Monday, July 30, 2012

Surgery Day

This was Daddy's third surgery in three months, I honestly couldn't believe he had made it through it all... Strength must be a family trait I suppose.

I had to go to morning work and a class on the day of surgery, but I called Daddy before and after work to tell him how much I loved him and that I'd see him when he woke up. I couldn't concentrate at work, trying to tutor a boy who really needed my help and I just could not do it... But I couldn't stress about that now, bigger worries on my mind... At least Momma wasn't alone while she waited, her brother, my Uncle Kevin came down from NY... He's my favorite uncle for many reasons, but especially for how he can calm Momma down no matter what, I love him for that. So, Momma and Uncle Kevin were at the hospital with Daddy while I was not concentrating through work and genetics class... Didn't help that there was this guy in my class who just hit every button I have with how annoying and frustrating he is, I'm sure I channeled some of my worries into ignoring his rudeness all throughout class... Still can't stand that guy... But finally, class was dismissed, I hadn't comprehended a thing so I brought my textbook with me to the hospital to read in the surgical waiting room. I tried not to speed but I was just so anxious to get to down to the city to the hospital... I think I had angels on either side of my jeep because I remember I didn't hit any traffic (miracle) and found a parking spot on the first floor of the garage (impossible)...

I put on my backpack and my purse full of all things on earth and rushed up the stairs of the garage and across the street, I jay walked, and almost ran over a few people to get through the stupid rotating door and to check in at guest services to get a wristband (those people are idiots), and then walked as fast as I could to the stairs to the surgical waiting room.

My Uncle Kevin was passed out with half a muffin resting on his gut, and Momma was in a newspaper... I dumped all my bags and embraced her... She is the strongest woman on this planet... And we just sat... And sat... And sat... The waiting is THE WORST...

To be continued

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Meeting with the Orthopedic Oncologist

We go through our usual issues and struggles, getting Daddy out of the house and into the car... Except this time, I had to be ready to lay out my body underneath of his if he were to fall, if he were to suffer fracture, he would most likely die of infection, so I had to be ready... I focused the whole time down our walk way, using my basketball defensive stance to be with Daddy every step of the way, luckily we made it to the car. Daddy was in extra agony today because every bump in the road e could feel the sensitivity in his hip joints where the tumors had invaded his femurs. I just kept one hand on his shoulder the whole ride... And of course we had to wait a good thirty minutes to get a wheelchair from the hospital lobby... Their front desk and transport staff is and was awful. But we finally got into the office we needed to be, in the cancer center.

The doctor came in, his specialty is surgery with cancer of the bones... Daddy's kidney cancer seemed to love living in his bones... The doctor began to explain the procedure to us, he would go in to the leg up at the top, outward of the thighs. He would then slowly insert titanium rods into both of the femur bones, while removing what tumor he could(if he could), and that it would take about three hours a leg plus anesthesia before and recovery after. He said that Daddy would be encouraged to get up on his legs as soon as his vitals became normal after surgery, Daddy liked this... So I pretended to be just as excited... But I knew that this surgery was really only to help Daddy to MAYBE walk again, not to treat his cancer, and we still had not begun chemo because of all the surgeries needed... Three in three months... My Daddy was being so strong through it all, so I pretended to be strong right along next to him... Tomorrow would be surgery day... I felt sick to my stomach

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How we spent our days

Daddy was very restricted to being able to only get up when he absolutely needed to. So when I would come down between morning work and afternoon work on days I didn't have class, I would basically be playing nurse. I didn't mind this one bit because we had an appointment with the new surgeon for the end of the week and I wanted to spend every moment I could with Daddy before we had to take him back to the hospital... Only thing I hated was that I had a morning class after morning work the day of the surgery. I would take off afternoon work that day but it meant that I would have to say my good lucks the night before because I wouldn't be able to see Daddy before he went to the OR.

