Cassandra's Fathers Story.
My 57 yr old Dad was diagnosed 17months ago with glioblastoma multiforme - the worst type of brain cancer you can get. He was given 2 years max to live and stripped of nearly all hope.
He was diagnosed 1 week after the long awaited birth of his first grandchild. Intense joy turned to complete disbelief and shock. Worlds turned upside down and inside out.
The last year and a half has been an intense emotional journey of love, pain, sadness and struggle, but still my brave Dad fights on. After radiotherapy, major brain surgery and chemotherapy, the tumor in his left temporal lobe returned within 7months.
More chemotherapy and another major brain surgery and the dreaded aggressive tumor grew back after only 3weeks! Shocked, scared and still recovering from his second surgery he was scheduled in, and endured his third major brain surgery within 1 year.
Its been 4months since his 3rd operation and had been doing fairly well after having treatments of Avastin..... though the cost is killing us. Last night he was taken to emergency with swelling. Round 4..... how much more can his body take? The human body never ceases to amaze me.
This cancer is debilitating, aggressive and shows no mercy, but still he fights on with an enormous amount of inner strength that makes me so proud. Always trying to be strong and protect his family from his pain.
Through tears and heartache I watch his daily struggle and hope with all my heart for a medical breakthrough or a miracle of some sort before its too late.....wondering how long we have, what will come next, but putting on a brave face like I see he does, in the shadow of his his pain and confusion.
I see his physical pain. His bodies weakness, his minds confusion, his inability to speak feelings, his independence and dignity fading a little each day. I feel his sadness and regrets and wish I could heal his mind as much as his body..... but all I can do is be there for him, spend time, talk, research and advocate...try and understand the awful journey he is experiencing.
This is a hard road and so much of the time I just want it to be over, but over means death, and then thats a whole different journey.... just as hard or harder than this one. I try and remember how many other people in the world are going through similar journeys. It helps to know you are not alone.... though I would never wish this dreaded disease on anyone.
My Dads cancer has not come without gifts.... though sometimes they are hard to see in the immensity of it all. It has taught me a lot about my dad, my family and the importance of appreciating every day you have with your loved ones. It has also given way to an enormous and beautiful influx of caring and kindness from friends, family, health professionals and strangers. As hard as it has been, It has opened my eyes to a wonderful sense of faith and goodness in this crazy world we live in.
Married over 30yrs, mum has shown the most tremendous amount of inner strength she never knew she had. Giving up work to care for my Dad 24/7, she is a selfless and amazing woman who despite being terrified of a future without him has carried on through each day, diagnosis, symptom, emergency visit, personality change, emotion, frustration and doctor appointment with determination and hope.
My Dad has struggled through many hard roads in his life so is really good at being tough and brave. Even though he is obviously scared and suffering he tells us he is 'fine' and calmly takes each operation, chemo treatment and deficit in his stride. I love him so much, my heart is breaking.... I wake up each day, fingers crossed and hopeful for the future. Hope is what gets us all through.
For all those out there who are on, or have fought through this journey or something similar, my heart goes out to you. Show your love, say what you need to say and enjoy every precious moment. Try and let happiness touch your lives in every moment you can..... and remember you always have hope.