On Thursday afternoon, Gail, Nicole and I were on our to Savannah, Georgia for a race on Saturday. We'd only made it to Murfreesboro when Mark's aunt called and told me we needed to come to Knoxville and be with Mark's dad, RT, that he had been admitted to the hospital in serious condition. We quickly turned the car around and I went back to pick Mark up. All I could get her to tell me about his condition is that he has severe pneumonia. But it was pretty obvious there was more to the story.
I picked Mark up and we drove to UT Medical Center. When we got here we talked to his dad for a little while and then sat down with his uncles and aunts. They proceeded to tell us that his dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in June (yes, June!). And that he hadn't really told anyone what was going on. We think he wanted to decide on a treatment plan before telling us. And yes, it was taking him a really long time to decide on a course of action. Wednesday morning he had a doctor's appointment. He had also not been feeling well. They did another scan and found the cancer had spread to his liver and bones.
Friday morning when we talked to the doctor she said it is stage 4 terminal lung cancer. And there is really nothing that can be done. If he recovers from the pneumonia enough we could discuss chemo, but it would only buy a little time and could make what time he has left very uncomfortable. She also did tell us that even if he had taken action when he first found out, the outcome would most likely not be any different. She called this cancer aggressive, ugly and evil. I couldn't agree more.
Today has been a pretty good day. He's currently sitting up in bed working on orders and other stuff for his store. It seems like the pneumonia is getting better which is giving him more energy. The whole experience has been a roller coaster of emotions. Tonight we've been at the hospital for 3 full days, but it feels like a month.
Jesse and Matthew came up on Friday afternoon. I'm so thankful they got to see RT several times this weekend when he was feeling pretty good. I'm also more grateful than I can put into words to Gail and Nicole. They drove on to Atlanta Thursday night. But on Friday morning, they came to Knoxville instead of going to race (did I mention they were supposed to be staying in a beautiful beach house?). They were amazing with the boys. They picked them up from the hospital and kept them all weekend. Entertaining them and bringing them to the hospital when RT was feeling well. Mark's aunt and uncle very generously got them a hotel room to stay in. We've explained the situation and what the outcome will be to the boys. They get it as much as they can. But I'm so glad they didn't have to be in the hospital with us all weekend.
I love Mark's dad and my heart is breaking to think about losing him. But it's absolutely heart wrenching to watch Mark. Mark is an only child and his dad raised him basically on his own. Thankfully, Mark is blessed with amazing uncles, aunts and cousins, but as for immediate family RT only has Mark. They are very close and Mark is hurting so deeply.
We have so many amazing friends. I've had lots of calls, texts, emails and facebook messages checking in on us. We are so appreciative for all of the support. Most of all we are appreciative of all the prayers. We are just asking for prayers of comfort and peace. I've prayed so hard for the last three days. Most of them start with Dear God Please...and that's about is far as I get. After that it's all emotion. I'm thankful he knows my heart and I don't need lots of words.
We don't really have a good time frame for what is next. We will talk to the doctor again tomorrow. We've heard everything from it could be hours or days to a few months. I would love it if Mark could have more quality time with his dad, but I don't want him to suffer.
Life is so precious. Please don't take it for granted. Be sure everyone you love knows how much you love them. Tell them often. And all of those things you want to do, now is the time to start.