When I wrote it, I wasn't intending for it to be some sort of journal, however as the days passed it seemed natural that I would write an update. In fact, I am needing it. Perhaps that is the reason I've been wanting to jump back on the keyboard. I've had moments where things have been tough and I thought to myself, "I need to blog about this...share." Most of all let it out. I've definitely taken away a lot from this experience already and I hope someone else can too.
The outpour of support has been nothing short of great. A blessing. Across the country or WORLD thanks to So many people on twitter, facebook in addition to my friends, colleagues and of course my family. Constant offering of support and prayers come in daily. People have been great about asking how things are going. It's frustrating at times, I admit. Partly because as my last post indicated, answers are not always available and I find it difficult at times to tell the story over and over, because of that. I feel like I can't give answers and that just serves as a constant reminder that we're still in the dark. Either way, I do my best to answer fully and not shy away from the tough questions or answers.
In my last post, I wrote the night before the doctors were due to come in and speak to us. My Dad's oncologist has not been seen probably since my dad was first admitted into the hospital that time. It had been difficult dealing with her because she's very cold and acts as if my dad is the only one in the room. Let's just say my mom is not her biggest fan. This has caused some tension as you can imagine as well as a lack of trust where that doctor is concerned. In fact it has become a sad reality that they've questioned her intensions and often refer to her as, "just wanting to make a quick buck by suggesting chemotherapy!" I've done my best to communicate that we should not be so quick to write her off because of personal influences because I'd hope that my dad's best interest are being considered by this doc, but it's tough. That was the biggest reason I wanted to have that meeting with her that night I last blogged. I wanted to communicate to her that I was concerned that we would not seriously consider her position because of the personal feelings that have been established and that I...WE, want to just communicate that and get us ALL on the same page so we can make the correct decision. Sadly, I never had that chance as she never showed and simply sent her colleague to speak to us.
We never really got, "answers." Or...THE ANSWER. I understand that this type of thing is not something you can just throw a well calculated number at. There is no real way to gauge it accurately. That is what makes my position and everyone else's I'm sure difficult. You just don't know. Earlier in 2010 I was arranging my flight home to visit my uncle who was dying from Cancer and everyone believed that I could take a later flight (doctors included) so I arranged that. Less than 3 days later I received a call saying that I should get in ASAP. My uncle went on to fight for almost a week, however once I arrived he was already in a basic vegetative state.
THE ANSWER I guess we are all looking for is, "how much longer...?" Are we wrong to wonder? Not an easy thing to ask, but it's what is on everyone's mind. We know my Dad's cancer is one of the most deadly and has scary return if it does not go into remission. We know he had a 30% chance of it returning, it has...and with a vengeance. We know it returned to his esophagus (the original spot), his liver and believed to be in his lungs. We know that when Cancer returns, it comes back bad and spreads. We know that my dad doesn't want and will not treat with chemotherapy. He was against it from the jump, seeing what it did to others and my uncle. We know we want to fight.
"Know thy enemy." Even with knowing the enemy in this situation, it's tough to pick a side. We have faith, have hope and we have what we know...often I find there is a thin line between belief and feeling sorry. A thin line between being ready to fight, but Having to prepare to mourn. Between knowing and not knowing. Nothing about this is easy for anyone.
They told us he had about 6-9months WITH treatment...HALF without. We decided to move forward with a more natural approach. We would attack the natural way. The body is one of the most amazing things on the planet. All of our organs combined are a powerful and incredible team. I'll share this example from FAT, SICK AND NEARLY DEAD (a GREAT documentary you should check out asap!) If you keep it simple and think about it, when you were a kid and fell and scraped your knee. You cleaned it up and left it alone. Don't pick at the scab, just let it heal. Your body takes care of it. Maybe not the most groundbreaking example, but it's basics. Your body has what it needs to heal itself and will...as long as you take care of it and allow it too. The program my dad started is called THE INCURABLES PROGRAM and is designed by Dr. Shulze, a world renown herbalist. It's basically a 30 day detoxing, juice fast. Check out his site or contact me if you want information, but its incredible. I could write a separate entry on that alone. My dad needed to do SOMETHING. We were all there to support his decision, the only thing I stressed was that WHATEVER he did, he BELIEVED in it!! TRULY BELIEVED. I feel that if my dad said he wanted to go out and eat shit, because he believed it would help him, I'd support it and would believe it would work. The mind is powerful...move the mind, the body will follow. I believe that. So he decided he wanted to do this program after reading up and researching it. Back to basics.
