My dad started his new treatment regimen this week and successfully made it through week one! Not only did he make it through, but I think he's in better spirits and more determined and honestly, more healthy than he's been since the beginning of this journey. The funny thing is, this is by far the harshest treatment he's had so far. Prior to this, he had really only made it through three chemo sessions before his body just shut down. I think a lot of that was him just not taking care of himself as much as he could have. Though that's easier said than done when you have cancer. He was losing too much weight, was too sick (nauseated and vomiting), too weak, and most importantly, too unmotivated to do anything about it. Getting the energy to make something to eat was too hard for him. Even if someone else cooked for him, it was a chore for him to eat and nothing tasted good. It was much easier to sit in a chair all day than to get up and walk.
We got his official treatment schedule this week. 25 radiation treatments and 5 rounds of chemo. He made it through his first round of chemo this week and the first 3 radiation treatments and I'm taking him on Monday for his first really long day...Starting at 8am, he gets labs drawn, then meets with the oncologist, then has chemo for 4 hours, then has radiation. that will be every monday for the next 4 weeks, with radiation only for the other 4 days of the week. Here's the kicker though...He's been in better spirits than I've seen him in ages and he's actually been physically healthier than I've seen him in ages! There are days where he's not just ok...he's been actually HAPPY!! This is a big deal you guys. I haven't seen that in my dad for awhile. A good day for us lately has been a day when he hasn't been TOO depressed or has been able to see SOME positive. And I don't blame him for any of that. Cancer is a horrible horrible thing...and I truly can't imagine what it's like to be in his shoes. BUT I'm so freaking happy that HE is having some happy moments lately!!
Now I know he does not look happy in the least bit in this picture :p But I assure you he was. I wanted to post this picture for a few reasons. Let me just tell you though, it's impossible to get a good picture of my dad. My dad is not someone that you can say "smile at the camera!" and think that will work. He'll just talk to you and you'll get pictures of him with his mouth open. So you just have to call his name and snap the picture when he turns around :p A month ago, my dad couldn't get from the car to the receptionists desk at the hospital. We would have to get him a wheelchair. I took this picture after we walked a really long distance for my dad, and he was perfectly fine!! He was making himself a cup of coffee here, something he usually asks me to do for him. This was right before he got his third radiology treatment yesterday. When he was done, we walked all the way back to the car with no problems too and there was no negativity or anything. A really pleasant day! It just blows my mind that after chemo and three radiation treatments he's BETTER than he was a month ago.
This is attributed to this outpouring of love and kindness that this project has shown to him. It's not even just the physical things that he's gotten. Though those have meant the world to him. Each thing is so very precious to him. So much more than I thought it would be!!! So far, he's gotten two postcards, a greeting card, and some CDs. You would swear those are his most cherished possessions. He even asked for a keepsake box to keep all of his cards in. The greeting card came with an offer of food being delivered to him whenever he wanted it. This is just one example of people just blowing him away with kindness. It's had such a profound effect on him. What's meant so much to him is just knowing how many people have thought about him and wished him well.
I've showed him every comment, every post, every retweet, every instagram post, facebook post, etc that I can find. And he's hit all over again by the kindness of people he doesn't even know who have taken the time out to think of him. When he heard Renay and Ana's podcast (Fangirl Happy Hour), it truly made his night!! Thank you again ladies, SO MUCH! I swear though...I think explaining things like what a podcast is, is going to drive me more insane than caring for a person with cancer. This has all given him so much hope and it's had the intended effect...he feels like he has a team behind him now. Others who are following his progress. And he looks forward to the mail each day now :p All things to keep him fighting, all things to help him believe in himself more because others believe in him as well. My dad has struggled throughout his life with feeling like he deserves good things sometimes I think. This has shown him the power of letting the good in, it's shown him the power of compassion. It's shown that if you make yourself vulnerable, that vulnerability allows for growth beyond your dreams.
I talked in the last post about wanting to use this blog to help others as well and wanting to share the stories of others that could use support as well. There's a pretty amazing guy out there by the name of Christopher Sotelo. He's started vlogging on youtube about life with quadriplegia. His videos are pretty amazing. He thought it was time to start sharing his story and I'm so glad he has. The more we understand each other, the more we can help each other. And I'm proud of Chris too for telling his story...I'm sure it's hugely therapeutic for him as well. He's calling his series of videos "The Vent"...follow his journey by subscribing to his youtube channel. Taking the time to watch his videos can only expand your life and your understanding of human existence :) AND I'm sure Chris will appreciate the support.
Thank you guys so much once again for all of your continued support!!!! Keep sharing please and keep being awesome :D We still have a long journey ahead, but the journey is looking so much less scary now :) We can't thank you enough!! I wish I could adequately express what this has meant to my dad.