Grasshopper
Happy Dog Germs Day

Over, Part One

Yesterday, the doctors told my dad it's time. It's time to stop. No more chemo. It's not working. 

At first, he misunderstood, thinking they just meant his current chemo drug. Then, I guess, he argued. What about a port? Another protocol? Something stronger, harder, newer? There has to be something else.

No. There is no "something else" they can do. 

For the cancer, that is. That, for all intents and purposes, has already won. But there's always something they can do to your body, some procedure, some test to gauge or stem the related fallout without really touching the cause or buying more time. More transfusions, blood work, CT scans, MRIs, chest X-rays, all stuff they continue to order because that's what their patient is choosing -- to go down swinging from a hospital bed instead of accepting hospice care, and I know, I KNOW. 

For the love of God, I know. Trust me, this would not be my choice. But...this isn't my choice to make. It's his. I don't know whether it's determination or denial, because it's simply not up for discussion.

No hospice talk, no canceling the invasive tests to find out what we already know talk, no special-diet whole-foods raw-kale-enzyme talk, no alternative hippie-dippie wheat grass herbal supplement talk and I can't say that I even blame him on a couple of those topics, because it gets awfully tiring having to listen to someone who "cured" someone else's stage four cancer with nothing but vegetable juicing and fish oil because it's all a conspiracy, maaaan, and my mouth is like, mmmhmm wow that's so interesting and my brain is like, no you fucking didn't, shut up.  

If my dad wants to eat nothing but processed artificial franken-comfort-foods topped with an entire container Cool Whip, I'm not going to argue with him about that. I'm not arguing with him about his choice to refuse hospice and continue medical interventions, either. It's not agreeing, but if the point of everything is to make our remaining time together as good as possible, well. Okay. We can find plenty of other things to talk about, and we do.

I did make him some turkey meatballs with organic sauce and whole-grain pasta that he really liked, at least. 

It'd be easier -- especially on my mom, who is so tired of hospitals and tests and doctors and just wants him to come home and stay there with her, so badly -- if he'd accept hospice and all that goes with it, but then...damn, "easier?" Did I really just type that word? Really? 

Because either way, I'm going to lose my dad. And it hurts so very, very fucking much. 

Comments

Jackie

I'm so sorry, Amy. Reading your blog is always the highlight of my day, and I wish you and your lovely family didn't have to suffer.

Elmo

So sorry. God bless.

JBre

I'm very sorry to hear this. Nothing any of us can say will make this better. If the world didn't suck so hard, maybe good people could live a lot longer.

However, I do have a piece of advice. Your dad may have difficutly with the conversation, but you guys need to make sure that Power of Attorneys are in order for medical and financial. We got it together for my mom 2 days after we were given the "there's nothing more we can do" speech. She lost all consciousness 3 days later and passed 1 day after that. We barely got it in but glad we did in order to help "sort out her affairs" a lot easier and quicker in the grief stricken aftermath.

anne nahm

I'm so sorry you are all going through this. Take care.

Kelly

I just started reading your blog, because I am pregnant. I wish I had started reading it long ago. My Dad has stage 4 cancer as well and I find your posts beyond comforting. So thank you for being real and for posting real things...even if they suck. If you need to just scream at someone, let me know.

Madeline

I am so very sorry. I have been through it twice, and it totally, totally sucks. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Michele

I am so sorry prayers of comfort strength peace and grace for your family in this most difficult time. Treasure every precious moment with him!

Tina

I wasn't going to comment b/c I don't know what to say. Even though I've been through losing my dad to cancer (he did choose hospice), there never seemed to be anything anyone *could* say to make me feel better. So just know that there are people out "here" thinking of you.

jonniker

I'm so sorry, Amy.

Sincerely, Jenni

So I'm a longtime reader, but rarely comment. I've lost three family members to cancer, and it's the just the shittiest fucking disease ever.

Your father seems to be grasping to anything he can feel in control of, in a world where everything is completely out of control. He sounds like an amazing man, and I admire his strength and while I don't know any of you, I will pray for all of you.

