absence makes the heart grow fonder

by Stacy

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.

dad at cabrillo

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.

at extraordinary desserts

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.

thanksgiving family photo

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.

dad and uncle frank

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.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer January 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm

*hugs* *hugs* *hugs* *hugs*

I know saying sorry doesn’t help or change anything, but I’m sorry your family is going through this.

*more hugs*


Kimberly January 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Love you.


Angela January 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm

*hugs* Lots of love to you and your family. Real hugs coming as soon as I’m back.


Kate January 10, 2011 at 5:26 am

Big hugs for you and your family. My thoughts are with you, I’m so sorry you are going through this.


Annette January 10, 2011 at 7:32 am

*hugs* We’ll be here. =)


Erika January 10, 2011 at 7:47 am

We love you guys and are sending strength and warm thoughts.


olivia January 10, 2011 at 9:06 am

Thinking about you back in SD. Family is everything.


Paige @ The Gravy Boat January 10, 2011 at 9:21 am

Big hugs during this tough time. Thinking about you lots!


Chrissy (The New Me) January 10, 2011 at 9:53 am

Thinking of you and yours, and wishing you well.


Auntie Mona January 10, 2011 at 10:13 am

Thinking of you every day.


Bridget January 10, 2011 at 11:28 am

I’m so sorry Stacy. I knew from keeping up with Twitter that you were in the hospital with your dad, but I didn’t realize how bad it was. I’m sending virtual hugs your way.


Sheila January 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

My prayers are with you and your family. Lots of hugs coming your way


Karin January 10, 2011 at 7:37 pm


That is a wonderful photo of your family!

We’re thinking of you every day and send our love.

Karin and Adam


Naomi January 10, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Our hearts go out to you and your family. You’re in our prayers. Love, Naomi and Tim


Paulette January 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Stacy, I’m so sorry. Unfortunately I do know what it’s like, and I’m sending prayers your way, for your dad and the rest of the family. Spend every minute with him that you can, and say everything to him that you can imagine you would ever want to say.


Amanda January 12, 2011 at 6:51 am

I’m a new reader and am so sorry to hear about your father. You and your family are in my prayers.


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