Sometimes Life Gets In The Way

I haven’t posted anything in a week. I’ve been pretty upset because my family got some bad news about my dad’s health. Both of my parents have been fighting cancer over the past three years – my mom since August 2009 and my dad since summer 2011, and it’s not something I often talk about. I try to stick in the now and be aware of the fact that my parents are living in this time: that I still have them, and to be grateful.

Me and Dad at the AsiaSF Museum Summer 2012

Me and Dad at the AsiaSF Museum Summer 2012

Still: I spent the past week feeling like a horse had kicked me in the middle of the chest. I had three different asthma attacks even though I’m not exactly asthmatic. I quit smoking because of my dad’s lung cancer, I also quit smoking because I was showing borderline asthmatic lung capacity, especially when I have allergies.  I quit tobacco in March and I quit nicotine (e-cig) six days ago. You would think I would be breathing a lot better: instead, anxiety propelled me into multiple situations where all I could do was huff on the inhaler, drink hot beverages and hope I didn’t have to go to the emergency room. You know what? Usually I have to use the inhaler about three times a YEAR during harvesting season when my allergies kick in. That is almost not at all.

I have been upset. Upset over the idea of losing my dad. That is something

My dad in front of his house.. and my car. :)

My dad in front of his house.. and my car. 🙂

called “anticipatory grief”. I wanted to just “get over it” and embrace the fact that my dad is still with me, be supportive and spend time with him. I wanted to have a good attitude. But instead I just fell apart. They thought they had gotten all of my dad’s lung cancer in a surgery last summer, but now there is something growing on his spine and liver. The doctors are waiting for a biopsy, but they believe it is stage four lung or liver cancer: stage four cancer is bad.  My dad said that if it is stage four cancer, he would with treatment have about a year to live: without treatment, about three months.

I love my dad. He’s the only one I have.

Me, my dad and my brother in 1979 at China/Hong Kong border

Me, dad and Scott in 1979 at Hong Kong border

My dad is an atheist, but I am not, so I am praying. I asked everyone else to pray. My brother told my dad “I am going to be praying, or would you rather me just cross my fingers?” and my dad told him, “I’d rather you just cross my fingers”.  I laughed. That’s my dad. When we were kids, my dad was the family photographer, so there are a lot of photos of me and my brother, even of me and my mom and my brother, but not as many of my dad: but he was there. He was in them. He was the guy holding the camera. Snapping a constant series of photos of every day life is something I have in common with my father: although he did it before it became possible to just upload them digitally to the internet. We spent so many times in line waiting for 35 mm film to be developed by the local drug store. The few photos of us with our father were taken by strangers.

You will have to forgive me for not updating my blog in a week: for not getting

Dad, me, and Mom (2009) at my birthday party

Dad, me, and Mom (2009) at my birthday party

interview questions to my list of interviewees, and for not explaining that Serena isn’t reading on the 12th of October anymore but I will have a different reader. You will have to forgive me, because my mind has been filled with the unpoetic thoughts of a person in some emotional pain and my body has responded with a stubborn refusal to breathe properly. That I am writing this at all means I am coming out the other side of a dark tunnel of sorrow, and deciding to accept life and enjoy the fact that my parents are still with me today. It’s not always easy. But I am going to try now. I am going to do more than watch Dexter re-runs.

I am going to go to the museum and the movies with my dad. Yes. That’s what I am going to do.

One Love.

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~ by Sumiko Saulson on August 31, 2012.

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