June 3, 2013

Isn't it Ironic


I sit here at the speciality clinic getting my my third cycle of chemo. Ironically, it was 21 years ago today my father passed away from colon cancer. That day is etched so deep in my memory. It seems like is was only weeks ago. I still harbor some anger over my father's death. He knew he was sick and likely dying for years. I remember a time in 1988 when he came to visit me in Minnesota. We were sitting outside at Fletcher's on Lake Minnetonka. He said to me, "You're old man isn't going to be around much longer." Of course I asked why. He put my hand on his upper stomach where I felt this large grapefruit size tumor sticking out. I was so angry at him for not taking care of himself. For chrissake he ate Rolaids like M & M's. Clearly something was not 'right'. I would expect more from a man with a 145 IQ. I'm dumbfounded that someone so intelligent would have such disregard for his own health. 

Shortly after that visit Dad went to the doctor. They said he'd need to have a section of his colon removed. The sugeon opened him up, saw cancer everywhere, including his liver. The doc sewed him back up and gave him 6 months to live. My dad, a paratrooper in the 82nd airborne, a demolition specialist, who fought in all seven campaigns of WWII, was as tough and as stubborn as they come. So it was no suprise that he held on to life for another three years. I am grateful that he lived long enough to meet his namesake, my son, Alex. 

My father, Alex and my son, Alex, May 1990
I am also grateful that he gave heaven a nudge to send me my beautiful daughter, Hannah. How you ask? I had a miscarriage in March of 1992. I still think about the baby I lost every year on Halloween, the baby's due date. I was so overwrought by the miscarriage that I called my dad crying to inform him that that expected baby was unexpectedly lost. At this point, he was having more bad days than good. It was rare to get him on the phone because his health was fading fast. This day I was lucky enough to reach him. He consoled me, telling me he knew another baby was coming soon. I told him I didn't want to even try anymore as heartache was unbearable. He continued to assure me another baby was on the way. 

Several weeks went by and my father passed on June 3, 1992. I was distraught, so much so that I didn't realized until hours before boarding a plane to New Orleans that I missed my period. I ran out and bought a EPT test. You know where the story goes from here. Like all parents, I believe my daughter is a gift from heaven, however I can say with absolute certainty that somehow my father had something to do with it. When Hannah was born, I was amazed that her baby photo and my father's baby photo look almost identical. 

My father as an infant - held by his dad, Edward
Hannah as an infant looking very similar to my dad
This anniversary of my fathers death is bittersweet. I feel him by my side, offering me strength and support as I go through the most challenging chapter of my life. Perhaps my random colonscophy that led me to find my cancer early is all part of a plan he's working on with God. A plan to give me more years than he had so I can enjoy a long, healthy life with Greg and see all my kids have kids one day. I know it's a romantic thought, but it's a good thought that gets me through this crazy process. 

Thank you, Dad.  

Top Left: Dad & me. Bottom Left: Richard & Alex


4 comments:

  1. Your dad had a great smile - a movie star quality. Thank you for reminding me that I am blessed to have parents that are living and a colon that is pink. I am sure your dad is so poud of the woman you became and the mother you are. Everything will be just fine. How can it not be when you Dad's obviously got you covered. Thank you pretty lady!!

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  2. You are so right Hannah looks just like the baby picture of your dad. Yes you have a angle watching over you.

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  3. margaret rutledgeJune 4, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    What a great tribute to your Father. He was truly an inspiring man and his spirit is with you always. The stars of Pisces spirits are infinite. xoxoxo

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  4. A series of misdiagnosis have allowed the spread of Charles's colon Cancer which has now spread to his liver and kidneys, We abruptly found out about his cancer on may 26th 2013, it is spreading as we speak we are looking to try something called cannabis oil possibly chemo therapy.
    This is a extremely hard and sad time for us, My father is the sole provider for his wife and 4 kids, twins 12 years, son 16years and daughter 13 years, he is now no longer able to work and is not only stressing about surviving but also how he will support his family and pay for alternative life saving treatments.
    This traumatic finding of cancer is extremely sad and stressful on our family; we are trying anything we can to get Charles healthy
    We have started the Phoenix Tears/cannabis oil Treatment partnered with Chemo Therapy and a major change in diet. The Phoenix tears is crucial to saving charles's life these treatments are 80$ per day over 2400$ per month.
    Any support you can contribute to help Charles & family make it through these tough time would be so appreciated.
    Thank you for your love and support!

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