It’s World Cancer Day; and its time I share my story. I’ve been holding onto a secret; a big secret! My dad has stomach cancer. We’ve known for exactly 2 months. Two insanely, crazy, horrible months of going to doctors, seeking expert doctor opinions, seeing specialists, praying, getting tests, agonizing tests, more tests, receiving results, recovery, dealing with insurance, self researching, reading blogs, crying, analyzing results, appealing insurance stupid decisions, making decisions, waiting, doubting, praying, and more crying. I’ve become an Medicare/HMO Insurance expert, and it feels like I’ve taken an excel medical education in Gastric cancer too.
It’s World Cancer Day; and here’s my story. I’m an only child and my parents are my heroes. I love my parents; and I truly, truly cannot imagine my life without them. My mom was born in Poland; my dad was born in Japan. When my mom was in her late twenties, she met my dad in Paris. They fell in love, got married and moved to Los Angeles. For both of them, English is not their first language. So naturally, when we found out my dad has cancer, I took the role of “caregiver.” I am extremely grateful that my husband is allowing me to be a daughter first; and a wife second, because we are fighting this nasty cancer head on. This fight has become my full-time job. While my dad’s focus is to stay positive and healthy; I deal with everything else. Gastric cancer is extremely aggressive, and under researched in the United States. The most frustrating part is that there is no clear consensus on how to “cure” my dad. One surgeon felt very comfortable removing my dad’s entire stomach (Total Gastrectomy) just after one biopsy. WTF? He didn’t even feel the need to stage the cancer. Five tests later, I’m arriving to that same conclusion, but now I’m more worried about lymph nodes and cancer metastasis. The five-year survival rate is ridiculous. I won’t even look at it.
It’s World Cancer Day; and I’m so lucky that my dad wants to live. He is so remarkably strong and I’m amazed by his incredible spirit. I wish I could be more like him. For me, I’m consumed with worry and insomnia. In fact, I spent three hours in Urgent Care this morning because I’m so sick. The stress has taken its toll on me and I need to be strong for my dad’s surgery next week.
It’s World Cancer Day; and I’m scared.