Jan. 28, 2016

Love and Faith

Love & Faith- two words that mean different things to different people.
When I was younger, if you asked me what I love, I may very well have said Cheeseburgers. Even though this is still true, there are many other things that would come to my mind first. Now, I would list all the things I couldn’t imagine my life without. A few would include, my husband, my family, his family, the baby girl moving around in my tummy everyday, my pets, my life.
As people are faced with a difficult challenge in life you really see who they are. Some people run and hide while others stay and fight. It can bring people closer or it can pull us apart. It also becomes apparent how people deal with tough situations-drinking, smoking, working out, crying, eating, ignoring, or educating themselves. I’ve seen my siblings and I go through these coping mechanisms since we were called down to Colorado. I have to say, that when this all first happened I thought this was going to break my family. None of us wanted to run and hide. We all wanted to stay and fight but in different ways. Now, 7 months later, I feel that slowly we are all getting closer. Even being thousands of miles away from my family, I talk to my parents daily, if not more, my siblings and I touch base just to let each other know we love them, and we share videos and pictures of the great things happening in our lives because they are the people we want to share these moments with. This is what love means to me.
Love showed up in a new way for me this last week. As a lot of you know, my parents went to Mexico on vacation. Man, they needed a vacation! Now with all the things that have been happening with my dad, especially him not feeling well at all, I was nervous about him being out of the country. I kept thinking, what if something happens? Now as said before, I talk to my parents daily so they were headed to Mexico and I talked to my dad before they got on the plane from Houston to Mexico and I specifically remember telling him to let me know when they get there. Did he? NO! So after hours of patiently waiting with not word, I jump on the Southwest website to see if their flight landed safely. It did which was a relief but also made me come to the realization that not talking to them for a week was going to be tough for me. I was worrying about my 50-something year old parents. I laughed at myself thinking I am more like my parents than I’d like to admit. But it also made me smile because that is love. You never stop worrying about the people you love. You want nothing but the best for them. With all the comments, prayers, and actions (Theresa from Google and many other acts of kindness my dad has told me about) I have seen love in all forms. Now love seems to be the easy part.
Faith is a lot tougher. To me when I think of faith, I think God. You are handing over your control to something or someone else. Now if you could see some of my work evaluations, you would know that faith (known in the work world as delegating) is not my forte. I like to feel in control of situations and if I do not then I struggle. Right now, I have to have faith. I have to have faith that God will not to take my dad (soon to be the granddad to my child, my rock, my hero) too early in life. I have to have faith in the doctors that are seeing my dad. Faith in the medicines the doctors are administering. To me love is the easy part. My dad has done so much for others and me that even if I tried I couldn’t stop loving him. So when he goes to these appointments I want to know EVERYTHING that was said and asked.
Today when he called, he said there was good news and bad news. Do you want to hear all of it or just the good news? I chose to hear the bad news first and then the good news. As you read this, I want you to know that my dad feels that the good outweighs the bad. My dad has faith.
My dad had to wait hours to see Dr. Yao. It was like torture for me and I wasn’t even in the waiting room.
The bad news:
- The tumor on his pancreas is eroding his pancreas. This means that my dad is going to be a diabetic. He will have to take insulin eventually. This does not sound too bad because a lot of people have diabetes but it is just an additional medicine and disease/illness that he is going to have to deal with for the rest of his life.
- Worries about if it spreads to the liver. This is not happening right now, but if it does his circumstances will drastically get worse.
- The doctor believes my dad’s had cancer two years prior to finding it.
The good news:
- Initially, my dad was told that people with his type of cancer have has a short life expectancy. Dr. Yao told him that 50% of people life for 5 years and the other 50% live more than 5 years. (Curious me, wanted to know if that includes the 2 years we didn’t know he had it- we do not know.)
- In the last 5 years, the life expectancy and medication options have grown. This being said, my dad has options. Right now, he is going to continue to stay on Afinitor. He went today assuming he was probably going to have to do a clinical trial. He does NOT! The doctor said you do not do clinical trials until you get desperate.
- Previously, we were told Afinitor worked for about 7 months. Wrong. On average, it works for 11 months. My dad has been taking it for 7-ish months. The doctor said there was no rush to stop taking it until it stops working. He had a patient that the Afinitor worked for 10 years.

Did you know?
- There are a lot of options after Afinitor. More pills, clinical trials, or drip chemotherapy. Drip chemo would cause quality of life to be poor. However, he had a patient do the drip chemo and it took the tumor completely away and he has been cancer free for 7 years. It has only happened once though.
- Heavy drinking can cause this type of cancer! In my dads case, he did not get it due to drinking but research shows heavy drinkers can get pancreatic cancer. CRAZY!
I realize that this is a LONG post but wrapping it up now. :D Dr. Yao is now my dad’s oncologist. The CTCA will administer the medicines/treatment plan but Dr. Yao is going to call the shots. Every 3 months my dad will fly down to Houston to do his 3 month checkups. The journey continues…but now my dad can have his Pappasito’s 4 times a year. And a love between him and his Pappasito’s can never be broken.