When I walked through my front door, the first thing I noticed was the odor. Then, I heard the groaning. I remember the occasion quite vividly, although it was ten years ago. My sister and I had just returned from the park with a neighbor, expecting everything to be normal. I soon discovered that nothing would ever be normal again.
As we slowly inched into the living room, a staggering sight met our eyes. There, lying facedown on a couch, was my father, ashen-faced and trembling. His head was completely bald, and his grisly figure appeared enervated. He was gasping for air, and then suddenly, he grabbed a blue pan, plunged his face into it, and vomited with such vehemence that I shivered. Only then did I fully understand what it meant for my dad to have cancer. At seven years old, I confronted the horrors of cancer in my living room, and realized for the first time that my father was fighting to survive.
Catching me out of the corner of his eye, he raised his head from the blue pan and uttered a weak, "Hello," only to vomit again--this time missing the pan. My neighbor saw my face, put his hand on my shoulder, and whispered, "Let your dad rest--he has been fighting brave and hard."
My dad, my hero. The source of my love and guidance was now battling for his life. After the doctors detected the colon cancer in 1987, the tumor became more and more malignant, and the effects on my family were more and more severe. A long series of debilitating surgeries and chemotherapy treatments consumed my father's life, and by extension, enveloped my entire family. My mother, now a de facto nurse and breadwinner, spent her time and energy, not to mention large...