This program is intense at a first glance. You almost need to not have anything going on but this program. This made it hard for my family and I to consider my dad wanting to do...to believe my Dad would want to tackle but then again, who are we? Who are we to say this is difficult or to think he'd be turned off by it not being easy? My dad has a disease that is on a mission to destroy him, he's Been through so much mentally and physically throughout this process, that we can't relate to. Drinking juice and healthy, natural supplements with a good track record (thousands of years)- piece of cake.
I went on a walk with dad while I was home and we talked about his new program as we prepped for it. I communicated that i was nervous that he was going to be resistant to it, but he was ready to take action. I spoke to my dad and reminded him that odds were in our favor, no matter what we were being told. I said this because, we all are creatures that have defined odds. Remember we beat out close to a billion other hopefuls at that egg and WE made it through. We fought, we won. It is in our blood to beat odds. We were born as small warriors ready to take on more. Dad and I laughed a bit, but the message was clear. We are ready to fight.
I need to preface this next part a bit. It may not seem as big of a deal as it was to me, but I think it is worth sharing, for you to take away what you will. I Live in a part of NJ that is pretty well developed. We have a park close by with some wooded areas, but it's actually fairly industrial. The park we were at is even so much more surrounded by smokestacks and factories (product of our environment eh?). Well as we are driving out after our chat, a deer, in the middle of the day runs out and cross in front of us and disappears into the brief tree line before the train tracks...a deer. Again, this may not mean much unless you knew my area, but that shit is NOT common. I looked at my dad, and he probably didn't take away what i did, or maybe he did but just wouldn't let on, but that was a sign to me. I said to him, "Talk about not letting go. There's a fighter for you. That deer has been forced out, but somehow it finds a way to survive...how fitting." I smiled.
I was only in town for about two weeks and the last few days leading up to my departure was tough for me. I was run down with worry and concern as I was the one, after my dad, spearheading this treatment...I recommended it after all once it was recommended that I look into it by Erin :)
Speaking of, I couldn't write anything without saying how grateful I am for her. Thank you, I love you. throughout this whole thing her family too has been great. Her dad is a doctor in st. Louis and he's been the only one we've felt like has been honest and upfront, not to mention all of his opinions and thoughts have been spot on.
It was difficult leading up to my eventual departure back to LA. Should I stay? I had a gig I was committed to and I needed to do it, so I could take care of my living responsibilities and such, but was it worth my dad's life? I knew it was an extreme question, but this isn't pre-school. The first day of my dad's program was due to fall on the day of the HARRY POTTER premiere in NY. I promised my sister, months in advance we'd go and I needed to keep that promise. I was torn about going in and leaving my dad to start without me being there to cheer, but after days of prep we felt fine. After all, it would have to be my dad to follow this through. We would be there in every way, but he has to be the one to do it. We can't do the program for him. Ownership. We were there for the beginning of the day and it started off great, we kept tabs and my mom was there to help keep him on track if there was confusion. It went great. I also realized on the way into NY that I was a day off. My flight wasn't the next day, it was in TWO days. Great!! Another day home, funny how that works. It also helped to ease the stress i was taking on when I saw he was keeping to it just fine and especially that i would be there the next day to help more. It was a small mental victory or peace of mind. i was thankful after So many thoughts and insecurities, most of all, "Will it work?" Positivity and faith! One day at a time! Thin lines between...
