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

Lindsay Evans

So, so sorry. Praying for peace for all of you.

Stacey

I'm so sorry for your pain. Your last line really got me. I know it doesn't matter much what strangers say, but please know that many thoughts are with you and your family now.

Big Gay Sam

((((hugs)))))

I'm going through the same thing with my mom. I'm so sorry.

Jill

you expressed that beautifully. My thoughts are with you. And my prayers too: that your dad will find peace and comfort in his incredibly supportive family and friends, and that you and your family will feel surrounded by the love and good wishes of those who know you (and those who just read this blog and wish you well). Hard times, but beautiful too. Much love.

Jill

you expressed that beautifully. My thoughts are with you. And my prayers too: that your dad will find peace and comfort in his incredibly supportive family and friends, and that you and your family will feel surrounded by the love and good wishes of those who know you (and those who just read this blog and wish you well). Hard times, but beautiful too. Much love.

lisa

I was wondering about the tweet you did earlier today and then I came here and read this post. And I am sitting here with tears running down my face. My heart hurts for you and your family so much right now. I know I am a stranger but I just wanted to let you know your family is in my prayers. And truly if there is anything you or they need PLEASE let me know you have my email address and I am in Philly which I believe is near them.

Emily H.

It DOES hurt so much. I am so sorry that any of us ever has to lose a Daddy. Fuck cancer.

bec

I'm so sorry. Praying hard for peace for your dad, your mom and for you.

bec

I'm so sorry. Praying hard for peace for your dad, your mom and for you.

alexandra cunningham

my father died from cancer. my husband is the greatest, but my dad was my best friend. it is a tremendously hard thing and i am very, very sorry for all that you are all going through.
one thing i will add is - for all that your father being a fighter is making things harder on your family now, surrendering to what is happening makes things hard in a different way. that was my experience, and it was maybe the only thing my dad ever did that i did not respect. maybe because it was so unlike him. i don't know your father but his desire to fight to stay here with you all is truly awe-inspiring.

 Brooke

Hi, I just wanted to say that you have my deepest sympathy. Four years ago I helped do home hospice care for my mother and found I had hidden strengths. Now I'm one month away from having my first child, and knowing I could care for my dying mother has eased my mind a little about parenthood. In your case, you are a fantastic mother and therefore are a strong person, and I have faith that you can get through this. Basically, death sucks.

Wendryn

*hugs* I'm sorry.

Emily

I'm so so sorry Amy. Tears are streaming down my face right now. I know you don't know me, but I wish I could just give you a hug...prayers for you, your dad, and your family. Fuck cancer.

Chris

I am so sorry. I'm trying to think of how to say this in the least offensive way... But be grateful to KNOW. We lost my MIL (who has been a mother to me also for the past 15 years since I was 16) almost two months ago. One day she was fine. The next she had hip pain. Then she was in the hospital with mysterious infections and she was touch and go and unconscious. We fought through that, she was past the hard part and on the path home- no worries, they said, just time to heal- when she passed unexpectedly on her best day since she had gotten sick. Alone, while we were all living our lives. We declined the autopsy so we don't even know WHY. So as hard as it is, you are fortunate to know what is coming and not take a single second for granted. Enjoy his cool whip with him and let him know how much you love him. Bask in every second of it, no matter how hard it is. I wish peace for your father and your family, and as much comfortable time as possible.

Michelle

I have been reading your blog for awhile and am stepping out of lurkitude to say how sorry I am. I can't imagine what you are going through...but I can relate to how much cancer sucks. My 32 year-old long term live in boyfriend just died of cancer last monto...we were together 3 1/2 years and he got sick around the time your dad did, I think(last April), so I have been able to relate to you in some small way. I also know the feeling of not agreeing with all the decisions being made (by him/his parents), but I told him I respectfully disagree, but loved him and supported him, even though those decisions may or may not have affected me, too. His prognosis was near 0, so I agree with you...he could gave topped his cool whip with cheese whiz and maybe thrown in some processed meat, if it made him happy. You just never know with the alternative treatments and if it makes them miserable while possibly giving better odds by half a percent? There is definitely something to be said for a quality of life. I will stop talking your ear off on a post you may never get the chance to read...while no two griefs are alike I know what it is like to feel out of control and lose your breath at the thought of how you are going to get through this...sending good thoughts your way! It will get easier...I can't tell you when, just that it will happen, at least that is what people keep telling me! And don't worry, with any luck, you will keep your ability to use correct punctuation and paragraphs, unlike me!

