Cancer Eats The Life Of The Living – A Daughter’s Love Of Father

Till death do us not part…

Cancer doesn’t just eat the life out of and is destructive to the recipient of this body invasion, it is a disease that hits those who love the person who has been shot by this bullet of hell. My personal story right here, right now. 

My father – a man of whom I have always felt such a love from that my beaker of love is full to the brim and overflowing. My father – a man of strength, courage and power- always has been. A man who had protected and served in the military, and then in the police department in NYC for 30+ years. A man who gives to his family, is loyal to the core, and who has been indestructible regardless of whatever life has hit him with for 81 years. A fighter to his core. Now… as he approaches his 82nd birthday which is coming up this September, he has been hit and hit so hard that even he, the man of whom his family lovingly refers to as ‘Superman’ cannot combat. He fights, oh yes he does, like any super hero does, though unfortunately he is really only a mere mortal. The day to day damage that cancer brings is a moving target that each moment of each day brings a new and painful set of symptoms and challenges to combat.

Being the daughter of a father experiencing such a tragedy at the ending months, years (??? Uknown/TBD…) has brought upon thoughts that others of whom are touched by cancer know all too well. Below are just but a few of those thoughts…

This desire I am feeling and yearning – to want a painless death for my father, is never something that crossed my mental framework, till now. A special pill that a person can take, like how we put animals to sleep, instead of them suffering would be an interesting option, if the option is not simply for this type of suffering to not exist. Never have I considered this thought as a proposed consideration to be explored. For to watch this invasion of his body, the snatching of who my father was to whom he currently is, no person should have to go through this transformation of self. As my father communicated to me today, as I sat on his hospital bed rubbing his arms, holding him as I looked into his eyes as he was shaking from the cold hell he is experiencing that no quantity of blankets could warm, “THIS is my kryptonite”, he stated. Clark Kent’s experience of life in contrast to Superman’s, when being hit by the enemy is what his existence, his reality of his life now is until … well, until death.

With this, really what I yearn for as his daughter, what any person yearns for, for their loved one is rather simply; not to have cancer. Since that’s not an option, the flash in my mind then becomes the yearning that he would not have to suffer. For this is just the beginning of his indefinte suffering to come. We do not have a crystal ball, nor a time machine to tell us the future. One thing is for certain, suffering for him will continue to be his new norm as his body continues to break down no matter how hard he fights. Man down…

The kick in instinct and my burning desire and need to cater to and take care of each moment to moment item that arises for my precious father, and to instinctively want to put a book mark on all other aspects of my life is indeed being experienced. Not an uncommon reaction for those touched by this tragedy, this trauma, this reality. Balancing of the other aspects of one’s life is currently in direct contrast to the overwhelming desire to want to be there for my beloved precious father 24/7. Yet of course, all must continue to be balanced. My dear husband, my son, my business, all so precious to me and is my life, my world, in addition to navigating the reality of my father’s circumstance and as such my parents’ reality. All must be balanced, for all is important and anyone going through such a tragedy knows the importance of managing and coping in a healthy and productive way is a must.

Flying back and forth to Florida and swing shifting family support for my father and for my mother as she lives through watching her husband of 50+ years go up in flames, with my brother and my sister in law also taking turns flying in – certainly helps him, but it does not resolve the problem nor end his suffering. To leave my father in the hell of his reality by himself each night as I leave the hospital breaks my heart. To leave him and as such rely on the good will of nurses and doctors is infuriating to me. For the kind of care that I yearn for him to receive simply is not the level of attentiveness nor up to the standard of care I desire for my dear father. To see him suffering breaks my heart. Anyone touched by cancer knows this reality. An unfortunate club of sorts that no one wants to be a member of.

The quick story is: My father was supposed to receive bladder surgery. His bladder was to be removed since it was riddled with cancer. After him being cut open to perform the surgery the doctor determined that his cancer spread in such a way that they could not perform the surgery until he has chemo in order to hopefully shrink the cancer, and then and only then can the bladder be removed. Yes, the plan now is to receive the gift of surgery post chemo to remove the bladder to hopefully live another day, days, months, years….Unknown/TBD. That’s of course IF the chemo shrinks the cancer, and… we are still waiting on the results of a bone scan that was taken today. Never a dull moment.

