This post is not just about Thanksgiving but an update on my dad. This time last year, my dad was very sick. In fact he was so ill we thought we would not have him with us much longer.
Thankfully, shortly after Christmas, he agreed to go to the Cleveland Clinic to see if there was anything that could be done above what his local doctors were already doing. It didn't take long to realize that the care was worlds apart.
(And this is where I deviate from the story to jump on my soapbox to tell you that if you have a life-threatening illness, go to the best doctors you can. We are blessed to live within driving distance to Boston doctors and I can tell you that the cutting edge things they do there are not available at other hospitals. There is a night and day difference!!! So do your research and find out who is rated highly for the illness that you have.)
Back to the story...
The doctors in Cleveland put him on a new drug which over the course of a few months, shrunk his tumor enough that a surgery looked possible. Years ago he had radiation seed implants when his prostate cancer started and had always been told that he would never be able to have surgery. The radiation causes scarring and conventional treatment dictates 'no surgery possible.'
But God had a plan....and a surgeon.
There was one surgeon at Cleveland Clinic who was willing to try the surgery. (And we have been told he is the only surgeon in the country who is doing these surgeries.) He tried to talk my dad out of it though, saying it was high risk, dad would be in ICU for awhile and would most certainly need a colostomy because of the location of the tumor. However, dad had been going though so much with blood backing up into his bladder with no warning and sending him to ER in intense pain, that he was willing to take the risk. His quality of life had deteriorated to the point of being almost completely home bound due to the possibility of a bladder blockage. My mom was also home bound with him. It was a very trying year for both of them. They were told that the bladder situation would only get worse and worse. Not much to look forward to with that diagnosis!
So in August, he had the surgery. I was driving to Ohio to be there (couldn't get there the day before due to scheduling difficulties) when my cell phone rang. It was my brother with the news that dad was out of surgery...NOT in ICU and he had NOT needed a colostomy! WOW!
To say we were all excited was an understatement!
Since then he has had a remarkable recovery. The doctors are amazed. His surgeon told dad that he really didn't want to do the surgery. He thought it was going to be horribly difficult on my dad but none of those fears were realized! Dad is now walking a mile a day and trying to get his stamina built back up. He looks great! He still probably has cancer because they couldn't get all the lymph nodes, but his PSA has plummeted from 350 to 25 (another shock to his doctors).
One of his goals was to be well enough to come to our house for Thanksgiving. My mom and I used to have a Black Friday shopping tradition and my girls were hoping to go with Grandma this year. So fun!
My parents arrived on Wednesday night and we had a really nice Thanksgiving on Thursday. Friday, my mom and four oldest girls headed to a huge mall about 45 minutes away. We had a ball...picking out presents, getting great deals, and having lunch.
The next day, we wanted to visit Sturbridge Village. We chose it for several reasons, the biggest being that there is a large gift shop there with tons of books. My dad loves to read so we figured he could hang out there and be warm and content. However, when we got there, he said he was coming with us to walk around the Village. It's not a small place, so we figured he would maybe spend an hour with us and then go back to the book store.
He walked around with us all afternoon--about four hours! We were all bundled up and the buildings were heated and we had such a great time! I didn't want to lug my big camera around all day so you'll have to be happy with some phone photos.
A nice lady offered to take our picture but um....oops..cut off some heads.
Afterwards, we went out to eat to celebrate Chloe's birthday. She was so happy to have Grandma and Grandpa there on her ACTUAL birthday. We stopped at Target on the way home to pick up some cupcakes for an impromptu birthday 'cake.' Jillian made her a proper cake later--but the cupcakes worked that night.