Michelle

I have been reading your blog for awhile and am stepping out of lurkitude to say how sorry I am. I can't imagine what you are going through...but I can relate to how much cancer sucks. My 32 year-old long term live in boyfriend just died of cancer last monto...we were together 3 1/2 years and he got sick around the time your dad did, I think(last April), so I have been able to relate to you in some small way. I also know the feeling of not agreeing with all the decisions being made (by him/his parents), but I told him I respectfully disagree, but loved him and supported him, even though those decisions may or may not have affected me, too. His prognosis was near 0, so I agree with you...he could gave topped his cool whip with cheese whiz and maybe thrown in some processed meat, if it made him happy. You just never know with the alternative treatments and if it makes them miserable while possibly giving better odds by half a percent? There is definitely something to be said for a quality of life. I will stop talking your ear off on a post you may never get the chance to read...while no two griefs are alike I know what it is like to feel out of control and lose your breath at the thought of how you are going to get through this...sending good thoughts your way! It will get easier...I can't tell you when, just that it will happen, at least that is what people keep telling me! And don't worry, with any luck, you will keep your ability to use correct punctuation and paragraphs, unlike me!

Lise

I'm so very, very sorry.

Jenny

It DOES physically hurt. It hurts like hell - it's physically excruciating pain. Been there, done that. So wish I wasn't able to say that. My dad was diagnosed and was gone barely 4 months later, and 14 months later, it's still excruciating. I am so sorry. I do wish he would consider hospice care - the program is so dignified and respectful, and I am so comforted now by the memories of how well he was treated. But ultimately, it's his decision. I know all too well the pain you are experiencing, and the only thing I can say is that I'm sorry, and I know just how woefully inadequate those words are. The only advice I would give is to not leave anything unsaid. Biiiiig hugs to you, and to your mom......and to your wonderful Dad.

Jenny

One side note - a cherished memory for me is my dad doing a shot of Glenlivet with all of us(the immediate family) in his hospice room. I'd never ever had Scotch before, and never ever will again, but sharing that with him, at his request, brought me an amazing comfort then, and does today.

Jillian

Like everyone else, I'm so sorry.

Be strong. Be weak. Be whatever you need to be.

While I don't think it would be my choice, (although I think it's hubris for anyone to say for sure until faced with the situation) I admire your dad as a fighter. He's clearly going to do this on his own terms and I can appreciate that.

Kelley

I'm so, so sorry Amy:(. I know there's nothing else that anyone can say to make this better or easier. Just know I (and hundreds...thousands?) of people are thinking of you and your family. Losing someone you love so dearly is absolutely the worst thing you can experience. I'm so sorry.

Kelley

I'm so, so sorry Amy:(. I know there's nothing else that anyone can say to make this better or easier. Just know I (and hundreds...thousands?) of people are thinking of you and your family. Losing someone you love so dearly is absolutely the worst thing you can experience. I'm so sorry.

Genevieve

I am thinking of and praying for your family.

Plano Mom

Not for a long time, but I promise you with every ounce of faith I have:

It. Gets. Better.

Margie

From someone whose dad died of cancer, all of my love.

Gennie

I'm so, so sorry that you are your family are facing this. And so impressed with your ability to see that even though the choices he is making aren't the ones you would, it's still important to value this time with your dad. In your position I imagine this would be a big struggle for me. You are all in my thoughts, and I hope you are all able to find some comfort during this time.

Susan

So sorry.

Susan

So sorry.

Kyla

I'm so sorry, Amy.

Kyla

I'm so sorry, Amy.

Wendi

Oh gosh, my heart goes out to you! I am so sorry...I know it's so hard. I lost my dad to (lung) cancer 11 years ago and it still feels like yesterday. I wish you and your family weren't going through this.

amy

I am so very, very sorry. :(

amy

I am so very, very sorry. :(

Lana

I'm sorry to hear things are at such a stage, but I so respect your willingness to support his process through this, despite how difficult it is.

This blog must give you comfort. There are so many great comments from people showing up with you for this. You are all in my thoughts.

Deidra

After struggling through the disease and final days of my mother-in-law recently, my heart hurts for you and your family. The only thing I can say is to just keep doing what you're doing. Enjoy every day with your dad while you can. Ask him to tell you all the stories you love, just one more time. Tell him all of those things you remember so fondly from growing up. From what I've seen from my husband in these past few months, you can never hear enough and you will never be able to say everything, but you have more time available to you than some, so make the most of it. You and your family are in my heart.

BarbG

Thank you for sharing this, Amy. You are an awesome, supporting daughter. Hugs to you...

emily k

I am so sorry.

emily k

I am so sorry.