Since Daddy couldn't really get up, I would get to the house around 9am, and clean up his breakfast dishes... Momma always left him cereal on his table next to the hospital bed... Then, I'd empty out his urinals(something the nursing home rarely ever did) and actually CLEAN them (something the nursing home really NEVER did), then I'd set up shop... I'd pull over one of our living room chairs as close as I possibly could to his bed, I'd snuggle in to the chair and turn on one of our shows on the laptop Ken and I set up for Daddy. Ken had set up his Netflix account and sljngbox so that Daddy could even watch the TV downstairs on the laptop if he wanted to... Ken's quite amazing...

I'd then figure out what the heck was in the house that we could make him for lunch... Usually a sandwich or frozen meal... And then I'd have to endure him struggling to eat... I'd of corse cut things up for him, but he still had issues due to pain...

We'd watch movies and TV shows and is do some homework, sometimes we'd both take a nap... But then the horrible part came, leaving... I don't know if it was "Catholic guilt", or selfishness, or simply pain... But leaving my Daddy is still today the hardest thing to do... I'd lean over the railing of his hospital bed and kiss him on top of his head, and tell him how much I love him and that I'd give him a call later, then I couldn't look back, if I did, I'd start to cry as soon as I sat in my jeep, and crying and driving don't go well together. I just hate when he's alone, what happens if he needs me, what happens if he tries something and falls... Then the ultimate, what happens if the cancer gets him and I'm not there to hold his hand as he goes to meet God...

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Enjoyed it While it Lasted

Daddy was home, we had dinners together again, we played board games again, we watched our Gibbs at HOME:):)

I got to cut down my commute to Daddy by 40 minutes, so I also got to spend a lot more time actually spending time with him... I was enjoying it so much.

We had a follow up visit with surgeon from his kidney surgery which was in a building a few blocks from our hospital in the city, and he took out his staples and said everything looked good. Then, we had to wheel Daddy down to the hospital for a new set of cat scans. Well, that night they called... He had two new tumors. Each was in the head of the femur bone known as the ball of the joint. These tumors were jeopardizing his femurs and leaving him at risk for fracture. Once Momma heard that, they knew he would not be allowed to walk unless he absolutely had to... And, more surgery...

When we got home and received this news, I immediately started to make dinner for us and I had texted Ken about the new tumors so he packed us a weekend bag and was coming down for dinner too, no idea where my brother was, but I had taken on the responsibility for informing Brian of everything so I was trying to get him to come home for dinner for once. I had no such luck. We were all pretty silent, Ken did his best to crack jokes at dinner... Daddy always likes his jokes... I just had this overwhelming feeling of selfishness, I knew the surgery would help Daddy's risk of fracture so that he could work on walking again, but I wanted him to stay home with me... I wanted my Daddy all to myself...

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Monday, July 23, 2012

He Came Home :):)

Well, after two weeks of the nursing home and our insurance company battling, it was finally decided that Daddy would come home and we would follow up with oncology about starting a chemotherapy. We were so excited to have Daddy come home!! We had all the medical equipment delivered and everything was set up. When my mother was sick in 2008, she had to come home to a hospital bed too, so we knew how to have everything situated. A hospital bed in the living room, which has the bathroom and kitchen within 10 feet of it. We had everything ready for Daddy to come home ... Even dinner :)

One of our neighbors put a sign on the door while we weren't home as a nice surprise and I used window paint to decorate for the big occasion. We went to the nursing home and had to wait for their idiot doctors and nurses and the social worker to put together all of the necessary paperwork for him to be released, these people really cannot do anything correctly or efficiently. Mom had to hold the doctor's hand through the process, but we got it done. We wheeled Daddy down to the first floor and brought the car around. The car is very low to the ground so even with our help it was very hard for him to get in and out of, but we got him in and out of that nasty awful place. Daddy turned and said to me, "it feels really good to driving the opposite direction of the hospital, so good that all these bumps and potholes feel comforting instead of agonizing, let's go home."

We got to our exit and Daddy started to get really excited... We got to our neighborhood and our next door neighbor came out and welcomed Daddy home and helped me and Momma get Daddy out of the car and up out sidewalk to the porch. Our porch has two huge steps to get to our front door, but Daddy did it :) he used his walker and came right into the kitchen where we had set up his wheelchair, a wheelchair for TALL people so he could actually be COMFORTABLE, what a concept. I heated up some meatloaf I had made the night before and Daddy scarfed it up... Real food.... He was home, and we were happy.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Healing, good or bad?

