We've had quite a year, haven't we?
The year started out with my dad's surgery in January. It was tough but my dad was tougher. My brother came home from Korea for two weeks and the four of us gave you the Shin family beat down. By March, the scars were healed and my dad was up and about. By April, he was taking walks around the neighbourhood and by May he was planting his garden in the backyard. We thought we had you beat.
In June, you came back.
Maybe it wasn't exactly in June, you were probably there all along, hiding, giving us a false sense of security, but in June you made yourself known in the form of a tumour pushing against the sciatic nerve, giving my dad pain any time he sat down and all down his leg. More CTs, more doctors and by the end of July my dad was in for radiation and scheduled for Chemo. And my brother was back from Korea for another 3 weeks.
Then came the septic shock in August. Holy shit, I thought my dad was going to die right in front of my eyes. We called 911 and it was off for a week in the hospital. We finished off the radiation therapy and that left him too weak for chemo, so the doctor called it off.
By October, Tumour you had grown so large that you were interfering with other internal organs, and making it so uncomfortable for my dad to sit that he has to lay prone to be somewhat comfortable. We were offered more surgery, but my dad said no thanks. The surgery wouldn't remove the tumour, and his exact words were "I die if I don't get the surgery, I die if I get the surgery, so why get the surgery?"
That's where we are now Cancer. December of what has been the worst year of our lives. Thursday of a week that started off in the Emergency at OT, a transfusion saved his life this time, but not sure what's next. My dad survives on Oxycontin now, which I understand has a street value of many times what we pay for it at Shoppers. Kids crush it and do it at parties. My dad needs it to make each day bearable.
My brother coming from Korea again, this time to surprise my parents on Sunday for Christmas, but really because the doctor said "It may be a good time to call your brother." Either way, it's the best present we could give our parents.
You win Cancer.
But let me clarify. My dad still gets up in the morning and smiles when I'm there. He still talks about "when I feel better I'll....." and makes jokes about how my mom eats all the good food while he's sleeping. My mom still listens to music while she makes him life the meals 5-7 times a day because he can only eat small portions. She still encourages him and does everything with the same cheerfulness she has since my dad was diagnosed with cancer, years ago. You'll never beat them. Never.
You've beaten ME Cancer. I have nothing left. After a year of proving to me that it CAN get worse every single time I think it can't, it's like I'm the one with cancer now. You've broken my heart, Cancer. And not in the Nashville country song way.
We haven't taken a photo in the last year. I don't want to have anything to remind me of this year. My dad is getting out-eaten by his picky vegetarian daughter at every meal. He's down to 130 pounds.
You are erasing my father.
I envy the people who lose their loved ones in a car accident or a heart attack. ENVY. Shocking yes, but they don't have to watch them suffer. SUFFER. I would take shock over suffer. Shock over the ache of watching them struggle every day with pain and watching every last dignity taken from them. You recover from shock right? Eventually? Do you recover from watching your loved ones SUFFER? Or does that get imprinted on your soul for you to carry forever?
I'm tired of putting on a brave face. Of telling people my dad is "okay" because it's easier than telling them the truth - the truth is awkward, and it's ugly and it's cruel. The truth makes me cry.
The correct thing to say, the thing that people want to hear is - I'm fighting, I haven't given up, I feel POSITIVE. But the truth is I don't feel anything of those things.
The truth is I'm exhausted. I'm sad. I'm bitter. The truth is I smile for my dad and my mom, but inside I have cancer.
Fuck you Cancer.
Moo Young Shin's Daughter