“Your elevated PSA levels would indicate that the prostate cancer has come back and this time it will be terminal.”
A few days later the bone scan confirms that the cancer has metastasized to the bones. The radiologist explains, “its everywhere.”
This is the news that my dad and our family was faced with this last week.
As I reflect on the past few months, the signs were there: weight loss, along with increasing discomfort in his back and legs. Signs that you want to ignore and explain away as stress, or growing old.
I keep telling myself that we are lucky. Receiving a terminal diagnosis of cancer at age 82 is better that receiving one at 40, right? Everyone has to die sometime.
Then why do I feel so sad?
Maybe its because he’s my dad, and dads are always supposed to be there.
I remember how I challenged his patience when he taught me algebra, or when he taught me how to drive a stick shift. I remember how he challenged me on our summer vacations that always included hiking some mountain or canyon.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, he was passing on his love of hiking and of the great outdoors to me. That explains why he and I have ascended the 3000ft climb to the top of Y mountain every month for the past 12 1/2 years. A lot of advice, laughs and tears have been shared while climbing that trail with my faithful hiking buddy.
He may not be a man of many words, but he always lends a listening ear.
Now that I know that my time with dad will be cut short, I will cherish the memories and make new ones. The questions that need to be asked will be asked. My gratitude and love will be expressed more freely.
I will make the time count.
So as the ominous black cancer strikes again, we are reminded that life is short. We all eventually pass from this life. Let the ones that are important to you know how you feel.
Don’t hold grudges and bitter feelings. Say you’re sorry.
Say those “three little words” that can be difficult for some to say.
Thanks for letting me unload.