Sad news

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Well, as most of you know by now, my father passed away on Friday. I am completely devistated. We were two peas in a pod. He was my knight in shining armour and I was daddy's little girl -always and forever- cuz that is how we rolled. He was a single father and I was an only child. The sun rose and set on my head as far as he was concerned. Everyone should be blessed with the type of dad I had...as the world would be a much better place. Here are the details:

Back in 2005 my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. Now, this wasn't a huge surprise to me because he was a smoker and I remember telling him when I was little that I didn't want him to die of cancer because of those stupid cigarrettes. Ultimately, that is what took him from me. I HATe Cigarrettes. They ruin lives. Case in point. If you are a smoker, please quit. I know it isn't easy but I know it is possible. Don't make your family and loved ones sit by your side and watch you suffer from something that is TOTALLY avoidable (I realize some people get lung cancer and they aren't smokers but why not decrease the biggest risk factor?). Trust me, you do not want to go through this and your family doesn't either. I could go on a tangent about this specifically but I might save that for another blog.

So, after his diagnosis, he went through surgery to remove the lung, radiation and chemotherapy. This was horrific to sit by and watch. Chemo is horrendous. My pop was sick and felt like he was on death's doorstep. The radiation made him tired and had side affects of its own. Mainly, he would have difficulty swallowing because of some damage inflicted by the radiation. Little by little, he physically recovered. However, his life was never the same. Due to the cancer, he was put on disability and never returned to his career as an electritian. This disease stole his career. It stole his confidence in his health. It stole a part of him. He was a hard worker with an amazing work ethic. Cancer left him feeling helpless, unable to make his own money. It ended up stealing his independence.

For the next couple of years, my dad managed to get by. Every six months he had to go back in for tests and scans. These were very nerve racking not only for him but his family, too. I think he didn't want to embark on a serious relationship with a woman for fear of leaving her prematurely. He was a good man like that. With each passing checkup, we became a little bit more confident that he had kicked that nasty "c". We were elated and filled with joy when the results came back negative. In March, we were happy once again with good news that the scans were clear. This year was year number 4. We were grateful for that.

Then about 5 weeks ago my dad came down to San Diego and we were hanging out. I could tell something was wrong and he gave me some lame reasons. I called him on the BS and he came forth with some info. He said that he was having trouble reading things. I asked some questions and it seems that he would have periods where he would go "brain dead." Now, I am not expert but I knew this wasn't good. Immediately, I was thinking brain tumor. Ty thought it was Alhemier's but I didn't think that was it. I made him promise me to make an appt. with the doctor. The doc immediately scheduled an MRI of his brain and within a weeks time we had the news that he did indeed have a brain tumor the size of a plum. Apparently, they do not check the brain when they do the monthly/yearly scans.

We went into high gear. We met with a neurosurgeon and the oncology department to set up surgery and radiation. He was scheduled to have surgery to remove the tumor on June 30. Unfortunately, we never made it that far.

On Tuesday, June 16 my dad's friend and neighbor called me at work and said that dad was having trouble breathing. This was not totally unusual due to the fact that he was missing a lung and when the humidity was high it could provide some difficulty. I got off the phone with them and called the doctor's office immediately. I asked them if we should go to the ER, Urgent Care or to the Office. They said they could see him right away so I called dad's neighbor back and told him to take him to the doctors and I would meet them there. I left work immediately and called Ty to let him know what was going on.

When I pulled in to the clinic there were a bunch of people around my dad's friend's truck. I thought that he might be having difficulty walking or getting into the office. I drove past them into the parking structure and before I got out of the vehicle my dad's friend called me. He said, "Leah, I don't know how to tell you this but your dad died." I couldn't believe it. I started to walk down to where he was parked but I couldn't see him and I didn't want to remember him that way. The staff took me into another room and I called Ty and my friend Kelly. Then one of the EMT's came in and said they were trying to recesitate my father. They were able to get a heartbeat and transported him to the ER.