Daddy was making a great recovery from his second surgery. So of course, the insurance company was going to kick him out of the nursing facility where he suffers horrible conditions to receive one on one physical therapy every day. Once you get just the slightest bit better, insurance companies pull the plug . Don't get me wrong, I wanted Daddy as far away from that place as possible, but the physical therapists almost made up for the over bearing smell of urine that flooded the halls. Plus, Daddy was in good spirits, I could tell he wanted to come home too but he was so scared and his pride is so strong... Last thing he ever wants is to be someone's burden... He knew he would be "burdening" Momma and I by coming home. He to this day doesn't understand how to the core our love is for him because he is so far from a burden, anything we have to do for him is a blessing to us because it means we are together.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cancer is Not Contgious

After my Daddy was diagnosed with such an advanced cancer, my friends kind of disappeared. I had select family and friends that would check up on me maybe once every two weeks, and Daddy had select people calling him... But for the most part we were just on our own...

Yes, this is and was a rough time for us, but how long can you stare at the same faces and talk to the same people? Sometimes you need a fresh face... We felt so alone even though we had each other. I know if I didn't have Ken, I would not be in a good place. But since no one was stepping up for my brother, mother, and father, I had to be everything for all of them... I just couldn't understand people's perception of us... We are/were still the same people... Cancer is not contagious, so what were they afraid of? The answer is, their own emotions... Is it fair not to call or visit just because you know it'll make you cry? NO. It sounds harsh, but it's the truth.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Every day started to blend into the next... I was going to all of my classes, but I had so much on my mind, I really don't remember much of them. I remember studying, I remember doing research, and I remember checking grades... I do not remember the semester though. I'd get up at 6, go to work at the middle school for tutoring from 7-8, have class from 8-2, call Daddy, eat something and do homework, work from 3-6 for after care, then have class again from 6-9. And on the days I did not have class, I went and saw Daddy between morning and afternoon work shifts. Visiting Daddy meant bringing him some interesting snacks since the nursing home food was mostly not edible. I'd bring my homework and Daddy would fall asleep. He told me he stayed up most nights from the moaning and screaming of the patients, he would just turn his TV volume louder. He said that when I came to visit that he felt safe enough to fall asleep, and when I'd have to leave he would apologize for not being good company, id tell him I got a lot of work done and that he needed his sleep. The rides to work from there would be awful, i'd hit traffic always and the area between the nursing home and the highway was pretty ghetto. I'd let out all my tears through singing along to the radio, and when I got to work I would shove my emotions down into my tummy so that I could help my kids at work without having my struggles take a role. Some days I was okay, and some days I bet I looked like a zombie. I survived though, somehow. I graduated that semester with honors and the educational department award, somehow. Daddy and Momma and Ken were so proud of me, it bothered me though because I almost couldn't remember the effort I put in, I was on autopilot I guess.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to that Hell Hole

Daddy was very slow to heal from his surgery, took almost three weeks before he was up and moving with the physical therapists. I could tell he was in a lot of pain, but he was pushing through. He hadn't given up hope, but I was having to pull Momma's strength an courage up from her stomach. She was and is always on the brink of destruction emotionally, she hides it well though. My brother was not helping...

This experience with the social worker was a little better, but not by much. We made it clear that Daddy would only be at the nursing home for rehab purposes until he could get into our house. Our house has two huge stairs of a cement porch to be able to get into the main level of the house. My Momma had been chronically ill a few years ago so we knew we would need the same kind of set up for Daddy, but until then, he was stuck in the nursing home hell hole. This time at least his room mate was sane and pleasant. I brought in more pictures and drawing and AIR FRESHENERS... This place... I dreaded having to leave him there alone.... I felt bad for every person stuck there.