Beth

I know... I'm losing my dad too. It does hurt.

adequatemom

What a journey you've all been through in the past several months. You are all in my heart. Wish I could hug you in person.

Stacey

I'm so sorry, Amy.

Anna

I'm so sorry Amy. I don't know what else to say, but I am thinking of you and your family.

Kate

There is nothing I can say to make it better so I'll say I'm sorry. Enjoy your father.

Cassie

I'm so very sorry.

Marie

I think of you often. Here's hoping you get to be present to every last bit of precious time with your father. Sending you and your parents big hugs and deep breathes.

WaltzingMtilda

Oh Amy...so sorry.

Shauna

When my friend was dying, she wrote about not wanted to be a quitter and stop treatment. Once day she said she realized that stopping was not quitting, it was moving towards something more beautiful. That resonated with me so much. I hope your dad finds peace as he moves towards something more beautiful.

JP

I am so sorry. My siblings and I lost our mom to cancer 8 years ago. IFS (IT fuc&ing sucks) are three letters that my sisters and I still say/text to each other to state our opinions on the matter.
I'll share them with you, Amy: IFS...

Laura

Amy, I am so sorry. I've read your blog for awhile, and think you are an amazing writer who has been so generous to let us into your life.
I would like to provide some information for you and your family. You may have heard it already - and if so - disregard.
I have been a nurse for 10 years, working with many people at the end of their life. Sometimes the fear of hospice is that it is completely giving up. When, it does not have to be- it is not the end of medical treatment but a change in focus from curing or prolonging life to a focus of comfort, dignity, and better quality of life. You may already know this and it is hard to convince your dad. So getting help from a chaplain, pastor, priest, social worker, nurse - someone who is not as invested - maybe they can talk to him? Here is a link to an article - people in hospice sometimes live longer without those invasive tests and treatments which put so very much pain and stress on the body. Treating symptoms keeps people out of the hospital and improves the quality of their life. Here is the link:
http://news.nurse.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770905001
Cancer causes so many painful and uncomfortable symptoms, and hospice can help treat those symptoms aggressively and timely.
My prayers are with you and your family.

Kris

I'm so sorry.

Sarah in Huntsville

I am so, so sorry. That's not how things are supposed to be, but cancer is just so damn unfair. I'm thinking about you and your family.

Angie

I'm so very sorry. Everyone's loss is unique, so I won't say I know what you're going through exactly, but I lost my dad to cancer in 2006. I'm sorry. Eff cancer.

Katie

As with many other posters, I was in your position in 2007. I'm so so sorry. Say everything you want to say and take care of yourself and your family, especially your mum. I remember when the inevitability became clear, it was still a shock although we had been living it for 5 years - a real punch in the guts. You'll get through this.

Sarah McLachlan said it beautifully: "Hold on, hold on to yourself. This is going to hurt like hell."

All the best from my family in Australia to yours.

Katie

As with many other posters, I was in your position in 2007. I'm so so sorry. Say everything you want to say and take care of yourself and your family, especially your mum. I remember when the inevitability became clear, it was still a shock although we had been living it for 5 years - a real punch in the guts. You'll get through this.

Sarah McLachlan said it beautifully: "Hold on, hold on to yourself. This is going to hurt like hell."

All the best from my family in Australia to yours.

carole

I'm sorry.I know exactly how it is when the docs say that. i am so very, very sorry. Hug your dad a million times...FUCK cancer!

Cyn

Oh Amy...like everyone else, I can only say I'm so very sorry. We're all out here, sending you our love and support.
Love and peace to you and your family.

Peggy

I am so sorry. There is no right way. I hate cancer.

Avitable

There are no easy choices and no easy decisions with this, and I can't imagine how difficult and guilt-inducing it can be just to want him to spend his remaining time living instead of fighting. I'm sorry, Amy.

Hayden

Sometimes I just don't understand this world, why loved ones are taken so early, why good people die so young, why bad things happen to innocent people.

But be strong, because I promise that it will get better. You must feel so terrible and pained, and I'm sure I would as well. Losing your parents is a terrible thing.

I am so sorry that you have to go through this, no one deserves it. Sometimes, things just happen for no damn reason at all.

You are handling this quite well though, a lot better than I would be and I envy that trait. Hang in there sweetie.

kat

amy, i'm so sorry. i'm so sorry. and fuck cancer.

Just Shireen

I'm so, so sorry.

Edie Mindell

Hi. I'm so sorry you have to go through this, but everything has a reason and a purpose. Just stay strong in your faith. My prayers are with you and your dad.

