Today my Dad started his Radiation treatments at the Cross Cancer Institute. I was so thankful that I was able to spend the day with him.
First up was a group information “Radiation Class” as I called it. We gathered in a private room to learn all there is to know about the process of undergoing Radiation treatments (complete with a slide show). She was very thorough and informative.
After “class” we grabbed a bite to eat in the cafeteria and wouldn’t you know it, we bumped into a Couple who are Dad’s neighbours and they joined us for lunch. Dad and Mr. W. (I will call him) traded prostate cancer war stories, and I chatted with Mrs. W. who I recognized from my days growing up in Vermilion. As I talked she scanned my face for a bit, and then said “You must have lost a lot of weight, I can notice a huge difference in your face.” Mr. W. interjected with “I remember you back when you were a brat!” I burst out laughing, cause you can’t argue with the truth, yup I was a brat! ha ha 😉
We wandered down the halls, and into a coffee shop to waste some time before Dad’s first Radiation appointment.
Along our walk we appreciated the artwork displayed in the hallways, drawn by cancer patients.
These art pieces in particular really caught my eye…
We talked and waited. There’s a lot of waiting involved during the process of treatment.
I realized as we sat and waited, there are very few times that I’m able to visit with my Dad alone, face-to-face. We are a large family, and we travel in groups. I loved spending that time with him…just the two of us. He told me he bought a mini-van to conserve on gas so he could travel the 4 hour round-trip to and from Vermilion for his daily treatments. That is for now anyway, as he has cattle to feed.
His appointment was drawing near, so we took the escalator down a level. As we travelled down on the escalator, this painting slowly panned down out of sight, first the field, then the fluffy clouds, and finally the vibrant blue sky.
We arrived at the third waiting room of the day.
There was another gentleman waiting. My Dad loves to visit, so they struck up conversation before Dad even sat down. Dad explained that this was his first of 30 sessions, to which the gentleman commented “Ahhhh, you’re a newbie”. Dad smiled and replied “Tomorrow I won’t be.”
We waited, chatted, and waited some more until finally Dad was taken into the room marked with a Radiation placard on the door.
As I sat in the waiting room, two more gentlemen joined me. They had gotten to know one another through the course of their treatment. “How are you? Are they backed up today?”
I felt out-of-place, like I didn’t have a right to sit among these brave men. I was just the family member of a cancer patient. I looked down and fiddled with my chipped nails. When I looked up, I met the kind eyes of a stranger…a gentleman who through the course of our chat, described to me how they discovered his cancer, and his agonizing course of treatment to date: surgery, skin grafts, medication, and now Radiation. I sympathized with him, he smiled and warmly said “What’s a person to do? You just have to deal with it and make the most of it.”
Twenty minutes later, my Dad walked out of the room. He stopped at the waiting room, waved, and said “1 down, 29 to go”.
At the end of the day, my cell buzzed in my pocket as I received an e-mail informing me that my friend Carmen had just made a generous donation to our Team for the Leduc Relay for Life. With her donation I reached my $4,000 fundraising goal (thank you!!!!!)
I took this time to tell Dad about every person who donated towards my pledge page (it took awhile too, because I had to tell him who everyone’s parents are if they are from the Vermilion area). He was blown away by your support and generosity. He just shook his head in amazement and smiled bigger than he had all day. Thank you for your continued prayers, love and support.
There’s still a few days before the Relay on June 3rd. To date, Team Hope has raised $11,020!!! Today, more than any other day, I realized how important it is to continue to fundraise in order to make
Click HERE to Pledge your Support. Every donation no matter how big or small makes a difference.
My Dad spent his day encouraging others who share a common bond. People just like him who walk through the doors of the Cross Cancer Institute to wage war against
cancer in their own private fight.
As my Dad left the waiting room he will sit in for the next 6 weeks, he waved at those still there, and along with his customary Ralph grin he said “See you tomorrow!”
From my heart to yours,
Chrissy (as my Dad calls me)