Sincerely, Jenni

So I'm a longtime reader, but rarely comment. I've lost three family members to cancer, and it's the just the shittiest fucking disease ever.

Your father seems to be grasping to anything he can feel in control of, in a world where everything is completely out of control. He sounds like an amazing man, and I admire his strength and while I don't know any of you, I will pray for all of you.

Magpie

I'm so very sorry for you. We just went through this with my mother in November. Hang in there, it certainly won't get easier, but despite what I thought at the time, it won't kill you.

Keep your chin up. Hugs to you and your family.

Sarah

I am so sorry, and there is nothing to say to make it better. But, I am confident that doing it "his way" is doing it the best way you get to have. I hope your mother holds up, and I think she will be sustained by knowing she did it the way he wanted.

Hope

I'm so sorry.

I had something written up about hospice and how it's not the death sentence that most people think that it is. And then I realized it was probably not going to be very helpful, so I deleted it.

So, I will reiterate. I am so, so sorry.

shokufeh

Tears. I'm so sorry.
As heartbreaking as it is to read this, thank you for taking us on this journey with you.

Megan

I'm so sorry--no eloquent words other than my thoughts are with you and your family.

viviane

During my father in law's last weeks, when the doctors told us it was time to "let go", we decided to forget about diet, and cooked him everything he had not been allowed for so long, and he spent some quality time enjoying nice meals and remembering the good times. I am so sorry you have to go through this. Big hugs to you and your family.

Jodie

We lost my FIL to cancer almost 5 years ago. It sucks. All I can say is I'm sorry. Enjoy every minute you have with him.

Noemi

Ahhh, shit. I'm so sorry.

Julie

I'm so very, very sorry. You're right, there's probably nothing that can make it "easier."

I hope the thoughts and prayers of the whole Internet make it at least ... I dunno... make-it-through-able.

Julie

I'm so very, very sorry. You're right, there's probably nothing that can make it "easier."

I hope the thoughts and prayers of the whole Internet make it at least ... I dunno... make-it-through-able.

Julie

I'm so very, very sorry. You're right, there's probably nothing that can make it "easier."

I hope the thoughts and prayers of the whole Internet make it at least ... I dunno... make-it-through-able.

sarah

Boo. So sad to hear this. Thanks for sharing, though.

When our cousin was terminally ill and hit that point, she ate candy like it was... candy. And later, when her sweet husband swabbed her mouth to keep it from getting dry, he did it with root beer. Because, why not?
My mom & I always joke that if it comes down to it, she's going to subsist solely on chocolate & vodka.

Zakary

I know there is nothing that anyone can say to make this easier, but please know that I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer almost six years ago. He was in hospice for four days. Four. Take care of each other and take the help when it is offered. Big hugs for all of you, especially your dad.

Jules

Dont know what to say other than

xoxoxoxo
you are in my thoughts

G.G.R

I know it hurts =0( Lordie, do I know. We'll all be there with you every step of the way. You know we'll be there.

Nicole

Fuck Cancer. I'm so very sorry.

Swistle

Awful. Sucks. Sucks for ALL of you. I'm glad you're writing about it.

Sarah

So very sorry. Your family is in my prayers.

Aimee

My mother in law died last week of ALS. There was nothing we could do. She refused most medical care, did accept the hospice care, and died in her own bed. It was still miserable, and it still hurts SO much. I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is to watch someone you love die slowly and miserably. My thoughts are with you and your boys. I wish I could make it easier, but all I can do is tell you you're not alone. *hugs*

Rima

I'm so sorry all this is happening, Amy.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Thinking of you and your family.

Tina

I lost my dad to cancer eleven years ago. He was 46. It's totally not fair and I'm so sorry it's happening to your family. My dad was a fighter too and worked until two weeks before he passed away (when his lung collapsed under the weight of his tumor) and insisted on chemo that came very close to killing him had the cancer not done it first.

