“As we suspected,” Gina said, “it’s not good news. He has pancreatic cancer. It’s already spread to his liver.” My sister’s voice was calm, even, deep. In the well of it, I could hear the anguish, despite her attempt to shield it from me.
This was what I had suspected when I lay in bed last week troubled by a pain that knifed through my abdomen, around my right side, and up my back. Lifted me right out of bed into a state of catatonia. Yes, I’ve had my own (resolved) issues in the last two years with mysterious GI tract disorders (all my relatives on my birth mother’s side have had mystery illnesses throughout their lives), but this was something else. Sure enough, the next day, I spoke to my father and he had been writhing in pain the night before as well.
How connected we are—have always been—needs no proof.
Gina said he was gaunt, frail. Unable to eat much more than Cream of Wheat or grits for the last two months, he’d already lost twenty pounds and had hardly any energy to talk. Over the phone on Sunday night, his voice was weak, shrill. Still, he seemed as excited as I that Jennifer Hudson had nabbed an Academy Award for her film debut in Dreamgirls, even though he’d been too sick to see it.
I hope he gets a chance to see it. He loves music more than life itself.
Sad as it was, the diagnosis also brought relief. Now at least Daddy could get the pain medication that would help him sleep at night in order to have the energy to laugh with the caravan of friends and family that descended upon the house in the two days since the doctor revealed the results of the MRI to a loving family braced for just such news.