Dinner, and the unwanted visitor

Last night we went to dinner at St Francis. What weird service. The food is absolutely delicious, but we can’t get over how strange their kitchen works. It seems to me that they look through the tickets and pick and choose which ones they want to fill. Five of us arrived and were seated. We ordered. A sixth person arrived. The children were fed first (as they should be) and our sixth guest was given his dinner (which was exactly the same meal two of the remaining three of us had ordered.) A few minutes later the remaining – and earlier ordered – food arrived. Long enough to be weird.

I start this way because I don’t know how else to start. We were at dinner with my parents. Look at them:


We went out to dinner after they took my boys to the State Capitol for a Cub Scout event while I was at work. What on earth makes them want to do such a thing is beyond me, but I am grateful.

Cub Scouts at the Arizona Capitol Times.



So here I am at dinner with my parents and my kids and their dad, and we are talking about the most awful topic.

My dad has lung cancer. We have to talk about it like we’re planning some visit from an unwanted visitor. Next week we will all assemble at the hospital, my dad will be sliced open, a tumor will be removed, and we will all pray-cry-doraindances-hope-getangry-putupwithdoctors-amusethepatient-knit-read-talktonurses and overall freak the hell out while trying to act like we are not freaking the hell out.

If you are hearing this information for the first time here, I apologize. I have forgotten who knows and who doesn’t know. I cannot keep up with the updates and on a regular basis I am near panic trying to ensure I have done everything that needs to be done.

Lung cancer sucks, as far as cancers go. If you start googling around you will be terrified and depressed. There isn’t much good news out there. And what is out there is hard to decipher. My best friend Julie said it best when I told her the news. “Get ready for this to be your part time job.” Indeed she was correct.

So here are a few details. Next Tuesday my dad will check in to Banner Desert Hospital (right by the good old Fiesta Mall where I had my first job). They will cut a hole in his side and remove the left upper lobe of his lung. They will sew him back up and keep him there for 5 to 8 days and send him home. Afterwards there may be chemo, or radiation, or a variety pack depending upon what we decide.

Our lives are layers upon layers of fear and surprise and terror and deep love for one another. We are all emotional – I’m to the point that when I was on a chat with a woman from the cancer center and she asked me how I was doing I started to cry. At my desk. In my cubicle. My friend Martha at work gave me flowers and told me she knew I could be strong enough to do anything and I cried. At my desk. In my cubicle. And I walk around every day realizing that nothing will ever be the same again.

But I am also lifted up by the love and support we all have in our lives. And the fact that right now I can go to dinner and enjoy my parents and laugh about weird service and eat delicious food. We are lucky. In the middle of the chaos, we are lucky.


14 thoughts on “Dinner, and the unwanted visitor

  1. Wow, you snuck that cancer thing in on me, right as I was expecting a snarky wrap up on Francis.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Hug your family extra close.

    DOn’t worry about being strong…. it’s an unfair expectation.

    • Snarky? You must be thinking of a different girl – I’m always polite and reserved when it comes to bad service in restaurants 🙂

      Thanks for the note Barbra – and by the way you were awesome last weekend. The boys were impressed.

  2. What a shock! This morning this was the last thing I would like to have on my heart! Your Dad is one of the dearest person in my life. We shared a most glorious childhood with our other cousins. Both of my daughters were to be named Vincent had they been boys but I have my only grandson Vincent Michael ! Thank you for sharing your sad news so I can tell you to hold on to anything that helps. Love and hugs of comfort. Cousin Bimmy as your Dad calls me.

    • Sorry to shock you Bimmy – I know you and my dad are close. Thank you for your note and we will keep you posted.

  3. I’m so sorry, Brooke – your dad is lucky to have a great family fighting for him and doing everything they can to help. We are thinking of you. xx

  4. Brooke, I’m so sorry. Cancer is shitty. Lean on your family, friends and anyone else who will lend a shoulder, an ear, a few hours of babysitting time so you can find/reclaim some sanity. You are in my thoughts.

  5. Brooke,

    I was shocked to read your post. I am so happy that you are close and can be there with your parents. Please send them both my love and positive energy. Please keep me posted and let me know if there is anything you need.

    Big hugs,

  6. Brooke, I too have spent a lot of time crying as your dad is like my
    brother and want to keep him healthy for my sister. Wish I was there with you Love Aunt Pat

    • Wish you were here too Aunt Pat! Love you. We are getting him the best possible doctors and will get through this.

  7. Brooke, I wish I could say something to help. Something full of wisdom or super witty but all I have to offer is love, support and prayers. My one piece of advice is to write. Your writing will hold your hand through this and it will help you find the strength to make through each day. I am thinking of you and your family.

Leave a Reply