Sunday, March 9, 2014

Queen of His Universe

As my father gears up to battle for his life again, his inspiration to live is my mother. She is his Universe. Some people wait their whole lives to glimpse Truelove up close, I was fortunate to have been raised with it right in my home. My parents met as teenagers. They were "cruising" in the local Plaza with friends. My mom was a long haired hippie chick, she knew she wasn't allowed to get in cars with boys, but my Dad was the hot guy with a muscle car and she couldn't resist. So she took a chance and got in and they never looked back. 44 years later they are still going strong! Children, grandchildren, houses, jobs, adventures, celebrations, tragedies, they have been   through it all. The thing about Truelove is that it's not perfect, but it endures.

Three years ago they faced their greatest challenge. Cancer. When my Dad was diagnosed it was like the bottom fell out of the world we all knew. What we thought was heatstroke turned out to be CNS Lymphoma in his spine and brain. It is a very aggressive type of lymphoma. But, he survived treatment after treatment and underwent radiation and went into remission. He has had nearly 2 more years of life than the doctors thought he would. He is like that, a fighter, a survivor. And there is no one he enjoys fighting for more than my mother. Lymphoma did not stand a chance, he kicked it's ass! I'm praying he will do it again.

He lives to take care of her. My mom is a strong, independent woman, but she loves him and loves letting him take care of her. So he does. He has always romanced her with extravagant gifts and dozens of flowers and songs and poems and jewelry and thoughtfulness. Sometimes we can't help but laugh at his over the top gestures. Especially since my mom is the type that would appreciate a hand picked daisy, but he will show up with 4 dozen long stemmed roses. Why 4 dozen? Why not just 1?  Because.

He fights for her. He is her champion in all things. If she wants it he will help her make it happen whatever it is.  Growing up, we knew better than to ever talk back to Mom in front of him. (Although when he wasn't home it was fair game. Sorry Nita!) He will still tell me not to talk back to her. Even now that he has lost most of his hearing, he can tell by the bitchy looks I give her when I am saying something nasty and he will tell me to knock it off. No one disrespects his Lady!

He is a Dreamer and a Hopeless Romantic. He believes in fairy tales and knights and dragons. He collects swords and believes that Camelot exists. My mother is the Queen of his Kingdom.

BC (before cancer) my Dad was a guy that looked young for his age and he was in great shape and very muscular. Women threw themselves at him shamelessly.  On more than one occasion when I was out with him and my kids at restaurants, the park, the zoo, etc., women would come up and tell me that my "husband" was so hot or sexy or how lucky I was. Then they would proceed to flirt with him right in front of me and the kids. I would be like #1- He is NOT my husband, he is my father. And #2 - Back off Bitch!  Most of the time he would be oblivious to the attention. When I would tell my mom she'd laugh.  Even after he lost all his hair and tons of weight, women are still after him. Apparently bald men are a big hit. My mom thinks its hilarious.  She has no self doubts at all because she knows she is his Universe.

When he was healthy he worked a lot, but still managed to think ahead and figure out ways to make her feel special and helped around the house. Since his "retirement," he has even more time to devote to anticipating her every need. Her tea is ready when she wakes up, her clothes are ironed for her, the car is warmed up, when he could still see enough he was driving her to and from work every day, he packs her lunch to take, while she is gone he vacuums and cleans the house, when she arrives home her dinner is waiting for her.

The Doctors told him last week that his Cancer was back in his brain and there were not many treatment options. He told the doctor to call him when they came up with something. Then he went home and started cooking meals to freeze in case he has to go into the hospital again or worse, so my mom will have food.

The part of his brain where the tumor is controls balance, sight, speech. Pretty much everything. So he started to use a cane. He basically spent this week propping himself up at the kitchen counter cooking.  One day my aunt went and helped him and he made enough sauce and meatballs for an Italian army to eat for a month. Another day it was an entire turkey dinner with all the sides. It looked like Thanksgiving in there. The freezer is full! All he cares about is that my mother will be ok.

When I talked to him about the news, he said he has lived a good life and will accept whatever comes. But, he will go down fighting and has to make sure my mom will be alright. I assured him we will take care of her. But, he knows darn well it won't be the same.

Thankfully the doctors did call and said they found one more treatment option. They said it's a 50/50 chance. He said he will take it. It's better than zero. So tomorrow the fight begins. With my mom by his side I have no doubt he will give it all he's got!

1 comment:

  1. It took me a week to be able to comment in here. every time I read this it makes me cry and you know he hates to see me sad.
    He survived hit first round of chemo. It was a tough week for him but, he's feeling better today. I came home to a yummy meal!
    You might think I'm his reason to keep on the fight but, just know that you,Chad and all our babies help him stay on track and behave himself so he can spend time with all of you
    . He loves his family and feels like he is making up for all the time that he had to work instead of enjoying family time.
    He lives for the time he gets to spend with the kids.
    We are so fortunate to have so many great family members and friends that are taking the time to spend with him while I'm at work.
    Aunt Grace, Zha Zhi and Alice are all taking turns to come over, sometimes on the same day.
    Good friends and extended family are all stopping in for visits or helping out with whatever we need.
    It has been a long 3 years, yet no one has stopped showing their love or support. How lucky are we to be surrounding by so much love.

    We just have to keep up the good fight and pray for a miraculous healing.
    Thank you for all you do and for all the beautiful words you share with everyone.