My dad was diagnosed with Glioblastoma in March of 2017. It was a busy time for all of us – I was about to graduate medical school and start residency, my dad had started a new job several months prior, and we were all planning my upcoming wedding in June of that same year.
To hear the diagnosis was devastating, as I was no stranger to GBM and the aggressive nature of the disease. My parents had no prior medical backgrounds, but my mom never missed a beat.
She quickly became the ultimate note taker and medical interpreter, nurse, and caregiver. My dad went from a healthy 63-year-old with no medications who exercised regularly, to taking multiple drugs for chemo, nausea, seizures. It was a lot to keep track of but my mom never slowed down – and my dad never missed a dose of anything.
As his disease progressed she continued to add more hats to her resume, becoming his personal chauffeur, physical therapist, medical assistant, and more.
She continued to work full time, and I’ll never fully understand how she did it all. Full-time wife, caregiver, mom, and career woman. Every sacrifice she made was for my dad to have the highest quality of life possible. He was able to stay at home – only two hospital stays immediately following each surgery – both just two nights each. Without her dedication, he might have had a lot more time in the hospital or even in a care facility for rehab or nursing care. It was his wish to be at home, and she made that wish come true.
He ultimately passed away peacefully at home, in March of 2019 – with myself and my mom at his side.
In August of 2019 – on my dad’s would be 65th birthday, my mom organized a team of family and friends to participate in the Kansas City Head for the Cure 5k. He was a runner most of his life, and it was a wonderful way to honor his memory. While that event ultimately was rained out, we still had our tribe together to reminiscence and support each other.