Stage 4 Lymphoma. We went to urgent care to make sure the cold didn’t turn into pneumonia. Two weeks later, we’re talking about treatment plans and possibly more aggressive diagnoses to come.

My Dad and I were sitting together, silently, because that’s all he needed from me, when the doctor came in to let us know they were wrong – there was more to the picture than they thought. The bone marrow biopsy showed an abnormality and it was suddenly up to me to be a support system and the communicator to the rest of the family. We found ourselves abruptly, alone.

I felt myself crumbling on the inside. Absorbing information and urging my mind to stay calm, as my heart began to race. My Dad is the strong and silent type. He has always been fair, kind, and balanced. We’ve seen things change over the last 6 months, but “that’s what happens with age”, we said. That’s what happens when you lose your Mother at age 94, the core of our family, and a force to be reckoned with. Maybe something was off, but we chalked it up to a slight depression.

So, now we are a family living with cancer. Our whole world is about to change. Has changed. Will change. At that moment, I changed.

I wish I could tell you how to handle this. I wish I could give you advice on what has helped me deal, work through it, grow to be a better human. But, I haven’t found it yet. For now, I am focused on breathing. I am learning to tell myself to say “yes” to new things, “yes” to things that challenge me, “yes” to adventure. “Yes”, to living. I owe it to my Dad, who may not get the chance.