Oct 27, 2012 - 11:52 pm
My Father was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung cancer about a month ago. The cancer has most likely metastasized to his brain. Although he does not seem to be suffering any major ill effects from the tumor in his lungs, the same cannot be said about the brain.
In the span of less than a month, my father has developed an array of symptoms which have made the news and subsequent treatment of the cancer seem like an afterthought. It began with memory loss and then serious difficulty speaking. At first, it just sounded like someone suffering from the verbal equivalent of dyslexia. Lately however, he has been mixing up genders – referring to me in the feminine and even confusing me for my sister.
He’s also begun hallucinating and seems to be displaying signs of paranoia. He’s gotten in the habit of calling me late at night – my number is programmed on his phone – to complain about everyone around him, principally my mother.
He apparently tried to drive earlier today and couldn’t. He vacillates between bouts of rage to feelings of utter helplessness and despair.
What makes this doubly difficult is the fact that he lives overseas. It’s an 11 hour flight from the East coast. While I had every intention of visiting him as soon as possible as recently as last week, his deteriorating mental state has made it practically impossible for me to have a meaningful conversation with him. Between the difficulty speaking, the hearing loss, confusion, and hallucinations, I feel like my father is no longer with us. I am not even sure about my visit at this point.
Fortunately, and for no particular reason, I did tell me father that I loved him about six months ago. He was well then and seemed to have really appreciated it. Although I have many pictures of him when he was healthy, I only have one video; maybe two.
I want to remember him when he was well. I want to be able to remember what he sounded like when he could speak, think and express himself. I also think I have a voice message of him wishing me a happy birthday a few months ago. For some reason, I made sure to save it.