My rock, my inspiration, my hero, my mentor, my friend, my father. December 4th, 2012 My parents went to San Juan, I thought, to visit our dog who had been hospitalized the night before, turns out the serious voice when my mom answered her phone was sadness. I have never heard that tone before. A few hours later we were sitting around my dining table and my father softly tells me, "I was diagnosed with prostate cancer".
After what seemed like an eternity of silence and holding back tears, we all just sat there and spoke openly about what is to come. The appointments, the procedure, the recovery and the possibility that he will not survive this.
It all seemed unreal. Before his pre-op appointment he agreed to let me document his battle with cancer.
December 25, the day everyone loves and enjoys here in Puerto Rico, was the day before the operation. On this day he could not eat a single solid thing. Just Je-llo and soup. The 26th early morning was the big day. The operation. Robotics. Terrifying.
The operation took forever. Waiting was mind numbing. My mother, the pillar, was a nervous wreck. We asked doctors, nurses, give us a status. Anything. No answer. I left to get mother something to eat and on my return I saw the nurse heading to the room we had just reserved. My father was finally Ok. He was trembling and in pain but he was OK. The operation went well, the capsuled cancer tissue was removed.
It was hard seeing my father suffer, he was in so much pain. He seemed defeated. But he wasn’t. Just a few hours after the operation he stood and walked the hallway near his room. With allot of effort, allot of pain. You can see it in his face, that look I had never in my whole life seen before. You could see real physical pain. We tried to make his one day stay in the hospital as pleasant as possible. But it never is. Hospitals are cold and weary.
The next day in the afternoon I picked up my mom and dad from the hospital and drove them slowly, very, very slowly from Bayamón to Humacao. Clear across the north to south east of the island. Once home, he seemed happier. Still in a lot of pain especially sitting down. He quickly adjusted and ate his meals standing, he reclined on his chair and napped through movies and television series. He smiles. It’s a relief to see him smile.
Two weeks after the operation, he feels better. He still feels pain but he refuses to take medication. It is now his first week of work. He says, “I never thought I would lose the battle”. He says, “there is still things left”, referring to there is still pain. He says the pain goes away when he lies down. When he comes home from work he takes a nap to take away the pain. He has also been exercising and walking at least half an hour every day. He thinks it is helping him heal faster. He plans to increment his activity and lift weights soon.
Every time I visit I stay for a few days. Just to see how many times he smiles.