A Cancer Diagnosis, Overwhelming Support And Kindness
Oh, what an emotional roller coaster of a summer it’s been! We seem to have had more downs than ups, but I’m not complaining, not really, as it could have been so much worse.
We started the summer with my sister giving her husband a kidney (successfully, I might add). And we’re winding down the summer with my Dad going is for surgery for his recently diagnosed prostrate cancer. Don’t for a minute think it’s all doom and gloom though, there have been some fun moments too!
Of course we’d rather he didn’t have cancer, and on the upside, it’s been caught early and it’s operable. We will know more after the op, but at the moment things are looking okay.
Just sat here writing this post is giving me butterflies, as we are quite a private bunch and a lot of what has happened recently has gone against the grain. ”Then why write the post?”, I hear you ask? ”Good question”, I will reply!
I may get to the end of this post and not even hit publish… But I very much doubt it, as I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by people’s generosity and kindness since finding out about Dads cancer diagnosis, and I want to share that positive at a time that could be so negative.
The Long And The Short Of It
After a long summer of Doctors looking for a needle in a haystack, my Dad was finally diagnosed with cancer of the prostrate about three weeks ago. I’ll even admit that it was a relief, as his blood tests kept coming back abnormal, and the array of scans he had, were showing either nothing or a slight abnormality. His first biopsy came back clear. I was concerned that he was going to be told to come back in a few months time, and in which time something nasty may have developed.
I need not have worried. His Doctor kept on following his gut instinct until he found what he probably suspected.
Last Monday he had an appointment to see a surgeon in Athens. And today, (the following Monday) my Dad has been admitted for surgery on Wednesday. It’s all moving rather quickly, which is a good thing (I think). The only thing that we, the family have been asked to do, is to get blood donations. Which in Greece is quite normal.
Well that scuppered the unsaid ‘rule’ of keeping Dads cancer diagnosis quiet. Up until then I hadn’t even told my closet friend!
Now How To Approach People For Blood
We have lived in Greece a long time and know a fair few people, but that doesn’t automatically make it easy to ask for a blood donation. At first we thought we maybe able to get away with only asking a few, but giving blood is not as easy as it sounds. There seems to be more people who can’t give blood than can! No wonder there is a shortage of blood!
Anyhow, after a quiet chat with Mum, we decided that putting an appeal on Facebook was probably the only way to go. Without mentioning it to Dad, of course. As I knew making his cancer diagnosis so public would make him uncomfortable. In my mind I’d rather appeal then, than wish I’d appealed. Sometimes we have to go against the grain and do things that make us uncomfortable. That’s just life.
Well, I spent ages writing the post. Left it. Went back to it. Altered it. Left it. Altered it again (you get the idea). It wasn’t an easy thing to write, as I didn’t want to come across all doom and gloom, but I needed to explain why we needed the blood.
Hitting The Share Post Button
As I hit the share post button to make the post go live, my heart was racing and my toes curling. It was a very peculiar feeling, as it was something I felt I had to do, but as my Dad’s daughter I also knew it was something he would hate.
My other worry was that no one would come forward. Why would they?
My worry was totally unfounded and the response was overwhelming (to me at least). It far exceeded my expectations. Not just because of the offers to give blood (some from total strangers), but also the kind words and heartfelt thoughts that people sent our way. I have had several private messages, some from people I had never even met.
The post was shared more times than I ever imagined too. All helping to raise awareness for our need of blood.
Did We Get Enough Blood?
I’m not sure yet. The surgeon did ask if we managed to collect any and Mum could tell him some. She’s going to try and find out how much blood was donated and if more will be needed, but at the moment she has a lot on her plate.
Dad is settled in hospital. My cousins, who live in Athens will be with Mum and making sure she is okay whilst Dad has his op on Wednesday. And I am at the end of the phone and taking care of their overly vocal and smelly dog.
It’s A Nerve Racking Time
Once Dad has had his op, we still have to wait before we know for sure that it hasn’t spread to the surrounding tissue. Even Dad has said that he is more nervous now then he was when he had cancer forty years ago. Which wasn’t nice to hear.
Did I Tell Dad About The Facebook Appeal?
No, I didn’t. But he found out anyway. When, probably the only person on the island who has his number, apart from family, phoned him to wish him well!
He has forgiven me, but he said it did make him feel like everyone was looking at him. I told him that was probably more to do with his dress sense (or lack of it!). He has also threatened to sue me when all this is done and dusted. What for, I’m not sure, as I know he wouldn’t want the dogs.
We Will Get Through This
As a family we have always dealt with things with humour. It’s just how we are. It can be a little dark at times, but it never means we don’t feel anything. Some people don’t get it and probably never will, but differences is what makes the world go round.
We Are Eternally Grateful
A cancer diagnosis is never a good thing. It makes your head swim and your heart race. It can shatter lives and devastate families. At the moment it’s easy for me to focus on the positive, as it’s still early days. But what has helped has been the overwhelming support and kindness, not only from friends, but from total strangers too. And for that I will be eternally grateful.
Thank you people!
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