Tik tok, tik tok, tik tok. Quickly. Tik tok, tik tok, tik tok. Faster. Tik tok, tik tok, tik tok. I cannot keep up.
These last few days have been rough. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally overwhelmed. Fitness has been my outlet this summer, but I am too tired even for that. Nights here are broken up into segments of about 90-120 minutes of sleep in order to keep medicine in his system. This adds up to a total of about 5 hours of sleep a night. I am used to sleeping 9-10 hours straight, so this adjustment is wearing down my body.
After a poor night’s rest, it is hard to make it into the gym, and if I do, I don’t feel like I can put 100% into my workout. The energy just is not there, and I am constantly worried about what my dad is doing. I know he is safe with my mom, obviously, but the worry still becomes overpowering. It is safe to say that worrying is innate for me.
To be clear – my dad is gracious and humble, but his care is a full time job. I want to completely invest myself in him wholeheartedly, but it is hard when I am not rested. I don’t know how else to put it, and I don’t know what else to do. The fact is it is hard. I keep reminding myself that he does not want to be stuck in bed. I know it is hard for him to ask for help, so when he does ask, I need to be fully present and attentive. Again, I remind myself that he has given me the best life, and it is my honor to serve him now.
After a couple weeks of waiting, hospice begins on Thursday. I am nervous for how that first appointment will go. Admittedly, I have the tendency to push off accepting difficult situations. I think when Thursday comes the reality of what is happening will hit me. Much of this is fear of the unknown. I have never personally known someone who has gone through this before. I don’t fully even know what hospice is. I know that they will be here to help not only my dad but also my mom and me which will be nice. If anyone has experiences with hospice that they would like to share with me, I would be very grateful to hear your stories! Remember, our experiences exist to help one another.
Our family’s decision to pursue hospice care was a very difficult one. This decision is highly personal, no matter what the circumstances are. This was certainly not easy for us, but we came together on our decision after careful prayer and consideration. Hospice is not giving up, and it is not losing hope. It is an acceptance of what is and a strong attempt to maintain the quality of life.
Chemotherapy, while it is a treatment, would not be a cure for my dad’s aggressive cancer. Essentially, it would prolong the inevitable while also decreasing his quality of life. The chemotherapy option that he could have chosen has a very low success rate in his cancer (~1 in 5) and debilitating side effects such as potential brain damage. After three surgeries, over 30 radiation treatments, and two high dosage chemotherapies all within a four month span, my dad knows his body awfully well. Based upon these experiences from last year, he decided that more chemo is not a viable option in his case, particularly after researching the low success rate in his type of cancer and the disgusting side effects.
Thankfully, it appears we have conquered a successful pain management plan from his palliative care doctor. There is nothing more heartbreaking for a daughter than to see her father in tears from the pain. Though the medications do make him drowsy (which explains why he has not been responsive over text) they are definitely working. He sets goals for himself, such as sit in a chair for thirty minutes or walk to the office and back, to try to regain some strength. I am proud of him for staying motivated! My goal for him is that he can handle a car ride so he can get out of the house. He has been home for five weeks now, leaving only once for his MRI that delivered us this news.
I cannot begin to fathom the spirals of emotions my dad must have over all of this. But he is strong, and he is clinging to his faith. If he can do that, and he is the one actually going through all of this, I am assured that I can, too. There is so much information to absorb and so much to do for him. As the clock keeps ticking, we keep loving, keep working, keep believing.
Tik tok, tik tok, tik tok. For once, I wish this would all slow down.