Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bye Dad

After a long battle with cancer, my dad passed away today.
Dad, you will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Cut off!!

A few days ago, the phone went out. We had it coming. It had made a strange noise for a while, and then,  one day it just went out. We’ve called the phone company, but it will be a while.

This means my dial-up internet connection is gone as well. I feel totally isolated. Well, I still have my cell phone, and my mom lent hers to my granny. So we are still semi-connected.

But... I want my Internet!!

Luckily, there are choices. My parents have a cable connection, and so does my girlfriend. There is the occasional internet cafe or the campus lab. But nothing beats being able to hook up at midnight to look at some dirty slu....uhm, I mean... to check up for new words to add to my vocabulary. Yes, that’s what I always do with my online time. Always.

Can’t live without that Webster.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A few words about my dad

Ok, it's time to talk about something that's been troubling me for a very long time.

My dad is sick, really sick.

He has a malignant lymphoma in his neck. It started on his panchreas two years ago, but you know how cancer doesn't like to confine itself to just one place. So it migrated to his neck. That's when things got ugly. The lymph nodes there starting to swell up, and he started to get a lot of bulges around his throat. That was kinda hard to watch, but the best was yet to come. The doctors decided to put a catheter in him, so the chemotherapy could have a direct input into his bloodstream. So he has a plastic valve grafted onto his chest, barely covered with  a layer of skin. You can clearly see the contours of the thing. It's gross. Very Frankenstein-ish. I can't imagine what having that must feel like.

When the cancer got to his panchreas, it made him diabetic. But when it got to his neck, it crushed several nerves and paralyzed half of his face.

The chemo started to waste my old man away. He quickly lost over 50 pounds. And his hair.

Eventually, some of the hair grew back, and some of the pounds made a return. But it wasn't the same. His arms, which used to be thick as a log, became as thin as matchsticks.

The drugs started to wreack havok on his body. His digestive system got devastated. He was the one who taught me the love of food. Now the thought of eating one of his beloved burgers is enough to make him heave.

It is as if 30 years dropped on him in just one year. He used to be a vivacious man. He used to look 10 years younger than his real age. Now he looks 80. The disease has turned him into a frail old man.

The doctors have given up trying to cure him, and now are focusing on lessening his pain. He may not last more than six more months.

Making peace with the past

I smirk whenever I see a TV show that has kids mouthing off to their parents. Had I done anything REMOTELY close to that when I was a kid, I would’ve had to pick my teeth off the floor.

I got my dose of whuppings when I was a kid. I used to resent my Dad for it. He wasn’t (and still isn’t) the easiest person to talk to. You couldn’t summon his wrath without grave consequence. And boy, was that easy to do!  Several times as a kid, he felt the need to show me my place with a good smack to the back of my head every now and then. If you haven’t been slapped in the back of the head, it’s not fun, trust me.
When my own kids misbehave, I’ll whip their lower back till there is no skin in there, but I’ll leave their heads alone. I figure God put extra filling in the butt area for a good reason. Those cheeks aren’t just for sitting, kids!!

As a consequence of the body punishments, I used to resent my Dad profoundly. But that was before he got sick. It’s hard to hold a grudge at somebody who is fading away before your very eyes.

This is not my dad

I want the man I knew two years ago. Give him back.

I have stopped taking pictures. I loved to photograph my family every chance I had. But now I won’t go with a camera near my dad. This is not how I want to remember him. I don’t think he would like to be remembered this way, either.

Cancer is a monster

It can take everything away: your health, your youth, your will to live. But it can't take your family's love away. We love you, Dad. We always will.

May God give each one of us the strength to overcome this terrible trial.