Don't Stand So Close To Me
Turkey Run


The chemo isn't working. 

I didn't expect it to. 

He felt "better" after a blood transfusion last week. His numbers were "better."

I didn't expect that to last, and it didn't. At all. 

I talked to him on the phone on his 81st birthday last week. For just a few minutes. Then he said he had to go and hung up. 

This was also expected.

He is translucent. He is blue and grey. Like a cancer-stricken extra on a medical drama, wearing too much pancake makeup. He is immobile and helpless, short-tempered and miserable. He is a bundle of medical checks and balances, with one medication causing X but preventing Y and yet none of them having any effect at all on Z.

It's happening slower than I expected. 

That's not necessarily a good thing. 

Which is confusing. Guilt-inducing. Unexpected. 

The doctors are finally talking about stopping treatment, about making decisions, about being comfortable.

Because the cancer is too aggressive, because the chemo isn't working, because he is already much older than 81 and so sick and has no bone marrow and no platelets and no hemoglobin and no options. Because he is blue and grey and miserable and fighting for one last year as the desperate months go by. 

He doesn't hear any of that. He hears fight. Chance. Odds. Win. 

He is stubborn. Obstinate. Downright impossible. 

And brave.

I would never, ever expect anything less.  


The Tutugirl

Oh, Amy. I'm so sorry. You are all in my thoughts. I hope that you and your father find peace in whatever path he decides to take now.


Amy -- you have my most heartfelt sympathy.

My dad died yesterday of a brain tumor that's been kicking his ass since February.


I'm so incredibly sorry you're going through this - that HE'S going through this. The up and down of hope can often be so much worse than a steady or even sudden decline. It rips at your heart.

cindy w

God. I'm just so, so sorry.

Keeping all of you & your family in my prayers, for whatever that's worth.


Damn, Amy. Much love to you and Jason and the kids during this tough, tough, tough time. I wish I could say something else, but I can't. I'm thinking about you guys.


Thinking positive thoughts that whatever your father decides to do will bring all of you some relief.

This sucks so much.

My dad is dealing with a health issue that, while not as serious as your dad's, is completely devastating to him. And I just don't know what to do. Uggh.

I can completely understand how helpless and powerless you must feel.

Carla Hinkle

I am so very sorry. My step father died just 6 months after his throat cancer returned. It is awful.


Amy - I'm so sorry. God, what a mess. What a fucking mess.

Molly - I'm so sorry for your loss.

Thinking of you both.

Angie Elliott

Hi Amy,
I'm a longtime follower and fan of yours - you are a wonderful writer and I can relate to so much of what you post. I just want to say I'm sorry for what you are going through. You have brought me a lot of laughter over the years, so it makes me sad that this is happening to you and your family. You are in my prayers.


I'm so, so sorry Amy. I understand the guilt too. My mom died this summer, and would have been 88 today. We didn't want her to go, but it was just too painful for her to stay. Hugs.

Jenny Joy

There's no comment that will make you feel better about any of this. But, please know that I'm sending thoughts/prayers/vibes in your direction. Oh, and some hugs from a complete stranger, who really isn't all THAT strange and has a talent for soft, squishy, "I needed that" kind of hugs.


I don't know what to say only that I'm really sorry for you all especially your dad. It sucks all round.


I know. My mother-in-law died from luekemia 11 years ago. It was slow and she was ok for a while. She chose no chemo because it would have been the same as your dad's chemo. She lived for about 5 months after the diagnosis, 2 weeks shy of her 71st birthday. It's hard and your emotions run the gamut -- no more suffering you can't die get it over with like a bandaid so I can start grieving what am I thinking please don't die. At least that's what it was for me.


I'm going to stop lurking just to say that my heart aches for you, oh woman who I only know through these delightfully open posts about your family and your life. Fighting blood cancer is like some shadow war...there's no tumor to cut out. You have to wait for it to attack then fight against symptoms that pile on top of each other and cross-conflict. Your description of X,Y and Z brought me to tears because it's so true in these cases. My husband died at 38 from leukemia. When the drs gave him the "there's nothing else to do" speech, all he heard was "thing to do." He told me on the day he died that he was "just going through a rough patch."

