Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Eve of Tomorrow

So, my dad's surgery is tomorrow morning.

I feel like we're heading into a situation where one day our befores and afters will be defined by what happens tomorrow. When we were hanging out on Memorial Day, I kept wondering, "Will this be the last 'normal' holiday we have? Are things about to be complete sickness and misery?"

It is nearly impossible for a pessimist who has a dad with a 7 inch tumor and 2 best friends whose fathers died of Cancer earlier this year to think positively in a situation like this.

It's also really unfortunate that he feels better than he has in 30 years and he's about to be sliced open, dissected and poisoned regularly. Sickness and misery seem inevitable, regardless of tomorrow's outcome.

I've talked to several other adult children of people who have had cancer and their tiredness/defeatedness (not a word, don't care), and empathy, and "sucks to be you and you don't even fully know it yet" shines through their advice, encouragement or consolation and gives me a glimpse of what's to come.

Also, although this should be the very least of my worries...I would rather ride a million escalators to a million post offices run by a million mean librarians than step even one foot in a hospital. Hospitals are the absolute pinnacle of anxiety-inducing situations for me. Even typing about it, the skin on my chest is burning and I can't breathe deeply and my hands are itchy. The thought of seeing my dad in one makes my heart hammer and my breath catch. I've been testing out that image in my mind for weeks now to try to acclimate myself to the idea, but it still makes my stomach flop every time I try to go there in my head.

I hate the smells, I hate the sounds, I hate seeing people in hospital beds, I hate tubes and machinery, I hate linoleum, I hate the awkwardness, I hate other people's discomfort or pain, I hate all of it. I have puked, fainted, hyperventilated and needed medical intervention while visiting others in the hospital. Most of the people I have visited in the hospital have died, and a lot of that happened when I was a child, so my anxiety has a really valid root but now is not the time for my craziness.

Oh, deep breaths. I guess immersion therapy starts tomorrow on that one. I will be okay.

I keep trying to think of things from my dad's point of view. I can't imagine facing your own mortality after something as earth-shattering as a cancer diagnosis. I made the mistake of watching the Farrah Fawcett documentary and keep thinking of how she said she would miss the rain. Man, I can't imagine facing that, or having someone trying to quantify your time left.

Well, this is depressing. I'm always torn on writing about this stuff because we mostly come here for fun, and because I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me, and because a little bit of me feels like if I don't commit it to type, it's not really happening--at least not "in here" in this fun, alternate little universe we have here. And sometimes I do avoid the tough stuff for as long as I can, but it would also be too hard to leave big gaps in the Ashley family saga or to try to act like all is well in Ashleyland.

So keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow...I mean, my dad. All of us, I guess.

I'll keep you posted.

36 comments:

Piece o' Coconut Cake said...

Will be thinking about the Ashleys tomorrow... :-)

Stella said...

I'll be thinking about you and your dad tomorrow!

Heather said...

you and your family are in my thoughts. i'm a 2 year cancer survivor at 34. and though it's not easy at all, it's also not always like they show in the movies.

i don't know what all your dad's treatment will include, but some advice i can give is that the symptoms of surgery and treatment beyond is not something he should have to "suffer" through. there are medications that can and do ease symptoms. please encourage your dad to not be shy in asking for whatever he needs.

much love...

Anonymous said...

I am so so sorry and I cannot even imagine. Sometimes I don't think I can imagine a world that exists without my parents. I will think about you tomorrow and your dad and I'll be hoping and wishing the best possible outcome. You will be glad you were there with him.

Susan in Texas

Anonymous said...

I'll be thinking about your dad tomorrow and hoping for the best. I am glad that you are sharing this with us.

As much as I love coming to your site for a great laugh, I hope that you are able to gain some comfort by writing about it, and knowing how many people are here to support you.

Easily Manipulated said...

I wish I could offer some wonderful words of comfort, but I know that's just not possible. So instead, I will offer positive thoughts and prayers.

*hugs* to you and all of your family

Katy said...

