Friday, November 30, 2012

No Regrets

Dad in his SF hat.

Time has a way of slipping by, specifically when you want to hit the pause button. I know I spoke of my dad's diagnoses in a previous post, but I have not updated any status as of late. And yes, there are statuses to update.

 My entire life- as far as my medical history is concerned- I have heard doctors say something along the lines of  "we don't see this very often...", or "chances of THAT happening are minimal..." (and then it happens) or some other crazy unique statistic that has always made me feel like a freak. For crying out loud, I am allergic to NEOSPORIN!?! I used to joke with my sister, as she has some of the same issues, that we probably got it from my mom as her medical history is longer than my dad's. My dad has always been well, and if he ever came down with a cold you might think the end of the world was coming because that just never happened.

I spoke before of some challenges we had been presented in my dad's treatment plan. For those that know nerd speak he has the ALL type leukemia,with the Philadelphia marker, and some Chromosome 20 marker. These 2 markers together, the doctors said they had never before seen in the same patient.They also said they have never seen a patient diagnosed with ALL walk into the hospital vs being rolled in by wheelchair. And, it took them almost a week to figure it to be Leukemia because it "had never been presented" symptomatically the way it had in my dad. So, yes, I think we get it from him.

Monday November 8, 2012 I listened in on a medical conference that took place in my dad's hospital room. Involved in this little meeting were my parents, my brother +BJ, and a panel of MD's. They spoke about my dad's state of Leukemia, and discussed options available to him. There weren't many. 

My dad's uniqueness was a problem. He was starting to reject platelets. Because of the Ph + marker he had to have a marrow transplant. Because of the Ch 20, it had to be a 10/10 match. So far they had found only 4 possible matches nationwide. If they did find a match his survival rate was about 40%, and even then it would take almost 3 years for us to find out if it worked. There was always a chance he would just beat it on his own, you know miraculous healing and such. Or he could have a "maintenance lifestyle" where he could do maintenance therapy for years. As long as his body would let him. When all was said and done, survival rate doing nothing was around 3%. A little disheartening at best.

So November 9, 2012 my dad was able to come home from the hospital for a small reprieve between chemo treatments. Once he got home, and had the opportunity to think and pray, he made his decision. Life attached to an IV pole, gowning up with gloves and HEPA mask run an errand or to be around grandchildren was not his idea of living. Nor did he want the memories left with all of us to be of hand sanitizer, barriers, and him wasting away. He, and all of the family, has fasted and prayed and we felt it was time to let him go.

So that is where we are as a family.

He has been recording his last thoughts via a voice recording pen. He has asked each of us for a list of topics we might want to know about. I asked him to speak to each one of us and identify our best traits and why he likes it. I want to know what his favorite memory is about my mom, and what his best memories of his parents are. I even want to know his favorite memory about each of us. I want to know if he has any advice about regrets, and most of all I want to hear his testimony about the gospel as he gets closer to the end.

 I feel this has been one of the greatest blessings I personally could have received. We have been given a warning which has made it possible to have no regrets when his time to leave finally comes.