My father has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer for over a month now and honestly it still is hard to swallow. I find myself thinking about the future and I have to stop myself because my future is way too scary to think about. I need to focus on my life and family’s life at this moment. I can only “somewhat” control the present. The hardest thing for me is the fact that my dad is one of my best friends and I didn’t realize how close we were until this happened to him. I didn’t realize the things I take for granted every day that my dad used to do for me. He is the father that gave all of us guidance. He is the one I always talk to about my classes and my major because we share that common interest. He is the dad that took time out to do the tooth fairy money and make it special by giving us foreign coins, half dollars, and silver dollars. He would also make it special by wrapping floss around them or making special shapes out of the money. The tooth fairy money was so special to me that I never spent it and instead I created a small coin collection.
These last couple of weeks my dad has been very quiet and only answering questions by nodding his head or saying “yep,” which is not like my dad at all. I always wonder what’s going on his brain. I always ask him, “Do you know what you want to say and you just can’t get it out?” He will reply by shaking his head yes. When he was in the hospital he had a seizure and couldn’t get any words out for about 15 minutes. I asked him how it felt when he was trying to talk. He explained it to me by saying it’s like getting punched in the stomach and getting the breath knocked out of you and you try so hard to talk but words never come out.
One of the things that make me happy is the fact that my dad is happy. I hardly ever see him not smiling. Even when he goes into radiation he has a smile going in and a smile going out. My family and I took family pictures and each of us kids got to take an individual picture with dad and dad kept tearing up in the pictures. I remember with tears in his eyes he just looked at mom and said, “I am just so happy.”
If we didn’t have such a great support system of friends and family I’m not sure how we could get through this. My family and I are so blessed to have a community like we do. Everyone has stepped up so much and we will forever be grateful. My dad owns a business and his employees had to step up to help keep it going. My dad’s longtime friend and right hand woman Ellen Shepherd has helped me so much. She is the one who is making the t-shirts free of charge and is helping me raise money for brain cancer research. This is just an example of how people have been helping us.
This cancer is an awful cancer. It is so rare and affects people differently than other cancers. This particular type of cancer is different from others because it affects a person’s thinking ability. For our situation I feel like this brain cancer affects my family more than it does my dad. I’m not saying it doesn’t affect my dad because it certainly does. But I can’t help but wonder if dad really knows what’s going on. It is just hard on my family, especially my mother, because we are seeing a loving father and husband slipping away from his normal self.
That is why I must spread the word about this cancer. I want this cancer – gliomatosis cerebri – and brain cancer in general to be well known. I want to do whatever I can to help find a cure. I want to be like Emmie Minter and her family from Elizabeth’s Hope and spread the word and make a change. The first FDA approved medicine in 10 years came out a couple of weeks ago for glioblastoma. Gliomatosis cerebri is a type of multi-form glioblastoma. My challenge for everyone reading this is to spread the word and don’t be scared to ask me any questions. I have raised $2,000.00 so far on selling t-shirts for brain cancer research. I plan on raising much more because the look on my dad’s face when I tell him every week how many t-shirts have been sold is the greatest feeling and seeing the tears in his eyes when I tell him how many responded to his website is what I live for.
* I would like to thank everyone who has bought a shirt and has helped me sell them. I could not do this without you. I would like to say a special thanks to my grandmother who has helped me organize them. Feel free to comment and spread the word!! What’s YOUR Fight?