The photo is of the journal pages and I transcribed it through Dragon so that you could read it too.
From my heart to yours :
(Please excuse typos from voice transcription)
it’s 1am and I still can’t sleep. I’ve only had a few hours of sleep since you went into the hospital. Did you know when you went into the hospital this time that you would not be coming home? Did you know after you slipped into a coma that I was there every second holding your hand? I hope you did.
You would jerk and squeeze my hand when I cried and talk to you. Did you know that we were all around you when you took your last breath and gave us all a smile before you died? I was hoping that smile was for us. I miss you so much already daddy I’m afraid of living my life without you.
We were together every day of the last year since your diagnosis you were so strong and brave. I tried my best to fight this with you. I researched and scoured everywhere for information and treatment options. I feel like I failed you, like I failed us, because I don’t have you with me anymore. I miss you so much daddy.
My life, all of our lives, changed on Friday, 13 September 2002. A month before you had just come home from a road trip eight hours in your new green Ford pickup. You drove straight through from Texas to Missouri to pick up Anthony. The week that he was here was eventful and fun. We celebrated his birthday early so that we could all be together. I took him to Six Flags one day and he spent a few days catching up with his grandma and grandpa – you and mom. We hated that he lived so far away. But he was in a good place and his mom was taking good care of him.
It wasn’t too surprising to any of us when you complained of back pain. You had spent eight hours driving to get Anthony and eight more hours driving him home. I gave you over-the-counter medicines and then finally I gave you some muscle relaxers. Mom and I pleaded with you for a week to go to the doctor but you were sure it would pass. Then several days later you lost your voice you had to go to the doctor because you needed to know why. It took several doctors’ visits before they told us what was wrong. Your MD gave antibiotics and sent you to an ENT doctor. She didn’t see any reason for your vocal paralysis, so she sent you to a pulmonologist. He finally did a chest x-ray and what he discovered changed our lives. A CT scan of your body later revealed that the cancer had already spread into your liver.
I remember vividly what it was like on September 13, 2002 I walked into your house, kicked off my shoes and threw my keys on the pedestal in the hallway. I sat on the sofa next to you and the first thing I asked you was, “So what did the doctor say?”
“I’ve got cancer” you said. I felt like someone had kicked me in the chest hard. I began to cry and you pulled me close. I put my hand on your chest over- your left lung- and I sobbed.
You let me cry for a little while and then you said in a rough voice, “I’m not dead yet!” You chuckled a little and that was when I decided to be strong for you.
Small cell lung cancer with metastasis to the liver was your medical diagnosis. The stage of your cancer was extensive, and you’re only treatment option was chemotherapy. I began marathon Internet searches and I read everything I could about your diagnosis. I found no comfort. I found no hope.
I saw nothing but your impending death and the prognosis that I heard from your doctors kept ringing in my years. 4 to 6 months with treatment.
Our faces revealed how scared we were all the time. Mom and I cried all the time. I spent every second with you. September though December 2002 were the absolute worst months. Your chemotherapy, a mixture of etoposide and cisplatin, quickly ravaged your body. You lost 30 pounds and all your hair.
Still we tried to be positive for you. I found a drug on the Internet that was designed to increase your appetite. I asked her doctor about it. He cocked his head and gave it a few seconds of thought, and then he wrote the prescription. It worked, and slowly your appetite came back. You were still so weak. Rick and I found a wheelchair on eBay and bought it for you. It felt like a small defeat having to need one that you were proud of it anyway, and you put your name on it! Four months we only use it when we went out and had to walk long distances. We took you to the parks, zoos, and duck ponds. You came with us to the Chinese new year parade and out to eat whenever we could talk you into it. We rolled you on to the soccer fields to see Hunter’s first game. You went to his school program and you were there for Hunter’s graduation from kindergarten.
You had become the best grandpa.
In December, things looked really bad. You ended up in the hospital after three transfusions that didn’t help to bring up your blood counts. We feared you wouldn’t be coming home and the doctor wanted to stop chemo. You spent Christmas day and your birthday in the hospital. I knew it wouldn’t be long, but then you surprised us all! Somehow you got stronger and began to eat and keep your food down. Your CT scan revealed that the tumors in your long were completely gone!
I felt sure a miracle was beginning that you indeed were going to beat this cancer! We made more trips out of the house. We went shopping and remember that day he wrote the lark at Walmart? You zoomed all over the store and bought new things like sauerkraut and green olives and told me the story of how your mom never could make macaroni and cheese taste right. You even tried to do a 360 in the aisle and crashed into a rack of baked beans. We laughed so hard. We had so much fun that day.
You came to my college graduation in May and refused to bring the wheelchair. He walked the entire hallway and waited for me and watched me graduate. We ate afterward and celebrated. You came to my 30th birthday that same week and having that my party was the best present ever. I took you and mom to my office in Dallas so you could see my first “real” job.
You were doing so well that I began giving you ideas on where to go for vacation and I decided to organize an anniversary party for you and mom. I invited all of your old friends- friends that we hadn’t seen in many years and every one of them came. My house was standing room only with food and people everywhere overflowing from one room to the next. I knew you didn’t feel well. You had just had a recurrence to your clavicle and had begun a new chemotherapy and radiation which made you so weak and tired. You laid down and rested in my bedroom and when it was time for cake and the toast you used your walker to make it back to the living room. You ate so well that night. And my toast to you and mom was perfect. That was the last time we celebrated.
You died three weeks later.
That was yesterday.
I still can’t believe it.