Cancer- a personal reflection

Early last year, my mom sat me and my sister down at the kitchen table and said, "Your dad has cancer." We were shocked; apparently she’d known for months but kept it a secret. My dad had been diagnosed with colon cancer, and was scheduled for surgery the next week. At this time, he was currently on leave from ISU and living in Boston, and had to go through the surgery alone. My dad’s surgery went very smoothly, and I was convinced of his quick recovery. Being so far away from him, it was easy for me to be reassured by my mom’s words of comfort. After surgery, however, the doctors recommended chemotherapy to stomp out any chance of the cancer returning, and that, more than anything, took a toll on his health. Over spring break, my mom and I flew to Boston to visit him, and I wanted to cry after seeing him. My dad had always been a strong and vigorous man, but chemo had drained him of all his energy. Small household chores were too much for him, and everything in his small apartment was covered by a thick layer of grimy dirt. He was so alone, and the worst part was that he had to drag himself to chemo each week. My mom and I went with him to his treatment the week we were there, and after being pumped with chemicals for more than 2 hours, he was weak and sleepy, and had to be supported by my mom on the way back. I don’t know how he had managed to do it alone for so long, and he continued to do it alone after we left. It was a terrible feeling, knowing that cancer had control over my dad’s life. We couldn’t even physically be there for him as he struggled through the sickness alone, and to this day I’m still amazed at how optimistic and strong he was. Instead of relying on our support, he supported my family through his cancer, and has for all purposes appeared to have beaten it. Noone likes to talk about cancer. I kept my dad’s cancer largely to myself because I didn’t want others to feel awkward around me. Cancer is a terrible thing, but oftentimes people don’t seem to realize just how many people are affected by it, whether it be the cancer patients themselves or their family.