I spoke to the Hippy finally. The real shocker is he answered when the step-monster was home (she even cleared her throat once and he still didn’t hang up with me)! He said he is starting to feel a little better since his radiation treatments ended several weeks ago. He saw his doctor this week and he wouldn’t give me an exact weight number but said things like “it comes and goes” and “it’s more or less that” when I asked if he still weighed 107 pounds (he is six feet tall). I had Barney (my grandmothers dog that my husband wanted to take in after she passed away) in the car with me as I was talking to him while driving to work so he asked about Barney and we discussed him most of the conversation. I did ask him if he knows when the doctors will perform another CT scan to check his tumors. He said he thought it would be end of May or beginning of June but to his knowledge it is not scheduled yet. He went on to explain that his doctors (VA Hospital) are not in a super hurry to check on the tumors because once they discover it has progressed to the brain they are done with treatment (at least that’s what they said in the beginning of all this). I know a lot of people may not understand how disconnected my dad and I are but right now I have never been so happy that we are. I have always believed that people know certain things and he knew that he neeeded to raise me to be strong and independent. Moving out at 16 was not crazy to me or to anyone that knew my family. Having my dad gone for 10 years was not strange. Marrying a man my dad had only met one time two years prior was not strange. It was what it was! I still pray for peace every day for my Hippy!
I have not heard from the Hippy since my birthday on 4/8. I have left messages. My Uncle Glen told me this morning that tomorrow is the final radiation treatment (35) and I am not sure when they will check the tumor status.
I have not had much to say lately on purpose. My 39th birthday was 4/8/17 and I simply refused to think about anything unhappy. My husband and I celebrated in Las Vegas which we really needed! The Hippy worried me most of my birthday as he always calls and sings to me early (and never really knows where in the world I am). I had not heard from him or Debbie until late in the day and my husband did his best to keep me occupied. He took me to my favorite restaurant and then we went to visit the former MGM Lions at their habitat (this was the highlight of my birthday as I LOVE those lions and have had my picture taken with 2 of them back when they were cubs). Debbie finally texted around dinner time (PST) which would have been late for her but oh well she texted (we don’t really speak so this was a huge gesture for her). I had opted to not attend a show for my birthday as I was afraid I would miss a call from the Hippy (I have never worried about this in my life so I guess the reality that he might not be around at my 40th has started to sink in). The Hippy called me around 8:30 PST which is extremely late for him but I am sure his schedule is all wonky with not working and having daily radiation treatments. It was a short call and he mentioned how over dinner him and the step-monster discussed how I would have birthday parties each year at their house; and my Grandma Jane’s and the step-monsters parents would have a family party for me. Not sure why that was a memory for him but it was the first he had ever told me that he thought about all that. My thoughts on my 39th was how the last birthday I spent with the Hippy I was 16 and got my Mustang. The Hippy had Debbie and Danny over and several of his friends (my Uncles). Terrie and the kids came too and the Hippy flew one of my next door neighbor girls, Natalie, (who had moved to Austin) down for the weekend. The step-monster wrote a poem and placed the poem and my school picture in the paper and my dad had the poem read on my favorite radio station to announce my birthday. That was it. Two months later he left for Jamaica. He missed my 17th completely. He was home for my 18th (from Jamaica) and visited me at my friends house where I was living and took several of my friends to dinner. He missed 19-20 completely (Jamaica) but on my 21st he called very late in the evening (collect lol) and I spoke to him briefly. I had open heart surgery 4 months after my 21st birthday and he did come back for my surgery (another long story). He missed 22-25 (Jamaica) but has called for every single one 26-39! I pray he makes it to my 40th!
I did not get into his health when he called me as I only had about 3 minutes on the phone with him. This Wednesday, 4/12/17 will be his 30tj radiation and last I heard he has 35 total.
I called and talked to my dad this morning. He sounded very down and tired. They have added 5 more treatments so today is 20 of 35. He does get his hearing aid today which I am hoping will cheer him up. His weight is holding at 107 (he is 6 feet tall). I can tell when Lynn (aka Step-Monster) walks in. He virtually shuts down on me and just ends our call!