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A Rough Recovery

This surgery seemed to take more energy and life out of Daddy than the spinal surgery did. The breathing tube came out eventually, but it took a long time for the doctors to sign off on it coming out because Daddy's blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels kept going crazy. During he surgery the doctors had to deflate one of his lungs, it took almost six days for his lung to really start up working again. I was just glad that it never looked like he was struggling to breathe, to me that meant he was going to be okay. I just kept wetting his lips around the breathing tube and putting Chapstick on him.... Holding his hand, and talking to him, I just kept finding things to talk about, even if it was pointless because being silent in that room meant that you could hear the nurses gossip and the alarms from all the other patients, at least my voice was something better for him to listen to.

I would bring my homework and use the hospitals WiFi to complete all of my assignments. I never thought I would look forward to homework, but I did. Doing homework meant I was forcing myself to focus on a task other than fighting cancer, other than lifting Momma's spirits, other than pittying myself, other than keeping Daddy's thoughts positive... I could just leave my conscious mind, and throw my efforts into the academics at hand. Plus, it gave me something else to talk to Daddy about, even minor achievements like a good grade on a quiz and Daddy's face beams with pride, so I forced myself to keep going. Did I sleep this past spring semester? I really don't know.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

More surgery

Now that Daddy was done radiation to his spine, it was time to take out his evil kidney that had started all this...

There was an 11 centimeter tumor on/in his left kidney, it had begun to infect his spleen and attached to a piece of his rib. They all came out. This surgery scared me, it was only my third week back at school for the spring semester, and somehow I was managing a 4.0 while only crying once a week. I remember sitting in the family surgery waiting area, that we didn't know about during the spinal surgery, and thinking to myself... If I can only last a little longer, maybe I'll find more energy somewhere.

As Momma and I sat waiting, I did homework and she read her NY newspapers she loves so much. She has begun buying them more often since Daddy's diagnosis, I think any feelings of home on Long Island give her small comforts. I finished up my genetics lab reports and went down to the cafeteria. Momma had found out that if we wear her work ID when we go to buy food, it looks like the hospital IDs, so we get employee discounts, which are still ridiculous prices... I don't understand overcharging people who are visiting sick loved ones, kind of demonic if you ask me. I paid, and went back to Momma's side. I could tell that she was fighting back tears while she was on the phone giving up dates to my Aunt, Daddy's sister. So I opened her chicken salad and began to feed her so that she didn't have to pile one more thought or stressor into her head.

After we finished eating, Momma found a way to fit on the midget sized benches for her to fall asleep. I began to text Ken when I saw the doctors coming our way. I shook Momma awake, she knew why without having to ask, we took each other's hands and held our breath. The doctor smiled as he said how well it all was, his resident that was very friendly with us hugged me and whispered , "he will look bad, be strong," in my ear. Every hour on the hour until midnight is when visitors could be escorted to go see patients while they're in surgical recovery. Daddy had lost 14 pints of blood during surgery, that's more than is in a normal human body, but our family is twice the normal human size... I knew this meant he would be in recovery for a while before being moved to
ICU. Momma went home, she had to work in the morning. I had this feeling that Daddy was going to wake up soon, and on the next hour's visit, he did:) He let out this sigh of agony, and then I saw the smile in his eyes to see me there. I told him what all the doctors had said, and I told him what his vital sign numbers were, and how much I loved him. Breathing tube again...

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Thursday, July 12, 2012


After two weeks of healing from surgery, it was time to start radiation to his spine. Lucky enough his radiation was during my writer break so that I could ride along in the ambulance every day from the nursing home to the hospital for radiation. It was really hard having to deal with a different transport crew every day because it was hit or miss if the workers cared or not. Plus, just like when we came to the nursing home the first night, every bump in the city streets was felt in Daddy's back, I felt so badly but there's nothing I could do. So I just kept telling Daddy which streets we were turning onto, he always got so happy when I finally said we were on Lombard street because the ambulance entrance was off of Lombard.

Radiation oncology was on the basement floor because of how heavy the equipment is. We would enter the ambulance door, 1534, Daddy memorized the door code and good thing he did because some of the transport workers didn't even know it and we had to tell them. We went in, turned right, and radiation was at the end on the left. Good thing we paid attention to that too because some of the transporters were completely clueless.