My friend arrived quickly and we drove over to the ER together. Shortly after that my honey arrived. We waited. Then the doc came in and said that they suspected that he had a blood clot and that they did not want to give him the usual blood thinners because that could cause the brain tumor to bleed and cause irreversible damage. We were able to see him in the ER and then he was transferred up to the Trauma Intensive Care Unit.

To make this shorter, I won't give all of the details but will summerize the next 4 days. Due to the fact that he had gone over 10 minutes without oxygen, the hope that he would recover and be okay were slim to none. They did a brain wave test and there were only small bursts of activity. He suffered some internal bleeding and some damage to his bowels during the episode. They were unable to give him anything to help with the blood clots due to the brain tumor. They had him stable but he was on a ventilator and unable to breathe on his own. Many of the doctor's gave little to no hope for a recovery and if he did, we still had a brain tumor to fight. I had to make one of the most difficult decisions in my life. I had to let him go.

My dad was an independent guy. He loved to ride his Harley Davidson motorcycles and eat out with loved ones. He supported us whole heartedly. No matter how crazy the endevor was (even my marathon madness!!) and we were truly blessed that God allowed us a life together. While the time was cut short, I know that he is in a better place now. A place where there are no worries, anxieties or physical ailments. One day, we will be reunited and what a glorious day that will be. Until then, I will try to live a life that would make my daddy proud.

Rest in peace pops. We will miss you greatly but you live on in our hearts forever.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Oh my goodness. This is one of the most heart-breaking yet beautiful things I've ever read. I am SO sorry for your loss. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man and what a wonderful relationship you had. Indeed, he would be proud. Take care.
    3990 days ago
  • NKDUB211
    Oh my gosh! I'm in tears reading this. I totally see how we compare. In the beginning when you were explaining you and your dad's relationship it is exactly like my relationship with my dad. What a hard decision you had to make but I know that if my dad had been in the same situation I would have made the same exact decision you had. That is what my dad would have wanted. I assume that your dad, like mine, would not have wanted you to have to take care of him. Just remember that you now always have a guardian angel that is constantly watching over you. This may seem silly to some but I see my dad in nature all the time. like he is sending me little reminders. For example this past Father's Day we had a rainbow over our house for most of the day. I thank my dad for that. We have been brought together for a reason and I'm glad we have. Hope to grow in our spark friendship more and more. Don't hesitate to come to me for anything! emoticon emoticon
    4005 days ago

    i stumbled across your page, and i'm sorry that i'm late in reading this blog. Losing a parent is a tremendously hard thing, especially when one is as close as you and your father. Please accept my condolences, and know that there are others who have been through similar, and would be glad to listen as you go through your grieving process. When i had to make those very difficult decisions at the end for my mother, it was the hardest thing i've ever had to do.

    However, we are such blessed daughters to have had such wonderful, inspiring, influential parents in our lives, yes? Their memories live on through us. While the tears may come easily now, the time will come when the smiles and laughter come first.

    4017 days ago
    Leah, I'm so late, but I just read this and had to give my condolences and apologies that I'm so tardy in reading this. You have me in tears and I can only imagine what you are going through. He sounds like an amazing man and I can only imagine that you were and always will be the apple of his eye, wherever he may be now, which I am sure is in Heaven. hugs and love to you my friend.
    4030 days ago
  • S318830
    I know I commented on your page after reading your status update, but this is the first I read your blog and again, I'm so sorry for your loss. How are you doing now? Do the days get easier, or is it still one foot in front of the other? Take care of yourself! You deserve all the peace and hapiness there is.
    4035 days ago

    I know you don't know me but I just read your blog and wanted to send my thoughts and prayers to you and your family......my father too died of lung cancer....you sound like a remarkable young lady and your father must have been very proud of you......he will live on in everything you do....

    4036 days ago
    Saw your note about your father on the AFC Half Marathon thread. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. My heart goes out to you and your family. I'm glad that your father got to see what a wonderful woman you are, watch your daughter grow up, and meet Mr. Wonderful =)

    While it is incredibly sad that he will not get to see more of your life, at least he knows that you will be taken care of by Ty, your daughter, and your friends.

