Losing my Dad
My dad passed away January 14, 2014, aged 58. It came as a complete shock to myself, my sister and my mum. Up until a couple of weeks ago my dad was fine. We noticed in December that he had lost a bit of weight and was perhaps a little pale. Mum urged him to go to the doctor to ensure everything was okay but he didn't go straight away as he felt fine.
Anyway on December 30, he didn't feel well after lunching with some friends. I took him to the hospital where they had to do some tests. They kept him overnight and had to give him a blood transfusion as his red blood count was very low. After this the colour in his face was a lot better and I thought he'd be okay.
The doctors kept him in the next night to run more tests. Turns out they had found nodules in his lungs and had to work out what they were.
We found out the day after that is was lung cancer. The news came as a complete shock. My dad didn't smoke. He had in the past but not for a long time and yes he had his bad habits but cancer?
We waited anxiously as they continued to do more tests. He had more blood transfusions as the blood cell count kept going back down. What was going on?
Then we found out days later following a PET scan that dad's cancer had spread. It was stage IV and no longer curable. I couldn't believe it. My amazing dad who until now had seemed fine to be told he would not live much longer. The cancer was in his bones, spine, ribs, skull, everywhere. I didn't think it could get any worse. Dad took the news so bravely and he said "Well that's the path I've been dealt with", he was so rational about it. I couldn't stop crying but I didn't want to cry in front of him. I could tell he was scared and I wanted to be strong for him.
Dad was discharged a few days later to be treated as an outpatient. We were awaiting the results of a test to see if dad could have the oral form of chemo.
That night dad went to sleep early as he was tired. We all went to sleep and then later in the night I heard my mum scream. My sister and I rushed in to see my dad collapsed on the side of his bed. I went to help him and he was not himself. We finally got him to stand but his left leg wasn't responding. Dad seemed not himself and vert disoriented. We called the ambulance. We were so scared.
Turns out dad had had a stroke. I couldn't believe it. How could the world be so cruel? He had a terminal cancer, he wasn't getting out of this. To then give him a stroke on top. It wasn't fair. I still cannot understand it.
Dad's platelet was too low at this time so they could not give him medication for the stroke. He would bleed if they did. My poor father. He was the smartest man, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
He remained in hospital in the stroke unit and he seemed okay. He wasn't walking but he was talking and whilst he wasn't seeing quite clearly he was still okay. We had hope even after so much despair that maybe maybe he would come through.
The oncologist came to visit us and said that chemo was not an option now as dad was too weak and due to the stroke he would not be able to take chemo. All we could do is hope and pray, not for a miracle but perhaps he would live some more months yet.
Tuesday January 14. Dad seemed very tired that day. I gave him juice I had made and some vegetables I had steamed. Later he went for a brain scan which showed 1/3 of his brain had been affected. Poor dad :'(
After the scan he closed his eyes and just rested. A little while later he woke up and said to goodbye to me and mum and my sister and how much he lovefd us. Then he closed his eyes again.
As the afternoon/night wore on his breathing got more and more laboured. He was struggling to breathe. We gave him some oxygen which seemed to help. Later I noticed his fingers were going cold and his feet. The circulation in his digits was going. It was happening.
My wonderful father took his last breath that night will all of us around him. He looked at peace and I happy amongst all this pain that in his death he was not in agony.
I feel so angry that he is gone. Why my dad? He was fine until 2 weeks ago. He never let out that something was wrong. I don't know if he wasn't well and kept it from us or if he actually felt fine. How I wish I had known earlier. The sense of loss and guilt I feel is incredible. I wish I could have done more for him. I will never be the same again.
There is not greater pain in this world than the loss of a parent. I took my dad for granted. I thought he would always be there. But the reality is he's not and no one is. We don't know when our time is up. I know to appreciate more now but at what cost.
To those who have also shared their stories, my heartfelt condolences. I know the pain. I am sorry we have all lost our dads. The world was a better place with them here.