1 Down 29 to Go

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…

I instantly thought of my dear friend Hope Walls when I saw this one…

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  cancer history.

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)

16 thoughts on “1 Down 29 to Go

  1. Christine – Thank you for this blog. I love the picture of your Dad with the big smile : ) I am always thinking about you, and your Dad and your family and wishing your Dad a speedy recovery. Take good care of yourselves.

    1. Thank you Nicky! We talked about you yesterday as well! I explained to him that you had supported me in the Relay for Life. Then I explained who your parents are and where you grew up. Also explained where your Mom worked. ha ha Thank you for your support my friend! I’m so thankful for you! xoxo

  2. Thank you for sharing your first day, I was thinking about you all. Best wishes to your dad as he continues on with his fight. Hugs

  3. And you started off with a goal of $500. I laugh at you.

    And I love you. And your Dad, even though I don’t know him personally.

    Rah Rah. Boom Boom Bah.
    Dad’s kicking where it counts
    with my little Soul Sista…

  4. So glad you were with him. A beautiful account of the first of many days. Love to you, love to Dad.

    1. Love you Roxy! You were with him as well in spirit. He feels all the love and support around him. So thankful for that! xoxo

  5. You made me cry… again!
    I thought of you yesterday, several times… The struggles that have past, the fear of the unknown yesterday while your dad began the first of 30 treatments, the first of what will likely be many of your one on one moments with your dad here, and his difficult journey ahead…
    Your not alone… We are all here for you and I think the “signs” show that you have loved ones all are around you for support… First me at the mall, then Hope at the Cancer centre! Kismet… ❤ and even more obvious with all the support you've received for the relay! Lobe you much!

  6. Christine thank you for sharing you and your dad’s journey. Not an easy one, but your words give people hope and inspiration to get involved and make a difference. I’ll be up at the Cross with my mom tomorrow. I just feel so thankful we have that place and those special people that are dedicated to making cancer history.

    1. Thank you Linda, I’m sending positive thoughts and prayers to your family as well. The Relay will be an amazing time to come together and kick some cancer butt. See you on Friday! 🙂

  7. You are the bravest and strongest person I know. It has become very clear that you are able to thank your Dad for that. Thank you for continuing to share with us. I really wish that I could be there with you this weekend for your Relay. Congratulations on your fundraising and know that I will be thinking of you! xoxoxoxoxo

  8. Hey Chrissy…so Kevin asked me what I was crying about and it was about your blog I have just read. You are such a strong girl and your dad seems to be taking it all in stride..good for both of you…just remember you need your time not to be strong too..it’s all part of process!!Fortunately I haven’t had to go through it with parents…just one grandparent and a close co-worker. You need to strike up a conversation with those gentlemen (I can’t imagine you being shy!!)..they will become your dad’s friends over the next 29 sessions and you’ll be amazed at how they help you deal with all he’s going through and vice versa!! Love your photos and I will continue to read.

    1. My dear Connie, thank you for supporting me in the Relay and for your kind words. You are so right, I have no doubt my Dad will become friends with every person in that waiting room. That’s just a part of who he is. Thanks for your support. xoxo

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