I didn’t mean to drop off the face of the internet. Truly. I couldn’t manage to write posts for the handful of recipes I have to share with you. This is the post I needed to write first, but I wasn’t ready.
We moved at the end of summer in 2009 — a beautiful time in in the midwest. Since we relocated I have been back in Minnesota every few months. At first I missed it very much, but each trip I felt slightly more excited to return to California.
My husband and I came back to Minnesota on December 21 to spend Christmas with our families. We’re still here. After the snowiest December in recent memory and balmy daytime highs of 12 degrees Fahrenheit, part of me yearns for a warm ocean breeze.
This is my dad in April when he visited us in San Diego. A few days later was when he first felt sick. It wasn’t until June that he was diagnosed with cancer.
According to the research Dad did, about 75% of cases of prostate cancer are slow-moving and quite treatable. The other 25% are a much faster-moving and aggressive type, often affecting Vietnam vets. Dad falls firmly into the latter category. He originally responded well to the treatment he was receiving, but a few months later his numbers were back up where we didn’t want them.
Here are Mom and Dad in September when they visited us for a few hours on their cruise through the Panama Canal. The took one more cruise after this, in early December. When they got off the ship they went straight to the emergency room in Florida. They were able to fly home on Christmas Day. We met them at the gate and took Dad directly to the hospital.
I’m sitting next to Dad as I type this. He’s sleeping fitfully, on a constant drip of strong narcotic painkillers to keep him comfortable — bone pain is supposed to be the worst kind. My family has the days divided into rough shifts. My sister stops by early in the morning then comes home about lunchtime. Mom spends the afternoon, then my uncles fill in the evening. My husband and I take the late shift, waiting until Dad is sleeping soundly before heading home sometime between midnight and 2am.
My whole family was together at Thanksgiving. We almost didn’t come back for both holidays, but my dad wanted us to. I’m glad we did. This photo has been in his hospital room; the nurses would quiz him on everyone in the picture to see how alert he was.
Dad spent about 10 days in the palliative care wing of the hospital where he was admitted for pain management. After they figured out the right combination of pain medications to keep him comfortable, he was able to move to the hospice residence a few miles away. His room overlooks a lake and we can see wild turkeys and a herd of deer from his window.
This is my dad with my uncle Frank a week ago. That was in his hospital room a few days before he moved to the hospice residence.
When Dad first got his diagnosis, he thought he would have about two “good” years left. He and my mom went on three cruises in the last six months. He wanted to go back to Asia one more time but had to cancel the trip. In September he bought a lift ticket to go skiing this winter. He won’t be using it.
Instead of cooking new recipes I’ve been eating soup brought over by friends and cookies from the jar at the hospice residence. I’m grateful that I’m able to extend my holiday trip to stay with my family; this is where I need to be. The number of people offering my family and me support is a true bright spot during this difficult time.
So that’s why I haven’t been posting. Believe me when I say I wish I didn’t have a reason to be absent. I’ve been reasonably active on Twitter since it requires less concentration — if you don’t normally click through, you can see my Twitter feed on the right sidebar of the site.
Expect some light posts for the next bit, but I will be back. Some of you know what I’m going through, and I hope the rest of you never will. Thank you for your understanding.