At this current moment, while his journey is not over and he continues to fight cancer, he is surviving! He has found a treatment plan that is working for him and things are looking better....on the health end of things. Maybe only those that have dealt with medical and health issues before understand that while you are fighting to live, consequently you slowly are dying financially.
My dads journey began when we went in to see the doctor about some bladder issues he was having. He never thought it would turn out to be cancer and stage 4 none the less. These moments are always depicted so well in the movies. The doctor spueing medical diagnosis vomit all over you when all you hear is your heart racing and feel your body slowly going numb. In most cases, a rapid treatment option is offered including chemo and radiation. It really is all so overwhelming. For my dad, he just couldn't believe any of this was really happening. He agreed to some appointments to start the injections and canceled all of them. He just couldn't do it. It made no sense to him to pump his body full of toxic chemicals that will make him feel horrible and possibly kill him when he honestly felt fine. Why would he do this? Despite ear-fulls of recommendations and advise from friends and family he opted against the traditional treatment.
He decided to look into a holistic form of treatment. We all supported it and he was committed to it 100%. We even joked how we all should do it with him as it was just a matter of eating organic and sticking to the meal plan. Easy right? Sadly none of us lasted. It makes you think about the length you are willing to go when you know your life is at stake. My dad's life was at stake and there wasn't going to be any cheat days. He lost around 40 pounds and is actually looking slim and trim. My mom was worried about his weight loss and saw it as a sign of him dying. She has a lot of experience with this transformation from being there through both of her own parent's deaths due to illness. It worried her a lot, but the diet had a huge positive impact and his cancer numbers went down. Which was a great news!! The numbers eventually tapered off and even went back up a bit. The doctors said that cancer finds another way, so we needed to as well.
Through more research, my dad found a balanced treatment that involved diet, vitamins and a small dose of chemo. Only one-tenth of the usual amount given. I was able to sit in on this initial meeting with the doctor and it was tough to listen to. More medical vomit, but the difference was, this doctor saw our confusion and stopped. He explained it like this. Cancer feeds off many things in our bodies, one being sugar. The plan is to build up your immune system with vitamins, then drop your blood sugar super low, making cancer hungry. Then inject the chemo which cancer will eat up, theoretically killing it. Then they bring his blood sugar back up with a smoothie. Again, that is how I understood it; the dumb it down version. I'm sure it's way more complicated than that. The most important thing for my dad is that he found a doctor he trusts and feels good about the treatment be given. It's working for him too.
He is able to still be a loving husband to my mom, father to my brother and I and most importantly, PAPA to his 5 grandkids. He still gets up every morning to prep food for the sandwich shop, volunteers for the SD Police Department Crisis Intervention, and is a Chaplin for Vista Elks. He is not someone who would EVER throw himself a pity party. He loves the Lord and trusts him with all of his heart. He followed his heart and is moving along the road to recovery.
Being their daughter, I can't help but still find sadness in this situation. While he is getting better, their medical bills are building faster than they can pay. My parents are fighters and won't be knocked down so easily. If you know them, you know that they work hard and give back more often than not. To make some money, they have put their house on AirB&B and live in the motorhome when guests are staying there. It would be one thing if this was a retirement decision and were traveling in that motorhome but it is usually just parked in the driveway so as to save every bit they can. It has helped but still can't amount to the thousands weekly that are needed to pay for his treatment.
I'm asking for your help. No contribution is too small. All are welcomed and appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story.
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