Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Counting Grains Of Sand

I remember as a child, and I see it in my own children, the excitement that builds with an upcoming holiday, birthday or vacation.  If I recall, that is what motivated me to look at a calendar, so that I could do the actual figuring myself as the grown ups around me did not share my enthusiasm.  I miss those days, alot.

As an adult, we can share that same excitment.  It could be a wedding date.  There were two exciting dates that Wendy and I had been waiting for, the days that our daughters would be placed in our arms.

But what happens when the event that you are looking towards is not going due to a happy event or occasion.  There are no party favors or souvinirs.  Instead, fear replaces joy.  Emotions and temperment run short.

One such occasion for me could have been when I had my open heart surgery.  I was lucky.  I had less than fifteen hours to think about the major change that was going to occur in my life.  The majority of that time was spent still coming out of anesthesia and going through pre-surgical testing.  When all was said and done, I really only had approximately five or six hours to worry about what life would be like.  The fact is, many people face open heart surgery, and unless it is due to a heart attack, that surgery may take weeks to be performed.

My Father now finds himself in that very situation.  A couple of months ago, he went to his family doctor for a chronic cough.  We are talking several months.  His doctor having already tried various modes of treatment, made the decision to order a very expensive test, a CT scan, much to my father’s objections.  As it turned out, jumping right to that test may just mean the difference between life and death.  And I do not say it that way for dramatic effect.

A little over a month ago, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer.  More importantly, and in his favor, Stage 1, meaning that the tumor has not spread to other organs or other parts of his body.  His cancer was caught early.  His best option for treatment is surgery.  Unfortunately, it will not just be the tumor that is being removed, but his entire lung.

He has another couple of weeks before the procedure.  He has gone through a lot more than one person ought to experience in one life.  This no doubt will be the biggest event in his life as it will result in a major lifestyle change for him, no more smoking.  He had been smoking for 57 years and even with a major heart attack, and the beginning stages of emphasema, he was not able to quit.  My dad has now officially quit.  He is quite lucky.  I remember the “blackened” lung that was always put on display back in elementary health class as to convince us smoking was bad.  My dad’s lung does not look like that, which is surprising for as long as he has been smoking.  His cancer is currently a small tumor.  And if watching the calendar was not bad enough, getting rid of the cancer must be done soon.

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