In April, an endoscopy revealed the second cancerous nodule in my dad's esophagus. That growth was removed, but there is a very high risk of recurrence, and his esophagus is too fragile to undergo additional laser procedures. Despite his advanced age (78), his doctors believe his best chance of long-term survival is an esophagectomy. This Thursday, they'll remove his entire esophagus and pull the stomach up in its place.
We had a family meeting yesterday to discuss plans for his surgery and recovery period, and we invited Dad to express his concerns. This is a very dangerous surgery, and the recovery will be long and arduous, but Dad is facing it with quiet determination. His only fear is what will become of Mom if he should pass away. They live mainly off his Social Security checks, and he's worried about how she'd survive on her own. When we assured him that we will always take care of Mom's needs, tears filled his eyes.
My brother Rick reached out to pat his knee and said he knew Dad was making the right decision, and that he was confident Dad would come through the surgery safely. Emily's husband Paul reminded him of how he'd surprised the doctors with his quick recovery after his recent gallbladder surgery. I told him he was a tough old bird, and he'd be fine.
We wrapped up our talk with multiple servings of Mom's irresistible homemade ice cream topped with the richest hot fudge imaginable--my Aunt Carol's recipe.
Saying goodbye was difficult because I won't see Dad again until he's admitted to the hospital. I'd planned to visit today, but Ethan had apparently contracted the flu, and I knew he'd be home from school.
Allyson and I have missed our visits recently. Mom and Dad have been busy with doctors' appointments, and I've been busy with... everything. Now it will be a couple of months before we can resume our weekly lunches.
Anyway, we exchanged hugs all around, squeezing perhaps a little more tightly than usual. We'll all be together again on Thursday, probably for many hours.
In the coming weeks, please pray for Dad whenever God lays him on your heart. Pray for his health and his peace. Pray for our family to be able to give him and Mom the support they will need. And pray that God will protect Mom when she's making the 50-mile round trip to the hospital each day; she will likely be exhausted, and the Dallas traffic is intimidating for her.
If you wish, you can follow my dad's progress here: