It's been an intense journey
Travel magazines, Lonely Planet guides, an itinerary schedule and a big map of North America were taking up valuable space on the kitchen table. We were going on a massive adventure and we were pretty excited too! We pretty much know exactly where we’d be going and what we’d do.
Or at least we thought we did.
It was one of these nights, as we dreamed big American dreams, that my mum was woken in the middle of the night to see my Dad shaking in convulsions.
She said the wait for the ambulance and the drive to the hospital was one of the longest trips of her life.
Little did we know, it was only the beginning. It felt strange going to see my Dad in hospital. Usually he was the doctor and it was one of us who was a little sick. My big, strong, powerful dad was propped up against pale white sheets and he seemed small and even frail.
As the doctor explained the possibility of a brain tumour and the uncertainty of Dad’s future, the swirly patterns on the privacy curtains became blurred, unfocused and seemed to move, and in an instant I was sitting in the bed in place of Dad. I’d fainted.
Not even my body seemed capable of coping with the news.
Dad’s been diagnosed for just over 2 years now and it has been both a long and short journey. Unfortunately, it’s the hard moments which are the ones that seem to last forever. As well as taking chemo for months at home in tablet form, which made Dad irritable and grumpy at us (even when we had done our homework, washed the dishes, tidied our rooms and taken the dog for a walk) but also annoyed at the fact that he had to stop working and let his body rest.
We have made many trips interstate – from Darwin to Melbourne – for scans to determine Dad’s progress. The pesky tumour has been nearly just as resilient as Dad, however, and after three lots of brain surgery, Dad jokes that his head could pass for a bowling ball. It’s daunting not knowing where we’re going or when we can expect things to occur or what could be just around the corner.
We didn’t know it at the time but Dad’s tumour has taken us on the most intense, difficult and adventurous journey of our lives.