I’ve been absent for a long time. Here’s what’s going on:
I don’t know where to start…
I guess I’ll just start typing and see where this goes.
I arrived back in Nebraska about six weeks ago. I felt pretty good, despite having spent ten months riding around Latin America. I thought I would stay home for a couple of weeks, then begin the final loop of my trip.
There were lingering concerns about my Dad’s health, however. For those of you who don’t know, he was diagnosed with pancreas/liver cancer 16 years ago. A year later he received a liver transplant. The cancer returned shortly thereafter and he’s had lots of ups and downs with his health. Still, he’s lived his life to the full, joining me during several stretches of my journey.
When I got home, Dad had been in a stretch of about two months where he had very little energy and almost no appetite. We were all starting to get worried. On October 24th, he went to the hospital for what ended up being an 11 day stay. He had lots of fluid on his lungs, some pneumonia and sepsis (infection in the blood). He improved a little bit while in the hospital, but still had no energy after he was released.
He tried a pill-form of chemotherapy which was sort of a “hail Mary” in terms of treatment. The chemo was tough on him and his well-being continued to decline.
On November 23rd, we took him back to the hospital. A few days later, the doctors told my Mom to call her kids home as the situation was getting dire. It seemed that his cancer was finally getting the upper hand.
On Tuesday, November 27th, Dad said he was “ready to go.” Something that we had never heard from him. Even my Sister, who is just a month away from giving birth to her first child, flew home from Vancouver, BC.
We began to make final preparations, both emotionally and logistically, over the following days. Dad was so weak and barely responsive. Even eating a cup of pudding would completely sap him of breath and energy. The doctors said that there was nothing more they could do in terms of treatment, instead just focusing on making him comfortable. Last Friday, the 30th, we brought him back home for hospice care.
But in the course of this whole process, it appears that someone forgot to tell Dad that he was dying.
He’s really bounced back over the last few days. He’s been eating well and acting like himself. We’ve had family time together that has been so precious. We’re not really sure what this is, whether its some sort of miracle or whether it is just a “rally” that sometimes occurs when people are on hospice. Whatever it is, we’re just enjoying it. He’s the most perky his been in about three months.
My Mom is doing a good job updating a Caring Bridge site on Dad’s health (LINK HERE).
A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I would be putting my adventure on an indefinite hold. Right now, I want to be fully focused on family. I’m in a unique position where I can be fully available, as I have no real commitments at this time.
I will finish this thing up, it’s just not the right time right now. It does feel a little strange to be so close to my goal, but to hold off on completing it.
Getting to my work has been a real challenge through this time. I’m a real mess of emotions right now. I still have a few posts to catch up on and am way behind in other correspondence. I have dozens of unreturned emails, comments and I haven’t even checked facebook or my international phone in weeks. I think I’ll feel better once I’m not so far behind.
I’ll probably need to find a job and slip back into a fairly regular life during the coming months. It will be interesting to see how that all works out.
Finally, I’d just like to say another big thank you for all the support from so many people. I’m really overwhelmed with how many people have connected to my humble story. This is not the end, just a little pause. I would appreciate prayers for Dad and our family as we continue to navigate this process.