How Cancer Almost Ruined My Family
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Health and Wellness

How Cancer Almost Ruined My Family

Family always wins.

How Cancer Almost Ruined My Family
Lindsey Jones

"New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings” -- Lao Tzu.

Cancer is the worst thing anyone can go through. It changes everything and takes a big hit on your family.

I’m definitely a daddy’s girl; I love my dad. We love watching football together, shows on animal planet, etc. We've gone to an Eagles game together, even though he’s a Dallas cowboys fan. I remember being a kid and eagerly waiting for my dad to come home from work. My dad is the type that can figure out things--expect anything involving technology.

Things started to change at the end of my summer break before starting high school. My dad had been going through some major back pain and he thought he was just getting old. He'd been going to his doctor several times over the last couple of months before his diagnosis. The doctor kept giving him scripts for the pain, but it wasn’t working. My family was worried about him, especially my mom.

I remember one night my dad was in so much pain that he had to go to the ER. I was just waiting to get any news from my mom about my dad. I was only 14 when I got the news that my dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which is cancer of the plasma cells. I was shocked and scared, not knowing what to expect. I kept asking myself these questions: “Why did this have to happen?" “Will he survive or will he not make it?"

My family had to stay strong and help my dad win his battle against cancer. I started high school and every day after school I was helping my mom with my younger sisters and brother. I had to grow up fast in order to help out my mom. It wasn’t easy but it had to be done. There isn’t a handbook telling you what to do when it comes to cancer, but you have to accept what's going on and you have to be strong.

My dad went through chemo, radiation, many hospital stays and had to keep up with different medications. The summer after my freshman year, he had his first transplant using his own cells. He was in the hospital for a good while but he was home before I started my sophomore year. Things were starting to get better for a while. But right after Thanksgiving, we got the news that the transplant didn’t work.

We then had to find someone within his family or children that could be a stem cell donor to use for his second transplant. My mom got tested along with several aunts, uncles, half siblings, and even myself to see who was the best match.

One of my older sisters ended up being a match and she donated her stem cells. My parents scheduled his transplant after the holidays so he could spend it with his family before having his treatment. It was nice spending the holidays with my dad and I was praying his transplant would work.

Right after the new year, my dad went into the hospital for his transplant. I wasn’t able to see him for about a month. Finally, on my 16th birthday, I was allowed to see him. I told my mom for my birthday I just wanted to visit my dad and spend some time with him. Things were going good so far with his treatment--or so I thought.

I remember getting a text message from my mom saying that my dad wasn’t doing well and that my aunt was picking up my siblings along with myself to take us to see my dad. When I saw my dad he was in a medically-induced coma and his kidneys were failing. He also was on a breathing machine and we were told that this might be the last time we might see him alive. I was speechless and lost in my thoughts. I didn’t want to lose my dad and I was seeing it happen right in front of my eyes.

By the grace of god, my dad kept on fighting. He woke up from his coma and he had to learn everything all over again. He had to learn how to breathe without a machine, learn how to walk, etc. He had lost a lot of weight and my sisters looked into getting meals to have my mom bring to him. He was also put on dialysis for his kidneys.

After 6 months of being in the hospital, he was moved to a rehab center for physical therapy. After rehab for a month, he finally came home. His journey wasn’t over yet but he got stronger and he didn’t give up.

Our family room was converted into a hospital room for my dad until he was strong enough to go up the stairs to sleep in my parents' room. I started my junior year of high school and I was feeling that things were getting better.

After finding out that there was no evidence of any cancer cells, time just flew by. It been a few years since then and great things have happened. My dad celebrated his 54th birthday earlier this summer.

He went to my high school graduation (Go Class of 2014!) and attended my trade school graduation last year. He’s no longer on dialysis. No one thought he would make it and it's a miracle that he's still here today.

I know that my family is glad to have my dad still with us. Life will challenge you in many ways. I never expected this to happen but it taught me that family is important and you can’t it for granted. As someone once said...“you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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