His last week, he finally accepted hospice and it was the most restful week he and our whole family had in the three months between diagnosis and death.

I hope your dad goes peacefully, though I'm sad he has to go at all.

amanda

I'm so sorry. I've been there, I lost my dad 11 years ago, and I'm so so sorry. Love to you.

Chelsie

Jesus. That sucks. And there's nothing anyone can say to take that awful dark pit out of your stomach where it has settled. But I'm thinking about you and your family, and you are all in my prayers.

JennyM

I'm so sorry, Amy. Thinking about you all.

Demery

So much pain. So so sorry.

Kim

I'm sorry isn't enough, and nothing else I type seems right either. This sucks. I understand the wanting it to be over because the battle sucks, and I understand being horrified at wanting it to be over. Love to you and your family.

Kacie

You know how sorry I am and I wish that I could take it all away for you. Whether it's a sudden loss or one that takes months to finalize itself, it sucks. It's not fair to you, to your Dad or to anyone who knows and loves him. Hugs and wine. :)

Corinne

Oh God that moment hurts. Wishing you peace.

Maxine Dangerous

(((you))) <3

triplezmom

I am so, so, sorry.

Bethany

I'm so sorry. I'm glad he liked your meatballs.

Haley-O (Cheaty)

I'm so sorry you're going through all this, Amy. Hugs....

suz

it sucks really bad. my daddy died october 15, 2006 from lung and liver cancer. i am thinking of you and hope you can all find some peace and comfort and enjoy your remaining time with him.

Elizabeth

I'm so sorry for what you are going through and what you are about to go through.

I lost my father two years ago and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him and miss him.

You know what? You never get over it.

Treasure the time you have left and say everything you want to say. My father died suddenly and I never got to tell him how much I loved him.

Chris h.

I'm so sorry to hear this. I hope that you are getting the support that you need.

Sam

I am so sorry. I lost my dad to lung cancer 7 years ago and he too fought until the end. There are no words I can offer of peace other than I will pray for you and him to find peace with this. Cherish each day. Hugs!

Kelly

So Sorry Amy. We are currently waiting to find out if my Dad's lung cancer has come back. If it has I fear he will take the opposite approach that your Dad has- I think he will reject every treatment offered.

Cora D

I'm just so sorry, Amy. I don't know if this helps or not, but perhaps he's choosing this because he's stubborn, and perhaps he's choosing this because he loves you and your mom and his life just too damn much to let it go without a fight.

And, honestly, having watched my grandmother die in hospice care, that wasn't much easier either.

But, I apologize - I didn't come by to try to *fix* anything. I just wanted to let you know someone else cares, someone else is crying over your loss and sharing the tiniest bit of your grief. And to thank you for sharing what is an enormously difficult and intimate time.

Springsteen fan

Thank you so much for letting us know. I think of you, your dad, your mom, all of you, often every day. I'm so glad those beautiful boys can bring smiles to all of your faces at this dark time. It helps a stranger whose heart breaks for you!

Karen

I'm so sorry, Amy. The Creme Eggs sound like just the thing for this. I'm virtually sending you a boxful, along with a bag of mini eggs for good measure.

You'll be in my thoughts.

Jill

I'm so sorry, Amy. My dad passed on January 22 from prostate cancer. Well, prostate cancer and fucked up prostate cancer treatments and being 86. He was home getting hospice care his last month and we were all helping to take care of him. I don't know what way is easier. I dont' think any of it is easier. Every possible way to go has its own special aspects of sucktasticness. You just kind of have to buckle in for the ride and hope for the best, don't you? You and your family and your dad are in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there. Get every moment and laugh in with your dad that you can. A week before my dad died, I propped my laptop up on his table and showed him the video of Ricky Gervaise singing Elmo a special celebrity lullaby and we had an awesome belly laugh over it together. I treasure that.

Bozoette

I'm so sorry.

cls

Reading your post made me remember my own moment of hearing doctors say that about my parent. But it's good to remember her, even remembering that.

