Thursday, September 11, 2008
In Our Thoughts And Prayers
Today, 9/11 took on a whole other meaning to me. Those who know me probably know that my dad was recently diagnosed with cancer again. He dealt with this 14 years ago and has been cancer free until about a month ago when we discovered a lump in his throat. Also important to the story is the that he had a stroke two years ago from which he is still recovering. So today was the big day. I drove to birmingham at 3am today to check him in at the hospital. The surgery took nine hours and was ridiculously extensive. They started by precisely cutting out the growth and doing lab work to make sure they got it all. Then they took a skin graft from his arm, folded it in half, and rebuilt his esophagus. Complications led them to rebuilding a side of his neck with muscles they removed from his chest. Then they did another skin graft from his thigh to form the outside of his neck. I was allowed to see him about two hours after surgery and almost lost it. Keep in mind, i'm not a doctor and i'm certainly not used to seeing things like this. Imagine seeing a loved one with grafted muscle and skin forming his neck, his eye swollen shut, jaw quivering, and tubes protruding from their chest next to staples holding it closed; it was rough. The good news is he was awake and very aware and responsive. Our worries are his body accepting the grafts and infection. Not even dealing with the incredible amounts of pain. It was tough seeing him like this and trying to be strong for me and my family. You may ask why this is relevant to 25fix. Well, he was the single most influential person in my life for sparking an interest in cycling. I can't remember a time when he didnt ride. I dont know where he got it from, but he commuted year round by bike in Minneapolis and as a kid growing up, i clearly remember him commuting to work by bike for many years. I can still see him working on his bike an teaching me and my brother how to do the same. I'm sure you can all see why this is important to me tonight. I would really appreciate people keeping him in their thoughts and prayers for the next few days. He's a tough old bird who can do this but he has a rough road ahead of him.