I'll be praying for your Dad and your family tomorrow.

KK said...

Fingers crossed and prayers said for your dad!!

Rachel said...

My mom just got a melanoma removed (they got it all) but I was so anxious and stressed out while we were waiting to find out. Your whole family will be in my thoughts.

And please don't worry about sharing the not-so-fun stuff with us; it's important

Courtney said...

Hey Ashley.. couldn't pass by without givng you some major good vibes...I am the oldest grandchild of 20 grandchildren.. and my grampa was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last week. The shock is STIL upon me, and we all bumbled through the Memorial Day weekend...I am just wishing you the strength for whats ahead. I'll be thinking of you.. and your family. Be strong.....XoXo

peggy and The Cats said...

Cancer sucks.

Celi said...

((Hugs)) You'll be in my thoughts tomorrow.

jenn said...

I'll be thinking of you today, Ashley, and sending good thoughts your dad's way.

Please do keep us posted. You're one of the funniest bloggers I know, but life isn't always funny. We care about what's going on with you.

Tami said...

I'll keep your family in my prayers!

Beth said...

Your dad & your family are in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

i am praying.

Jennifer said...

I'm sorry. My dad had lung cancer.


I'm sorry.

J said...

Good luck with the hospital immersion! I hope all went well today.

Shannie said...

Good luck to your dad!!! And to your family. Hang in there.

Marie said...

Thinking of your family and praying for tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

One piece of advice - don't think in terms of "is this the last Memorial Day?" etc. Try to celebrate each and every day together. It's tough to see your big, strong Dad laying there with the tubes and all, but remember that they have made huge strides in cancer treatment lately. My Dad had bladder cancer, and despite having to have his bladder and one kidney removed, he beat it. And he was older than your Dad and diabetic to boot. I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

And by the way - boo hiss to that reader who said that about your kids. I love your writing and so enjoy reading about your kids.

p jane said...

Prayers and (((((hugs))))) coming your way today.

Dana said...

Sending prayers, good thoughts, good vibes, and anything else positive your way.

The funny is fantastic, but the tough stuff is just part of life. You know we all love you and want to offer you support when you need it. Even if it is just a little comment. :)

E said...

Good luck with it all. Thinking of you.

heathernkids said...

Good luck, sending lots of positive thoughts to you and yours.

Jenn said...

As soon as I read the first line of this post, I started praying for you and yours.

I'm sorry for this; for all of it.

It has always seemed so odd to me to be going through all of these "grown-up" things while still feeling like a kid inside with no idea how to deal with or handle them.

Thinking of you and hoping for the best possible outcome.

Tapping my feet and rubbing my chest for you friend.

Maggie said...

Fingers crossed and prayers said. And it's ok to share what you feel. Scared is normal in these circumstances.

Renee said...

I love you, man. I'm with you today and in the coming days, weeks, months, & years. I won't be online much in the next week or so - I'm shutting off my internet here at home later today, and early Saturday morning we're leaving for Virginia. But I will be thinking about you and praying for you all.

-The Renee

Acorns and Oaks said...

Fingers crossed for you and your family, and positive thoughts of strength, love and health coming your way. xx

Kimberly said...

I had surgery myself a few weeks ago and share the same anxieties you do. However, I can tell you that I am surprised that when it is me or somebody close enough to be a part of me, there seems to be no time for the anxiety to take over.

Good luck! I will be thinking about you.

katie b said...

Good luck to all of you! And you'll do great tomorrow, Ashley! We all know you are a strong woman!

Desiree said...

I am thinking of you, your Dad and the rest of your family. I am so sorry the evil that is cancer has touched someone in your family. Sending you some interwebs hugs!

Anonymous said...

thinking and praying for you guys today!

MzLiz said...

Sending positive energy your way. Good luck to you all

elle said...

Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. I hope everything went well today!

Nomad said...

After seeing Farrah Fawcett's documentary I am convinced that she is an extremely genuine person; it was wonderful of her to step outside of herself to make this documentary