My Hippy called to tell me that he completed his 10th round of radiation yesterday! He is very proud of himself. They will not do any further testing until 6 weeks after his last radiation. He is hopeful!
I was able to talk to my Hippy yesterday as my uncle had texted that the step-monster would be out all day! He sounds bored but struggling to be good. He said it’s really tough to be hopeful. His face is swollen still and he still has stitches in his face/mouth/eye/neck/legs. His weight is holding steady at 107. He finished his 6th radiation treatment yesterday and he now drives himself. Two weeks after the 30th radiation they will run new tests. They remind him daily the cancer will spread and they are hopeful it’s South and not into the brain as the tumor was right at the brain stem cells. The step-monster walked in and he had to go but this time I believe he was able to hang up before she discovered it was me! I’ll try again next week.
I talked to my favorite Hippy tonight. He started our very tired and sluggish but by the end of the call sounded like his younger self! He should get the remaining vacuum bag off of his neck tomorrow and start his radiation treatments (30 minimum). The doctor confirmed they did not remove the entire tumor as they tested the margins and it is not clear. We expected this as the surgeon said he could not safely cut any closer to his brain. His weight is steady at 107 (he is 6 feet tall). He said everyone is trying to feed him and went on and on about Aunt Lauren taking him food! He told me that Sunday they went to the grocery store and the man behind him in the checkout lane asked him if Jesus Christ could pay for his food. Thank you to this kind stranger. It meant a lot. He then spent 10 minutes telling me all the bikes he wants me to buy and send to him! It was nice to hear him dreaming and scheming again. We both know Step-monster would never let him on a bike again!
I called my dad today for an update. It has been over a week since I had checked in on him but like Papa Dale always said “no news is good news” or in this case more of the same. My dad said he has made several trips to the VA but he is glad to be home when he can. They have removed one of his vacuum bags for his infections. The infection in his leg is stable and that is the bag they removed. He still has a vacuum bag for his neck infection. He starts radiation in two weeks – 30 rounds (5 days a week for 6 weeks). His weight has dropped to 107 pounds now and if they are not happy with his weight when he starts radiation they are putting him on a feeding tube. I cannot say that I would have ever thought that I would weigh more than my father. He is 6 feet tall and I am 5 foot 2 inches and yet he weighs less than I do. Crazy and yet sad all at the same time.
I spoke to my dad last night and his first check-up at the VA was Monday (2/6) and it went fine. The infections are slowly healing and the doctors are starting to get his appointments set-up with the oncologist for his radiation / chemo; the nutritionist and such. He has another appointment tomorrow. The back and forth from home to the VA is very hard on him but like he said it’s better than being stuck in a hospital bed. I sent him a care package of a Harley Davidson t-shirt; the movie about how Harley Davidson began; a teddy bear to take with him to his treatments and a Harley Davidson bell to keep the gremlins away! Of course my dad was happy to get it but he is a man of very few words (with me at least). My uncle Glen called me last night and told me “good job baby girl your dad is beyond thrilled with his care package”. Well, at least he was excited with someone…I will always help my daddy. I just won’t and can’t deal with the step-monster! My prayers for peace for dad continue…
I started this blog to help me remember my dad as he begins the journey of leaving this world and going to Heaven. The doctors say it could be a year or less. We don’t know. What I do know is that he spent my entire childhood preparing me for this moment. He would tell me not to visit him in the end as he didn’t want that to be a memory of mine. I was 6,7,8,14,15,16 and he would say the same thing. Eventually I will be able to document my memories enough that those reading will get to know my daddy who I call Hippy. I was around a lot of violence as a child and violent death. He never wanted to add to that. Now that I am 39 and my father is beginning his journey into Heaven all I can do is remember him. I don’t want to see him. I want to close my eyes and remember him running that goofy run to grab me and throw me in the air! I saw this today and it made me think of all those talks we had when I was a child.