We would get dropped off at radiation, Daddy would get transferred to a hospital stretcher if the treatment was going to take a while that day, otherwise the transport crews would stay with us and take us back. If they left us there, I'd have to call afterwards and wait for them to come and find us, they were pretty awful at that. Those days, Daddy and I would usually be waiting a while. We would play Trivial Pursuit on my phone and talk about nothing. I just kept trying not to imagine what it'd be like if I wasn't there...

Then we would go back the way we came, over all the bumps in all the city streets, back to the nursing home. He'd get slid from the stretcher, back to his bed, and would usually take a nap. It smelled too awful in the nursing home for me to ever be able to fall asleep there, but he needed his rest. I'd put on the TV, and draw. I drew all sorts of pictures to make Daddy's room there more bearable for him. The place was just so awful...

Te last day of radiation was something special... All of the nurses in radiation oncology are angelic women, they were always nice to Daddy and I and would actually be interested in talking to us about something other than cancer. On this day, it was Daddy's last treatment of a long two weeks. After they wheeled him out of the treatment room, one of the nurses got on the intercom and shouted CODE SUNSHINE EVERYONE CODE SUNSHINE!!! I had no idea what that meant, but they wheeled him out into the lobby and there was a bell. They got him as close to the bell as they could and Daddy rang that sucker really hard three times. Everyone was clapping and congratulating him, the staff even gives out a graduation from radiation diploma. Daddy smiled, we didn't know we would be back for more two months later...

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Sunday, July 8, 2012


After Daddy was diagnosed, I cried for about ten minutes a day, for about two weeks. Once we had a plan of attach, I couldn't cry. I'd get sad, but no tears came even when I wanted them to, it was so weird. I didn't really know what to think of it, I guess I just started challenging my energies into finishing the semester and spending as much time with Daddy as I possibly could. I remember the first time I cried after his spinal surgery was when I left the nursing home one day. It took them almost a three days to get Daddy's medications all ordered and filled, luckily he tolerated pain very well as long as he didn't have to move. This one particular day was the day Daddy's pain medicine finally came, or at least Momma was told it had came. I had gotten to te nursing home around noon that day and Daddy said he still hadn't received any pain medicine that day. I went and bugged the people at the nurses station, they are only there to "yes" you to death, but it was really all I could do. Two hours went by and still nothing, so I called Mom. She callers our insurance case worker who then called the doctor at the nursing home. He came up to see Daddy and said that the nurses did not communicate to each other that the pain medicine had arrived and he apologized. If this happens to Daddy, the most lucid patient here, my heart ached for what was happening for these poor elderly patients. I just remember thinking, thank God for Momma, and I broke down crying as I drove through the tunnel to get back home. I hated the fact that I had to leave Daddy in such a disgusting place. One tech to every eight patients, one nurse to every floor which had over 30 patients. There is just no way that every patient in that place was getting the proper care.

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The Awful, Awful Place

Daddy now had six vertebra made of titanium, and through the healing process he was not allowed to really move. And once he was off of the breathing tube and his blood pressure was kept normal for a while, our insurance company said we were no longer welcome to stay at the hospital on their tab. We knew we would have to pick a nursing home type facility so Momma was using her contacts at work to do some research. As she is doing that, we had the hospital's so called Social Worker come in and this is what she said to Daddy and I....

" Oh hello Mr. Lehnert, today we are sending you to _____ nursing facility, here's a pamphlet about their accommodations, transport will be here at 4 to come and get you, have a nice day."

Um WHAT?! No choices? No say in the matter at all? Momma was still doing research and this woman had took it upon herself to kick us out!! I immediately called Momma, she flipped her lid, I could only imagine how her face gets as red as her hair... Someone was about to get a good old angry Irishwoman yelling, I was just glad it wasn't me.

About 20 minutes later Daddy's nurse comes in and tells us the transport plans had been cancelled, then his spinal surgeon's resident came in completely apologetic. Momma had called the surgeon.... The resident said that he would write up a reason for Daddy to stay another night or two and that Momma would then have time to research.

