Hi. The avid reader might have noticed a slight absence lately, or at least a huge slowdown in post frequency. My bad! At the beginning of this year, I made a goal to update at least once a month – I had some pretty good articles, too! But sometime around May it all kind of stopped, and I feel like I should explain why, and at the very least reassure you that, no – I’m not going to disappear forever, and yes – I will keep writing blog posts for as long as I can come up with things to write about (and I have a bunch of drafts/ideas sitting around waiting to be expanded upon)!
In late April, I found out my dad has a pretty late-stage form of cancer. Finding out that anyone in your family has cancer really turns your world upside-down, and them being thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet, effectively out of your range of aid, is even worse. For about a month, I would be up late researching cancer, and trying to diagnose what stage it was at based on symptoms. I would set my alarm for 3am so I could call my parents to see what had happened at their latest appointment. I would call them every morning. It turned out that it was stage-4 cancer, and the prognosis from the oncologist was that it “wouldn’t be long now”.
So in mid-May, I flew to London for a whole month to be with my parents while my dad started chemo. He was in not-the-best spirits in general. He was on a liquid-diet, which, knowing my dad, was hardly going to make him happy. He was weak and found moving tiring. His first, and eventually only, round of chemo wrought such damage to him that it almost killed him. A day or so after his treatment, he could barely move, he could barely eat or drink. We called an ambulance an had him taken to the nearest (and possibly shittiest) hospital, where he stayed for about a week. He was able to come home – just in time for me to fly back from the UK, but ended up back in hospital for a week or so after that too. Much like how we know the secret to flying is falling and missing the ground, the secret to living might just be knowing how to miss dying at the right moments. He’s doing ok now. Chemo is off the table, the cancer’s inoperable, and his liver isn’t doing so well, but he’s apparently got more energy now than he did when I first landed to see him. So that’s pretty good. But yeah, my mind for the last few months has been filled with the prospect of losing my dad.
I should note at this point in the story that we are nowhere near done. Having one stressful event to deal with at any one moment is bad enough, but there’s more coming.
About a week after I landed in London to visit my parents – I guess we can say early June – my wife told me that she was pregnant. We’d been trying for a while, and it looks like the surgery that I had late last year had fixed whatever was acting up in my stuff, so I was pretty ecstatic. Thing is, I had gone to London by myself – it didn’t make sense at the time for us to both fly there for a month to stay with my parents in their tiny house for such a long time. So here I was, now thousands of miles away from my wife, and hearing how she’s freaking out about finally being pregnant. And of course, just finding out doesn’t mean you can just go around telling everyone – in general, you don’t tell people you’re pregnant until about 12 weeks in. After some calculation, we were at around 5 or 6 weeks. I’m sitting around in London with my parents, my dad on the verge of death, and I have this awesome news I can’t tell anyone, that I’m tooooootally stressing about at the same time as worrying about my dad.
The thing that I worried about (and still worry about) is how this all pans out: My dad’s still sick – will he live long enough to see the baby? If he starts to go around the time of our due date, will I have to choose between being there for my dad, or being there for my son? These thoughts still haunt me now.
In mid July, one of our cats died. Of cancer, of all things. It seemed to come out of nowhere – He was fine for so long, and then suddenly over the course of 3 days he’s a little sleepy one day, and then is having trouble breathing, and then we’re taking him in to have fluid drained from around his lungs, having imaging done, watching him get slightly better for a few hours, and then much, much worse, and then spending hours tearfully deciding that it’s time to finally let him go. He wasn’t even 9 yet. He was one of the best pets I’ve ever had, and I still miss him every day. In a way the whole process of losing him seemed to be a compressed and accelerated version of what I expect losing my dad will be like.
I guess that’s it. There’s more little things going on, as you can imagine, such as life goes on, but my Dad’s still sick, my wife’s still pregnant, my pet is still gone, and my brain is trying to process all of this all at the same time.
I’m still here. Expect more posts. I’m not going anywhere :)