Friday, September 24, 2010

Long Time, No Blog!

Holy cow, I can't believe I haven't updated this blog since January. It's been quite a year, so it doesn't really surprise me. When I had time, I focused on my photo blog rather than this one. So what made me think of posting here again? It's a bit of a long story, so bear with me and I'll try to hit the highlights...

Ten weeks ago tonight, I had dinner with my dad for the last time (at the Outback Steakhouse in Surprise, AZ). He had an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) in his brain that ruptured not quite a week after that dinner that eventually led to his death. Today I was craving Outback as I left work, so I decided I'd head there for takeout. I had purposely avoided going to that specific Outback for a while, but wasn't really thinking about it tonight. At least, not until I was driving along on my way to pick up the food. I don't really drive to Surprise very often, and as I was driving along, I realized the last time I had made the drive was with my dad exactly 10 weeks ago tonight.

As I mentioned, it's been a rough year.  My dad was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer (it had spread to his liver and his stomach wall) back in November of 2009.  He had major surgery the day before Thanksgiving in San Diego and started chemotherapy at the Cancer Treatment Center of America (CTCA) hospital here in Goodyear, Arizona in January.  We all thought it was a sign that the center was just about 2.5 miles from my house.  So since January, my parents had been flying out here every other week, and I got to see both of my parents more regularly than I had since I moved to Arizona.  As my dad said, it was great getting to see each other so often, but we wish it was under better circumstances. 

Though he was determined to beat the cancer beginning the day after his surgery, we all had a rough January and February as my dad started his treatment.  He tolerated the chemo well, but he just wasn't his usual self because he didn't feel well.  After a few months, though, he showed great improvement and kept getting better each trip.  That night in July that I had my last dinner with him, he seemed pretty much like his usual self (the way he was before the cancer).  That trip he was by himself.  After 6 months of flying out here every other week and with my dad feeling better, my mom had started coming out every other trip back in June.

It's hard to ever think of cancer as something positive, but the memories of our times together and hours long conversations during the last 7 months of his life are some of my most cherished memories of him.  I just can't believe that he's really gone.  It's hard to think that he's not there when I want to talk to him; that he won't be there if (when?) I ever get married and have kids.  I miss him like crazy, and some days I don't know how I'll manage to go on without him.  Tonight after my trip to Outback has been one of those times, so I thought maybe blogging about it would help...