Katelyn L :

Picture from Katelyn L

In August of 2013, tragedy struck my family as I lost my best friend, my hero, my father to the horrific powers of Stage IV Lung Cancer. Being a junior in high school at the time made it even more of a struggle, knowing that my own dad would not be able to see me graduate and go off to college to follow my dreams.

My dad's diagnosis was discovered in November of 2011 when he had bad pains and shortness of breath, but he insisted he was okay. My mom knew something wasn't right and demanded he go to the hospital. That demeanor of my mom grew into the start of a long, life-changing journey for my dad and our entire family. My heart burst into a million pieces and my eyes flooded in tears at the news when the doctors told us that my dad's condition could not be cured; they could only prolong his life. Not something a "daddy's girl" wants to hear about her dad.

From November of 2011 to June 2013 my dad went through treatments of chemotherapy, radiation, blood transfusions, and a form of chemotherapy in a pill. These treatments were able to stabilize the cancerous lung tumor for about a year and a half, but a year and a half was not enough time for me to do everything I possible could with my dad - before the time came when these moments would turn only into precious memories.

Throughout the duration of my dad's condition, day by day he was getting weaker and day by day I was losing my dad more. June of 2013 is when the condition of my father took a downward spiral for the worse. The day my dad's oncologist informed him that the cancer was spreading throughout his body and at this point there was nothing more they could do to help him; we had to let nature take its course. They told us he had about 3 months at this point.

With that being said, 2013 was the last for everything I was able to do with my dad. 2013 was the last Father's Day that I was able to spend with my dad and not have to visit a grave site to celebrate with my dad. The summer of 2013 was a heartbreaking experience as I watched my own father diminish away from our family more and more. His condition called for the care of hospice to ensure that he was comfortable in the process. In mid-August I started my junior year of high school and a week after I started, on August 26th, I was getting ready to walk out the door to the bus and I kissed my dad goodbye and he kissed me in return and we both said "I love you". I will forever cherish this morning because that was the last time I was able to talk to my dad that he was aware of me and the surroundings. Upon returning from school that afternoon I walked into the door to a nightmare that I wished I was able to wake up from. Dad's condition took an even worse turn and my mom informed me that the hospice nurse told us that he might have at most 1-2 more weeks to live. My heart completely shattered upon hearing this devastating news.

Sadly, those weeks turned into hours that day as my father got his wings and flew up to Heaven to a place where he would no longer be in pain. To this very day in 2016, the death of my father to lung cancer forever changed my life.

This tragic event taught me to never take anything for granted, that even when you least expect it, life can take a turn for the worst. Cancer can happen to anyone and it is definitely a learning experience and long life-changing journey for the patient or for someone who is closely associated with the patient. I learned so much from my dad's lung cancer diagnosis and most importantly I learned from the death of my father that I should not give up. I learned that I need to follow my dreams and succeed to make my father proud as he watches over me and my family every day.

First Published: 11/2/2016 11:08:00 AM

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