It looks like my Dad's cancer is coming back. For the last 5 years my Dad's been receiving experimental cancer treatments which have kept his cancer in a holding pattern. Every quarter he gets tested to track the level of cancer in his body and then gets a treatment when the results are favorable.
This month he had two tests in rapid succession from one another. His numbers rose as quickly in a 10-day period as they did over the course of the last year. We're still talking about a small amount; but, the growth is picking up speed. At the same time, we're forewarned, and in a lot of ways, we really have had a good run (6+ years longer than the '2 months left' prognosis we got in 2000.) If there had to be terminal cancer, what a blessed way to experience it, really. We've had advance notice, easy tests to track it, & side effects from the drugs that put more hair on my dad's head as opposed to less.
Now that it seems like we're getting closer to the end of this holding pattern in this chapter of the cancer story, I really want to remember some of the life lessons I learned during our first cancer chapter. When my dad was first diagnosed and it was only getting worse. I learned that my dad is a spontaneous adventurer who does not like everything planned out for him. Support, for him, was not me asking him a million questions about his treatment plan as I might have liked. It was acknowledging the problem openly without letting it circumvent the original plan of living a full and happy life. What I didn't get then was that to my dad, if I stopped everything to worry about his cancer it was not only was robbing him of life, but his daughter, too. Of course, I didn't learn this without a lot of frustration and miscommunication and tears; but the point now is that I learned it (or at least grasped some of the concept).
As the daughter in this scenario, I will never stop praying for a complete healing, no matter what the doctors say. But, I also want to be the daughter who learns to support my dad in his love languages. When I was 25-26 and the Dr's were saying my dad was going to die in a matter of months it was completely overwhelming (and, although I couldn't see it at the time, my reaction was more about me than it was about him). Now, I'm 32 and I've been given the gift of time to deal with some of the possibility of loosing my parents while I'm relatively young. Of course, loosing either parent for any reason will suck no matter how much advance notice I have. But, if we have to go around the cancer bend again, I want to bless my dad by remaining full of the life and lessons he's given me. I have no doubt that I'll be supportive and engaged in the Dr. reports & prognosis side of things - that's my natural inclination. Please be praying, though, that God gives me the grace I need to be the kind of daughter who'll come home full of life and joy even if at some point cancer is trying to steal away at my dad's life again. Please pray, too, that my family gets many more opportunities to better learn how to love and understand each other.