Whenever I think that, or confide in a friend or coworker, everything comes to a complete stop. I tend to put on a dismissive smile or shrug and say 'it is what it is, we are dealing with everything as we can', but it's jarring and surreal every single time.
That's because this isn't just some challenge, something that we can conquer together with him, something that with enough happy thoughts and some money we can get through and we'll all be better for it in the end.
Stage 4 metastasized pancreatic cancer. It's just an absolutely devastating set of words. There is no stage 5, and metastasized means the cancer has spread - it's a terminal diagnosis.
So a brief recap of events that lead to me writing this:
In August dad had some pain in his side/abdomen, not entirely unlike the pain when we nearly lost Karen Hayden a few years ago. Doctors immediately noticed this was much more than a localized instance and cancer was apparent and widespread. After a number of consultations and procedures it was determined that the pancreas was the originator, and the dire initial prognosis was confirmed.
Last week was dad's second round of five prescribed sessions of chemotherapy. It is also his last. He's spent the better part of this week in the hospital trying to recover from debilitating side effects, and rather than spend his final days trying to recover from his treatment and having his grandkids remember him like that, he has opted to spend them enjoying the love and company of his family. Be it 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years or more, dad will continue to live life surrounded by those he loves.
As of this writing he is resting at the hospital, and expecting to be discharged in the next day or so. I'm not sure I have it in me to maintain the large regular updates like I did with 'Karen Hayden's adventures in the ICU', but you are always welcome to reach out and I am happy to provide what I can.
As for this GoFundMe campaign... I am starting this to help with his medical costs and any other expenses to ensure my parents are financially stable this coming year. This will help with medical bills once deductibles are reset and anything else to ensure things are taken care of at their home.
And finally, thank you to everyone who has helped thus far. You have our love and gratitude, and appreciate anything that anyone can do to help going forward.
Finally, go let your nearest loved one know how much they mean to you. You never know what kind of curveball life may throw your way, and we need to cherish those in it that mean the most to us.
I never said it enough, but I know he always knew.
I love you dad.
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