Around the Corner: In search of a new normal
Some of you might have noticed my absence from the pages of the Citizen Telegram over the last two weeks.
For the last five months I’ve poured my heart in soul into the paper, working countless hours to try and grow the newspaper into what the community deserves.
That steady work has helped distract me from what was going on back home in Idaho, as my father’s health began to falter.
A fourth generation farmer, he has worked 24/7, 365 days a year since he was 7 years old and able to drive tractors to help out his dad on the family farm.
Never one to complain about being sick, or even to fall ill, my dad has always been healthy.
The last handful of years have been tough on him after a knee replacement began to slow him down a few years ago.
Late last year to the beginning of this year he was working through pain he had never felt before. He finally relented and went to the doctor in the spring.
In April he was diagnosed with urothelial carcinoma, or bladder cancer.
Doctors gave him a good prognosis, and through surgery and treatments he was able to get back to the work he loved.
A little over a month ago he went back in for another procedure. After waking up in recovery, he told my mom he didn’t feel right.
Three weeks ago he wasn’t able to muster enough energy to go to work. My mom knew something was wrong because he never stayed home from work.
After several days of testing and a CT Scan he was rushed to Boise, where they found what looked like a hematoma, a collection of blood outside of a blood vessel, in the lining of his brain.
I caught the first plane I could to be with my family.
After several hours’ of surgery, the doctor delivered unexpected news to my family.
The mass putting pressure on his brain was not a hematoma, it was a tumor.
After days of sitting vigil by his hospital bedside the news was confirmed that his bladder cancer had metastasized.
Always the fighter, my dad said he wasn’t ready to quit. With the whole family behind him, he started radiation the weekend before Thanksgiving.
For the last week and a half my brothers and I have taken turns staying in the hospital with him, keeping watch like he did for us when we were sick growing up.
It has been hard to see my dad so vulnerable in the hospital. As a youngster he was larger than life, a giant in my eyes. Most people remember the saying “my dad can beat up your dad,” well for me it was always true.
I decided to return to Colorado this week to try and find my new normal, and get back to work, because I knew if my dad could he would be right back out in the fields getting the soil ready for planting next spring.
While I was on leave my fellow co-workers from the Post Independent stepped in and carried the weight of the Citizen Telegram.
If you tried to contact me during my leave, I’m sifting through emails and voicemail, and will be in touch as soon as I can be.
I can’t thank the newspaper staff, the CT readers, and the community of Rifle enough for the support during this difficult time for my family and me.
My plan is to visit my dad and help my mom as much as I can over the next few months, but I still plan to deliver the best newspaper I can during this trying time.
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