So how will I remember the last three months of 2010? On the one hand, my daughter, Cara Grace, was born. She is perfect. Beautiful, happy, easy-going. A complete joy. On the other, my dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (bone marrow cancer.) It was agressive. Nasty, horrendous, awful. A devastating disease. The diagnosis came a short three weeks after Cara was born and I was still in the midst of the postpartum hormonal roller-coaster. Needless to say, I was an emotional yo-yo.
The cancer advanced rapidly, almost as fast as my precious baby grew. Every day she would do something new, and every day they discovered a new way the cancer had grown. As my daughter grew healthy and stronger day by day, my dad got sicker and weaker.
By mid-December, less than three months since we first heard the word cancer, Dad was completely incapacitated. He had total kidney failure and had to be on dialysis three times a week. He had fluid around his lungs so he had to be on supplemental oxygen. He wasn't able to walk because he had several tumors on his spine. He was in pain all the time and had lost a lot of weight including all of his body fat. His body had failed him.
By mid-December, less than three months since we first laid eyes on her, Cara was sleeping 12 hours a night and cracking us up with her crazy expressions and baby smiles. She had healthy, glowing skin and grown pudgy and dimpled from her high calorie breast milk diet. She was cooing and gurgling with glee at the everyone who spoke to her. She was a picture of perfect health.
Christmas week. Cara experiences her first Christmas morning. Dad goes into the ICU and ends up on a ventilator. Less than 24 hours later, we are called to the hospital and have to make the dreadful decision to end life support. We sit with Dad until the end. After four excruciating hours, it is over.
The worst three months of my life and the best three months of my life. Life and death woven together to create a beautiful, tragic tapestry.