It’s with a heavy heart that I post this today. Though I am sad beyond belief, I also know that 8 years ago today is when my journey to health began.
On April 27th, 2005 I woke up to the phone ringing. My father was in the hospital as he had suddenly and unexpectedly fainted. He hit his head quite hard on the fall down and tests were done to determine what was wrong. By 11:00am that same morning, my mother and sister received news that he had a very large brain tumor (the largest the doctors in that area had ever seen – it actually made it into a medical journal as it was so incredibly large) and that he would pass away within a week. I was 2.5 hours away and started to drive up to be with him. He woke up again at some point, but fell into a coma before I could arrive. He did not wake up again and at 4:45pm that afternoon, while I held his hand, he quietly slipped away from us. Nobody, not even him, had any idea he had cancer. He had just turned 54.
I miss him so very much, I can’t even begin to explain. We were so close, when most girls were embarrassed by their fathers in their teens, I would go shopping with mine (he adored shopping!). In the summer, we often took long bike rides or went for a long walk after dinner. We enjoyed golfing together. We would love to sing off-key to our favourite country tunes on the radio on a regular basis. And even after I moved away to go to University, we talked every other day and I would come home to visit at least once a month.
I didn’t know it then, but 8 years ago today, is when my journey started. I did not change any of my eating habits at that time. To be honest, I was just trying to exist without my dad at the time. It was also at that time that I was getting ready to undergo surgery to have part of my thyroid removed to examine a suspicious lump. I had had multiple tests over the past year to determine what it was, but all of the tests came back indeterminate. Less than 2 months after he passed away, I went in for surgery and woke up to discover my entire thyroid had been removed. I later found out that the suspicious lump was actually nothing, and they had found the cancer hidden on the other side of my thyroid. It was caught at the very beginning stages of papillary carcinoma and I was fortunate not to need any treatment for it.
I continued my life in a bit of a daze for the next year, but the seed had been planted. I was thinking about health and seeing cancer run rampant in my family and friends. Within 2 years of my dad dying, I lost 2 uncles to cancer, saw my sister with an easily treatable case of cancer, and see loved ones go through chemo. In 2007, I finally decided it was time for change. I was sick of taking several prescription meds, I was always tired and moody and just plain unhealthy.
I mourn the loss of my father today. But I am grateful that I learned the importance of good health and taking care of myself.
Miss you daddy. xoxo