Another Guest Blogger. Enjoy
Have you heard that phrase that the media uses? ‘suicide by cop’? It’s when someone is so mentally ill, so distraught, so DESPERATE that they provoke the police to the point where extreme force is necessary – generally resulting in death of the ‘suspect’. Pretty messed up, huh? It makes you wonder how things can possibly get that bad. How can a person possibly put their soul into someone else’s hands? I can’t fathom it and I’m so glad I can’t.
My dad is currently going through something that it makes sense to call ‘suicide by cancer’.
He was diagnosed with Stage 3 esophageal cancer (no mets) in May of 2009.
My family is originally from a small, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town in New Hampshire (Mel is familiar with it…. We were classmates and friends from kindergarten on up through high school). In 1993 I realized that there was a great big world out there and took off for the great unknown (a/k/a Texas) – I’ve been here ever since. My brother is here with me… a block away… My neighborhood is wonderful. My kids are wonderful. The schools are wonderful. WINTERS are wonderful! A cook-out on New Year’s Day? Oh, HELL yeah!
I finally convinced my parents to come down and spend the winter away from the frozen tundra of New Hampshire.
They planned on staying three months.
They stayed almost a year.
Christmas Eve 2008 we were in the doctor’s office with my dad. He couldn’t swallow. ‘It’s his vertebrae protruding’, they said.
‘Surgery it is!’ We said.
He still couldn’t swallow after surgery.
Insert feeding tube.
Watch the beginning of the end.
Houston has a HUGE HUGE HUGE Medical Center. It has one of the best cancer centers in the world. MD Anderson is where all of the big shots go to get treated.
It’s here! My parents were here! What luck!!!
My dad’s doctor had studied under Dr. Michael DeBakey! (Google him, he’s a big deal) – they told us 3 weeks of chemo and 2 of radiation and the tumor would be GONE!
Dad said, ‘no’
He said he was tired.
He said he was done.
He took my mom and left Texas and flew back to New Hampshire.
(Can you tell I’m a little bitter?)
I know, I know, I know… it’s HIS choice. It’s HIS body. It’s HIS life.
But it’s not just affecting him.
My mom LOVES to travel. (My mom has (undiagnosed) ADHD and can’t sit still) My mom is a social butterfly. My mom knows everyone in town. My mom loves to shop (she’s all about the bargains – getting a good deal is an adrenaline rush for her)
My mom deserves better than this.
My mom is now a prisoner in her own home.
My dad has chosen his own destiny – but DAMN… he’s sucking her right down with him.
I’m 3000 miles away with two young kids, a husband with a job and volunteer activities up the yin-yang. I’m no help.
I call her five times a day (sometimes more). I try and provide a diversion. I try to listen. I try to comprehend. I try not to take it personally.
Most of her friends don’t visit her anymore.
They can’t go up to see her because ……. (you fill in the blank)
It’ll bother her
It’ll bother him
They don’t have time
They don’t know what to say
They have other prior engagements
The dog barks
The moon is full
The tide is high
…………….Yada yada yada
All this being said…
Don’t forget the caretakers – there’s morphine and fentanyl and lorazepam for diseases… but no painkillers for a broken heart.
About the author: Amy Lord Gonzalezbio:
Transplanted New Hampshire girl, currently residing in the country of Texas. Stay-at-home mom, rock star wife who makes a mean enchilada and still cheers for the Red Sox and Patriots from afar.
contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org