Friday, October 17, 2014
*NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Marisa's back today and she's feeling a bit isolated. Today she's talking about her dad's fight with cancer. And I can speak from experience that when someone in your family is fighting a condition as serious as that, or some other life-threatening condition, it feels like your whole family is fighting along with them. You can feel very alone at times, like there's no way anyone else can understand what you're going through. And as a result, you may withdraw from even your closest friends. It's not necessarily the best thing to do, but sometimes you just can't help yourself. Especially if your afraid of losing someone very dear to you. So to anyone out there who's had to face this kind of situation, you have my deepest sympathies and I pray the outcome was a good one. If not, I'm deeply sorry. If you feel this entry might trigger off some bad memories, please spare yourself from reading further. I'll understand. The next entry will be much lighter in tone--Thank you*
School ended about an hour and a half ago and yet here I am, wandering the empty hallways feeling more lost and alone than ever.
Normally I'd be home by now, but I knew no one would be home. Dad's getting another chemo treatment and Mom's with him. I could've gone home with Lisa, but I...I just couldn't. She's changed and I can't stand it.
She got back from touring Europe with her family a few days after school started, so I didn't even get a chance to see her, until she showed up in homeroom. As soon as I saw her walk in I was so happy to see her until I realized what she was wearing. Black clothing which looked like it was from another era entirely. Oh there were a few splashes of color, but mostly it was black.
Immediately, several of our classmates started laughing and asking her who died. Of course that hit me pretty hard. Ever since he was diagnosed with cancer, I've been terrified of losing my dad. It's gotten so bad that I can hardly even watch some of those old vampire movies, my dad loves so much. I do of course, but mostly so I can be with him. But I can't stand the idea of vampires anymore. Every time I see the heroes trying to fight to save one of Dracula's victims I keep noticing how pale and grey they look, and then I glance at my dad and see a similar pallor in his face.
Then I begin to envy the characters in the movie. They have a foe who they can face and put and end to with a sharp wooden stake. But I can't do that. I have to sit on the sidelines and watch some unseen enemy trying to drain my father of his health and vitality. Some days he looks better than others and even seems more like his old self. Then a day or two later he's weak and looking pale again.
I've had to deal with this all on my own the entire summer. I didn't have my Lisa at my side to help me cope. And now when she's finally back she looks like someone in mourning, only she hasn't lost anyone. She's just getting a whole lot of attention while being a constant reminder to me that I may lose my dad.
It upsets me so much I can barely stand to be anywhere near her. She tried to sit with me at lunch her first day back but I Just couldn't do it. Instead I simply got up and moved away without saying a word. I didn't mean to do it, but I couldn't say anything without bursting into tears and running away in the middle of the cafeteria. I eventually went outside and found a place to be alone for a while.
Then today a new problem arose. Everyone expected me to continue being head cheerleader, but with Dad fighting for his life, I just can't do it this year. So I talked to the coach and told her what was going on. She fully understood and let me have a good cry on her shoulder for a few minutes. Once I got myself under control again we talked about who should replace me.
I decided on Sherrie Wallace, who joined the squad just last year. Sherrie transferred from another school where she had done gymnastics. But after coming here, she wanted to try out for the cheerleading squad. Truth be told, I think she's more talented than me. But I'd been head cheerleader for two years already and had gotten the team into the state quarterfinals both times. So naturally everyone wanted to keep me in charge. Sherrie didn't seem to mind and she's really sweet. And unlike some of the girls on the team, she doesn't cop an attitude. So I felt she was the perfect replacement for me.
Unfortunately, one of the other girls, Diane Gilliams, did not agree. She's tried being my 'buddy' ever since she joined the squad two years ago. And because she was always sucking up to me, she thought she could boss the other girls around and was always trying to take the spotlight in our routines. I told her off many times and she was always 'sorry' and behaved herself again. Until the next time when she thought she'd gotten on my good side.
Well, that won't be happening anymore. After the coach announced I wasn't coming back and that we'd decided on Sherrie to lead the team everyone cheered, except Dianne. She was pissed and let me know it as soon as we got back into the locker room. She and a couple of her cronies tried cornering me when she thought no one was looking.
I don't know what would've happened had Lisa not suddenly appeared and started talking in a very loud voice. She was so loud in fact, that the coach came in to see what was going on. Naturally, Dianne took off but not before giving us both the dirtiest look.
As soon as she was gone, Lisa turned to me and smiled. "Don't worry, I've got your back. I'll always have your back."