I have to second what people have said above about having a hospital social worker talk to your dad. Some conversations are very fraught when you are talking to your wife and daughter and facing their perceived expectations/fears/wants, but much easier and helpful when done with a neutral third party. Often, helpful whatever the resulting decision is.

you know already~ this is part of life. It happens to everybody. Whether or not somebody goes to hospice, all of us, whatever our ages, are going to have to "accept" that this will happen to us eventually. We all share this experience with you on some level (even the ones of us who don't realize that yet or think it is unimaginable in their own case - barf). That might not sound comforting at first, but I hope it is, ultimately.

sorry if that was preachy. best wishes, brave one.

Kari

Well f$%&...that's really all I can say. I've stood in a similar spot and I'm so sorry you're there now. I pray for good time with your dad, with good stories and just TIME. I cherish that the most from my dad's last months and I wish that for you both. (((HUGS)))

alice

Oh, Amy. I'm so sorry.

drhoctor2

So very sorry for you all. I admire your Dad so much and I think you are doing just the right things to balance your pain and love.

kdiddy

*inadequate but fierce e-hugs*

Mermil

I hope that writing about this helps, and I hope you really do know that you've got quite an army of people thinking of you and your family. Basically, imagine a football field filled with people spelling: We're Sorry. We Love You. Is That Weird?

Haley

I am so incredibly sorry, Amy. I truly cannot imagine the pain and heartbreak you are experiencing. I think Sheryl's words are beautiful, so I'm simply going to second her thoughts.

kelly

I'm so sorry, Amy. You and your family are in my thoughts.

I really respect and admire how you are allowing your Dad to choose his own path. That takes great strength and courage, not to mention love.

beccado

Hugs to you, Amy....your dad sounds so awesome. My thoughts and prayers are with you, him and the rest of your family.

Heather

I'm so sorry, Amy.

liz

I am so sorry. So really very sorry.

Britt

Shit. I'm so sorry.

You're doing everything right.

sarah

I'm so very sorry. :(

Sonia

Un abrazo muy fuerte...

erin

love and hugs. your dad is a bad ass fighter and he doesn't want to give in.

:( thinking of you.

E

jubeedoo

Thoughts. Prayers. Hugs.

Brandi

I had a feeling when I didn't see a post yesterday that something might be happening. I immediately said a prayer for your dad..for you..and the family. This is going to be one of the hardest things you will deal with. Not going to lie...I haven't lost a parent yet but I did lost my dear grandmother to cancer (she was 67..and my mom is now in her 60's and I am silently screaming). I would say all the same things that everyone would say in this situation but I am not sure that is what you want to hear, though I am sure you would accept it with thank yous. Just know that we are all here for you and will be that shoulder you need (outside your husband and family). Much love and prayers to you!! :)

Jae

I'm so very, incredibly sorry. I cannot imagine your pain. You're in my thoughts.

Bluebottle

Thinking of you, and know how hard it is (very similar situation where my dad passed away a few weeks before my 3rd kid was born). Hang on in there, you have a lot of people here for you when you need to scream and let it out. *hugs*

Jenica

I'm so sorry, Amy. I lost my father when I was 28, and all I can think whenever I read these stories is "it's always too soon." You have my sympathy, and understanding.

Suzy Q

I know how hard this is. It sounds as if you're doing everything right for this wholly awful situation.

So sorry.

Suzy Q

I know how hard this is. It sounds as if you're doing everything right for this wholly awful situation.

So sorry.

Suzy Q

I know how hard this is. It sounds as if you're doing everything right for this wholly awful situation.

So sorry.

Marilyn @ A Lot of Loves

Oh God, Amy, I just so desperately sorry.

Melanie

I have been in your shoes. Cancer does indeed suck.

Barbara

I'm very sorry you are losing your dad to this disease. My husband and I just made the "no more" decision last week in regards to his pancreatic cancer. We want our kids (10, 7 & 2) to remember their daddy as a man who wanted to spend as much good time with them as possible. We have not given up, rather we have taken back our life.

