About John D.
I’m writing about my dad who has stage IV prostate cancer.. but who has also become the most amazing care-giver for my mother who has suffered a stroke since my dad’s diagnosis, changing my dad from patient to care-giver in a blink of an eye. My parent’s story is one of faithfulness to their vows made 40 years before. When they said “I do” they meant every bit of those two words. Their story begins when my beautiful, vibrant mom had her first stroke in May 2015. It came as a complete surprise, as she was a picture of health. Later we would discover that she has a genetic condition, Factor V Leiden, that predisposes her to clotting and caused her stroke. At the time, we were all blown away. Thankfully, my mother faired really well! She had very few deficits aside from fatigue and some short term memory loss. But within a week or so, life really was going back to normal and then we were hit with a bigger obstacle, my dad was diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer. Dad had been complaining of back pain for months, but he dismissed it largely because he and mom had recently moved and he assumed he injured his back while lifting and it just needed time. When time passed and the pain increased, he found himself in the ER with kidneys failing and a prostate cancer diagnosis. He would have to have nephrostomy tubes placed directly through his back into his kidneys to allow his kidneys to function for three months! During that time, he underwent 6 very difficult rounds of chemo, with my blessed mother by his side the entire time. Never a day would pass where I go to their house and I wouldn’t find my mom rubbing my dad’s back and feet and making him smoothies, or growing green juices for him to drink! With time, dad’s PSA dropped and we experienced many successes and joy! Life began to find a “new normal” where dad regained his strength and he and mom were finally enjoying their retirement. Then on June 12th, 2017 my mom suffered another stroke.. this time much, much more debilitating than the first. Physically, she made out quite well, but the stroke hit right in her communication part of her brain leaving her with a condition called aphasia. With aphasia, a person knows what an object is, how to use it, history about it, etc, but can’t retrieve the words. It is as though the entire dictionary in her mind was stolen. My dad went from being the patient with stage IV cancer to becoming the care-giver to mom. Mom can’t drive, she can’t manage the bills, call the doctors, buy the groceries.. all of the things she did before. Now, dad is doing it all, plus he sits her down for hours every day and works on her speech therapy. Together they are rebuilding her dictionary.