I’m probably best known on Daily Kos for when I wrote happy stories on Friday nights.
Tonight, I want to tell you about the worst day of my life. Then I’m going to ask you to help me do something about it.
I loved my father a great deal. He was a good, decent, hard working man. He worked his eight-hour shift at the paper mill as a mechanic and electrician and then came home and worked on the farm often until dark and sometimes beyond.
One cold January night when I was 19, the two of us were digging a trench to run electrical wiring underground from the house to a new barn.
“Boy, I just can’t seem to catch my breath,” he said, leaning on his shovel.
My father never took sick days. The only time I recalled him missing work was when he passed kidney stones.
He went to the doctor about his shortness of breath. The doctor scheduled a biopsy. I remember well the growing feeling of fear as we sat in the hospital waiting room. My younger sister left because we did not know how long the procedure would take. Soon after she walked out, we saw the doctor coming down another hall and I raced to get her. The two of us sprinted back. The biopsy showed he had inoperable cancer. It had been in his lymph nodes and spread to his heart and lungs. The doctor told him he had less than a year to live.
That night my mother’s best friend from childhood came out to the farm after she finished working her shift at the hospital.
My mother had known when she was 10 years old she wanted to marry my father. He joined the Navy at 17 during the Korean War and was stationed at Norfolk, Va., when she turned 18. He sent an engagement ring to her friend and arranged for her to be at my mother’s when he phoned to propose and then her friend slipped the engagement ring on my mother’s finger. That night she was there to explain my father’s cancer treatment options to my mother and to comfort her. I walked her out to her car and then I cried for a long time on her shoulder. Twenty three years later I can remember how wet my face was with tears.
Twenty three years of life later, that remains the saddest and worst day of my life. Even his death seven months later was not as sad for by then death was a release for him.
I often wish my father was still alive to see my daughters and to see them sitting beside him on the tractor just as he did my brother’s daughters. I would have liked that. He was a good grandfather.
Many of us have seen the scourge that is cancer in our lives, either in our own or in those we love. Mcjoan’s brother. Jane at Fire Dog Lake is fighting it again. Dreaming of Better Days is undergoing treatment for it.
Now station wagon:
sad news and a BIG F-ING PROBLEM (78+ / 0-)
in stationwagonville. It has been 11 days since I went to my doctor with nausea and vomiting and a distended upper abdomen to an appointment with an oncologist yesterday who told my husband and me that I have advanced, too advanced to treat, liver cancer. Monday I have a biopsy on the tumors literally squeezing out functioning liver cells to see if the cancer is primary or secondary- they have not been able to locate any source outside of my liver. But the oncologist has a hunch that it might be my pancreas- which can be hard to see even with a CAT scan. If it’s secondary, chemo might be able to buy me a little time, but the prognosis is grim. We can’t process this all at once (mercifully) we keep cycling between waiting to wake up and being overwhelmed with sadness for our kids and other loved ones.
Liver cancer is a mean mofo. Symptoms don’t usually show up until it’s too advanced to treat.
I love you all, Kossacks. I just needed to come here and dump this out. I’m going to watch a movie with my son now. I’m grateful to all of you for giving me a learning place and a haven.
In order to hide their embezzlement behind a posse of demented hicks, Republicans’ slogans must be short and superstitious. Grand Moff Texan
by station wagon on Sat Mar 03, 2007 at 08:51:36 PM EST
Prayers are important. I know enough about cancer that amazing treatments are being developed. Cancer treatment has come along way since my father died of it in 1984. And I know — I absolutely know — that miracles occur. The kind of miracles that leave doctors and nurses shaking their heads in wonder.
But I want to fight this terrible disease.
If I could, I would lace up my steel-toed boots, jump in the truck and drive to Cancer’s house, and beat it out of existence with a ball bat.
I can’t do research for a cure, I can’t treat patients, I can’t donate millions of dollars for treatments and research.
What I can do is write.
I can advocate.
When Daily Kos and the blogosphere is best at doing is making phone calls, writing letters, pushing an agenda. We’ve done it during elections. We’ve done it over Supreme Court nominees and against hateful right wing columnists.
Cancer is a terror we should be fighting. More people die of cancer each year than ever will die of a terrorist attack. Cancer terrorizes the victims and the families.
But the funding to the National Cancer Institute is a pittance of that spent on the Department of Defense.
I am not asking for us to fight against death. Death is as natural as life. Our mortality is what makes each day count and our time on earth is better by knowing that.
But I am saying we can work to eradicate a disease that is horrific.
We need to give those doing the research and providing the treatment all of the tools they need. Just as we’ve fought and made calls to make certain our soldiers have body armor, we need to make sure our cancer researchers have everything they need at the frontlines of fighting cancer.
I’m not sure if this is the best approach. I’m all for fully funding the NCI. It should receive bipartisan support.
President Nixon founded the NCI. Cancer touches all of us regardless of party. In an interview with David Frost, President Nixon was asked what he was most proud of during his presidency. Nixon said that above normalization of relations with China, ending the war in Southeast Asia, the nuclear missile treaties with the Soviet Union, he was most proud of creating the National Cancer Institute. Nixon had lost a beloved sister to cancer. He understood the need to eradicate this dreaded disease.
What I’d like to do with this diary tonight is brainstorm. I believe a letter to a Congressman calling for specific action is always better than a generic letter. Should we blanket legislators with letters calling for full-funding for NCI? Should we target a specific committee or legislators? Is there other legislation we should focus on?
I’d also like to hear if this idea is worth urging other blogs to join in with. Fire Dog Lake would be a natural. Is it possible to make this a blog swarm across the Internet and what’s the best way to do that?
Please give me your ideas below. I’d like to take those ideas and develop from them an action diary. In doing the research in trying to develop an action plan, I felt overwhelmed by the need.
There’s a part of me that wants to see the eradication of cancer out of revenge for the death of my father. But stronger still is to see it ended out of those we love today. And love gives us our greatest strength of all.
The world seems darker today, but it is a better place for giving us people like station wagon and Steve Gilliard to love.