the big man whose thumb used to fit into my whole hand. I'm not sure we're ever big and brave enough for that.

die Frau

Amy, just one more person thinking of your family and sending love and support. I hope you all can make your dad (and mom!) as comfortable as possible in the face of all of this.

Ginny

I'm so sorry.

Ginny

I'm so sorry.

Jenna

I'm across the country and we've never met, but you're in my thoughts and prayers and I'm crying for you.

MargieK

I'm sorry, Amy. Cancer sucks.

Seems like the older I get, the more people I know who've gotten it, or who have family members fighting it.

Which should come as no surprise, I suppose. But it seems like it's everywhere!

Sorry this is happening. We all care; let us know how it goes.

Suzy Q

Hugs to all. So sorry you're going through this.

Deanna Piercy

I wish I had something more helpful to say other than "I'm sorry". I'll keep your dad in my prayers.

Overflowing Brain (Katie)

Much love to you and your family. I'm so sorry.

jennamom

Jeeez, that sucks. I know that feeling when you get that phone call, the sitting down on the kitchen floor, the floating... feeling like you're about to fall off the fucking world. I hope that you and all yours have every bit of support you need to deal with this. Sending hugs.

April

I'm so sorry. My best to you and your family.

Hayley

I am so, so, so sorry! I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

*HUGS*

Angela

My Dad has also had numerous ongoing health issues for the past 10 years and it only keeps getting worse. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I am so very sorry.

Meg

Oh Amy. Much love to you and your family.

Karen

I'm so sorry. My grandfather had leukemia when I was in High School. It is brutal and chemo is so hard on the heart. If he chooses not to do it...it will be hard but even if he does, it is so hard on the body.
Prayers for your family during this time...

Lora

Oh...I'm so sorry to hear of your bad news. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Erin

I read you faithfully and rarely comment but I wanted to add my voice and also say I'm sorry. I wish there were better words, but I hope it helps a little to know that there are countless people thinking of you and your family.

Ellen M

Very sorry to hear this news, on top of everything else your father (and your mother, and you) has had to deal with in his life.

Raquel

Praying for you and your family.

mrs. q.

Shit.

I started to read the article, figuring the "L word" was: Lego. Love. Loan. Limbo.

I did not think the worst L of all.

I am so, so sorry for you and your family. Cancer took my dad five years ago and I'm still so angry I could spit.

Heidi

I am so sorry, so very sorry.

I feel like I understand a little of that place where you are. My mom was always sick (Lupus) and there were always these big, scary things happening, one after another after another, but she always made it through, even when the odds were really bad. Then she made it 18 months past a diagnosis of stage 4 brain cancer when the average was 6 mos, and her docs had predicted 3 mos tops due to preexisting conditions. Hoping you have an unexpected extra amount of time too. Sounds like he's beat bad odds before. Hugs.

Heidi

I am so sorry, so very sorry.

I feel like I understand a little of that place where you are. My mom was always sick (Lupus) and there were always these big, scary things happening, one after another after another, but she always made it through, even when the odds were really bad. Then she made it 18 months past a diagnosis of stage 4 brain cancer when the average was 6 mos, and her docs had predicted 3 mos tops due to preexisting conditions. Hoping you have an unexpected extra amount of time too. Sounds like he's beat bad odds before. Hugs.

Alias Mother

I don't know if this will bring comfort or not. But it's what I think of when you write of your father.

My dad was sick for my entire childhood. Heart disease, bypass surgeries, diabetes, skin cancer. It was always something. It reached the point where he couldn't even walk down the road without taking nitroglycerin pills for the pain and I was injecting him with insulin every night.

Once, when I was home on college break, a male friend of called me. My dad answered the phone, and, after it had been handed off to me, my friend said, "Dude, I was nervous. Your dad scares me."

I laughed, because my friend was this huge, strapping football player who could crush my dad without even noticing. And I said, "Are you kidding? My father has had four heart attacks, two bypass surgeries, and is diabetic. How in the world could you be scared?"

And he said, "Exactly. He went through all that and HE'S STILL ALIVE. He's the toughest guy I've ever heard of."

I love that memory and now I lend it to you. Because whatever happens? Your dad is the toughest guy I've ever heard of.

We'll all be lucky if we have half the heart he does.

Sarah

Best to you and yours.

Sara

Oh Amy, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I read your blog all the time. Even though you have no idea who I am, I feel like I know you, and I am so so sorry for what you are going through.

Margie

Cancer really does suck. I'm so sorry.

schoolofmom

What terrible, awful news. I'm so very sorry.

Jen

I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of I'm sorry's, I'm praying's and we love you's. Hang in there.

erin

so so so sorry, thinking of you all and sending prayers

Kim

I wish I could come up with some words of wisdom...something to make then pain go away. All I can say is that I'm sorry and I will be praying for you and your family.

Jennifer

I'm so sorry! Sending lots of hugs your way.

Maggie

I remember all your posts about your dad. I am so sorry. Thinking of your family.

amanda

So hard. My dad had so many health issues - so I totally get how you feel. I am so sorry for you and your family - love to you, your dad, your mom and all. xoxo

amanda

So hard. My dad had so many health issues - so I totally get how you feel. I am so sorry for you and your family - love to you, your dad, your mom and all. xoxo

amanda

So hard. My dad had so many health issues - so I totally get how you feel. I am so sorry for you and your family - love to you, your dad, your mom and all. xoxo

amanda

So hard. My dad had so many health issues - so I totally get how you feel. I am so sorry for you and your family - love to you, your dad, your mom and all. xoxo

Shannnon @nwaMotherlode

From one daddy's girl to another, I'll be praying for you...

Lisa

I am so sorry. I lost both parents when I was in my mid 20's- my dad to a heart attack, my mom to cancer. It sucks. I'm sorry.

Karen Chatters

I'm so sorry, Amy. My heart is with you and your family.

Karen Chatters

I'm so sorry, Amy. My heart is with you and your family.

Mia

I'm so sorry.

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