This nightmare began in 7th grade, and I am not sure that I’ve woken up from it. It all started when my father began to have a loss of appetite and stomach pains. These pains had progressed to a point where he couldn’t stand it anymore and felt the need to go to the hospital (something my parents do in only the most extreme cases). The doctors brought the news that my father, the best man I know, has cancer. Shortly after hearing this news my father began his chemo treatment in order to reduce the size of this tumor. The lively man who used to carry me on his shoulders had become too weak to take a walk up the street or too sickly to finish his dinner. I dreaded when he had to take out this small device to test the strength of his breath because it became a constant reminder that he wasn’t as strong as he was before.
My new “normal” was taking short walks with my father to build up his stamina, going on regular trips to the hospital after my soccer games, and fearing every minute that my father might die. I quit club soccer so my parents could use that money to pay medical bills; my attention at school suffered because every time the phone rang into my classroom I thought that it was my mother calling to say my father had passed. This constant torture lasted for the better part of a year. After my father finished his chemo treatment the doctors found that the tumor in his colon had shrunk enough to remove it with surgery. Seeing my father lie in his hospital bed right before the surgery may have been the hardest thing to see, that is when i realized that my father is not invincible and this could be the end of it all. But fortunately he survived not only the surgery but he survived cancer.
This whole nightmare affected everything about me. My outlook on life changed dramatically, I was once a naive boy who didn’t understand the premise of sickness and the looming threat of death but now I know how fragile and fleeting life can be. I learned that the time we have on earth is short and we should not squander it. Spend the time you have with loved ones and not worry about the small stuff and remember “This too shall pass”.