and then there’s “chemo bald”.
So as soon as I saw my father yesterday, I knew something was up.
[other than that tell-tale baldness, he really looked amazingly well. In reality, he almost looked younger than he had when I’d seen him last November.]
It took him a few minutes to get to it, but he finally gave me the news . . . they had found cancer when they were doing a hernia operation on him. Pancreatic, but it had already spread to his stomach and liver.
The hernia operation was in March. He began chemo in April. Yesterday was September 1st.
It took me quite a few hours to realize that I was angry that they hadn’t told me sooner. Now, I’m certainly not “daughter of the year”; I hate the phone and don’t call very often. I hope that I sent him a father’s day card this year, but I can’t be sure that I did. (more out of not getting around to it.) But no, maybe I did?
The relationship has been strained and has only recently been improving, although we are still distant. So it’s easy to blame myself, until I remember that the main reason I cut things off to begin with is that I was already an afterthought, an inconvenience. I have friends who can still go home twenty years later and have the bedroom that was once theirs still referred to as “their” bedroom. Two weeks after I moved out of my stepmother’s house, they referred to the room that had been mine (in my presence) as “the spare room”. So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised . . .
but given the fact that I am pretty much the only one of his three children who still speaks to him, it would have been really nice to have known this sooner.