You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, nor do you get a second chance to say those words that often spill out in a flash point of emotion, but sometimes, in life you do get a second chance.
Late last summer after a series of concerning health issues, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For most people such a diagnosis is a death sentence because pancreatic cancer has few symptoms, and by the time it is discovered, it’s often too late. Luckily, my dad had some symptoms that led his doctor to the discovery of the mass in his pancreas and he was able to have a surgical procedure (see Whipple Procedure) to have the mass removed.
Despite a successful surgery, dad wasn’t out of the woods yet. Even with the early detection, the cancer had managed to spread to his lymph nodes, which meant he’d have to endure a series of chemotherapy and radiation over a period of many weeks to eradicate the cancer from his body. At least that was the hope. In a best case scenario, the treatment would work, and he’d be cancer free after weeks of nausea, vertigo, and other symptoms associated with chemo and radiation.
I’m happy to say that the best case scenario has played out, and dad’s cancer is in remission. My brothers and I were relieved, if not amazed. Everything we knew and read about pancreatic cancer had prepared us for the worst. I’d had friends who had lost their parents to cancer, and I had watched them go through the gut-wrenching trials of the disease. My heart went out to them. It still does.
It’s taken me weeks to write about this. Not because I didn’t want to share the good news, but because this is something that is very emotional and difficult for me. I love my dad dearly. We’re very close. Sometimes, I call him up just to hear his voice on the other end of the line. The thought of not being able to call him scares the hell out of me. He’s always been there no matter where I’ve been or what I’ve been doing. I know I can reliably reach out to him to talk about baseball, the kids, or anything. It’s not complicated. It’s just a father and a son connecting with each other. I need that. I always will.
Unfortunately, I don’t live near my dad. I can’t just pop over and see him when I want to, but in a couple of weeks, I’ll get to see him again, and I’m thankful for that second chance, one that I was worried wouldn’t happen during the darkest days of his treatment. While the specter of cancer still looms over us, I’m happy to have this time with him. There aren’t many second chances in life. Cherish the ones you get.