I'm taking a moment to reflect on how much my life has changed in the last year because tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my Dad's strokes. It was the start of the worst four weeks of my life. It takes 8 hours to get to my hometown and even though Carlos drove like a maniac, it felt like 20 hours. I was borderline hysterical for the entire drive, all I could think was that I would get there too late and how I couldn't remember anything about my Dad. It was like all my memories had vanished and of course the more I tried to remember anything, the worse it got. It was horrible.
I remember bursting into the ER waiting room and seeing my siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, I can still see them so vividly. I threw my purse at them and forced my way back to my Dad's room and what I saw haunts me to this day. My Dad laying on a bed, eyes closed, writhing around, moving so much that they had restrained him. My Mom was in tears, trying to soothe him and get him to open his eyes. I launched into bitch mode; ordering around nurses, demanding doctors and yelling at various family members. It took 30 hours for that stupid hospital to diagnosis two massive strokes, my Dad lay in the ER without oxygen getting to parts of his brain, for 30 hours. We had been telling them over and over again that we suspected a stroke and nobody listened, once they realized we were right, he was rushed into the ICU where he was in a coma for three weeks. Hooked up to so many machines, operated on and diagnosed with stage three colon cancer . A grapefruit sized tumor was removed and we were told that the cancer had spread to his brain, causing the strokes.
After many agonizing days, talks and arguments, we- my Mom, 2 brothers, SIL, sister, myself and Carlos - made the decision to remove him from life support. Once they removed his breathing tube, my Dad opened his eyes and spit at his doctor. He then turned to my Mom, told her he loved her and gave her a kiss. He was home 2 weeks later, walking, talking and very slowly regaining his health. He is our miracle, our living proof that God listens and prayer works. The tumors in his brain? Gone, not showing up on MRIs, the colon cancer? completely gone too. The man they said was a vegetable, is at home right now, bugging my Mom and playing with this grandchildren. Yes, he is brain damaged and walks a little slower these days, but he is ALIVE. He's defined all the odds and has come so far. He truly is my hero, the greatest Dad that has ever survived the brink of death and fought his way back to us.
I've been through hell this past year, I've struggled with my faith and fought a depression so deep I thought I'd never laugh again. But, I've never given up and I never will. You see, being stubborn is a family tradition.
(IF returns as my focus tomorrow, I just had to get this out about my Dad!)