    Love and hugs!
    4042 days ago
    It is obvious that your Dad was a very special man. It's also obvious that you loved him very much and had a great relationship with him. I'm so sorry for the pain of losing him. I hope that you can smile and be happy for the wonderful times you had with him. Many people live long lives but don't touch lives and aren't missed so much because the relationships they have are not like you described with your father.

    Thank you for sharing such a personal experience with us. Know that many are sending our love and prayers for you to find the peace that only God can provide. I wish you wonderful memories... every day .. until you are reunited with your wonderful father!
    4050 days ago
  • CELLIA6191
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and I am truly sorry for your loss.
    4060 days ago
    Hugs, Leah! Lots and lots of hugs from me!!!
    4061 days ago
    leah this was amazing to read you are such an amazing woman and I am honored to call you a friend. love you tons.
    4061 days ago
    I knew by your status the other day that this is what happened and I just didn't want it to be so! I am so sorry, Leah. As we have discussed, my Daddy had the big, nasty "C", too. Tears were streaming down my face while I was reading this because your Pops and my Daddy were so alike! I am sure that my Daddy has found him and they are big buds now!!!! He can show Pops the ropes up there. Just know that a very special angel is now looking down on you guys and protecting you. I know it is SO hard, but remember that in heaven he doesn't have any pain. He is so happy and is so proud of you! Sending you mega HUGSSSSSS!!!!! I am here if you need me.
    4062 days ago
    I am so sorry for your lost, Leah. Two of my aunts passed away just a couple months ago from lung cancer as well, one only 50 y/o with her whole life still ahead of her. It's devastating. You will always have your dad with you in your heart and soul. You'll have times when your heart feels like it's missing a gigantic chunk and the pain is too much to bear, but always remember he is with you no matter what. I'll be thinking of you and your family. He sounds like a wonderful man, and you certainly have a lot of wonderful memories to keep with you forever.
    4062 days ago
    Leah, I almost didn't respond to your entry as there just never seems to be the right words or the right amount of words to convey the amount of love and encouragement all your friends want to pass on to you. I was one of the lucky ones to have met your dad, and could tell by the endearing stories you shared...and even some of the frustrating ones..how much he has meant in your life. You were such an awesome daughter and buddy to your pop. I was able to see such accomplishment in you both in your personal and business life. Your marathon has not ended....you are still running strong. I pray God will continue to help lift your burdens, fill you with His peace and as time goes by ...replace the sad memories with the happy ones. I am glad your father left us with YOU! Hugs and love...Linda emoticon emoticon emoticon
    4062 days ago
  • HAPPY92003
    I agree with Felicia...your dad was amazing to have raised such a wonderful daughter. I love that he was down for everything you did and just joined in whatever was going on and had a blast. The first time we met him (bowling) I thought wow...what an awesome dad to be here doing this with Leah and the Sparks:) And you could tell the time he spent with Tay was cherished by both of them. I know he is proud of all you have done and will do and will tell you himself again one day.


    4062 days ago
    Oh wow, Leah, I am just so sorry. Thank you for sharing your very personal story with us. I know your dad is proud of the woman you are will continue to become. I know, like you said, he is better now and it also sounds as though the life he would have had would not have been fulfilling for him, even though it is not fair to you.

    Anyway, (((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))
    4062 days ago
    Leah, that was a beautiful tribute. You are a strong, wonderful person! Your dad did a great job! I am sure he is incredibly proud of you and Ty.

    Big Hugs, Ange
    4062 days ago
    {hugs} I know real ones are much better than interwebz ones, but it's better than nothing.

    I'm so sorry for your loss. There are really no words that will bring any comfort, but know that I am thinking of you and sending good thoughts/prayers/vibes your way.
    4062 days ago
    So so SORRY for your loss! I have yet to lose a parent, they're in their 70's and fairly healthy but I know that day will come.

    Our local SparkTeam did a SUPER job coming foward to Rally at our local Relay For Life with the American Cancer Society...some day they WILL DEFEAT this horrible disease!

    4062 days ago
    Leah I am soooooo sorry for your loss!!! I lost my mother to colon cancer on July 5th 2007 only 10 weeks after her diagnosis!!! I can totally related as I believe my mother's cancer if not directly related to her lifestyle choices, they were a contributing factor in her death!!! Colon cancer is totally treatable with proper screening, which she did not have!!!