So my point is this: it sucks. It's so hard. Cancer may be the thing that kills your dad, but he isn't letting it CHANGE him. His essential character, the part that made you and will always love you, is too tough to give in.

Peace to you.


81!?? God bless him.

Here's hoping the doctors can reach him, for all your sakes.


So sorry you are going thru this. That you find this confusing and guilt inducing sounds totally normal to me. ((hugs))


It's completely normal and incredibly loving to not want someone you love to suffer. You should never feel guilty about that. My dad, although sad, was so completely relieved when his mom passed away, and he finally knew she wasn't in pain. That is so so normal of you.
Hoping and wishing for the best possible outcome... whatever that is.


*hugs* The waiting for the inevitable is hard. Don't feel bad for resenting the wait.


I hate it. I absolutely hate cancer and I hate that your dad is having to deal with it and that you are having to deal with it as well as all of the emotions surrounding it. I'm so sorry.


God, this sucks so much Amy. I totally get the confusion AND the guilt, and I am so sorry that you are having to fight through all of these emotions. Sending good vibes to your Dad and your family. I hate this for you guys.


I am so sorry that you guys have to go through this. It sucks to lose a Dad at all, especially to cancer (I lost mine almost 4 years ago). Take care of each other.


I'm so sorry, Amy. When my dad died suddenly a few months ago, my mom was pissed and felt like it would have been better if she had known it was coming, and could have somehow prepared herself. But there's no preparing, there's no better. It's awful. I'm sorry.


I'm so, so sorry. I fucking hate cancer. We've been through something similar with my father-in-law, and you've just put every feeling about the wait, about the urge to still fight it, about the hopelessness of it all, into very eloquent words.

I'm so sorry that you're going through this.

Vanessa Willis

My heart goes out to you... We lost my Mom to lung/brain cancer in 2008 and the feelings you describe are all too familiar. I will say that once we let Hospice take over her care and moved her out of the hospital we were able to just spend time with her and stop obsessing about whether we were making good decisions and worrying about whether she was in greater pain than she let on. They anticipated her every need - and ours - and made the last months more bearable.

The Domestic Goddess

Ugh. I'm so sorry. It sucks. Just plain freaking sucks.


What about Gerson Therapy? There is a treatment center in Mexico.

Missy Carvin

Still praying and sending good thoughts your way. And holy crap this. just. SUCKS.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Thinking of you and your family. Wishing that you find a peaceful path and have many more wonderful moments together.


So, so sorry. Death and illness and getting old truly sucks.

I think that it is a think that humans do--we fight until the end, until there is nothing left to fight for, against logic. We fight to stay the same, for things not to change, for the future to never arrive.

I hope that you and your family finds relief in whatever form it brings.



I know. The emotions are unprecedented and unexpected. Hang in there.

Halala Mama

I'm sorry...I'm really sorry. I hope he finds some peace.


I've been where you are. I'm so sorry. Thinking of you.


So so sorry.


I am so sorry. My husband and I are going thru the same thing right now with his father -- diagnosed in October and already terminal. I know about the guilt. About the confusion. It's hard.

Cancer is a bitch. An evil bitch.


Keeping you al in my prayers.


"Which is confusing. Guilt-inducing. Unexpected."

Normal. Normal, normal, normal.

That was the last two years of my grandfather's life, with three hospitalizations, rehab, increasing frailty, when we wondered how in the world it was possible he was still alive.

I'm so sorry for your father's suffering, for his pending passing.


Warm, warm wishes to your Dad, to you and your whole family.


Amy, my heart goes out to you. The conflicting emotions are perfectly normal. You want your dad to live but you don't want him to suffer. And yes, it can take much longer than you think. My dad lingered 2 years (!)and the rallying and declining two step was horrific to watch.

Make sure you take the time to just grieve.

I am so, so sorry.


Words can't fix anything but your family is in my thoughts.


Your dad is awesome for being such a fighter. I hope he does it - I hope he punches cancer right in its fucking throat.


I'm sorry. For you and your dad and your whole family going through this mess, not even knowing what to be hoping for. Your feelings sounds pretty damn normal. I wish you peace and absence of guilt and will keep you in my thoughts.


