Catching up…

Been a minute since last I posted… When I last left off I was moving out of my house in VA, packing up my car and driving to my folks in FL. My dad had recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, and the prognosis was pretty damn grim. Terminal, I believe is the word. Trust me when I say, a lot has happened since then…

Florida, in a nutshell- was about family. The day after I got there, my sister arrived from Italy, and my brother came in from Seattle. It has been over 10 years since the three of us have been ‘home’ at the same time. I say ‘home’ but, really- it is where our parents retired to. We never lived there. So really, it was the first time my parents had all of us in THEIR home. And it was wonderful.

My dad had his team assembled for a fun week prior to his surgery! He’s one of those guys who just loves having his kids all home. Mom does too, but she was still carrying dads diagnosis and pending surgery on her shoulders, and it was wearing her down. We all had a good time, to be sure, and his BP was the lowest it has been since this whole ordeal began.

His surgery was on April 4 at the Moffett Cancer Research Center in Tampa, FL. I can’t say enough good things about that place! I felt better after seeing the facilities and meeting the people who were taking care of my dad. Truthfully, it was a night and day difference between his cancer experience and my own. Obviously our prognoses were a big factor, but even just how it was handled was amazing. I had a form letter, with a date for “your cancer surgery.” That was how I found out I had cancer. A filled in form letter. Dad has an extensive team of brilliant, compassionate professionals and a hospital that offers both cutting edge trials, new advances and holistic approaches. They treat the whole patient, AND the family that is going through cancer with them. Amazing.

So, since his surgery… Dad had a radical lymphendectomy (sp.), tumours removed from his throat (near esophagus) and upper back (dead center on the spine). His back, (ground zero– the original tumour that raised the alarms) was originally going to require a skin graft, but instead they were able to do a wide excision. Good news!!! Dad has a large scar across his upper back, another under his arm, and a third that runs from below his ear down his clavicle.

His surgery was about 6 hours long, and he came through like a champ. Surgery was on Friday, and he came home Monday morning after I left for my cross country trek. He amazes me on a regular basis… His next check up will be Wednesday, but as of right now, the doctors seem confident that they got it all, and he may not even need chemo or radiation!! Seriously! Did I. Entire. His doctors are brilliant? Chairmen of the Sarcoma and Melanoma departments. He had the best of the best, and is healing beyond our wildest expectations. My dad IS beating the odds. My dad IS kicking cancers ass, one nap at a time right now… ❤

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Update on Dad


Been a hell of a month… Since my last update, Dad has been poked, prodded, scanned, biopsied, evaluated and things are still going on. Today he is having a cardiac-stress test  and I think his brain MRI.  So far, we know: Malignant melanoma stage T4b on his upper back (where your tshirt label hits). This is Ground Zero. Primary Site.  In the course of evals, it has also been found that there are 11 more little friends (sarcoma) hiding in his lymph nodes. So, surgery is being scheduled for his lymph nodes to be removed, as well as the ‘Ground Zero’ tumour. Since this will be a 7-8 hour surgery, they want to be sure his body can handle the stress of it all– so today’s stress test/cardio eval is for that. Also since it has decided to met out (metastasize) to his lymphs, the brain scan is necessary. The location of his primary tumour, being right on the spine at the base of his neck/back means this beast- if it so chooses– can migrate north just as easily as south. Since the south (lymphs) are popping positive, it’s time to find out if this thing has headed north. Please– cross your fingers, pray, send well wishes, good karma, light, whatever you’ve got..We’re looking for miracles right now, and I’m pretty sure all those things pave the way for them to happen.

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