It has been almost exactly one year since my father's kidney cancer surgery. I can't believe I just typed that.
My father, who has never been sick, hospitalized, seriously wounded in his entire life was diagnosed with kidney cancer in May of last year. Never will I forget the chill that ran through me when he called from the parking lot of the doctor's office. "Malignant" was the diagnosis from the MRI. A "growth" he had known about for four years but was told not to worry about was indeed something to worry about. He abruptly hung up the phone so I wouldn't have to bear witness to his fear. But I knew anyway. And my heart broke.
My father, our family rock, our clown, my daughter's first babysitter, ...was indeed mortal. And I was scared. My husband has often told me that he fears the day (and I hate to type this, let alone think of it) my father dies. He is that important to our family. In the 37 years of my life he is a constant...has gotten me out of scrapes, listened to me, been a friend. And now, he needed us.
And it was a scary time, from opinions that the whole kidney should go, to chemo to finding a wonderful doctor who said a partial nephrectomy was all that was needed. And that was the route he went. Even during those days, he showed a strength that was amazing. He never complained. He stayed at our house for two weeks afterward. The upshot is that my parents had divorced after 40 (forty...yes that was a 4 and a 0) years of marriage mere weeks before the diagnosis. My father had gone for happiness after years of "staying together for the sake of the children"...children who would have been better off had they divorced in our youth. By his second day home my father was up and walking. By the end of the week, he took the children to the beach...this man with the incision that wrapped halfway around his torso.
Today, I look back (and a little bit forward, because one never knows) and am grateful for my dad.
Two days ago we went to the Tigers game. They lost, but I couldn't help feeling like we, as a family, had won. My dad is still here...he is healthy, and we enjoyed what families have been enjoying for generations. Hot dogs, and sun ( a little bit of sun because it was kind of a crappy day) and all of us together.
Happy Anniversary Poppy... and here is to many more.