A Daughters View of Her Father’s Lung Cancer: The Diagnosis

The Discovery of the Long Journey Ahead

March 2nd, 2018 began like any other day, but by the end the date would makes itself memorable and known.

I was taking a nap since I had not slept well the night before, and at about 12:00 PM I received a text from my father that said “911 on way to Scripps” shortly followed by texts from my fathers neighbors that had words like “ambulance”, “your dad’s house” and “what happened”. My initial reaction was confusion as I had just woken up, and then panic.

Luckily, his particular Friday, my husband was home, and he was able to keep a calm that I was unable to attain. I did not know which hospital within this particular health system my father was being transported to, but started closest to our homes.

Again, luck was on my side, and when I spoke to the ER he had just arrived and we were less than 5 minutes away! We literally arrived before a doctor even saw him. 

It was at that time that we learned what transpired to create this emergency situation we were in. Ever since his “event” last May he has had moments of heart irregularities and has learned what is panic inducing and what is not – this was! He could not get his heart rate down, and the paramedics, and hospital staff were having the same issues.

After about 30 minutes in the emergency room, with his heart rate returning to regular rates, something else unexpected happened – he became paralyzed from the waist down. There was no feeling, but a panic that caused Jason and I to run to find the doctor. Due to the lack of feeling, the decision was made to take him for a MRI and that is when the true culprit showed itself – Stage 4 Lung Cancer that had metastasized.

Luck again on our side, slowly my father began getting feeling back in his toes, then feet and subsequently his legs. When the doctor asked my father “Have you ever smoked?” That the reality of decisions he made at 15 were effecting him at 74.

As for the paralysis – it was caused by a tumor that was pressing on his spine. Due to the drugs they were giving him for his heart, they reduced the swelling in the tumor, and thus giving him feeling again in his legs.

It was pretty clear that first night that he was not going home on that particular night and so we went to his house to get him a couple essentials – kindle, shaver and of course his cell phone charger. Sadly it would be another 17 hours until he was moved to his room, where he would stay for the next 9 days!

The reason for the stay? That pesky tumor, and its potential for absolute destruction of a life. For 4 days, every 2 hours he received a neurological exam to verify he had complete feeling, the idea was to get to 5 days out to give surgery the best chance of no complications.

The night of surgery was stressful and honestly a bit scary – while we made it to the 5 day mark, he was still being operated on with his spine being the focus. I was an equal mix of scared and thrilled that the risk of bleeding out may not be a concern since we waited for the blood thinners to get out of his system. Again luck on our side surgery was a complete success, and 5 days later he was released to come home.

I am asked often how I am handling all this, given that people know I am close to my dad and people know how important he is, and the honest answer is that I just am. This is new to me, Jason and my father and none of us know where this journey will lead us – we are taking each day as its own day, and making sure that happiness is the goal.

Happiness is a re-occuring theme here, even during the previous event, my father never lost his smile, and this is no different. People were hesitant to come to the hospital for fear that is was going to be sad, or depressing and it was none of that. The room was filled with people and laughter, mostly coming from my father.

To say that I am I am terrified of the future is an understatement, but knowing again that I will be able to handle what ever comes my way makes this journey a bit different.

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Check back often, I plan to share this journey with you

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Want to share a comment, story or have a question, comment below!

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4 thoughts on “A Daughters View of Her Father’s Lung Cancer: The Diagnosis

  1. ellen beck

    A wonderful post, but one that is tough reading and I am sure tougher for you to write. You have allowed us into your Fathers world (and yours) and many I am sure are hoping and praying for the very best for him and for you.
    Please tell him to keep on smiling.

    Reply
  2. Peggy

    My prayers are with you. I went through something similar with my sister-in-law. It is a long hard journey but you will do fine with your father.

    Reply
  3. Elicia P

    You dad looks like a character. I wish you more great times with him and so happy to hear things are going well.

    Reply
  4. Laurie Nykaza

    Thanks for sharing your journey and were sending love and healing to your dad. My daughter had Cancer at 7 and is 28 now. My son became Diabetic at 21 months old a heart transplant at 19 is now 33. Through the highs and lows just try to do what you need to for yourself as well . To stay strong and positive is important. I had people doing energy work on my kids and did do traditional medicine as well. So glad your where there is great medical care We were at UCLA for transplant and down in OC children s . I always did get 2nd opinions as well even from Dr’s across the US checked out other complementary modalities in healing. I’m sure Scripps has a list of them that can be useful to help with healing and relaxation too.

    Reply

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