May 20th, 2021


May 20th

Earlier this week I intended to make a post this morning noting that it is now two weeks after Ceila and I got Moderna shot #2. That is still true, but it turns out today is also the day my father died. Both are things I have known were coming for about the same amount of time.

In April 2014 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We thought he had a year, or two. He got the Whipple operation, which can often give people a couple more years. He got 7.

He completely beat the cancer, and it never came back, but the whipple procedure has some damaging effects that hardly ever make themselves felt because so few people live this long after having it. Last year, one of those after-effects acted up in spring and into summer and we thought we'd lose him, but he cheated death again. I spent 4 months in Boston and returned to Seattle when it looked like they had it beaten and we'd got some more years. But another, related problem kicked in this April.

I learned about it shortly after Ceila and I got the first Moderna shot in early April. When we came back from that adventure, I wrote my parents to tell them about it, and that I'd come out to visit them after full immunity in late May. A few days later, they got in touch to tell me that late May might be too late, if the hospital couldn't figure out some treatment option. I flew out in April instead. The night before my flight is when we learned that there were no options, and this was it. When I arrived, we didn't know if he'd have a week, or a month, just that it was very unlikely to be much more than a month.

He stuck around for three more weeks of mostly coherent and able to hang out in the living room and have conversations. Many friends visited. Two sets of family from Israel visited. He made it to his 79th birthday, Friday. Monday evening, it still seemed like he might even make it to June, and we were still having conversations. Then on Tuesday night his condition took a dive, and he lasted less than two more days. He had reached his goals of getting to see everyone important to him in the last few weeks, and he did not want to linger.


A good friend just flew out of town yesterday to spend time with her mother who is on hospice care, also from pancreatic cancer.

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