March 07, 2011
This is the last post in the More Birthdays campaign, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
I imagine it's pretty obvious by now that I didn't really have a plan or theme for this "series," but just sat down each time and started typing and hoped that I'd stumble upon a point or insight somewhere along the way.
Honestly, most of the time I just crossed my fingers that I wouldn't get an ominous phone call in between the draft stage and the publish button.
I guess, as usual, the best place to start is with the dry, basic facts:
The doctors told my dad it was time to stop the chemotherapy. He opted...not to take that advice, and got his oncologist to concede that as long as he kept his blood count numbers just above a bargain-basement level, he could probably continue with chemo.
He heard: There's still hope.
The cancer has spread to his lymph nodes. But not as much as the doctors thought. His spleen is enlarged. But not as enlarged as it could be.
Again, he heard: Hope.
After multiple cancellations, at least one infection, some antibiotics and I don't even know how many transfusions, he's back at chemo today for the first time in a very long month, right now.
I wish I could hear hope too. I really do. In fact, I wish I could hear anything other than the little voice in my head nattering on about oh great, he'll have another bad reaction and another fever and another trip to the ER and another transfusion that's like tossing a wine cork at a collapsing dam and none of this is doing anything anyway but my God, he's so stubborn.
I don't like that voice. That voice makes me feel like a bad person, a bad daughter.
I wish I could hear hope.
But I'm glad my father hears it.
I hope everybody hears it too.