To most people thanksgiving is a day to get together with relatives and stuff yourself full of all the things youíve been avoiding all year. But to my father this thanksgiving was very special. You see about a year ago my father was diagnosis with colon cancer. The news devastated the family like nothing else we have ever encountered.
I still remember the first time I realized how sick my father was. I was at the house visiting my mother. My father was up taking a nap. I did not think it was unusual for him to take a nap in the middle of the day, after all he had worked night shift for thirty-five years and often slept during the day and arose late at night. When I was about to leave he called me from the door and came walking over to my car. His tee shirt which had once been stretched tightly over his belly was flapping in the breeze. His face was gaunt; he couldnít have weighed more than one hundred pounds. A knot formed in my stomach as I watched him approach the car. How could this have happened? How long had it been since I had seen my father. Nana, my mother, had said he hadnít been feeling well but nothing could have prepared me for this.
I gripped the steering wheel and tried to pretend as if everything was alright as I talked to him from the car. He never said anything about what was going on. When I pulled out the driveway my emotions burst forth, tears streamed down my face. I had to find out what was going on as soon as possible. Telephoning my mother and questioning her I found out he had not been able to eat for weeks and they had not sought help from a doctor.
Being a nurse my instincts took over. I got my dad to a doctor and had test run, I needed answers. Being in the hospital I looked up his test results soon after the test were done. I was overcome. Tears ran down my face as I ran away from the nursesí station. Soon I received a call from my parents stating they needed to see a surgeon as soon as possible. They did not know who to choose. I ran into one of the surgeons I knew and respected. I asked him if he would see my father but he said he was getting ready to retire and this was his last week at work. I almost collapsed. He told asked my dadís name and age and was kind enough to go look at his x-rays for me. He returned shortly and gave me the news I already new, it looked like cancer. He also came me news I did not know, he said that because the mass seemed to be encapsulated he felt the tumor had not spread. My father needed an appointment as soon as possible. He got my father an appointment with his partner and his surgery scheduled in record time. My father recovered rapidly and started gain weight shortly there after.
On Thanksgiving Day as everyone around the table shared things they were thankful for, Dad simply stated, Iím thankful to be alive. This statement made everyone think about their priorities in life. We all had a moment of silence while everyone reflected on the things we thought were important in life. However, nothing is as important as life.
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