Back to the PET scan…It showed that my dad had a tumor behind his ear which was affecting the nerves in his face and surgery was scheduled for 3 days later…..
I ended up coming home to Denver and then two days later flew back to California to help with my fathers recovery. My dad made it through surgery and the tumor ended up being squamish cancer which he had previously had on his face but had migrated to the gland behind his ear.
The days that followed his surgery got progressively harder for him as his throat began to close up and he could not hold down food or medications due to coughing. Either my mother or I had to be home at all times and when he tried to eat or take his meds one of us had to be next to him. He would be up all night coughing and almost choking…it was extremely difficult to see this strong man be struggling so much. In the days following his surgery my dad got progressively week and thin. This was the time that he should be gaining strength-not getting worse.
On Tuesday after the surgery we went back to the surgeon to have him remove a drainage tube from my dad. At this time the surgeon told us he would do a procedure on Thursday that would open his airway up and fix his vocal cord. This was not going to be a permanent fix and would last 3 months….we were all very hopeful!!!!!
Thursday rolled around none too soon as my dad got progressively worse and weak. The good news was after this procedure my dad immediately felt his throat was better and asked for a burrito! That was music to our ears! Although he couldn’t have a burrito yet, he came home that night and ate a big bowl of fresh mashed potatoes and butter! You have no idea how incredibly happy we were to see my dad be able to eat that much and not cough it all up!!!!!! Praise God! My dad actually began to crack jokes again!
So how does all this relate to Life Changing in a Moment…..Here I’ve been, cruising along training for Ironman Cozumel and World Championships in Australia, and BLAMO my life has changed! I mean in a big way…..
I am on a plane right now flying back to Colorado and in 10 days I will turn around and head back to Mt Shasta for at lease 6 weeks. With my wonderful job at MHCD I can take up to 12 weeks Family Leave to help care for my father. This means my whole training schedule as I know it is out the window and will need to be revamped. I have done the footwork in the Mt Shasta area and found a running and biking group and possibly some other triathletes (waiting to contact them). It’s a bit daunting to think of not having my support and training buddies around….but I know I can manage! The most important thing is my father. My mother and I were talking last night about me continuing to train for Ironman and she was very clear she does not want me to put that on hold…that I need to continue with my life while I am with them. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have parents that support me like that!!! But I also know that it is my turn to support them in any way they need at this time. I can’t imaging not being there to help my father through his treatment for cancer or for my mother as she cares for him. They are amazing, kind, beautiful, strong people who I would do anything for!
As life continues for the next week- I have a sprint triathlon tomorrow and next weekend the Sunrise Century. A few days after that I will load up my car with my two bikes, my gear, clothes and my dog and head to Mt Shasta. I’m meeting on Monday with my coach Andrea and we’ll go over changing my race schedule to fit with the west coast. I won’t be at 5000 feet anymore but thankfully Mt Shasta City sits at 3500’ and it’s easy to get into higher altitude there.
I’ll have to be aware of balancing training and helping out as dad goes through treatment. One friend just asked me “who’s going to care for Doreen?” Good question, but I’m sure it will all work out. Life has a way to presenting exactly what we need in the moment we need it- if we are listening and aware of what God is presenting. Having faith in this makes it possible for me to do anything.
When I came up with the name for my blog- Going The Distance- I had no idea just what that would mean…I just new there would be challenges in my journey to Ironman. Little did I know that the people I loved most would be facing big challenges themselves and that I would be privileged with being there through it. I can only hope to be a source of strength for them and to support them the best I can. Life is never certain and can change in a minute but no matter what we can always try our best to Go The Distance!