Dad’s cancer – The importance of listening to stories

This is part of a series about my dad’s cancer (as the title says). You can find the first post here.

 

It sounds a bit weir d, but today I want to tell you how important stories can be when someone’s about to die.

Stories are important in general to get to know a person better.

When my dad couldn’t go to work, because he had chemo, we drank coffee every Tuesday and Friday around noon.  I had school, but a long lunch break at these days so I came home.

Then I made us some coffee, sometimes we found some cookies in the kitchen and then we sat at the kitchen table and just talked.

We talked about simple and normal things, like how school had been, but the best thing was when he told me stories about his childhood or youth.

My father had been very funny and freedom-loving as a young adult.

I loved listening to his stories, whether they were about a prank or something more serious, for example when he had seen the body of a biker (he had been a biker himself).

I’ve still got the feeling I should know a lot more about him and that there are so many other stories I will never know about.

With these stories he told me I’ve got the feeling it’s a bit easier to keep him in memory as he was.

Also I could see how he had changed – from a wild guy to a caring man.

A piece of advice from me:  Listen to the stories your parents/grandparents tell you.  They want to share something of their history with you.  You can learn a lot from them and will always smile when you remember them.

 

Feel free to ask questions and to leave a comment!

-Mareike

🙂

Dad’s cancer – The horrors of therapy

This is the third part of the series about my dad’s cancer.  You can find the first part here.

 

I don’t remember any details about the therapies my dad went through.  He had radiation treatment and, of course, lost a lot of hair due to it.

He also had to take various pills, some against epileptic seizures which could occur.  Others were supposed to stop him from puking, which was the side effect of his chemo therapy.

During all this time my dad never really felt great or fit.  He was mostly tired and grumpy, but who wouldn’t if you had to endure such a process?

My father had a cousin who had connections to some guys at an institute and they studied brain cancers and how to heal this special kind of brain cancer he had – glioblastoma.

So he participated in a clincial study to see if their medicine would work.  It didn’t.

He tried another one.  It didn’t work either.

A third one didn’t accept him, because his tumour wasn’t big enough (sounds crazy, right?).

I think all those therapies were probably the worst thing during all this time.  You could see how they affected him.

Nonetheless, he endured them, because he knew they would give him a bit more time.

My father hated that he couldn’t go to work during the chemo.  He had had a new job since a few months and was lucky enough to have an absolutely awesome boss, who gave him as much leave with pay as he needed.  He knew my dad wouldn’t work there for a long time, but he supported him anyway.  In fact, he even gave us our dad’s pay for the month he died.  He gave us the full pay even though my father died at the end of March and never had been at work the whole month.

We’re still thankful my father had such a great employer, who was even a bit more than just his boss.  They were kinda friends.

That was one of my dad’s talents – to make friends wherever he went.

 

If you’ve got any questions go ahead and ask them, I’ll answer ASAP!

Please feel free to leave a comment!

-Mareike

🙂

Dad’s cancer – The diagnosis

This is the second part of my series “Dad’s cancer”.  You can find the first part here.

 

Our mom returned alone from the hospital, late in the night.

We all sat down as she told us the CT scanner results were unambiguous.  Our dad had cancer.

They couldn’t say which cancer it was yet, a good or a bad one, but they had to operate on him as soon as possible.

We had wanted to go away the next day, but now that wasn’t possible anymore.  Our mother asked the siblings of my father, who also went to the trip, whether they could take us kids with them.

We had decided that we wanted to go there, as a distraction and because we had friends who went there too.  Our mother stayed at home.

Before we drove off the next day, we visited our father.  He had forgotten why he was there.  He thought it was just some examination, nothing serious.

It was sad seeing him there, acting like this.  To me it seemed like he was suddenly 80 years old.  And when we left the room and I saw him standing in his room at the window, I ran back again and hugged him and told him I loved him.

Mein Held

(This is my dad before we left.  I edited to make him look like the hero he was to me.)

I think this was really important, for both of us.

So we spent a week in Munich and called our mother every evening to see if there were some news and to tell her we were okay.

Of course I thought a lot about him, but I still had fun there.  I was in a room with my cousin and another good friend and we had a good time.

When we returned home, our mother went with us in the living room and told us to sit on the couch.

I remember how she broke into tears as she told us he had a malignant tumour.  The operation had been successful, but the tumour would return.  And there was no way to stop it.

I remember both my brothers crying.  But I couldn’t.  I wasn’t stupid, I understood what it meant.  I was just so shocked.  And I can’t cry in front of others, I just can’t.

I got really angry when my mother told me, that I “don’t have to pretend to be the tough one”, it would be okay if I cried.

When I was alone in my bedroom I did cry.

I hugged the teddy bear my father had given me when I was small and had nightmares.  He had bought him when he had been 20 years old and ever since I got him I can’t sleep without him in my arms.

We visited him again this day.  He had a scar on his head and lost some hair.

He was so happy to see us and to hear what we had seen during the week and to see the pictures we had taken.

Proudly I gave him the gingerbread heart I had bought him in Munich.  On it was written “I love you” (It was the one I thought fitted best.)

When he returned home he put it at his bedside table and kept it there forever.

 

If you have any questions, go ahead and ask, I’ll answer them ASAP!

