The song playing is "Hero" by Mariah Carey.
Cancer is probably the scariest word in the world. We found out in July of 99 that my Dad had lung cancer. He had started loosing weight and was having trouble breathing, but he had no idea that cancer was the cause of this.
The first week of July, he finally made an appointment to see his family doctor. They ran some tests, thinking that maybe he was diabetic. They did x-rays, and found a small spot on his right lung. The doctor wanted to do a biopsy, but Dad put it off until the next week. His excuse was he needed to check into how much money he had and how he'd pay for all these tests. Many Medicare patients can probably relate to that. I think that deep down inside, he knew something bad was wrong.
About 3 days before his scheduled biopsy something so scary happened. My Dad was on the phone talking to my older sister and my husband and I was watching television, when we heard Dad. He was in the kitchen spitting up blood. It was thick and red, and it scared me to death. We rushed Dad to the emergency room, and the nurses got right on top of things.
They admitted him into ICU and were trying to get the blood to stop. They said it was probably a tumor and it was bleeding. I stayed there most of the night with Dad. The next day they did the biopsy. They told us he had cancer. There was a small tumor on the upper portion of his lung. An operation was out of the question, because of my Dad being 70 years old and also the area of his lung where the cancer was involved too many things.
Soon after Dad was released from the hospital he started his radiation. He went five days a week for a while and was also doing double doses of chemotherapy. He did so well. He would come home a little tired, and have muscle aches for a few days but all in all he was good. He was a fighter. This is why I call him my "hero".
About a month before Christmas, the doctors did some x-rays and said they had gotten rid of the tumor and everything was looking good. We were all so happy. Dad had gained back some of his weight and a little hair was growing back on his head. We thought God had healed him.
Shortly after our hopes were crushed. Dad had started having problems with his hip hurting and went to his family doctor that passed it off as arthritis and gave him some pills to take. About two weeks later, Dad was worse. By this time, he was using crutches to walk. He had an appointment with his cancer doctors for another check up at this same time. As soon as they saw him walk in with those crutches they started x-raying. They found a tumor in that hip and it was eating clear through the bone. They had to do an operation and remove the tumor.
Dad did so well after the surgery and was going to rehab and all looked well. This was in January, by March Dad wasn't doing too good. He was getting weaker, there were small bumps coming up on the incision where his hip operation was, and he was having a hard time breathing so we took him back to the cancer doctor. They ran tests and did x-rays. This was the worst news yet. There were spots on his lungs again and the bumps on the incision were tumors.
They put Dad back in the hospital and soon after they tell us that there isn't anything left to do for him, and that he had only six months left. I was crushed. I am the youngest; I've only had 22 years with him. How could I go on without my Dad? I didn't want to believe it. I couldn't believe that God would take such a big part of my life away.
Dad came home and he was under hospice care and slowly Dad gave up. He was so weak that all he could do is lie in bed. He hated that, and he wanted to live. I know he did. My Dad loved life and was such a wonderful person. He started seeing things and imagining that he was dead. It was so hard to watch. Dad didn't live six months like that said; he only lived about three more weeks. We lost my dear Daddy on Thursday, April 13, 2000 at St. Joseph's Hospital. My Mother, my three brothers, and me watched my Dad let out his last breath. That was the scariest, saddest, moment in my entire life. It is something that I am sure will stay in mind forever.
Losing someone like my Dad has to have a great impact on the world. He was kind, generous, honest, caring, loving, the best Dad ever. When the world loses someone like David Spangler, they loose another hero. The world needs more heroes like my Dad. I need my Dad, but I know he's with me. He'll always live on in my heart.
This is Dad on his 71st Birthday, November 12, 1999. We gave him a surprise party.
He will be greatly missed by all of us.
Links to Cancer Related Websites
Alliance For Lung Cancer Awareness, Support, & Education
Lung Cancer Awareness Campaign
Lung Cancer Information Library
American Lung Association
Lung Cancer Online
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Click here to visit ALCASE: "Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocay, Support, and Education".
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