I'm so sorry, Amy. Sending all the love in the world to you.

Marilyn @ A Lot of Loves

With each post about our dad, I just feel so terribly sad for him. How much he wants to live.


Amy, hun, Dad sounds like his amazing daughter.


I'm so so sorry Amy.


Oh Amy.

Much love to you. I wish I could do more.


There are no words for how deeply this sucks. I am so sorry. I wish I could do something, anything...


All I can say is I'm sorry...there is no way to describe what a crap situation this is. I wish there was more I could do for you.

Karen Chatters

Oh Amy, I'm just so sorry. Cancer just fucking sucks.


At a time when we are reflecting on all we are thankful for, you get to sit by and watch this all happen. For that, and for all you are going through, I am so terribly sorry.
You do write so beautifully, and that brings him great joy.


I'm just so sorry.

April F

Fuck Cancer. Fuck depression. I dealt with the later during my pregnancy, don't be afraid to get on some "happy pills" to deal, if you need it. Prozac made all the difference for me.


I am so very sorry for all you're family is going through.


Fuck cancer. I'm so sorry.


Keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers in this difficult time.


So sorry Amy. Sending prayers to you, your Mom and your siblings.


And, of course, sending prayers to your Dad.


Amy, I'm so sorry. It's just not right - I'm sorry - your family is in my prayers.


Very sorry for all of you. I wish all of you some peace, but I certainly don't know how you are to achieve it.


Thinking of you all, Amy.


Amy, I'm so sorry.

@Molly - I am so, so sorry for your loss. I lost my father to the same thing. *hugs* it's a horrible "boat" to be in, but if it brings some (little? any?) solace, there are others of us in the boat too.


Holding y'all in the light and hoping for some moments of laughter in the midst of the sadness.

Hamlet's Mistress

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I am so so very sorry. And I know it's difficult, even impossible... but try to let the guilt go when those thoughts come. We all have them or have had them at one time or another over a loved one. It's just the way it goes. We want more for them then what they're dealing with here and if that means they have to leave, we're willing to make the sacrafice... and that?? Is nothing to feel guilty about.



Wow...I was just getting ready to email or call when I read this. Was wondering how he was and I am so sorry. Hugs to you and the family.

Lumpy badger

Thinking of you and your brave, brave dad. xxx



I am so sorry. Prayers, good wishes, strong vibes all.

Please, please no guilt for yourself. Of COURSE you don't want him to go on like this. It's all so fucking confusing and hard. But the important stuff is already taken care of. He knows, knows, knows that you love him, and you know the same of him. The surrounding crap sucks beyond measure, but trust me, those are the two facts that will ALWAYS hold the most importance; it is what will get you both through.

One foot in front of the other. Lean into the love surrounding you.

kari b

amy and molly, i am so so sorry and I pray for comfort for both of your hearts. hang in there dears


i know this is very strange, but thank you. thank you for taking the time to let us readers into your world. it must be so so hard for you, but allowing us this slight insight is educational on a technical and emotional front. so thanks, love and best wishes.


New reader here. Wish my first comment was for something happy, but I have experience with cancer. Not first-hand, no, but with lots of other people including my grandfather, my uncle, my aunt, 4 friends' moms, and my friend- a 30-something, non-smoker diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Fuck cancer! Fuck every shitty thing about it! I'm so very sorry, Amy. Hug all of your family and friends close and I hope all that love will bring you some peace as you weather this storm.


I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus and tell you that I am very sorry you are going through this and that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope your dad will find peace and strength.


Wishing you all peace, in whatever form it takes.

Heather Ben

So sorry. Suxs.

Twice Five Miles

I don't know you, but I am sending my love. That's all I can do.


I feel all of your grief in my heart. Why does this end of life garbage have to be so awful? I wish there was something we could do to help.


I'm so sorry, Amy. So, so sorry.


I am so sorry. Sending you love and hugs and more love.


I know what you mean about the slow pace of death not being a good thing and how confusing that is. My grandma died this fall and while it wasn't a long, drawn out battle with cancer, it was WAY too long and drawn out. At the very end she went EIGHT DAYS with no food or liquids. The only thing going into her system was morphine. It was the longest eight days ever, and it sucked waking up every morning, realizing I hadn't gotten The Call in the middle of the night, and wishing I had so it could all just be over.

