On January 10, 2017 your name was mentioned by a GI doctor that had performed an endoscopy on my father. There was a tumor in the lower part of his esophagus that appeared to be you living off my father. January 11, 2107, cancer you became (an unwanted) part of my family... you had been making your presence known since October, making it difficult for my father to swallow and causing weight loss that seemed uncontrollable. I watched helplessly as my father suffered from your grips, not knowing what was happening to his body. Sadly, I knew. There was a moment in December when my father was standing in my kitchen that a feeling came over me... a feeling that I have never felt before. A feeling of dread, dark, hopelessness; I knew that things were bad, but I didn't know how to articulate it.
On January 15, again your name "cancer" was spoken, this time during my son's gymnastics competition. My father had a letter from the CT scan facility that stated that he had "suspicious" spots on his liver. The report indicated that not only had you invaded the lower third of his esophagus, but now there was a possibility that you had spread to his liver. Two weeks later, after a PET scan it was again confirmed, you had invaded his liver as well. During the two weeks of doctors appointments, tests, scans and blood work you began to make my father even sicker. He was in excruciating pain, constantly nauseas, unable to eat, weak and confused. The oncologist continued to give him pain meds to try, nausea meds to try... I was in survival mode at this point. I was not eating or sleeping, I was desperate to find what was going to heal my dad.
It has now been 10 weeks since you have descended on my family. In those 10 weeks, cancer, you have taken SO much from me. As I type I do not even know where to begin... you have taken away the man I know. My hero, my best friend, the person that has been my rock though the darkest times of my life. You took that person away, he now has days where he is hardly conscious, days where the chemo, the poison that is given to fight you off, to contain you, makes him so sick all he can do is lay down and pray that the nausea will go away. You have caused me to feel a sense of desperation, a feeling that I do not wish on anyone. The feeling that all I wanted was to RIP you OUT of my father; to make him healthy and happy again. You have taken restful sleep away from me; hours and hours of 2AM, 3AM researching how to help my dad, what will help my dad, how will we beat you, cancer? And believe me, we will. Nights where I continue to get up and check on my father to make sure that he is OK, not throwing up; that he is still breathing.
Cancer, you have caused me time with my children; I want to play, I want to draw, instead I am making food to push though his feeding tube; I am researching the best food to fight you off, to KILL you. You have taken away time with my amazing supportive husband; the man who chose me to be his wife, the man that took over being a father to my son. My husband who helplessly watches me pace, cry, scream... rage.... Cancer, you have taken away my TRUST in doctors; men and women that devoted their educational career to HELP people, now I am not so sure, I question everything they recommend, I second guess if they are really trying to help? or are they being bought by pharmaceutical companies to keep giving my dad drugs to "help" him? You have taken my father's time away from MY CHILDREN, and that, cancer, PISSES me off to a level that I do not even have words for! He is not able to interact with them the way he once did. All my daughter wants if for her Papa to be able to do "high in the sky" again... and I don't know when or IF that will ever be. My son wants his Papa to go play games at Dave and Busters, to ride the rides at Castles and Coaster, but my dad is too weak because of YOU, to spend those moments with my son.
Cancer, you have awakened a hatred in me that I never thought I was capable of. Levels of rage and anger that I have never known. However, with all that you take, you have also GIVEN me so much. You have given me knowledge that I never knew I was capable of. I have learned so much about you, what you do, what you love (sugar), how you grow... and with that knowledge I have vowed to dedicate my life's work to helping others with cancer through holistic diet and the healing powers of cannabis oil. I have learned how our bodies work, why diet and nutrition is the building block to a healthy life. I have learned how to take a body that was totally acidic and alkalize it so that you can not grow or spread. I have learned about how marijuana is a miracle plant and how decades ago it was demonized for no reason other than ONE man's personal gain. I have learned how powerful thoughts are, how they can heal our own bodies if we truly believe that the healing is possible. I have learned that I was giving this amazing gift of intuition... a gift that I have been able to use throughout my fathers treatment to guide him in the right direction; not always listening to the medical doctors... while I respect and appreciate them for what they do the truth is medicine is a guessing game and the sick are the tests subjects.
Cancer, you have taught me to live IN the moment; I have always been a "planner"... days, weeks, months planned out day by day, it made me feel "in control"- I now know that control is an illusion. We have no control of what strikes us, we must live in the moment, to panic about what COULD be is a waste of precious time and energy. To dwell on what WAS is also a waste... there is nothing we can do but move forward and learn from our past. Right here, right now, that is all we have. Even as I sit in this hospital, typing while my father lays in the bed, his body tired from treatment, from countless amounts of drugs to help control the pain, pain that YOU have caused; I know that in this moment I am creating something, I am consciously creating a reality where YOU will have NO PART in our future.
But the BIGGEST lesson you have taught me cancer? You have taught me about LOVE. The amount of love that I have for my father... for my mother, who, despite my parents being divorced, has been nothing but helpful along this whole path... for my brother, the love that he and I share for both our parents, and even for each other. We don't always see eye to eye on things, but one thing is for sure, the love we have for our father, our hero, our best friend is unwavering. Our family my not be conventional, but the love that the 4 of us share is undeniable. Cancer, you have taught me how to appreciate each and every day I have with my children, my husband, my extended family and my amazing friends. You have shown me that no matter what, there are people in my life that will stop their lives just to listen to me vent, rage, cry.... those that have no problem rearranging their schedules to help with my children. You have taught me that there is good in this world... there are beautiful souls that appear just when you need them. You have also taught me how to rely on myself... that no matter how broken I feel, no matter the desperation, I am strong enough to handle everything you can throw at me.
So, cancer, you have brought a lot of words & emotions into my life that I did not know, did not comprehend, did not want to experience... but I KNOW that THIS journey will have its reason. I just want to be clear on ONE thing.... soon, you will be GONE from our lives.... my father will FIGHT you, I will stand behind him and aide in his fight... and I am NOT the only one. There is an ARMY of people that have my father's back. You do not stand a chance... I will take this time to "thank you" for the lessons you have taught me, for the emotions that you have made me face... I will say "thank you" now, because soon you will no longer be around. And I don't expect to see you again...
~Kendra Elizabeth Laguna