    You are a strong woman...as I'm sure your father raised you to be...and you will survive this and continue to carry the message of good health and well being to everyone you encounter!!!

    I know, like my mother, your father is proud of you and all your achievements!!! They are watching and beaming with pride and amazement at their own accomplishment of raising strong successful and amazing women like us!!!

    Take care of yourself...remember I'm here if you need a hand, a shoulder or an ear!!!

    4062 days ago
    leah, words cannot express how i feel right now. i can hardly see to type through my tears. to say that i'm sad for you is an understatement. this is why we have memories...so we can hang onto something when those we love leave us. now he knows something you don't. he'll share it with you in time. and, in time, the sting will lessen, but it will never go away. his passing leaves a hole in your heart that is unfillable. he's irreplaceable. good dads always are. since you're a living part of him and can carry on his legacy, make him proud and do good by yourself. he's watching you and wishing you well. always. nancy
    emoticon emoticon
    4062 days ago
    *HUGS* I'm so sorry girl. There isn't anything I can say to help you, but it does sound like you and your dad had a great relationship and good time together through your life and I'm glad you will have those positive memories to cherish forever. I definitely agree with RUNNINGBLITZ, too. *HUGS* Thank you for sharing.
    4062 days ago
    I am so sorry for your loss, words don't say it. You are still your Dad's girl and will always be....remember he lives on through you, what you do and how you live. You learned well from him. Now it is your turn to teach others what he taught you.
    4062 days ago
    Oh Leah!!!! I'm so so so sorry for you loss!

    I don't even know what else to say...I think one of the best tributes for him was the sign you made for him during your half.

    I'm so sorry! I want you to know that we are ALL here for you! Whatever you need, just ask!!
    4062 days ago
    I am sorry for your loss, and my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. The pain will subside, but you will always have the memories! emoticon

    Please feel free to contact me by Sparkmail should you feel the need to.


    Cindy O.
    4062 days ago
    OH my goodness, Leah!

    After all the struggles, you were there for your dad, as always. I'm sure he felt that and knew it as he moved past this life. If you need anything, you have my number! I love you and wish you lots of strength right now.

    emoticon emoticon
    4062 days ago
    I just love the picture. I didn't know your dad that well but I always new he was an amazing guy. How else could he have raised such an amazing daughter? I am here for you girl. (((((Hugs)))))
    4062 days ago
    emoticon so sorry for your loss! xo
    4062 days ago
    I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. I wish I had better or more words to say, but your father sounds like a wonderful man. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.
    4062 days ago
    Leah, I am so sorry to hear about your dad. At the Iron Girl 5k, I could tell how close you were by the way you spoke about him. My dad and I are also very close and I can only imagine what you are feeling right now. You are in my thoughts and prayers. If there is anything you need, please let me know.
    4062 days ago
    (::hugs:: girl, i am truly sorry for your loss. i know how much he meant to you.

    i'm sending you as much positive energy as i can.)
    4062 days ago

    I am so sorry to hear about your Dad! I believe that he is in a better place. I am here if you need to talk. emoticon

    Cancer is such an awful disease. Last weekend I did the Relay For Life. It was such a moving experience. My Mom died in '94. She beat breast cancer only to die unexpectedly of Congestive Heart Failure 2 years later. It is tough to loose a parent! Your Dad sounds a lot like my Mom. She was my best friend! My sister in law is currently battling cancer...It has spread numerous times throughout her body (breast, ovaries, bone and now brain). The prognosis doesn't look good..but she continues to fight!

    Remember the good times! Sending hugs your way!

    4062 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/24/2009 12:55:24 AM
  • no profile photo CD318156
    Oh sweet Leah,

    My heart goes out to you, my friend. Your Daddy is sooo very lucky to have a beautiful daughter and I know he will always be proud of raising such a compassionate soul.

    What a beautiful picture of you and your Dad! Know that I am with you in spirit.

    Many hugs,
    4062 days ago
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