I so wanted to hug her right then, but she was in full black today. "Thanks," I managed to mutter and quickly left the locker room. As I did, I glanced back at her one last time and saw the sad and confused look on her face.
God how I wanted to go back and tell her what was going on, but I needed to get home. Mom and Dad would be home soon, along with results of the latest tests that will tell us if the treatments are helping or not. If they aren't.... I can't think that. They've got to be helping him. They've just got to...
The results were very promising. The treatments are helping. But he's not out of the woods yet. I have to be strong.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
****NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I want to warn you all in advance that this particular entry is a bit heavier than some of the ones you've seen before. It deals with someone fighting cancer. So if you wish to take a pass on this entry I'll understand. I suffered a loss of someone very dear to me a few months back and it hurt to write this passage, since I drew upon a lot of the emotions and thoughts that I went through. However, this sub-story plays an important role in the main novel. So I leave it to your own discretion. I don't wish to hit anyone's 'triggers' and set you off. SPOILER: And if it's any comfort, the person fighting cancer is still around in the novel.****
Sorry I haven't been posting for a while, my life has turned upside down in the worst way possible and I don't know what to do.
About two months ago Dad went to see our family doctor, Jack Tyler. He's been our physician for as long as I can remember. Which only makes sense since he and my dad grew up together. Anyway, Dad went to see him for his annual physical. Aside from feeling a little tired for the last month or two, he didn't have any complaints. But some of his blood tests came back and something wasn't right. So there were more tests, followed by X-rays and a Cat-Scan. Long story short, he's got cancer.
Uncle Jack assured us that it was detected early and there was a good chance they could treat it with surgery. Well, the surgery seemed to go okay, but then they found it had spread to one or two lymph nodes. So they removed those as well and now he's getting chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
He's been holding up for the most part, but those therapies take so much out of him. He's lost weight and looks a bit grey some days. Plus they leave him pretty weak. Some days he mostly sleeps or just sits and reads or watches a movie or two. Uncle Jack has told us things are looking good, but he said that about the surgery so I'm not as confident in his predictions.
At this point I'm trying to spend more time with Dad. I keep feeling like I may lose him and I don't want to. I've stopped hanging out as much with my friends, except for Lisa. She's my best friend and has been trying to be there for me every step of the way. Unfortunately, she's heading to England for the summer with her family. Apparently, her godfather is over there and made arrangements to have her entire family come and stay with him for a while. I've never met the guy, but I've a lot about him. Uncle Nate is in like his twenties and is working with a professor over in London, which is someplace Lisa's always wanted to visit. She offered to ask her parents to let her stay with my family, but I told her no. If this turns out to be the last summer I have with my father I want to be with him as much as possible.
I even cut back on my school activities as soon as I knew he'd been diagnosed with cancer. The first thing I did was give up my place as head cheerleader. Both my parents told me I didn't have to do it, but I knew they'd need me, and they have It's been a rough couple of months.
Watching my dad have to sit around be tired out so easily freaks me out sometimes. I mean, he's a mail carrier. He walks miles and miles every week doing his route. Now he gets winded just moving from room to room sometimes. Which is why I need to be around for him. Mom can't always be here, so I make sure I am. He and I sit together and talk or read. Sometimes we'll watch movies, but even that's been kind of hard lately. Not for him, but for me.
I know I mentioned a while back that he loves vampire movies. They're like his all time favorite thing to watch. And until he got sick I loved them too. But now when I watch the heroes trying to save someone who's being fed on night after night by Christopher Lee or whoever's playing Dracula, I keep noticing how pale and even grey the victim looks sometimes. They're so weak and tired, after having started out so lively and vibrant earlier in the film. So instead of helping take my mind off what Dad's fighting, I get a huge reminder that I may lose him.
When I look at the television screen instead of seeing a vampire, I see some form of cancer that's taken on a human shape. And it's everywhere. Even at school I used to hang with a couple of the Goth kids, but then I stopped. All that pale make-up and dark clothing... it was too much.
God I wish Lisa were here right now. I feel so lost and alone sometimes. But I've still got my dad and I'm going to hold onto him as much as possible. I pray Uncle Jack is right and Dad is going to be okay. I just wish there was more I could do for him. I feel so helpless sometimes..
Oh, he's just woken up from a nap and is calling for me. Sounds like he wants to watch another movie with me. Talk to you all again soon. If you don't hear from me again for a while, I know you'll understand.
Ciao for now...