Since yesterday evening, I’ve been the sole occupant of my house. The beasts went away for the weekend and I have been sleeping, crocheting, and watching the entire first season of The Newsroom[1. Oh, so awesome. Annoyingly unprofessional with women who are annoyingly prone to hysteria, but so, so smart about the news. So very smart about the news].
Tomorrow morning, when for the second day in a row I may wake up after 7AM, my parents and my brother will be participating in the annual fundraiser they help organize for pancreatic-cancer research. I’ll be very grateful for my quiet, therapeutic weekend, but I’ll miss them terribly.
Did I tell you last winter that my dad had cancer? It’s possible I didn’t. I’ve been in a haze of chaos for the last few months, and my memory’s pretty shot. This weekend is the beginning of forcing my life back into some semblance of normalcy. But this post isn’t about my shit.
This post is about the malignant tumour my dad had removed from his kidney last February.
Know what was weird? That time my gadget-freak dad phoned me to ask how to change a setting on his iPod.
Seeing my dad several weeks after he recovered from complications from kidney surgery? That wasn’t weird. That was alarming. He weighed less than he had since I was a baby. His voice was weak. He looked old, and not only because he’d taken to wearing his reading glasses on a chain around his neck.
Know what was awesome? Seeing him a few months after that, back to his old self.
I learned last winter that kidney cancer, like the pancreatic cancer that runs in my family, is often found too late to treat. Like two years ago, when my dad had part of his pancreas removed after early screenings discovered precancerous activity, those same screenings indicated a mass on his kidney.
The screenings he undergoes, in addition to possibly saving his live twice now, are also a part of research into familial pancreatic cancer. The aim of these studies, in part, is to develop less invasive, far more affordable screenings for this disease that currently has only a 5% five-year survival rate.
So every year we raise funds to support this research. The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research funnels 100% of funds to research because their operating costs are paid for by the Cablevision company.
So if you’ve been touched unkindly by pancreatic cancer or if you love someone who has, please consider donating.
I’ll be with my family in spirit tomorrow, and I sure hope this coming year my dad will be a fully healthy participant in what will hopefully prove to be momentous research for every human, everywhere.