Feel free to leave a comment.

 

-Mareike

🙂

 

My Bucket List

Hello there,

Today I want to share my bucket list for this year with you, as I think it’s the best way to get to know me better.

I have divided my bucket list in two parts:
There’s a bucket list with things I definitely want to do this year and a bucket list with things I want to do in my life, no time limit.

The one for my life contains a lot of ideas for traveling and for tattoos.

Bucket Lists help me to focus on what really matters to me, but also to keep in mind, that there are a lot of things to do, that are fun.

 

For this year I want to:

– leave a cute note in a library book (which will be difficult, because our librarian always check the books for bookmarks etc.)

– do the 2015 Reading Challenge (I’ll do a post just about the Reading Challenge in a few days)

– make a scrapbook full of good memories

– watch all the Harry Potter movies in one day

– spend the summer with my friends

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Last year my friends, some girls from our form and me celebrated the Holi-Fest.  This is us afterwards 🙂  (To protect their privacy I made their faces unrecognizable.  You still get the idea of this event.)

– surprise our teachers during their lunch break after our graduation

– find a passion

It’s not that much, but because I’m graduating this year I don’t have that much free time.

Also, I want to focus on spending time with my friends.  All of my friends will either go to university or take their voluntary gap year far away/in another country.  Only I will take my voluntary gap year in the area where we live now.

 

Are there any things you want to achieve this year?  It’s not too late to make resoultions 🙂

Feel free to leave a comment!

 

-Mareike

🙂

 

 

Dad’s cancer – The weeks before the diagnosis

Hello there,

 

I want my blog to have a series about my dad’s tumour, because it is the main reason I started this blog.  I want to start the series with the weeks before his diagnosis:

 

My father changed a lot as his tumour grew.  He started saying weird things, using wrong words and getting angry with us, when we corrected him.  He moved very slowly and it took him ages to eat.  He forgot a lot of things, things, you just told him the other day or some minutes ago.  Once he went to the supermarket to get some milk and returned with completely different and useless stuff.  But he thought those were the things on his grocery list.

My father had also had diabetes (the type I, which is a genetic disorder), so he had to inject himself insulin.  Once he didn’t use his syringe, but tried to use a bottle opener instead.  Or he tried to use a handkerchief as a remote.

All of this sounds rather funny, but when you see your own father at the age of 51 behaving this odd you don’t feel like laughing.

Sometimes he looked at me with big round eyes like a puppy, which was kind of cute.  I always hugged him then, but we all knew there was something wrong.

My mother told him he should go see a doctor, but he always said he’s alright and told the doctor everythings perfectly normal.  Of course the doctor believed him.

We wanted to go away during the holidays with our trombone choir.  Everything was already planned and payed, but suddenly it wasn’t sure if we could actually be able go there.

Then our uncle died, the husband of our father’s sister.  He had had cancer and had become unbearable because of it.  Only some weeks before his death he had kicked his wife and two kids out of the house, so they had to move to our grandparents.  He didn’t even allow his kids to get their stuff out of their rooms.  They were only 11 and 13 years old.

When he died my father wanted to write a condolence card for his sister.  Careful as my mother was, she read it through and was shocked about what he had written.  His sentence hadn’t made a lot of sense, he didn’t sound compassionate, but like a robot.  She put it away before he could give it to her.

This settled it for her.  She packed a bag at sunday evening and went to the emergency with him.  It was the 19th May 2013.

I remember watching the Eurovision Song Contest with our family just the evening before.  He had no memory at all of the ESC, neither the next day nor any days after.

 

Maybe some of you had to go through something similar like this.  This is my experience with brain cancer so far (and I really hope it’ll be the only one).

Please feel free to leave a comment.  If you have any questions, just ask them and I’ll answer ASAP!

 

-Mareike

🙂

 

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About Me

Hello there!

 

My name is Mareike.

 

I guess I don’t have to tell you about the name of the blog.  It’s quite obvious.

 

I’m a chocaholic.  (No, literally.  I need chocolate to survive.)

 

Of course I have a very long list of fandoms I’m part of.  Here are my top 5:

-Harry Potter (Potterhead)

-Doctor Who (Whovian)

-Sherlock (Sherlocked)

-Supernatural

-The Hunger Games

Well, pretty much what your average geeky teenager is obsessed with… (Shame on me…).  But don’t worry, this blog isn’t about my favourite series/movies 🙂

 

I’m a family-person.  But mind, only close family.  And mostly the family of my mother, they’re a lot cooler and more open-minded than the family of my father.

 

I love the sound of rain and thunder (If it’s not night and I’m trying to sleep!)

 

I own two guinea pigs, which I’m calling “my boys”.  They often behave like divas and complain a lot about their mom, but when they get some yummy food, they suddenly love me very much 🙂

 

I’m obsessed with languages.  I’d like to learn about 20 languages, because I think they’re all beautiful and I love it, when people talk in a different language, thinking, nobody around them understands it, but actually I do understand them (teeheehee :D).

 

My perfect evening is when I get to spend time with my family or friends, talk and laugh a lot with them and drink a beer and eat some snacks.  I love evening snacks!

 

If you like what you just read and you’re interested in more of my stuff, just take a look around.  Feel free to leave a comment!

 

– Mareike

🙂