Hurray! I’m back! Sort of…
I’m still having technical problems. I’m working on salvaging what I can from my photo library in Aperture. I’ve decided to make the switch to Lightroom. Waiting to finish with saving my images in Aperture, so I can delete it and make some space for Lightroom first. So, you will still have to wait for the hikes and Fasching photos (I’m not uploading anything else to Aperture for fear of loosing it).
But I do have some photos today for you, all from my phone. Get ready for an Instagram-like photo journey and an issue that’s not-so light-hearted as traveling can be. This is about to get personal…
2.5 weeks ago I made a last minute decision to fly to Seattle. Friday afternoon I had booked my tickets and butt-crack early Tuesday morning I was flying high above the clouds.
I know it’s hard to tell, but this is London. Center, lower 1/3 is, as far as I could make out, the London Eye, Big Ben, and all of that London goodness I have been craving to see first hand. This time though, I had just about an hour to make another connecting flight, roughly 10 hour to Seattle!
I left Frankfurt at 0800 on Tuesday. Traveled about 14 hours. Arrived in Seattle around 1230 Tuesday afternoon. The jet-lag and travel-fatigue were hell. But worth it.
Picked up a rental car. Then headed straight for the hospital.
I arrived while my dad was still in surgery. Undergoing a “Whipple”. A silly sounding name for something that’s not so silly. He was having his spleen, pancreas, bile duct, gall bladder, 1/4 of his lower stomach, duodenum, and some lymph nodes removed. What my family and I had been hoping for was a quick-ish surgery to remove a small mass around his bile duct, turned into stage 3 pancreatic cancer and a total re-plumming of my dad’s innards.
I only had seven days to be there with my parents. Helping to take care of my dad and giving company to my mom. It’s a weird thing, to see one of your parents, a person who may have become a bit like a super hero (or villain, depending on your relationship), become so human and frail. It was a week of mental adjustments, but the time flew by. Helping my dad recover from his surgery and life now as a Type 1 diabetic; helping my mom start to sort out how/where my dad would receive his chemo/radiation therapy (oh yeah, my parents live 3 hours away from Anchorage, AK. This was supposed to be a short trip for them for a quick procedure. When all is said and done, I think they will have been in Seattle for over a month).
I took it upon myself to be entertainer and reality-distractor (laughter is the best medicine, right?). I took my newfound responsibilities very seriously.
Painting Dad’s toenails before he woke up from the surgery. Just like my sister and I would do as kids when he would fall asleep on the couch. That gave everyone: us, doctors, nurses, etc., a good laugh.
There were also the gift of flowers, sent with love, to help brighten my dad’s room and cheer him up. Growing up, my dad loved photography, was a hobbyist and an amateur-“pro” for a bit. I like to think a bit of that rubbed off on me.
Before I knew it, I was waking up before the light even thought of breaching the mountains. Leaving Seattle to go back to Germany was one of the hardest things I have done. I wanted nothing more than to stay and help, be there for my parents as they go through this. But, it’s not my burden to bear right now. I have my own family to take care of. With three young ones (and sometimes a big one) that need me too. Thankfully, my sister was able to spend a few days in Seattle after I left. She has found a great doctor on the East Coast and my dad will be going to stay with her for his chemo/radiation treatment. It’s not the best diagnosis, but we’re still hoping for a miracle, while trying to maintain a foot in reality. We’re not the first to walk this path as a family, and sadly, we won’t be the last.
(The military life has brought so many opportunities to us that our family would never have been able to enjoy. We don’t feel that we sacrifice much. However, it’s times like these, when you want to be close to family, that those sacrifices hurt.) Love ya Pops ❤