On cancer

Yesterday was a hard day for our family….

I didn’t think about what I was going to say when I made that video. I just blurted out how I was feeling at that moment, I’ve never made a video before.

You see, my Mom, Dad, Aunty and I went into the appointment with the specialist at the Cross Cancer Institute feeling great about the appointment as we thought the doctor would just say that his levels had risen just a bit, nothing to worry about. It would take time for the levels to come down, and they will just keep an eye on it. Obviously that was not the case.

As we walked into the Cross Cancer Institute, I saw so many people sitting and waiting. Our waiting room was quiet. Chairs lined the halls, filled with people of all ages. All Waiting. Waiting for their turn to hear what the specialist would advise.

We were called into the doctor’s office, we all sat together, listening to the doctor explain the details in layman’s terms. He was very thorough and gave so much info that there was very little left to ask by the end of the appointment. We wore very little emotion on our faces, we all sat there expressionless. Like the wind had been knocked out of us. My Dad has the more aggressive type of Prostate cancer. There was no way I was going to break down at all, because that wouldn’t be fair to my father to have to comfort me when it’s him that has to deal with the reality that is cancer.

“Thank you for your time Doctor”. He left to explain the status of another cancer patient’s treatment in the next room. It was time to leave, digest the information, and Dad was advised to call back with what his decision would be. Wait? Seek radiation therapy as soon as possible?  Dad’s main worry after the appointment was in regards to who would look after his cattle. Yup, that’s my Dad, a soft-hearted man.

When we walked out of the doctor’s office into the waiting room, everything looked different. I smiled at everyone lined up still waiting to go for their appointment, and I thought: how is it we are here obviously dealing with cancer in some way…sitting, waiting, filled with anger, rage, sadness, frustration, and we are able to hold it together. We sit and we wait, reading magazines, looking out windows, inwardly hoping, inwardly praying. But we wear brave faces.

Everything looked different on the walk out.

We went to the nearby Southgate Centre for a coffee and a cinnamon bun. We didn’t say a lot, there were no tears, we just enjoyed one another’s company.

My Dad and I were visiting on a mall bench and looked up and thought the leaf art work in the sky light was so pretty…  Right after I took this picture, I looked to my right and my dear friend Tawny was walking by us. We never just accidentally bump into one another in the City.  Kismet.

We said our good-byes, and I drove home with the windows down, music turned up as loud as it would go.

I picked up my kids, fed them supper, sat down in my office and it all sunk in. I phoned a few of my sisters, and then I cried like a baby. And made that video.

But I want you to know something, despite the tears and the fears I shared, I feel very hopeful. My Dad is a fighter and I have faith he will make it through this second fight. I feel positive. At this point in my life, I’ve realized there is real power in sharing and connecting, and sometimes that means showing vulnerability.  It means we are not alone. There are others feeling the same frustration, pain, and anger.  One doesn’t have to put on a brave face all the time, it’s OK to show that emotion, and then move forward through it. By sharing, you create a circle of support that is so needed during times of trial.

cancer is that horrible disease that brings forward emotions one has never felt before, and often those feelings are just left within to grow and fester. Our family has always come together in faith and support. We believe in the power of prayer. My Dad asked me to share his journey with you so that he has people out there praying for him.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what to say when you see someone in pain.  But, the positive thoughts, prayers, kind words, a hand reached out in support, a coffee delivered to your door, a phone call, an e-mail, a smile when you pass by…truly has the power to change the state of another’s heart. The strength of the human spirit is alive and well my friends. Thank you God for that.

There is power in authentic sharing and connecting. I believe it changes perceptions and it’s what makes walls come down. We are not alone, we are never alone.

So thank you to all our friends and family who have taken time out of their busy lives to support, care, and pray. We appreciate it more than you could ever know.

Thank you for all of those who have donated to our Team Hope for the Leduc Relay for Life.  http://convio.cancer.ca/goto/christinehopaluk
It’s the only way I know how to fight back at this time when I feel so helpless…not just in honour of my Father and in memory of my Aunt, but also for all of the loved ones out there who have been affected by cancer.

I will leave you with a blog post that I wrote before my Dad was diagnosed with Prostate cancer: http://christinehopaluk.com/blog/2010/08/07/at-the-farm-with-my-dad/

I love you Dad. Fight. Fight. Fight.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

11 thoughts on “On cancer

  1. Tears… Many tears today… Because I love you so dearly this feels very personal for me even though I only first met your parents yesterday… I know through strength and love and the strong support system you all have together that all of this will come to a happy ending even though the road ahead will be a difficult one… your photos are an insight to the reality of that cancer center EVERY day… And EVERY day somebody wins this fight… Love love love you…

  2. You are NOT alone in this fight Christine. Thank you for sharing your story, it is inspiring and hopeful though painful as well. I’ve been there (my dad, Mark’s dad) and am still there (my mom) and will continue to pray for you, your dad and all of us that are fighting this terrible disease. Stay strong, keep the faith, and know that you are loved.

  3. Tears came pouring down my face as I watched your video Christine. You may not know me but I feel for your family …

    I have lost many family members and friends to this horrible disease. Whipped away tears and comforted many friends who have felt deep sadness over losing a loved one. I have also been there to share in the laughter and tears of joy when the battle has been won. NEVER give up and stop believing that a cure will be found. You and your family are in my prayers! {Hugs}

  4. everytime I cross online paths with you I love you a little bit more. Today was a WHOLE lot. I can deeply understand what you are feeling. I’ve been there. It’s not a place you want anyone to be. Much much love to you and your family. xxx

  5. Thank you all for taking the time to comment and lend your support. I know the reason this resonates so much with others is because we are all affected by cancer in some way. I wish all of you peace and comfort as well.

    I appreciate your kindness so much. Happy Easter. Enjoy the time with your family! Christine

  6. Thinking and praying for your family. The power of prayer is amazing and its great that you put it out there for others to be part of your fight against cancer.

    Tera

  7. Dear Christine, your video touched my heart personally as my dad fought a battle against prostate cancer a few years ago & won! I truly believe in the power of friends family and prayer. I first met Ralph in 1985 when I worked as a cashier at IGA (Lakeleand Mall). His vibrant personality and big smile are his trademark… he is a fighter with a zest for life. Never give up hope cherish each day and fight fight fight. My Relay for Life Team (April 16 &17, 2011) raised over $18,000 in total Perth Cancer Council raised $750,000. A big hug from down under to you and your family. -Judy & Jim Squire

  8. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers Tera. I agree, the power of prayer is amazing! I appreciate your comment. 🙂

    Judy: I’m so thankful your Dad fought cancer and won! Thanks for your comment and for your prayers. Yes, that’s my Dad…a charasmatic man with a huge smile who always takes time to visit. Congrats on raising so much money on your own Relay, that’s incredible!

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