Friday, May 11, 2012

Tears of Joy

Last week my Dad completed his first round of chemotherapy after 12 weeks of 3 days of treatments every other week, anti-nausea medication, stomach issues, fatigue and a modified diet of less than desirable foods.  He was told that because he tolerated the chemo well, he could do another round and keep up with the same schedule.  "Oh, goodie, can I?" would have been my response.  It's kind of like when you do a job that is out of the realm of your regular job duties, and because you did it well, you are now deemed to be that person...for example, the "toner replacer", the "bathroom cleaner", the "bill collector".  Yes, because Dad tolerated the treatments, because he managed to deal with the nausea, the pills, and the gross foods, he wins another 12 weeks of more of the same.

So before the "prize" could be scheduled, a PET scan needed to first be approved by the insurance company and then performed.  The PET scan is a test that he had prior to chemotherapy and is a test that pinpoints and measures the cancerous tumors.  Bloodwork and labs performed during the course of the chemotherapy weren't very positive and seemed to indicate that the chemo wasn't doing its job, that is, to kill or slow the growth of the cancer.

Today was the PET scan.  I talked to my Dad late morning, and he said that it was all very quick, and that they didn't expect to hear anything until his appointment next Wednesday, but that no news was good news.  Less than an hour later, I received this email from my Dad:

"Mom took a call from my oncologist, Dr. Samaha. He already got the report from my PET scan and said there was a lot of improvement, which means that the chemotherapy will continue. On the negative side they have to replace my port before the treatment. But the good news is that the chemotherapy worked. We’ll know tumor measurements and how much improvement later."

Immediately my eyes started to fill with tears, but for the first time since this journey began, they were tears of joy.  I have received emails from my parents after every doctor's appointment and every lab, and many of these emails were not upbeat or positive medically.  I have cried, I have been sick to my stomach, I have driven around aimlessly, and I have thrown things.  But more than all that, I have prayed as have countless others.  Hundreds, and maybe thousands of people, all around the world have been praying.  We have been praying for a miracle because the medical diagnosis was grim.  Well, today that miracle came in the form of a PET scan and 4 beautiful words "a lot of improvement".

And I know that prayers have been answered,  God has heard all of our prayers, and God has given us the gift of more time.  I am thankful to those who have prayed, I am thankful to God for his gift, and I am so thankful for my Dad, who is my pillar of strength and my inspiration. It is he who comforts me on the difficult days, and it is he who reminds me where my faith and trust should lie.  Thank you God for giving me more time with this amazing man, my Dad.

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