Barbara

I'm very sorry you are losing your dad to this disease. My husband and I just made the "no more" decision last week in regards to his pancreatic cancer. We want our kids (10, 7 & 2) to remember their daddy as a man who wanted to spend as much good time with them as possible. We have not given up, rather we have taken back our life.

the bee

I am sad for you and the family but I respect that your dad is doing it his way. The last gift you give yourself is to make choices and he has the right.
Still makes it hard but your dad is such a viking. No wonder he is your hero.

MOlly

Ugh. I hate this. I'm sorry honey. Cancer freaking SUCKS.

Redd

I'm so sorry <3

Rebekah

I'm so so sorry.

Josefina

I'm sorry for what you're going through. I'm sorry you're in so much pain. I'll be praying for you and your family, that you will have peace, and that you'll have some blessed moments even in the middle of all this.

Josefina

I'm sorry for what you're going through. I'm sorry you're in so much pain. I'll be praying for you and your family, that you will have peace, and that you'll have some blessed moments even in the middle of all this.

Tracy

I'm so sorry.

Julia

I'm sorry. Losing my dad was so hard. small consolation - you will see glimpses of him again in your boys. that is a satisfying moment. it's great how much he wants to stay. I'm thinking of you.

Anon

My father has been in home hospice for three months now. Had serious stroke and stuck in wheelchair and bed with rails. He is miserable and angry. He thinks we are to blame because we won't get him physical therapy. Sometimes I think we should, because if it will make him happy to walk one or two more times before he dies...anything for my father. Anything to make him happy. I am 3 hours away, an only child, trying to take care of him and my mother from a distance. Running up and down I95 every week.

FUCK CANCER.

Anon

And forgive me for saying this but I just wish it was over. This is hell on him and hell for my mother and not much fun for me either. This sucks. I wish to hell they lived in Oregon or Montana or a more enlightened state where - if he wanted to - he could go on his own terms, on his own time, with a shred of dignity.

I wish it was over. I do want every minute I can get with him, but for his sake, I wish it was over.

Debbeeanne

I'm so sorry. My best friend just lost her sister 2 days ago, after a 10 year fight with breast cancer. She was in Hospice care for about 6 weeks, and her passing was very peaceful and pain-free, at home. Those Hospice people know exactly what to do to help guide people home. I hope your dad comes to a point where he will be able to feel that peace.

Hugs to you and your family.

Kelli

I've never commented before but I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you and your family. I teach special education, and I love reading your blog because it gives me insight to a parent's view of my very special and wonderful students. My dad also died 4 years ago of cancer, and so while I don't love to read these posts because they make me very very sad, I appreciate your honesty and I can empathize with how you're feeling right now. My only piece of advice is to keep writing - that helps so much!

Lady

Amy,

I know that at this point there are just shy of 200 comments and not sure if you'll physically lay eyes on this one but please know that you and your fammily are in my prayers. I am so so very sorry that you guys have to experience this.

Molly

I'm really sorry about your Dad. I lost a friend to cancer recently and you're right: those organic kale guys can be irritating. I mean, I have some organic kale in my fridge right now, but I'm not going to use it to inspire guilt in the dying, if you know what I mean. I'll just eat it. And probably get cancer anyway, because cancer is EVERYWHERE and it SUCKS. Anyway, I'm really sorry about your Dad.

Catdoggg

I am so, so terribly sorry.
((hugs))

Zu

I am so very sorry. Prayers for you and your family.

kari weber

So sorry. I am SO sorry.

Kate

I don't have anything to say except this fucking sucks and I'm so very, very sorry.

sharon

How many ways are there to say I'm sorry for your whole family? Whatever the number I'm saying them all. Watching someone endure the end stages of any cancer is an awful experience. I know as I have lost my both my Dad at a mere 65 and my younger sister on her 43rd birthday to different cancers. I hope for you all that the end comes peacefully and quietly. In the meantime I know you will all make the most of every day.

xox

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