First of all, thank you everyone for your well wishes, whether through comments, phone calls, or visits. It really meant a lot to me to know that you cared.
As you all know, my father passed away one week ago today. We got up from shiva this morning. He was 66 years old.
You are probably wondering what caused my father to pass away at such a relatively young age.
To fully explain, I need to go back about 40 years. That was when my father was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. For most people, sarcoidosis is not too life changing. However, for my father, it caused granulomas on his spinal cord, which slowly progressed, ultimately causing him to be essentially paralyzed from his waist down by the time I was about 12 years old.
Over the past 3 years, his health had deteriorated as he began to have more and more associated health issues from the sarcoidosis. About 2 years ago, a small mass was found on his pancreas. The doctors were of the opinion that the mass was probably nothing, a benign growth, but even if it was not, due to his poor health, there was nothing to be done. Nothing came of it, and we all forgot about it.
Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. My father was admitted into the hospital for surgery for gall stones. He'd had gall bladder issues for the past few years, and the doctors felt that they would need to replace the stents that had previously been placed in his gall bladder. In preparation for said procedure, he had an MRI so the doctors could see what was going on.
When they did the MRI, not only did they see the expected gall stones, but they saw that the small mass on his pancreas had grown exponentially and was now cancerous. This was on Tuesday August 24th. We were told that due to his poor health, he was not a candidate for either surgery or treatment. My father agreed and was transferred to a hospice facility on Friday August 28th.
My brother David and I went to see him on Sunday August 30th. He was completely with it and talking with us. On Wednesday he was in a lot of pain, thankfully controlled with medication. At about midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, he became non-responsive. We were all called at about 3:30 in the morning to come quickly, and Benjie and I were in Milwaukee by 5:30 am. My sister Rebecca and other brother Aaron arrived from New York at about 1pm and he passed away peacefully at 6:30 pm, never regaining consciousness.
The funeral was Friday afternoon at 3pm at a family plot here in Chicago, and we sat shiva together at my house through Monday, and my siblings returned to the East Coast on Monday afternoon and we finished the week of shiva this morning.
Now I'm just trying to catch my breath and catch up on everything that gets neglected over the week of shiva.
Again, I'd like to thank everyone for their well wishes and condolences.