CHRISTIAN

HI AMY, I JUST SING ON THIS HERE THING, WE ALL WENT TROUGH THE SAME THING ABOUT OUR FATHER, HE'S BEEN GONE OVER 15 YEARS NOW AND WE MISS HIM ALL THE TIME.
MY WIFE AND I HAVE A MIRACLE BABY GIRL OF 15 MONTH AFTER TRYING FOR 10 YEARS AND LOOSING 3 BABIES, I KNOW HOW HARD CANCER CAN BE, NOW WITH A NEW BABY IT IS ME WOH WANTS TO LIVE FOR EVER SO I CAN BE THERE FOR MY BABY GIRL, I LOVE YOUR CHILDREN NAMES, MY BABY IS "MASADA" YOU STAY STRONG, FOR WOMAN ARE THE STRENGTH OF THE WORLD.
ONE LOVE CHEF RASTA

Brooke

I'm sorry. It was 7 years ago yesterday that we lost my MIL to breast cancer. It hasn't stopped being unfair.

Ailen

I know. I'm sorry. It's fucking bullshit, that's what it is.

Amy

I'm sorry, Amy. I hope knowing that you have a virtual community of people thinking about and praying for you and your family brings some kind of comfort.

ExtraYou

So very sorry. I became certified to teach Grief Recovery and highly recommend the book "The Grief Recovery Handbook" - this is by far the best thing I've ever done for myself (meaning do / read this book).

coffeeaddict

This is difficult to write for fear it might be misunderstood.
We all deal with failure and disappointment in our own way, something like the 5 stages of grief only it's more fluid and it's different for each person. Your father has to come to terms with this devastating news on his own terms. while encouragement from your part to accept hospice care is recommended I would advise against 'pushing' him into anything.
I wish you and your family all the strenght and courage and love to be able to cope with these dark times.

Asha {Parent Hacks}

This post broke my heart. I am wishing you, your Dad, and your family all the best.

Amanda P

My father is in a coronary intensive care unit as we speak. He is fighting congestive heart failure. He has a DNR on his orders. It is hard to watch someone slipping away from you. My heart is with you. I know how hard it is. I lost my mother at 16. I am praying for both of our families and fathers. Sending love from SC.

Alyssa

I'm so, so sorry. I'll continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

Alyssa

My mom was exactly the same way and I struggled to respect her right to "go down fighting." Based on my experience, I would encourage you to think about the things that YOU need to say to him before he dies (Thank you, I love you, I will miss you). Even if the conversation makes him uncomfortable, I hope you get the chance to say those things.

Karen

I lost my dad to cancer too. He had hospice at the end and it was emotionally better for everyone to not have to be at home and not deal with the hospital. I hope your father finds his peace.

MariaV

(((((Amy)))))

Mary Ann

When my mom was dying, someone told me "This is probably the worst thing that will ever happen to you." I find that comforting.

Anyway, cancer fucking sucks and losing a parent fucking sucks. I'm really, really sorry.

Torrey

Delurking to say I am so sorry. You are fantastic and I wish there was something to magically make things better.

Your pal,

Torrey

ccr in MA

Easier does not mean easy. Easier can in fact be really, really far away from easy.

Hugs.

Pam Grirffis

I am so sorry you and your family are going through this. We did it a couple of years ago. My dad had prostate cancer that he didn't deal with. The cancer won. He wouldn't admit that it was winning until just a few days before he passed. It was a horrific time for me. I was not his day to day caretake as he had a loving girlfriend. But I was the legal caretaker. It was a terrible thing to try to get him to understand what was coming. I hope that you and your family will make it through this time with grace and dignity. It will be tough. It doesn't get easier. But just remember to cherish every day, even the ones that seem like bad days. In the end, even those days will be special. My heart breaks for you.

Ashley

I lost my dad to colon cancer when I was 30. It was one of the hardest things I have ever went through. But I can say, you are doing the right thing. It's his body and his fight right now. All you can do is be there and make him whatever he wants. I did and I don't regret a second of it!! I am so sorry you are going through this!

Ashley

I lost my dad to colon cancer when I was 30. It was one of the hardest things I have ever went through. But I can say, you are doing the right thing. It's his body and his fight right now. All you can do is be there and make him whatever he wants. I did and I don't regret a second of it!! I am so sorry you are going through this!

Keetha

I am so so very sorry. I don't know what else to say.

Peggy

Long time reader - before Noah... and this is more for me (to be truthful). My brother was hodgkins stage 4 and I HATED the idiots that sold him healthfood/pills/whatever and told him to eat blue foods. Puuulleeeze. Six years later and it still irritates me. Good for you for allowing your Dad to just be. Impressive.

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