Four weeks ago, Dad went to the doctor with a persistent headache focused in his right temple. Doctors treated him for a sinus infection, but the pain worsened.
Three weeks ago, Mom called me in order to say that “C” word you never want to hear. Dad walked around the grocery store, but then rested all afternoon.
Two weeks ago, Dad was feeling much, much worse. Exams at their local clinic were moving slowly, and we still didn’t know what kind of cancer. Dad was really suffering from pain in his head and ribs. I made Dad a quilt in a week – pieced the top, basted and hand-quilted to give him some warmth.
A week ago, Dad said that he didn’t want to go downstairs because he felt too weak to come back upstairs.
Last Thursday, after being told that the clinic couldn’t see Dad for another week, my sister and brother-in-law drove up from Boston to help Mom pack up Dad and his belongings. They drove him to the ER at Brigham and Women’s where the Dana Farber Cancer Center quickly evaluated and admitted him. Dad was in really tough shape and we were all fearing the worst given that just a few weeks prior, he was active and mostly well.
It turns out that Dad was acutely ill with excess calcium in his blood from the cancer-damage in his bones. The calcium put him at risk of kidney failure. Luckily, his condition was caught in time and the issue was reversed. This hospital has the capacity and facilities to finally narrow down what kind of cancer he has and begin treatment. They are currently thinking it’s a somewhat-atypical form of aggressive lymphoma that can be treated.
We didn’t really celebrate Easter this year, given the circumstances, but I am full of awe that our medical science can effectively resurrect someone who is so seriously ill. We have all been through a terrifying experience, Dad especially!
I am very grateful to Matt for holding down the farm for three days while I have been away, to my friends who came and helped him out, and to my farming associates who forgave my lapses in emailing and information management. There’s a long way to go and Dad isn’t out of the woods, but we have some hope. For that, I am very grateful.