"Shit," I mutter. We all kind of look at each other. My mom pastes on a smile and talks about the day. The doctor was good. There's a plan moving forward. We all make jokes. "Oh, ha ha, if you wanted attention, you should have just said so." Make the best of a bad situation and all that.
Really, it had been a very quick journey to this point. My dad had a quadruple bypass about 10 years ago, and those things don't last forever, you know. Chest pains brought him to the hospital (conveniently on my 37th birthday) and stents were the solution. Except when his blood sugar wouldn't regulate. And when he started turning yellow. And then when he was tired all day. A domino effect had started and that's how the cancer was eventually discovered.
Now, I know the way I'm writing this seems all very dramatic and theatrical. This is the hard part about me being me. The Barber in me demands that I soldier on, bake some dinners, clean up some yards, and be useful. The Barber in me repeats, "It is what it is," and other such tough-upper-lip sentiments. The Allen in me wants to collapse on the sofa, crying tears of anguish. The Allen in me wants to wallow, and demand sympathy and attention. I think nearly all of my depression and anxiety comes back to me flopping from one side of my personality to another, (adding in a healthy dose of self-hatred, of course). The person hardest hit by this is Bryce. One moment, I can be vigorously cleaning a toilet, and the next I'm on the floor of our closet sobbing. I have enough mood swings for the whole family.
Okay, so back to cancer. We've entered that stage of life where we "take it one day at a time." Some days are good, some days are bad. And chemo hasn't even started yet. It's like when you're hiking and you get to the top of a really shitty hill only to discover that there's another even shittier hill behind that one. And you feel like dropping into the dirt and having an old-fashioned toddler melt-down. I can't begin to imagine what my mom and dad are experiencing.
But one thing they have is support. Support from their church, their neighbors, and of course their families. So we'll prop them up one day at a time and value each and every moment we have, all the while hoping there's one more moment, and then another, and another after that. Because my dad is the most amazing man in the world and I'm not ready for anything less.
|"Get well, not worse." Cole's get well-card, featuring Pa's cool heart|