Let’s back up ever so slightly to just short of a few weeks ago. My brother was in the hospital when the doctors informed us of this news  that the removal was unable to be performed (as my bro was on swing shift), he handed me the cell phone as I sat in the room via face time, as I was in between my client appointments in my Massachusetts office, and my father in the hospital in Florida looked at me, his face on the screen, just he and I in that moment, a one-on-one face to face moment with my father as others were around him talking and he said to me: “they cut me open but they couldn’t save me”. Yup… and there it is. This breaks my heart, my precious father reliant on another to save him so he can live to fight another day. But… to no avail. So with that, his days, his weeks, his months, his years are numbered.

I type this today while I am in Florida, knowing that in less than 48 hours I will be on an airplane going back to Massachusetts. Since the surgery was unable to be performed, yet he was cut open, he gets the luxury of fighting infection after infection, medical issue after medical issue, in and out of the hospital (well, in the hospital the past several days, we are hoping he gets out, when: TBD), as he prepares for the eventual chemo that hasn’t started yet as he fights for his life to increase his kidney functioning, increase his potassium level, fight his blood infection and urine infection, all to have the luxury of needing to have his stents removed any day now (as their shelf life is up), and new one’s put in, in preparation for chemo. The statistics are not looking promising for his journey ahead. In the meantime, his 12 inch gash from being cut open from the butchering continues to leak… the list of medical issues keeps coming at him like enemy ships invading planet earth in a Sci Fi movie.

I type this at 3am, knowing I need sleep, but sleep unfortunately is not to be had this evening…

Anyone who has been touched by the reality of what cancer does to the recipient of this web effect on that person’s body, of which cancer is truly a vine crawling up and into one’s house, can but only begin to understand the reality and truism I write here and now.

It is not often I share my own reality. For in my profession my reality is in a box for my focus is on the reality of others. For those who know me know; rarely, do I share the reality of what goes on behind closed doors. For we all have challenges, and it has always been and continues to be my philosophy that you cannot let challenges, you cannot let traumas stop you. At this time, on this day, on my blog for my readers, I will share, as a reminder for others going through a loved one’s life-to-eventual-death experience, simply to say to you; you are not alone.

Karen Ruskin – I am a woman who was and is so fortunate to be loved with such depth by my father. To see him in such pain, I wish I had a magic wand to wave over him, or pixie dust or some special powers to stop the suffering… The madness that is now the reality of his existence that is for an undetermined period of time is unacceptable to me and unfortunately I cannot provide solution resolution for him. And that, that… is unacceptable and yet I cannot change this reality for my precious father.

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Follow Dr. Karen on Twitter or Facebook. Media Psychotherapist Guest Expert; Relationships, Parenting, Human Behavior, Analyzes Hot Topics In The News. Has appeared on FOX News Channel's: The O'Reilly Factor, Your World With Neil Cavuto, Hannity, America's Newsroom, America's News HQ, FOX & Friends, FOX & Friends FIRST, America Live, and FOX Business Network's: Neil Cavuto, and The Willis Report. The go–to expert for FOX News Boston including the regular segment; Ask Dr. Karen. Also appeared on ABC's Good Morning America, Lifetime, Discovery Network's Destination America, MTV, The Steve Harvey TV Show, and more. Sought after Radio Guest Expert. Columnist. Speaker. Often quoted in various print media: Wall Street Journal, FOX Business, FOX News Magazine, Boston Magazine, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, WebMD, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo Shine, Parents, Parenting, CNN, TIME, Woman's Day, Women's Health, Men's Health, USA Today,, and more. Owner/Founder/President: Dr. Karen Ruskin & Associates, Inc. Based in Massachusetts. Author of: 9 Key Techniques For Raising Respectful Children, 10 Seconds To Mental Health, and Dr. Karen's Marriage Manual.

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