Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Most Horrible Time of the Year

Today's the beginning of the crappiest month. How can it be crappy when it hasn't happened you ask?

Well, it's when I can look back on almost every single day I experienced five years ago to the day (how f'd up that it's already been FIVE years?) and remember how absolutely shitty every single day was for an entire month.

My father was dying and we didn't (really) know it.

Five years ago today my father went in for his surgery to remove the cancer from his esophagus. The surgery lasted for hours. We found out that the cancer had spread to his liver. But the surgeon said, "We got it all." We weren't told until the day before he died that they actually did not "get it all" as we had originally been led to believe and that for the month after the surgery, the cancer was just there, spreading, getting worse and slowly killing him. All while we lived with hope every single day that he was getting closer and closer to being himself and getting the f outta Dartmouth.

I remember leaving the crazy Shaker Village Inn that morning. My father could barely make it down the stairs. This man who had always been larger than life and the strongest person I knew, had very little strength- he could barely move. He had to hold onto the railing in order to make his way down the stairs and out to the car.

I remember going in once he was all prepped for surgery and saying we'd see him later. Scared as hell, but putting all the faith in the world (stupidly) that everything would be fine. I remember sitting at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center as a family, scared and anxious, crying and laughing, judging and eating, waiting and waiting and waiting.

Once my father came out of the surgery, we went into the recovery room for another brief period of time to see that he was doing okay. He talked a little, we talked a little and then he went off to the ICU for post-surgery recovery.

We probably walked out of the hospital feeling relieved and a little excited. We knew the road ahead wouldn't be easy, as the doctor told us he'd have to go through chemo again. But we were happy he made it through and that he'd be able to start on the road to living a "normal" life and be able to eat again.

But since that day five years ago so much has happened and my own recovery with this process has taken many twists and turns. In fact, I didn't even remember what today was until my sisters, mother and I had an email exchange going back and forth and Kara wrote, "On a darker note, anyone else thinking about 5 years ago today?"

I hadn't until she wrote that.

And now I can't stop thinking about how much I hate this time of year.


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