The next day Momma picked a place on the water, but still in the city. At least she'd be able to stop there before and after work. It still made my commute to Daddy about an hour each way, but he's worth it :) I only had two more weeks left in the semester, then I'd have a month and a half off from school and work to spend with Daddy. When the transport unit came, they slid Daddy onto their stretcher and I rode along. Daddy let out a yelp as they drove
over every bump in the city streets, but we finally got to the nursing home. When you walk in it looks nice enough, hardwood floors and flowers, then we get off on the 3rd floor. The smell of urine and dust enveloped my sinuses. As we wheeled Daddy around to his room, there were elderly people just sitting in the hallway in their wheelchairs, looking into oblivion, sitting in their own filth. I was praying that Daddy couldn't see all the horror from up on the stretcher. The transport workers slid Daddy onto his new bed, his feet hung off the bed, and only one elbow fit comfortably. I remember thinking, at least there's cable.

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Post Op

Haven't blogged in a while, took off for my birthday. But here we go...

When Daddy came out from the anesthesia, he still had the breathing tube in because he was not taking in enough oxygen. He has sleep apnea, so when he would try to sleep, his oxygen consumption would go down even more since he was on the breathing tube and not using his CPAP machine. So when his oxygen level drops, the monitors in the ICU went crazy with bells and whistles, which of course woke him up!! My cousin Jill came to visit today and sat with us. You could tell the change in Daddy's eyes when he saw her walk in, I love the effect she has on him.

All we could do for days was to wet his lips and hold his hand, then finally the doctors said it was okay for the breathing tube to come out. When my mom told me this, I was at work. After work I called the hospital and got special permission to spend the night in the ICU, something they don't usually allow. I did not like the idea of being in the city at night, and the hospital parking garage is quite disgusting. But I got to the hospital and got my visitor wristband. In the ICU, you have to use a phone outside the unit door to be buzzed in and luckily the nurse that answered knew that I was coming and buzzed me in. Daddy was up watching TV when I walked in, I was so excited for him to be able to communicate with me. I just walked to him and hugged him and I hear an, "I love you my angel," in a deep raspy voice. His "jazzy voice" as we called it lasted a few weeks, I kind of liked it. Anyways, I grabbed a pillow and hospital blanket and dragged the chair over next to Daddy and we fell asleep.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

My 2 Amazing Cousins

During everything that was going on, I had Ken to go home to and lean on and I had Irene to distract me. But the two people who always kept my spirits up were my two cousins, Jill and Kaelin.

Jill is my oldest cousin on my Dad's side. She is one person on this world that can make anyone and everyone laugh. My Daddy sees her and his face lights up. She has the squeaky voice and a thick Long Island accent that I find comforting. I know that I can always count on Jill whenever I need a good laugh or some reassurance.

Kaelin is my oldest cousin on my Momma's side, we grew up together. She is more like an older sister to me than a cousin.

Kaelin is the cousin I turn to when I need rational advice. Kaelin always knows what is best. Kaelin is the daughter of an NYPD officer, my Uncle Kevin. Uncle Kevin has a deeper voice than James Earl Jones and you can feel his voice in your chest before you can hear him. Kaelin and Uncle Kevin have always been very important figures in my life. Kaelin is always there to check on me, even without me knowing sometimes. I am truly blessed to have such a support system.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

He Wakes Up

I must just have really good timing with my father because as soon as I got the the hospital the next morning and walked into Daddy's room, Daddy was waking up:) he couldn't talk because he was on the respirator, but his eyes looked happy to see me. I walked over and kissed him on the cheek and told him how proud I was of how well he came out of surgery. The doctors said that he wouldn't be able to get up for at least a week, so we had one tough week to get through. But if anyone could do it, my Daddy could.

Momma was passed out on the chair again, I woke her up and she went to get us both coffee. I think the TV networks knew my Daddy and I loves Gibbs, because a marathon was on once again. I took Daddy's hand and sat next to him to watch our shows together. I kept looking up at the monitors to keep a watch on his heart beat and blood pressure, but everything stayed pretty okay. This would be our days together for the next week. I brought my laptop to the hospital and my professors were nice enough to let me complete my work from there for the week. I just couldn't see how I could leave my Daddy alone and his room had a bathroom with a shower so I was good to go. Plus, I knew I could not handle the questions my classmates would have, or the dreaded, "I know how you feel." The truth is, you never know how someone else feels. There is no one in the world that could possibly know how it feels to be a 21 college student with a Daddy who has cancer. Trying to find the strength to keep up with school work, be my Daddy's motivation, be my Momma's support system, and still be a good girlfriend to Ken. I hadn't even thought about going back to work yet, couldn't think about anything yet, I was too numb trying to be what my family needed me to be.

