The most difficult day of my journey hasn't been the surgeries, recurrences or chemos, but the day I had to tell my Dad that I had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
I had been to the oncologist on a Friday and given the news. They rushed me through all the pre-op procedures and tests so that I'd be ready for surgery the following week. On arriving back home, I called Dad and asked if he and my step-Mother would be home the next day.
My husband and I braced ourselves and went over. I say "braced" as my Mother had died many years earlier from breast cancer and we weren't sure that Dad had ever fully healed from that experience.
We went over, I looked directly at him and said simply - "I've been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and am going to be operated on this Wednesday". Dad was a rock. If he was shocked, he showed no sign of it. To the contrary, he said very calmly and quietly "You'll be all right". He was so positive and steady in his resolve that it left no room for any doubts as to the outcome.
Weeks later, when chemo was approaching, he told me not to worry about anything that he had it all under control. He informed me that he was launching "Operation Storming Heaven". My Dad had recruited everyone he could think of to pray for me and that would be the secret weapon. Quite possibly, it has been.
I have had discussions with my Dad that most daughters wouldn't dream of. We have discussed death and dying - his and mine - the possibility that even though he is 88, I could precede him. None of that has caused him to waiver - in fact the only thing that has ever upset him was when a gossipy neighbour was exaggerating my condition to others after yet another recurrence - oh yes, and also when an ER surgeon sat at the end of my bed and gave me the "it's the end of the road" speech.
There are no words of sorrow and apology that I can express to my Dad for the pain and worry I feel I have caused him through all the ups and downs of this journey. If he protests and says otherwise, I know him to not only be a very, very brave man but also a man of tremendous Belief.
I can never adequately express my Gratitude and Love for his constancy, optimism and conviction other than shouting to the world "I love you Dad - Happy Father's Day"!