Thursday, June 25, 2015
A Different Kind of Summer
I have a lot going on in my life right now and I thought now would be the perfect time to update you all.
I think I mentioned this on my Facebook page but if you missed it: My dad has cancer. He actually has Multiple Myeloma, the same type of cancer that Tom Brokaw has. It's a fairly rare type of blood cancer. He's been undergoing chemo treatments for the past 5 months but we are now moving on the next step – a bone marrow transplant!
Just so you know, Multiple Myeloma never goes away. He will never be cured but he can go into remission. The transplant helps patients be healthy for an average of 5-8 years before the Multiple Myeloma returns and treatments have to begin again.
We live in a very small town in Southern Oregon. His oncologist who has been treating him is in Eugene, which is about 3 ½ hours away. We've been going up once a month since December. The transplant, however, will take place in Portland. Portland is 5 hours away. My Dad will have to remain in the hospital for about 3 weeks and then will have to stay within 20 minutes of OHSU (Oregon Health and Science University) for 30-45 days afterwards. In that time he will need a round the clock caregiver in the form of my Mom. Luckily my Mom is a teacher and has the summer off.
My parents will be leaving me, our pets, and our home for this journey on the 6th of July. We are more than ready for this to happen but it's still quite stressful and requires a lot of planning. They will be staying in an extended stay hotel for the duration of their time again. Thankfully we have great insurance and wonderful friends and family members who donated to our GoFundMe account to help us with expenses.
I'm so excited for this next step because it means my Dad is on the road to recovery. Cancer truly effects everyone involved and not just the person with the diagnosis. It's been a rough year but I'm hoping the second half of 2015 will be incredible. It will be a long road to being fully recovered though. It will take a full year for his immune system to be built back up. I'm sure it will be difficult for all of us. He won't be able to spend time outdoors or do many of the things that he loves. In fact, he can't even be very affectionate with our pets. I was planning on taking them back and forth while he was recovering because animals are healing but he can't be in contact with them for a while.
We usually go to the coast a couple of times over the summer but, of course, this year is going to be a bit different. I'm bummed to have to be separated from the two people I love the most in this world. I'm also a bit nervous that I'll have to take care of myself. Sometimes when I'm having a terrible attack I'm unable to do so but I know I have to be strong for my parents, and especially for my Mom who will have enough to worry about with my Dad.
I apologize in advance if I don't post very much this summer on this blog. I'll try to get new content up when I can but I can't make any promises.