“do you think i have cancer?” my dad implored as i called last night to see how he was doing before his first radiation treatment which began today.
“dad, we had three different doctors look at your biopsy, and they all agreed, you have cancer,” i explained for the 100th time. no kidding. “so how are you feeling tonight?”
“oh, okay,” he worried. “i don’t think i want to do this…is my hair going to fall out?”
“nope. you won’t lose any hair, and it’s not going to hurt.” i reassured him, one more time.
“how long is it going to take? is the doctor going to be there?” my dad insisted.
“i understand that he’s going to be there. and so are all the radiologists who actually know how to operate the machine – they’ll be there too. you’re in good hands daddy.”
this morning at breakfast, he continued with the same questions.
“daddy, let’s try something different. instead of asking questions that are causing you anxiety, why don’t we talk about something that’s going to make you happy. you know staying positive and relaxed is the most important thing.” i smiled.
“really? how do you know that?” my dad likes to question everything…a lot like a two year old.
“because your mind and your body are connected, and they actually listen to each other. if your mind tells your body that it’s strong and that it will fight this cancer, then your body has a better chance of fighting it….so how did you know that mommy was the one you wanted to marry?” i tried changing the subject.
“oh i knew it because she likes to stay home and she didn’t want to be wandering around playing around. i could tell she wanted to have a nice home and make a good family, and that she wouldn’t be thinking about anyone else.”
“but how could you tell that about her?”
“because i knew she’d make a good mother. and that’s why i left china when my mom died. i knew i wanted to start a new family, in america. and that she was the one.”
“yes, but what qualities did she have that you knew she would make a good mother, dad?
“she’s kind, and loving, and soft. she’s patient, very patient and very positive.”
“oh wow, that’s so nice daddy. she is all those, isn’t she? she’s always so patient and positive.”
and before we knew it, he was thinking positive things, and we were ready to head over to the hospital.
“hi chih!” gloria, the sweet receptionist smiled.
“hey, you remembered me! how did you remember me?” my dad loves a friendly face.
“we’re ready for you! how are you feeling?” gloria looked genuinely happy to see him.
“oh pretty good, i guess.” my dad was trying his best to be positive.
we walked back with tracy, who smiled and rubbed his back.
“is the doctor going to be there?” my dad started up with his anxiety.
and just as he asked, dr. safa showed up, “hi chih! how are you?”
“oh, okay…” dragging his words but trying to smile.
i jumped in, “he’s excited doctor safa!”
“oh so you’re ready for this party to start?” dr.safa laughed. “now we’re talking! we’re going to make sure you don’t feel any pain.”
and with that my dad smiled and walked with tracy into the radiology room.
less than an hour later, my dad came out,
“hey, that was easy! they even gave me a massage!” he said with a big smile and bright eyes.
i gave him a big hug, and listened.
“and next time they said it’s going to be even faster!” (i remembered years ago when my young son received the first shot where he didn’t cry…and the smile he had on his face.)
my dad can be quite adorable.