Like the title? It's part of my New Year's Resolution.
I like to curse. Actually, I love to curse. Profanity is awesome. There are few things in life as satisfying as a well-deserved F-bomb.
Here's the problem: I have a boat load of little kids. They are rapidly becoming little parrots. I have to curtail the profanity, or I'm going to have one of those little CPS moments in the grocery store. You know the kind...when your kids yells "Mommy, don't hit me!!" even though you've never raised a hand to them? Or screams out "You are a BITCH!" when there are seven dozen grandmother's in pearl clutching distance?
How will I quit cursing, you ask? I have decided to insert the word "smurf" in place of the intended swear word. We practiced today at work. It was all kinds of hilarious. Try it. I'll wait.
So why "smurf" my life? Well I'll tell you.
A couple of weeks ago, my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Yep, that's the kind that killed Patrick Swayze and Steve Jobs. It is going to kill my father. Probably soon. He is stage IV, though the oncologist says stage IV does not adequately describe his situation...there is simply no classification beyond stage IV. He has opted for chemo to try and shrink the tumor and quell the metastases. It is largely pointless. It breaks my heart to see him trying to process that the end of his life is near. My Dad has always been a strong, decisive leader. He was a teacher turned school administrator, and just retired a couple of years ago after almost 40 years as an educator. He has always been proud of his ability to control any situation. He is a "fixer" personality (so am I), and being confronted with something that cannot be fixed is difficult. He feels weak and sick and helpless. I feel weak and helpless in the face of this.
Making things worse is the fact that my sister is stationed overseas. She is attempting to separate in order to come home and care for Dad in his final days. I am trying to do all I can, but I have a very young family and a full time job. I also live an hour away from my Dad. Fortunately, he has a wonderful girlfriend that is truly a gift. She was there for him at diagnosis when he couldn't tell us, his children, what was happening. She took him to his first chemo appointments, before I even knew he was sick. My plan is to visit a couple of times a week, take food that he might find appealing (pancreatic cancer steals your appetite, starting pretty early on), do laundry, run errands, and clean his house. I also want to provide a distraction...it can't be fun to do nothing but sit and contemplate your mortality. I made a batch of his favorite Christmas cookies, and I hope he will want to eat them. It was therapeutic for me to make them.
Please visit www.pancan.org and raise your awareness of this insidious disease. Did you know that November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month? Neither did I until I was made horribly, tragically aware of it. It is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
Boobs get a whole month all to themselves, and an avalanche of pink friggin' everything. October practically shrieks "BREAST CANCER!!! BE AWARE!! ARE YOU AWARE!!! OF BREAST CANCER!!!! HALF THE POPULATION HAS BREASTS!!!! BE AWARE!!!". PanCan has to share a month with lung cancer. Guess how many people I've run into that know November is PanCan month? Zero. Including the staff in the cancer center.
You know what? Everybody has a smurfing pancreas. EVERYBODY. Have you seen the statistics on pancreatic cancer? They are barbaric. 80% of patients do not survive to a year beyond diagnosis. At five years survival is something like 2%. That is pathetic. Basically, if you're not a candidate for a Whipple procedure, you're toast. And a Whipple? That is complicated, dangerous surgery. The recommendation is not to have the procedure at a hospital that does less than 5 of them a year. It is THAT INVOLVED. The result of surgery, even if you come out totally unscathed and free of cancer is instant diabetes. Would I rather be diabetic than dead? Yes, but what other cancer treatment results in another debilitating disease? It's madness.
Please go to the website and learn the signs. My Dad turned 65 nine days ago, a week after being given a death sentence. Sixty-five is not old. It is not the end of a lifetime, or shouldn't be. It happens accross age spectrums.
Know It. Fight It. End It.
In further smurf my life topics, my twins spent all of Thanksgiving weekend barfing their little guts out. There are few things sadder than barfing babies. Unless one of those things is one of those babies barfing his little guts out all over the back of your car when you are alone and over an hour from home after spending the day with your dying father and increasingly frail 94 year old grandmother.
That is way sadder.
That is something that makes Mommy lose her smurf and call Daddy at work and sob to him that she just doesn't have the emotional fortitude to deal with the current situation and he needs to come home immediately and keep Mommy from jumping off the roof and yes she knows that it's a holiday and that will leave work short and she doesn't care.
But he did come home. Because he is awesome like that.
Ok. Not everything in my life is smurfed. Some things are actually fun and exciting (or at least, the anticipation is fun and exciting). I promise my next post will be less doom and more fun.