In addition to everything going on, my Dad was told that because of so much missed time, his health insurance is at risk of being taken away, along with it, other benefits I'm not to clear on, but dad is concerned about his life insurance. This is probably one of the saddest things to me. My dad is very weak and is going through so much personally right now, but he wants to make sure that he doesn't lose any of these things for my families sake. A working man through and through. Supporter. Someone I learn from a lot and honor. A sick man, trying to work to keep himself from being sick or to keep our family from hurting. We tell him not to worry about any of this or think about any of this, but it's that thin line again. We have to prepare in some ways, even if just mentally, but you don't want to accept, but then you don't want to be in denial, but then that means....on and on. My life has changed. Our lives have...our house may soon be taken from us, material items too, but we only care about dad. Things will work themselves out, I know.
It's amazing how many people I've come in contact with that have been affected similarly. It's scary actually. Cancer is no joke. As I mentioned, support is endless. In fact, I've had help getting a ticket for the plane I'm currently sitting on as I write this. A good friend, who I only recently met through a showcase I did, had a similar experience very recently with his mom. He has been a great source of support and even offered to help financially with my flight. He had been offered help too. People come together. Without asking for help. It's the survival spirit in us all. Brandon, you are a great man homie & I can't thank you enough, my stage brother. I also thank EVERYONE.
The first past of this blog before the last paragraph was written days ago, but i never published it. I wasn't finished at the time. I didn't get to revisit till now, when I'm flying back to NJ. I woke up this morning with a call from home telling me I should get back ASAP. My dad has been having a rough couple of days. It started almost after I left. He had trouble swallowing and using the restroom. He also was in massive pain from the wounds that were on the side of his body from his last hospital visit. Every day has been a scary one as symptoms have progressed. His program has slowly been abandoned, because he can't really swallow and when he does it makes him vomit. Yesterday he was in so much pain and when he got up for what was supposed to be his first day of work, his right side gave out on him temporarily and he almost fell. We told my dad days ago, not to stress about going back to work, we would manage and to trust his body, because it would tell him if he was ready. I guess this was it's sign. He went into the ER after my sister grew concerned after googling and finding out that it may be signs of a stroke or heart attack. I placed a call to Erin's father and began looking at flights. He eased our concern a little saying he was certain it wasn't related to a heart attack or stroke, but that it was in fact the cancer attacking/spreading, based off of his symptoms. My dad has lost close to 20 pounds in three weeks and continues to lose weight. He is growing weak and having trouble using the bathroom. He has a bump growing near the wounds and it gives him great pain. His oncologist, once at the hospital, surprised is not there. Her colleague arrives and tells my family, that since they have denied treatment, they will not diagnose anything new and just treat the symptoms. This seems incredible to me, would they do the same to their family? You are wrong, We are only denying YOUR treatment! Maybe this is common practice. It just seems so cold from across the country perhaps. They recommend hospice. I spoke to dad yesterday and he advises me to sit tight and not make any sudden moves, "let's see how I feel tomorrow. Ok dad, i love you." He woke up today in even more pain and his leg is very swollen I'm told. I book a flight. I didn't even have a chance to unpack, I just zipper my suitcase shut.
These days I am thankful to laugh and keep positive. I am thankful for everyone even for the cancer as it is teaching us all daily. I'm thankful to be able to visit home and be with my family at this time.
(I passed this store on the way to my flight in the terminal.)
I sit here in the clouds writing, a curious position. Perhaps the big guy, just a few feet above me is reading along as I type. "Say a prayer, big guy!"
My dad wanted me to have his favorite watch when I was home. I was packing and he came up to me with tears in his eyes. I told him I didn't want him thinking like that and he said, "It's not about that, A. It's my absolute favorite watch and I want you to have it. It makes me happy and that's what it's about." I took it.
I'm wearing it now, looking at it and counting down the hours till I see Alexis, Mom and you, Dad. It's a little off because I never adjusted it from east coast time, so honestly I don't know what time it is or when I'll be back, but you'll be there that's all that matters. :) Love you dad. Xoxo
Keep positive, healthy and have fun. Adolph Marrero II