The other day my Mom handed some xeroxed pages to me, saying she’d been going through the boxes in the garage.
I looked down and saw two articles about cancer of the pancreas. Articles I’d found in my research in the Science Library at UCI. I was 8 months pregnant with C when Dad was diagnosed, and just 3 months away from graduating with a biology degree. Dad has asked me to do some research for him. To find the best treatment because his doctor hadn’t given him much hope.
I’d spent the day poring over medical books. I found one surgeon’s name that kept appearing over and over again. I told Dad I thought his best hope was with this “A.R. Moossa” that was doing a cutting-edge surgery with some promising survival rates. The articles I held in my hands were written by Dr. Moossa. It was a few days later that we learned that Dr. Moossa had recently taken a position in San Diego. And within a few days of that Dad was on his way down for a consultation.
I like the notes I wrote in the margins of the articles. My printing is strong and clear, nothing like the lopsided and illegible chickenscratching that I now produce.
I feel very encouraged that your hopes are high. I think that this surgery will be hard–it’s very involved, but it seems to me that it will give you a fighting chance.
I would really like to talk to you after you read these articles to see how you feel about the surgery. Also, I’ll be happy to answer any questions (if I can!). I am praying very hard that you can find the best surgeon or treatment.
No matter what the future holds, I will always be thankful to you for being such a great Dad & I feel peace in knowing that we have a forever family.
I love you Dad.
I never met Dr. Moossa. Because of my high-risk pregnancy, I didn’t dare travel far from Irvine. But Dad and Mom stopped by my place as they were driving down I-405 to SD. Dad had the surgery. He was still receovering on the night that I gave birth. I called him and he talked me through the contractions, sangs songs with me, and gave me a father’s blessing over the phone.
Two of my strongest memories: Dad holding C–his first grandchild–for the first time. A few weeks later, me holding C cradled in the crook of one arm, and grasping Dad’s hand with the other. Watching both of them breathing. C’s barely audible breath sweet against my cheek. Dad choking, gasping for air. During a long lonely night.