Monday, July 25, 2016

You Do What You Gotta Do...





This is my father in law.
Pop.

I've been thinking about him, and praying for him, a lot, even more so since we got to spend some time with him just a few weeks ago.

A few days after Thanksgiving, 2014, he was getting ready to set sail on a cruise with his wife, Rita, when he started not feeling well.  Long story short...the ship doctor wouldn't clear him to sail and told him he needed to go to the ER, they thought maybe he was having a gallbladder attack.

December 1, 2014.

Cancer.
Colon metastatic to his liver.

Yes, he had had routine colonoscopies done...and yet, here he was.

Blood work.
Biopsies.
Surgeries.
Chemo.
Radiation.
Pet Scans.
MRI's.
Oncologists.

Welcome to the World of Cancer.

19 months into this...and let me tell you what I've learned by listening to him and our family talk about his treatment thus far.

Pop simply has this "you do what you gotta do" mentality.

He looks great!   He's lost weight, of course, but he's now maintaining...
He drinks tons of water everyday, cut out sugar that he could control, so no sweets/soda, only eats red meat once a month, and eats a lot of turkey.  He told me that if he ate any more turkey he was going to sprout feathers.

Seriously, up until the last week in June, he was still golfing weekly.  Unfortunately, he had his first crazy reaction to chemo that week and it just left him feeling very miserable.  

And, where I cannot speak from experience, but from working with cancer patients for over 5 years, I can tell you - to go 19 months with no crazy reactions...it's just unbelievable.  I've seen patients with the same diagnosis/treatment as him and let me just tell you, no one...not one patient, even comes close to how Pop is doing...

He simply amazes me!

The strength of Pop - well, to be honest, it's overwhelming.
Like I said, I have been around many cancer patients and there are few who truly stand strong thru such a rigorous and intense treatment regimen.

And yet - he is steady pushing thru.

I think much of that has to do with the "Harsin" family.
My goodness - I am so blessed to be a part of them.


 


Harry and Rita.
Phil's brothers and sisters - Harry, Stephen, Carolyn, Jon, and Andrew.
And all the extended family that comes with them...

There is so much love.

Since I've known Phil, he and Pop didn't have what I would call a "close" relationship and that was hard for me.  I didn't doubt that he loved his dad, there were just walls Phil had built, partly from experiencing the divorce of his parents at a young age, and partly because he just didn't know "both sides" of the story...

And for years, I have prayed that their relationship would be restored.

Well, God is good!
On July 4th, Phil and Pop talked for hours.
And I mean hours!

Phil was able to just unload and share things with Pop that he had been holding in for all these years.  And his Dad was able to share things with him that Phil needed to hear.

The love I saw in both of their eyes after that talk - I just cannot explain.
It was my most favorite moment from our vacation - a moment I will never forget.

What a reminder for us all.
We think we "know" the story.
BUT...there is always two sides.
Let me tell you this, I don't think it was easy for either one of them to start the conversation that afternoon, but oh goodness, I'm so glad they did.

Healing.

And now, we continue to pray for physical healing.

Phil's dad has had a little setback since we were there just a few weeks ago.
Chemo was put on hold due to scan results and he has started to retain fluid in his abdomen, to the point the fluid needed to be drained.

He had a MRI today to get a closer look at what's going on and has an appointment tomorrow with the oncologist.

PLEASE join me in praying for Pop (Harry).  Please stand in the gap for our family.
I know you all don't know him personally, but many of you reading this know us.

Pray for healing of his body.
For the cancer to be GONE!
For the fluid retention to subside.
For continued strength.

I so wish we lived closer.
I wish I could be of help to Rita.
Caregivers are SO very important when a patient has a cancer diagnosis.
They are the unsung hero's...keeping it together on the outside, while internally they are falling to pieces.

And Rita - she has been there and been involved with every aspect of his care.
He was joking with me about how many times a day he's asked by her if he's drinking his water.
I know she is overwhelmed and scared and just taking it one day at a time, but she is taking care of the one she loves and she's doing a fabulous job. 

And my sis in law, Carolyn - she has just moved to the same area as Pop and is about a 10 minute drive away now as opposed to a 3 hour drive!  I know she's also been a HUGE help with simply "being there"...to simply love on her dad or to help attend appointments or being a sounding board...

We talked about the wonderful team of nurses and doctors Pop has at the Cancer Center where he is being treated, and the care he is receiving there...but it doesn't go unnoticed how this family has just come together.  I know when any of Phil's brothers/sis in laws are there - they are totally focused on Pop and how they can help. 

This family...I simply love them.

I love how, even though they don't see each other all the time, when they are together, it's like they get together all the time.

I love how they stand together in the good times...and the not so good times.

I hate cancer.
I truly hate cancer.

But I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe that miracles still happen! 

And until that happens - You Do What You Gotta Do...

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