This past April my father fell ill with pancreatic cancer. He had jaundiced and went to be checked out. After several intense days of waiting my step-mom called and told me that the big C word was mentioned. I recall, when I hung up the phone with her, sitting down on the kitchen floor and crying like a baby. Nobody wants their daddy to die.
Eventually dad found that he has pancreatic cancer and he decided to go an alternative route at the Hoxsey Clinic (renamed Bio-Medical Center) in Tijuana, Mexico.
I wanted to see him, be there for him. I was so afraid for him, I was scared that HE was scared and I somehow couldn't bear that thought. Daddy's are invincible, aren't they? My first instinct was to run right up there, knowing it was not a possibility but struggling nonetheless to figure it all out. I emailed many, checked websites and made phone calls to several different areas near where he lives, all in an attempt to figure out how to move my family there, I even had my husband call a prospective employer in that area, so I could be near dad.
Life happens, as it always does, and things here happened in such a way that it was undeniable that we should remain where we were. I knew I should stay put and yet I felt like I couldn't breathe, I felt like I HAD to be there or at least be doing something to help. I was paralyzed in a way by the whole thing~cancer is one of those things that happens to "other people" like murder and car accidents.
Well, happen, it did. Dad went to Tijuana and came home with a treatment plan that includes a very strict diet. No acids, organic only, little dairy and meat. Finally, I knew there was a way I could help-even if it wasn't much.
Dad and I email back and forth over recipes and diet topics-and hopefully I'm helping.
The most amazing thing about this whole deal, and if you have ever known anyone with pancreatic cancer, you will have already picked up on it, is that dad is still here. Not just here but, for lack of better wording, IN REMISSION.
He has been to TJ 3 times so far and the last time turned up news that the big cancer marker was absolutely normal-where just 3 weeks prior it was at very bad levels. I could write a book about the whole thing (and dad could write a novel akin to War and Peace, I'm sure) but these are the basic facts of it all. God still knows what He's doing.
Some things I've learned over these last 8 months:
1. Dads are human.
2. My dad doesn't know everything there is to know (which is a real disappointment ;o) but I'll live)
3. My dad is smarter than I thought in many ways.
4. My dad loves me more than I thought.
5. I love my dad more than I thought.
6. I don't know all there is to know about food and cooking (another disappointment)
7. My step-mom is the very best person for my dad-her response to dad's illness was that she would support him, no matter what his decision was~which is exactly what the best partner does.
Well, here's a recipe for the food end of this, since that's what my blog is supposed to be about :)
Dad sent an email to let me know this recipe I shared with him is good stuff:
Fassoulada-Greek Bean Soup
1 lb dried navy beans
2 medium onions - diced
2 celery stalks - chopped
2 carrots - peeled and diced
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh mint or thyme
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Wash beans and soak overnight in water to cover by at least one inch. On the following day, cover beans with water and cook until tender. Rinse well. In a heavy soup pot, heat olive oil and add onion, celery and carrots. Saute until onions are translucent. Add in remaining ingredients and simmer for half an hour. Remove bay leaf and mint/thyme sprigs before serving.