Daddy you are and always will be my hero!

by Wendy

In September 2011 my daddy was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was a shock to all of us but the doctors assured us that it was contained to the one lung and that removing it would take care of the cancer. So, we scheduled the surgery right away. The doctors removed it and he was doing good. He came home and was recovering very nicely. However, because they found the cancer in 2 of the 24 lymph nodes the lung has they felt he needed to undergo some chemo. We started the chemo right away. He was doing great and we felt he was going to beat this. Then, one awful morning he collapsed on home! We rushed him to the ER...they admitted him and ran a series of tests. We awaited anxiously for the results of those tests. Somehow, deep inside me, I knew the news was not going to be good. I called him in the hospital as I sat at work wondering how he was doing. He answered and I knew something was horribly wrong...the words rang in my ears for a long time...the cancer had spread to his brain and he had at most 2 months. I broke down crying so hard as I was trying to speak to him on the phone...I didn't know what to do...what to say...He told me to not cry...he said, honey, we will get through this. I asked him if he wanted me to come to the hospital...he said no...that he was coming home. I told him I would meet him at home..he told me to please drive safely. I cried all the way to my parents home...How was I ever going to live without him? He came home, sat down in his recliner and broke the news to the rest of the family. We cried and most of us were in shear disbelief. He bravely and without any tears made sure that everything was taken care for my mom and for the rest of the family. I never once heard my daddy say why me...or feel sorry for himself. That was the kind of man he was. He was home for about a month and then one morning he got up and his blood pressure was very low...he couldn't walk...My mom took him to the doctors and they sent him to the ER. After another bunch of tests he was diagnosed with severe pneumonia and blood clots in his legs and lungs. He told the doctors he wanted to go home so he came home. My two sons both had medical backgrounds as EMTs and my nephew had some medical background so we set up hospice care for him at home. The entire family gathered and we spent time holding his hand, feeding him and talking to him for the next week. Each day a little more life would slip away from him. The twinkle that he once had in his eyes was replaced with a glassy stare somewhere far away. When we would ask him how he was...he would always reply I'm fine. When we would ask him if he was scared...he replied no not all I know where I am going. We all told him countless times how much we loved him and he would always reply back how much he loved us. We spent round the clock vigil tending to every need he had, knowing that the end was very near. On February 12, 2012 I awoke in the early morning to find my daddy breathing but unresponsive. I knew that he would not make it through the day. We sat around quietly watching him slip further and further away from us. At 4:55 pm he took his last breath. A part of me went with my daddy that day and I know that my life will never be the same without him!

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