I never told any of my friends that my father had cancer
Before cancer was a part of my life, my father was fairly influential to me. Although I did not see him too much due to parents separation and my awkward relationship with my step mother, he was still the best dad ever.
He was a child trapped in a man's body. He was always fun to be around.
But when it came to conflicting issues, he liked to bury his head in the sand.
The day I found out my dad had cancer was a frantic phone call from my stepmum. I rushed down to the Bowling club where
my mother was and told her about it. It did not really sink in. It never did. I just couldn't believe it. But once you see the gradual downfall of a loved one, it hits you. So after I knew, I noticed it was slightly difficult to focus in class. All I could think about was what was going to happen, instead of focusing on school work! I had to see the school counsellor at one stage - that was awkwardly uncomfortable. But after that all my teachers knew my situation. I definitely noticed that my normally strict teachers were going easier on me.
I never told any of my friends that my father had cancer, or how I was feeling or coping.
My mum eventually forced my brother, sister and I to go see my father as much as possible. I did not like seeing my father sick. I am just like him; if conflict arises I will do anything to avoid it. I never got a say as to what procedures and steps my father was going to take. I was being treated like my younger siblings, like I was practically two years old and was not capable to handle it. I hated that I had no say!
So months passed and dad eventually deteriorated.
At first he had a huge pimply reaction to the chemo etc. Then his face swelled up like a big balloon! He couldn't keep his food down and he became non active, well a lot more non active than he used to be. He began to lose his appetite and his weight. His weight had dropped down to less than me. Clearly that wasn't a good sign. I don't think we could afford the money and hassle to have dad stay in hospitals constantly so we had a hospital bed put in. Dad started watching a lot of TV. He watched cooking shows constantly which was quite ironic since he wouldn't eat anything!
My father fought for a while. But he never accepted the fact that he was going to die.
We never got to give proper goodbyes. I don't think I got to say all I wanted to. Dad passed away in the middle of the night. My mother had awoken me from a deep sleep and told me. She knew I did not take it in. The next morning my sister and I were bubbly and fine, still not accepting the fact he had passed.
My mother drove me over to my father's house where his cold dead body lay. My brother, sister and I entered through the front and there were his closest friends and family all standing in a circle around his bead and his fragile dead body. I did not want to see him there, dead. My father's friend had attempted to force my siblings and me to touch his body.
But I did not deal well with that at all.
As soon as we saw him there, peaceful, out of pain, we bawled our eyes. It hit hard. He was dead.
The body was eventually taken away and we all just stayed in the room gathered, creating small talk. My little half brothers did not know what was going on. So after that, my step mother arranged everything for the funeral. A couple of days before the funeral, after my brand new mourning outfit was purchased, we were invited to go see my father in the open casket. I couldn't handle it. I stormed out crying yet again.
The funeral was quite beautiful and there were loads of people. People that couldn't even fit in the room. There was a crowd beyond the doors. I wore sunnies so no one could see the tears in my eyes.
I joined CanTeen not long after and I think it has been the best decision I ever made.
Without CanTeen I think I would have fallen apart.
CanTeen has provided me resources like the group counselling I attended and enjoyed a lot! Going on CanTeen camps and meeting people going through the same things as me is great. It only took 9 months for this terrible disease to take my father. I currently am now fundraising for the Cancer Council Relay For Life. I am walking for 24 hours and the money goes towards cancer research to find a cure. Since the death of my loved dad, I know I have so much support and resources I can always turn to.
Everyone out there battling their cancer in some form, you are not alone.
We can defeat cancer together.