A year ago today I was 6 months pregnant and sweeping the floor with tears in my eyes as I prepared to say goodbye to our first home. It was an emotional time as we spent 7 years there; our first wedding anniversary, our new puppy, two pregnancies, two first birthdays, multiple projects and updates, breaks/fixes/repairs, out of town visitors, and now saying goodbye to a wonderful neighbor as it was our last day. Since we had a two-week window between selling our old house and buying our new one, we planned to travel to see both sets of grandparents; one week in NY then one in SC and we would wrap up the two week holiday with closing on our new home.
So we packed every last little thing in the portable storage unit, cleaned every corner of the house, buckled up the kids and headed to NY. I remember mom being very eager and excited for us to arrive and I knew she couldn’t wait for the kids to get there. When we got in that night on June 11th at almost midnight, Ali ran for a potty break and came out wearing my dad’s reading glasses “Where’s gramps?” she asked. Mom got a little uneasy and was careful with her words and even changed her tone as to not scare the kids. She explained to Tarek and I that dad is in the hospital and is undergoing some tests. The doctor’s suspected internally bleeding and they’re just trying to figure everything out. Mom told us to make ourselves at home and get some rest and that she’d be going to the hospital in the morning to be by dad’s side through the testing that was scheduled. I insisted on driving her and we set the alarm for 5am and went to bed.
Early Wednesday morning we headed to the hospital and visited, waited, and by the end of the day we were told that “it looks like cancer” but they had to do more testing to figure out what kind. As mom and I pulled out of the parking garage, both stunned by the news and events of the day, my husband calls to tell me “good news and bad news” from the realtor. The good news was that the old house closing went well without any surprises. The bad news was that our new house did not appraise for the contract price, in fact it was appraised at $12,000 less than our offer price (which means the seller asks us to make up the difference out of pocket, or moves on to the next buyer). Since we didn’t have $12,000 of extra cash laying around, we told them we could only offer the appraisal price and waited until morning. What a day. Still not sure of a solid prognosis on dad, but the word “cancer” didn’t sit well with any of us; and here we were potentially “homeless” if the new house deal fell through. It was a long and emotional day, followed by a long and emotional evening. Thank God for our children to keep us smiling; even the baby was moving around as if to be like “hey ma, it’s me in here – keep it together and it will all work out” – what a wise baby 😉
The next day mom and I headed back to the hospital for more tests and visiting and waiting. While there, we heard great news from the sellers and they agreed to move forward with the sale of the house. Whew. Dad was being a trooper and mom wouldn’t leave his side. Lot’s of doctors, interns, nurses, staff made their way in and out of the room. Dad (Mr. never-goes-to-the-doctor himself) remained super cool and made friends with just about everyone that came through the door. Colonoscopy, Sonogram, Blood transfusions, blood tests, bone marrow biopsies, etc. Never knowing when he would get out “you’ll be out of here by tomorrow” was an empty promise that we all grew sick of, so mom and I brought magazines, crosswords, a robe, slippers, etc. Mom’s phone was constantly pinging with people frantic over dad and wondering the latest test results, doctors, meds, etc. Finally, the day before father’s day, we learned dad’s diagnosis: ACUTE MYELOID LEUKEMIA (AML). His first hospital stay totaled 46 days straight, over $1 million dollars in medical costs (thank GOD for insurance!!!) and during that time he could not leave the room because doctors wanted him to steer clear of germs. What a ride.
To be continued…