The truth about cancer affects the entire family. My dad was diagnosed with cancer, lymphoma to be exact, when I was just a baby. Much of what he went through is sometimes ‘hazy’ in my memory at this point in my life, but there are a few things that are burned in my mind as if they just happened.
I remember my hard-working, big, tall, strong dad lying on the couch, home from work because he was ‘sick from some medicine’, my mom would tell me. I remember swimming with him in our pool and seeing that he didn’t have any hair on the back of his neck, or under one arm (I thought it was strange, but didn’t think much of it at that time). I remember parts of his skin being charred black like he had been burned on the barb-b-q like a piece of chicken. As I got older, I would help him wrap his arms in plastic and some tape before he got in the shower, because that area of his body couldn’t get wet.
My parents were really great about not making a big deal about it – I didn’t even really know that he had ‘cancer’ …. I think they were very careful at the time, because I was learning about cancer at school in my elementary science class. I never even made a connection. Now I think about how hard that must have been for them to live like everything was fine and normal, and make it so I was never really worried or scared as a child – that took courage and strength beyond what I could muster up on my own!
When I was a little older in junior high. I remember traveling to Stanford Hospital to visit him because he was having some testing done. I was told he was a ‘special’ patient, and they had a treatment for him. Later I found out he was actually there as a ‘guinea pig’ sort of patient, seeking treatment with a new facility that they had – aka, clinical trial.
He never saw me graduate, never knew my husband, never held his grand kids. If I had been older, and in the place where I am today knowing what I now know and going through what I have gone through, it is very possible that his outcome, and mine for that matter, could have been very different. My hope is that you will take the time to watch this video so that any future experiences you or someone you know or love may have to deal with won’t be riddled with ‘if’s’.
Many have fought this battle, many are fighting right now, and most of us will in someway be touched by the ‘battle’ that cancer has become in our society. My prayer is that if you are fighting or will face the fight in the future, you are armed with the right weapons. If you have fought and lost like my dad and my family, my prayer for you is that you would be encouraged to keep moving forward and share what you have learned.