Gift of understanding

I fell to the floor, hysterical. In hindsight, it feels like an overreaction. You don’t really know how you are going to react, though, when you hear something so life changing. Cancer. Lymphoma. Stage Four. Fifty percent survival… at best.

My dad was on the other end of the phone. He had just spoken with the doctor who found the grapefruit-sized tumor in his abdomen and immediately called to tell us he’d be in surgery the following Monday.

My dad lived in Boise, a 2,000 mile plane ride with a layover in O’Hare between us. I was used to spending my summers there; I had been doing it since I was two. The summer after my freshman year of college was supposed to be one of the first where I stayed in one place, got to do what I had planned and wanted to. Instead, I would be on another plane, traveling across country again, hoping that this time wouldn’t be the last.

I’m kind of a take-charge, no bullshit, Type AAA person. Even though I was eighteen, I fell right into line, stepping in to coordinate my single dad’s treatment and care for the summer.

It was exhausting. My dad and I had a somewhat strained relationship as it was. Chemo and steroids and mortality looming did little to improve the underlying issues created when I was much, much younger.

The one thing I did have was hope. And humor. I researched my dad’s cancer to the point that doctors asked about my medical background. I questioned my dad’s oncologist when she seemed overly concerned about his lack of response to the treatment… I had read it could take several months (and as it turned out, I was right). When my dad’s hair started appearing around the house and I told him it was time to shave it, I bought hot pink and neon green hairspray and turned my OCD, attorney father into a punk. It might be one of the greatest memories he and I share.

There were many days still where I felt very alone. It is hard to understand the realities of being a caregiver until you are sitting in a hospital chair with a sleeping family member trying to figure out when you can go grocery shopping between chemo sessions, blood draws, and appointments with specialists.

On my birthday, one of the greatest moments of my 30 acts of kindness was taking flowers to the oncology floor and asking them to give them to someone having a particularly rough day. Today, I will take flowers not only for a patient but also a caregiver. Those are lonely days filled with fear. It is very easy to believe that no one understands. I hope that today there is at least one person who knows that someone does. And that they care.

Share Post

25 thoughts on “Gift of understanding

  1. Wonderful site. Plenty of useful info here. I’m sending it to a few pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you to your sweat!

  2. Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!|

  3. Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any support is very much appreciated.|

  4. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.|

  5. I do consider all of the ideas you have introduced in your post. They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for newbies. Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.|

  6. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.|

  7. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it|

  8. A person essentially assist to make seriously articles I’d state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to make this actual post extraordinary. Magnificent task!|

  9. Right here is the perfect blog for anyone who hopes to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject which has been discussed for years. Wonderful stuff, just excellent!|

  10. Simply desire to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is simply nice and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.|

  11. Howdy! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to resolve this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thanks!|

Leave a Reply to James Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>