I tell you this because part of Dad’s legacy is going to be the healthcare and advocacy lessons we learned along the way. Dad as patient. Daughter as advocate. A treasure trove of experiences.
Over the years I took note of the many – MANY – experiences we had through his health journey. But I haven’t written about many of them…. As long as Dad was still alive, there was privacy to consider and maintain. He and I talked about that many times. Something notable would happen, we’d wend our way through it, then he would tell me, “Write that one down – it will be a good one to share someday.”
Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1986 – yes, you read that right – 26 years ago. (By the way – that was before the PSA test existed for diagnosis.) He had surgery that year, but some of those cancer cells escaped. So Dad dealt with the disease for the next 26 years. You can imagine what we learned along the way about the healthcare system – both good and bad.
He also had cataracts, and lost his sight in his left eye after botched cataract surgery. More lessons. And spinal stenosis – his first experience with chronic pain – which led to surgery in 2011. Still more lessons.
Further, he was Mom’s caregiver as she transitioned through her heart problems and pacemaker implantation, then her Alzheimer’s disease. Mom’s experience provided lessons, too. They are on the list.
Losing a parent is so difficult. That’s a universal truth, isn’t it? Many of you have experienced the grief and the sadness when your parent has passed. You know how it is to be working on something seemingly unrelated when all of a sudden the sadness hits and you have to take a few moments to collect yourself – then move on.
And so it is.
Dad was a very generous man, right up until his last very difficult days. His generosity included his willingness for me to talk about our lessons learned once he passed. And so I shall. Watch for them over time. We’ll be learning from him for years.
Rest in Peace, Dad. I love you, and thank you for being the generous you.
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