On January 22, 2022, my Dad died. My theme, “Letters to my Dad” is based on random thoughts about him and the aftermath of not having him around anymore.
Thank you for trying the chemotherapy option.
Though you didn’t see its utility, you suffered through it because you knew we wanted to have as much extra time with you as possible.
Man, you were such a trooper when you kept going even when your CEA levels kept creeping higher and the doctors were not so kindly encouraging you to stop (excuse my language but I still say fuck ’em for the lack of bedside manner).
And when you finally decided to go the palliative route, we completely understood.
Thank you for blessing us with that extra time that we will forever cherish.
You know that if I could have taken the chemo for you, I would have done it in a heartbeat and without a moment’s hesitation.
I know that you felt guilty about me going to every chemo treatment, PET scan, X-ray, blood test and so many other appointments. But like I told you a million times, there was no way in hell I would have been anywhere else but with you through it all.
And you know that I am not one to lie.
Remember how we watched so many other cancer patients in the oncology waiting room all alone and clearly ruminating in their own thoughts while we chatted away, that is, when you hadn’t dozed off from those early morning treatment appointments? No spouse or adult children to accompany them and having to call a taxi to get themselves home post-chemo. We both wondered if they had anyone to help them at home.
But looking back now…
I truly don’t know how you endured the treatments as you did – the high fevers coupled with feeling chilled to the bone, the uncontrollable shakes that made you want to crawl out of your skin, the pained look on your face that took all my effort to not cry about in front of you.
You were brave about the trips to the emergency room for super high fevers, the hip arthroplasty, lumbar injections for pain, radiation therapy, a PICC line, the feeding tube, PET scans, and claustrophobic MRIs where you tried not to cry.
Not to mention the visits to physiotherapy and accupuncture in the last months to see if some of your pain could be relieved.
Dad, you were a true trooper.
I also don’t know how you put up with us (though you did tell us off a bunch of times in your way) when we insisted that you eat though you had no interest in food. We couldn’t even tempt you with homecooked West Indian/Caribbean and Guyanese food that others made for you because let’s face it, no one can cook any of those dishes like you.
You were and will always be the foodie of the family.
I miss you asking us what we wanted to eat for the next day’s dinner when we hadn’t even started eating the dinner in front of us. 🙂
I think that I’m a pretty intelligent person but somehow it never dawned on me that there would come a time when all the treatments would come to a stop. That the cancer would ramp up and eventually take control over your body.
“Marq, you do realize that eventually the chemo treatment will stop working, right? And then it will just be a matter of “when” and “how”. Pancreatic cancer spares no one” It wasn’t until pragmatic and rational littlest bro pulled me aside and said those words that it hit me. And even then, it took days for that truth to absorb into my being.
Dad, I don’t know what the future holds for me but I don’t think that I would be able to have the strength and courage that you had and that you showed to us.
Loving you always,