My father has been diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer, which has metastasized to his spine, where it is destroying vertebrae and causing the pain that originally led him to see a doctor. His team of physicians referred to his situation as "serious but not grim." He has had one successful round of surgery, to remove vertebrae/tumors and to encage and brace the spine. He has at least two more rounds coming in the next days, for more cancerous areas and more bracing. With radiation and chemo, the doctors are optimistic; the tumor removed so far was relatively easy to take out; they believe they removed all but the most microscopic traces, and the healthy bone is more like they see in teenagers (Dad is nearly 70). His vascular health is also unusually good for a man his age, so these are in his favor for the ordeals ahead of him.
There was nothing to do, really, but wait this last week - so we took our Maine vacation, and had the special family time we planned. It was an exceptionally good trip, with unbelievably cooperative weather, magnificent scenery, good spirits and health for all of us, and safe travel. We are grateful. We were out of phone range, and we thought of Dad and Mom, and prayed for them, throughout the trip. They were always on our minds and in our hearts.
While much of our lives over the next weeks and months will be filled with my Dad's illness and his fight to remain with us for many more years (his dad lived to 93), I know our lives must not become about the cancer. We believe this is ALL in the palm of God's hands, because everything is, really, and as such we will continue to live and dream and create as always - even as we spend more time together (my siblings, parents and I) than we have in decades. I expect my blog, my art, my days, will be a jumble of things as the pot is stirred deeper and my needs emerge for sharing or brief escape.
I thank anyone who reads this for their interest, concern, thoughts, prayers... This is one of the many ways we are all connected. This is one of the things church really means. These are the times when we discover what is really important to us, and who is important to us, and why. And having this space to express those feelings in one more way will help me help my family through this - and it will help me through it as well.