I was going to write this post a few days ago, but decided to keep the depressing stuff to myself. Until…

cancer cell

Tonight after work I was walking through Times Square to the subway. My parents called me and my mom said, “I’m here with Dad. I called to update you on Papa.” Papa is my mom’s dad whose 84th birthday is Sunday. He went to the doctor last week because he had been lethargic and not quite himself. The doctor apparently looked at him and said, you’re going to the hospital. He’s been there ever since. They didn’t know what was wrong with him and thought he was better and they were going to send him home. Then he threw up and forgot where he was and why he was there, regardless of how many times people told him when he asked.

It was finally determined to be a gall bladder infection. They were going to give him antibiotics and let him go home. Then next thing I know, mom calls me and tells me he just got out of surgery and that they took out his gall bladder – also, they determined he has cirrhosis of the liver (even though he’s definitely not an alcoholic).

When I got this call I was afraid she was going to tell me he had passed away suddenly – she sounded like she’d been crying. Instead she told me he does not have cirrhosis of the liver, it’s cancer. And it’s inoperable. He’s apparently going home tomorrow with hospice care.

I have so many questions – what stage is it? Usually hospice means it’s bad. Was it another form of cancer originally, or does he only have cancer of the liver? Are they going to treat it? It seems like most of these questions don’t matter because he is 84. Everyone seems to be thinking – well, a lot of people don’t live to that age – be happy, he had a good life. It’s really sad.

I think what compounds it is that we recently found out that my uncle who had esophageal cancer and beat it, now has lung cancer in both of his lungs. Then I found out my dad’s cousin, who is like an aunt, has 2 different kinds of breast cancer. My 31 year old cousin also recently beat breast cancer, and a few years ago, her mom (my aunt) died after 11 years of fighting ovarian cancer. (Update: Nearly three years after this post was written, I have been corrected, my aunt battled cancer for 6 year, not 11. Somewhere along the way I was misinformed.)

It’s just a little depressing tonight. Cancer is bad.


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