Don't shy away from the feeling of wanting his suffering to be over. It sounds like of everyone in your family, you are the one who needs to hear that the least, but it's too easy to forget. It will have to end soon, right?


I'm so sorry that you and your family are experiencing this. Lot's of virtual hugs coming your way.


I'm so sorry Amy.
Losing a battle like this is hard. I think its hard on men, especially Dads... because they've always been the one who has been the rock, the protector... and they just don't want to leave their loved ones alone. Daddys are always the fighters at our clinic, even when the odds are so clearly not in their favor.
I hope he can find peace soon...


Thinking of you and your family, Amy.



Beautifully written and moved me to tears again.

Stay strong - it's all I can say at this point. Breathe, hug everyone. Give out all your love and receive the love us weird innernets people are sending to you.

I am so, so very sorry. :o(


It must be so hard for you all to go through this knowing there will not be a happy ending, merely a cessation of suffering for your Dad. I hope he stops trying to fight the cancer with chemo but aims to spend as much pain-free time with his loved and loving family as is possible.


I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

Crying for you.

Crying for me, too. (My dad's cancer is back, in his brain this time. Fucking cancer.)

Jen L.

He's 81? Goodness, he IS tough! I'm so, so sorry, Amy. Wishing you all peace and sending lots of love.

Brooks Robinson

I hate this so much for the pain that it causes for you and your family. I hope that you find peace in the days to come.


The best thing you can do is realize that your dad had a good and full life. He's 81! some people don't see that number. And he has a beautiful wife, children, and grandchildren who will always remember him.

My words probably arent comforting right now, but maybe later.


I'm so sorry Amy. I wish there was something I could do to pay you back for all the fun I've had reading your blog, all I've learned, all the insight and inspiration. I'm just so sorry.

And @Ashley... just, holy shit.


I'm so sorry My prayers are with you and your family.


I just want to take your hand, and give it a gentle squeeze. That's all I can think to do, and there simply are no words to say just how sorry I am.


You don't know me - I love to read you. I am holding you in my thoughts. Peace.


i'm so very sorry!



Oh Amy, I know it's all what you expected but I'm so damned sorry. I'm praying for y'all.

misha leigh

i'm really, really sorry.


Amy I am so sorry. I sent you an email but you might not have got it. I Know your parents are near me in philly. Checkout the Cancer Treatment Center of AMerica. They at least may be able to help your dad 'adjust'

ccr in MA

Oh, honey. I'm so sorry, for all of you. Try to be kind to yourself as you go through this.


Warmth, hugs and peace to you, your Dad, and the rest of your family.

Maggie, Dammit

Thinking of you.

Patti B.

So very sorry for your Dad's all are a gift to him.


My father too. Right now. Age 84. Colorectal to liver to lung. Can't tolerate chemo. Now a stroke. And he is still asking when are they going to do the next scan. This man who did meals-on-wheels when he retired and always said he wouldn't want to live this way and is now refusing to even consider the possibility that he is going to die. Soon. And apparently without a shred of dignity. Every phone call is a potential emergency, a potential drop-what-you-are doing and run up I95 and hope you get there before his last breath. And hoping that this is the last time - for his sake, for your mother's sake. And swearing that when you get home, you will start to stockpile nembutal, because this is not the way you will go. Move to Oregon, move to Montana. Physician-assisted suicide is legal there. Why do we force people to die such terrible deaths? And why do they insist of dying such terrible deaths? Why do we act as though death is an option and if you chose to fight and fight hard enough, you won't have to die. And then spend two years in and out of hospitals, with a calendar filled with little more than more doctor's appointments. Please Dad. You are now virtually paralyzed. You can't walk. You can't control your bowels. You can't do anything but eat. Soon you will be in pain from the cancer, and soon thereafter, in intense pain from the cancer. Please Dad. Let go and go in peace.


I watched my mother die of cancer. I was holding her hand when she died. As much as I wish things could have been different being there with her was truly a gift.

I'm so sorry for what you're going through Amy.

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