I think I'm processing, but I don't think I'm doing a good job of it. I'll see if I can explain or at least lay things out so that I can look at what's going on.
My dad has cancer. He got diagnosed in August or September and they tried to surgically remove it in October. It's in his bladder. They (The doctors and medical idiots) then had to wait for him to heal properly to see if they had gotten all of he cancer so in November they told him that they had not. They were not successful and the cancer that he has is an aggressive form. So they gave him a choice, he could get his bladder surgically (obviously) removed and either have a bladder made of his intestine (!) or live with a pee bag or he could get chemo and radiation thereapy and try to kill the cancer. He had an appointment at the cancer centre on Wednesday to learn about the options and make a decision. I went with him and so did my mom.
Anyway, in spite of the fact that his siblings and his wife (my mom) all wanted him to remove the bladder and subsequently all the cancer, he opted to try the chemo and radiation therapy and try for bladder preservation. So that's where he stands now. On Friday he went for a scan so they could plan the radiation attack and now he has invisible ink tattoos that the radiation will be aimed at for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. Or will be once he gets the call to get it all started.
What I'm processing is life and death. I've never put much value on my life, I have never been afraid to die but I have always been very afraid of dying in an agonizing manner. I think about suicide evey single day, I like to always have it as an option. So my dad's decision to not get his bladder removed is exactly what I would have decided. I do not believe in life at any cost. The indignity of the things one would have to undergo to live like that is not worth it to me. I require autonomy and so does my dad. He's pretty much the most classic case of a guy with Asperger's as I have ever seen.
At the cancer centre we had a lot of time to wait between visits with the different doctors and we joked around. We're not really the heavy, deep, meaningful conversation kind of people, nor are we affectionate or touchy feely. The only time my dad and I hug is when my mom forces us and it's very awkward. But we understand eachother my dad and I. All we want is for people to love us and for people to leave us alone. I have 3 siblings and my dad loves nothing more than having us all over at his house, and then he buzzes around doing his puttering or sits in another room.
My dad likes to walk between 5 and 10 kilometres a day. It was after one of these walks that he noticed blood in his urine for the first time and he sought medical attention. They did a few random tests and told him he was fine. 3 years later and the blood in the urine was till happening only now it was heavier, finally he was diagnosed with cancer. My dad only goes to the doctor when somethig is wrong and he is always correct, there has never been a false alarm. I'm the same way. In both of our experiences it takes extraordinary measures to get the doctors to listen to us, or to hear us properly. I think this has to do with Asperger's but I don't know what the remedy is.
Anyway, at the cancer centre my dad asked one of the docors if he could continue his walking, and they gave him permission. "You already have cancer, so what the heck" is what the doctor said "You're not gonna make it worse." That makes me happy because the one thing that will kill my dad for sure is being an invalid. Look at that word INVALID, he would be in-valid, without validity. What a horrible fate.
I don't think I have my head wrapped around anything yet, but it's always good to try.