Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My awesome dad

Both my parents are totally out of this world, but since it was Fathersday a few days ago, I decided to dedicate the topic to my father today.

My mom had breast cancer 9½ years ago. She was lucky and they caught it early enough for her not to have a mastectomy. Her lymph nodes were removed; she had chemo and radiation therapy and went into remission. 5 years later the nightmare returned to our family: my sister L. was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. (I'll tell you more about her struggle in a different post.) For 4½ years everything went hunky-dory.

On Valentinesday this year the top part of my mother's right lung was removed due to a tumour that turned out to be cancer. We were devastated. She took a long time to recover from the operation, much longer than we anticipated. It was terrible to see my active, always-on-the-go mom struggling for breath after getting up from her chair.

During the past 9 years she lost 3 very dear friends to cancer. She was the one who took them to fit their wigs, who pushed them in their wheelchairs through the shopping malls so they could get out a bit. She picked up their medicine from the pharmacy and sat by their beds encouraging them through their struggle.

My mom is like a ray of sunshine wherever she goes. Always smiling, always positive and always seeing the bright side of life. For a while after her operation she had a difficult time being her sunny self, understandably so.

During her first struggle with cancer years ago, she was fortunate enough to keep her hair. The oncologist told her it's going to be a different story this time around. She needs 18 chemotherapy treatments, spaced out during a period of 6 months. It's almost certain she'll need a wig.

My dad took her to find a perfect match so it could be ready when her hair starts falling out. He joked about it, asking her to please choose a reddish wig because even though he loves her light brown/greyish hair, he always thought red-heads looked hot! He has been so encouraging about it - trying to make light of a very sensitive issue.

About 2 weeks ago my mom's hair finally started to fall out. Even though we knew it was coming, it was a bit shocking. It didn't happen last time, maybe this time it wouldn't either... No such luck. She told us how she felt when she combed her hair, or washed it, and I can just image the sickening reality when she woke up in the morning to find lots of hair on her pillow.

Her scalp became incredibly sensitive a week or so ago, and she joked and said it was the remaining hair, digging in their roots and biting into her skin to keep from falling out. It was time for the last of them to go. Rather shave it off than to wait for them to fall out whenever they felt like it, prolonging the inevitable.

My dad made a deal with her: he'll shave her head if she shaved his first. His argument: "We're in this thing together. I'll get rid of my hair to show you that we'll do this together till we beat this monster."

Maybe men doesn't feel about their hair the same way women do. And maybe there are thousands of men in the world who did the same thing for their wives. But this is MY dad, doing it for MY mom, and I think it is totally awesome!

Since Monday evening I'm the incredibly lucky child of two bald parents - more in love than I've ever seen them before!

My parents rock!

14 comments:

Caro said...

They totally rock!

(so do mine actually).

Aunt Sassy said...

Wow! Now that is a real man. What a beautiful relationship they must have. You are one lucky woman!

Erin said...

Wow, it sounds like you and your parents are holding up well under the pressure. I love your dad already!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

tuesday@tryingforbaby.com said...

That is the most beautiful story ever and it brought me to tears. It made me want to send your dad a Father's Day card.

ultimatejourney said...

Your dad sounds so sweet! Well, they both do actually. What a moving story!

Needles said...

Wow....your mother is a strong and admirable woman- she had been dealt an unbelievable deck and she is playing her cards right. BRAVO TO THE BALD!!! That was an awesome move on dad's part- it proves to her how supportive and dedicated he is to her and to beating this illness. I dont know you, or your parents but I actually feel PROUD of your parents for their attitude-it displays strength and determination and that equals power....

AND...I have to thank you for teaching me how to link in my blog! youre gonna get your own post now! LOL!

Samantha said...

Wow! What a touching story. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother, but glad your dad is there for her.

pluto said...

Samantha said exactly what I was going to. It's a really moving story. Both your mum and dad sound great. And I'm really glad she's got him with her now.

Sticky Bun said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom's and your sister's struggles.

But, the story about your dad is so wonderfully sweet and supportive. Your parents do rock.

Karen said...

wow. Your family has been through so much, and your father is so obviously wonderful. You are very lucky.

Rachel said...

Your dad is cool!

May said...

Your parents are wonderful. What a heart-warming story.

Shelby said...

Your parents sound amazing. What an amazing man to do that for his wife! I'm sorry for all the struggles your mom and sister have had. I hope the treatments help your mom, and she's back to her old self soon.

Inconceivable said...

MAN- that is such an awesome image! I am really touched by this. I have grown my hair out for the pantene beautiful lengths program http://www.pantene.com/en_US/beautifullengths/index_home.jsp and will be cutting it very soon.