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6 Hours

Momma got to the hospital just in time for the spinal surgeon's residents to come up and go over the surgery with us one more time before heading down. They said that they would be removing as much tumor mass as possible without damaging the spinal cord, and would be reinforcing his T2 through T8 vertebrae with steel because the tumors had made those bones very breakable and deteriorated. They compared what the tumors had done to the bones to the effects of osteoporosis, except that Daddy is only 54 and is otherwise healthy, besides all of these tumors his evil kidneys are causing. Momma and I walked down to the OR with Daddy until they told us that we couldn't go any farther. Momma said her good lucks and I love yous without dropping a tear, then I leaned in and kissed Daddy on the head and told him that we'd be waiting for him and that he's te best Daddy in the whole wide world and that I love him to the moon and back.

Momma and I did not know that there was a surgical waiting room, no one told us anything about it. We only knew that Daddy would be coming back to the same room he was in pre op, so we decided to set up shop there and his nurses said that they would come with updates. I eventually decided that even though we weren't hungry, that we needed to eat. So I went down to the main floor of the hospital and got us some salads and Muscle Milk, figured we would at least get nutrition without forcing ourselves too much. When I got back to the room, Momma was passed out in her chair, so I decided to start texting Ken and my family and trying to get my mind off of things. It took three hours for us to get our first update, the nurses said that things were going well... Another two hours and we hadn't heard a thing, so Momma started hugging the nurses to get us updates, but of course it was change of shift and none of them even knew that one of their patients was on surgery. Once they got ahold of the OR they said that the surgeons were closing up and that it had all gone well and that he would be in the recovery room waiting to wake up in about an hour and then come back up here. Six hours for this surgery, we were told it'd only take about four. When Daddy finally came back up to his room, he was on a respirator and still asleep. The transport staff told us that the new crew of nurses did not tell the recovery room nurses that Daddy had a room already, so he was done in 4 hours, but spent 2 hours lying down there because of lack of communication. The recovery nurses thought that Daddy was waiting to be admitted when a room opened up, but he already had a room!! Momma was beyond frustrated, and of course the nurse that lied to us about his updates was nowhere to be found. Once Momma calmed down, we were both able to relax and just enjoy the fact that Daddy had survived the 6 hour ordeal and that all of his vital numbers looked very stable. Momma decided to stay the night and I reluctantly went home and somehow found a way to fall asleep.

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Spinal Surgery, 2 Scary Words

So Momma and I were trading off days of who would sleep in Daddy's room and who would go home and shower and check on my brother and make sure the house was okay in case anyone wanted to come stay with us and visit Daddy. Today was my turn, today was the day of Daddy's spinal surgery. When you get surgery to your torso, you are not allowed to eat or drink for hours and hours beforehand. So Daddy was pretty miserable, and I felt that I had to leave the room when I ate so that he would not get jealous. Daddy was supposed to be the first spinal surgery of the day, but some poor man came into shock trauma at 3am with bullet wounds and bumped Daddy's surgery back. It was now noon though, and Daddy and I were getting very ancy. Then, finally a nurse came in and said we needed to get ready to go down to anesthesiology. Daddy was happy to hear this, but then his facial expressions changed drastically. I think now that it was time for surgery, all the risks and complications started rolling through his head. As soon as the nurse left, I went to his bedside. I took his hand. because it hurt him too much to hug him, and asked if he was ok...

He just looked at me and told me he was scared, I didn't even stutter before I said, "Daddy, I'm really scared too, but this surgery could help you walk again and will remove a lot of tumors, I'm not going to let any of the doctors hurt you, I promise." He seemed to get some kind of comfort from that, but I just stayed holding his hand and lucky for us our Gibbs was on TV again. We know most of the lines to the episodes that are reruns, and reciting them together seemed to make our fears disappear just enough that we could smile at each other.

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