Friday, October 3, 2008

Dedicated to my dad

Over at Guttergirlz they are having an awesome challenge. I knew as soon as I saw the challenge what I was going to do. But it was much more emotional to complete than I thought. One year ago next month my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. I will never forget the day he told us. It was one of those days you never want to relive, but will never forget. The worse part was the next day we had to celebrate my cousin's marriage, and we had decided to keep it just to ourselves (my parents, sister and I) until after the party, so as not to ruin her day. Trying to by happy when all you want to say is stop all of this, my dad has cancer and right now that's all I care about!! The past year has been a difficult journey, and I think we've all seen that the cure can be as devastating as the disease itself. My dad had cycle after cycle of the strongest chemotherapy there is to try to shrink the tumor so that the doctors could try and save as much of his stomach as possible. We were so optimistic going into the surgery that the tumor had shrunk and that they would be successful in removing the cancer. After almost 8 hours of surgery, the doctor finally came to a point where he could step out of the surgery and let us know what was going on. The tumor was much bigger than they anticipated and they had to remove his whole stomach and make a new much smaller stomach out of part of his intestines. Heartbreaking news my mom, sister and I had to come to terms with before my dad come out of recovery and was brought to his room. But you know what, we walked in that room, and he was awake, waiting for us and had a smile on his face. He knew they took his stomach but I think he was just happy to be alive, and all he wanted at that point was his family.

So now he had a long recovery from this major surgery. He had so many complications and was losing weight so fast. The doctors finally decided they needed to put dad on a feeding tube that would be hooked up to his port for 12 hours a day. So my mom and my sister and I all learned how to connect and disconnect his feedings and if he went out at night he had to carry this back pack around with him. Eventually he gained the weight he needed and was able to come off it. My dad is only half the size today that he was 2 years ago and he still struggles with his weight on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even though the surgeon was confident he had removed all the cancer, he still had cancer cells that were even too small to be seen with a microscope. He then had to undergo radiation treatments, because the chemotherapy didn't work the first time around, so this was the only route left to take. Now a year later, the cancer may never be completely gone from his body and he will have to be checked every few months, but my dad is a survivor. He will never be able to go back to work again and do the things he was once able to do, but in my eyes my dad is stronger today than he was 20 years ago. I wish that I had that strength. I struggle with it everyday! It makes me so angry, how could God do this to my dad, what did he do to deserve this. I really wanted to rip that cancer out of my body and put it in mine!

So this layout is for my dad, and maybe a little bit of therapy for myself.
The song is "Bring on the Rain" by JoDee Messina, and here are the lyrics that I used on my layout:
Another day has almost come and gone
Cant imagine what else could wrong
Sometimes Id like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war (cause)

Its almost like the hard times circle round
A couple drops and they all start coming down
Yeah, I might feel defeated,
I might hang my head
might be barely breathing - but Im not dead

Thanks for letting me tell my story that's been trapped inside for a long time now!


MaryNSC said...

O Tammy I m so sorry!! I M so glad he is still here with u .. I feel your pain I lost my Mom to brain cancer in 1999 and I am still BITTER I miss my Mom every day.. So U rant and rave all u want too..Sending u a great big HUG!! Hug your dad for me too.

Jan said...

This is an incredible layout and I konw this was so difficult for you. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us at the Gutter!!

latte_grande said...

Wow, what a heart-wrenching ordeal! I hope doing the layout was a little bit of helpful therapy for you, and I wish you and your dad the best through this process! SO glad you played along with our prompt, and hope to see you in the gutter again!