Thursday, November 16, 2017

His Last Breath: My Father's Battle With Lung Cancer

It rained the night before my father died. One of those warm summer rains that leaves the air more sticky and humid than it was before it started. 

It was still raining as I rushed to the hospital the next morning. I remember thinking my hair would be a disaster all day. A riot of big, frizzy curls.  

In hindsight, it seems such a bizarre, unimportant thing to be concerned about when you know your father is about to die. 
But already my brain was switching to self-defense mood. It needed to be elsewhere. 

Anywhere but signing his death paperwork and planning his funeral. Anywhere but saying goodbye. 

My father took his last raspy breaths just before I entered his hospital room. 
I paused briefly at the door. My brother Shawn, the first one to arrive, looked up at me, his grief-stricken face streaked with tears.

He didn't have to say a word.

I'd seen that same anguished look on the faces of my children three years earlier when I told them their father had been killed.

I was too late. My father was gone. 
I quickly crossed the room and placed my hand on his still warm cheek. With my other hand, I stroked his hair as his lungs exhaled their final breaths of air. 
I barely recognized the shell of the man left in the bed, his face sunken and hollow and contorted in death. 
The night before I had kissed him goodnight before I left. 
I love you, Daddy. 
He was so heavily medicated, I wasn't sure he'd heard me. 
"I love you too." 

Are you sure? I'd asked. 
"Yep, pretty sure. Night dear."  

My father's death was neither sudden nor unexpected. We had been anticipating it for several days beforehand.  

In truth, I'd been expecting it for months.  

And yet, that made it no less painful. 

My dad died of metastatic lung cancer. Seven months after he was diagnosed, he was gone. 

Last year, I knew nothing about lung cancer.  And now I know more about it than I ever wanted to know. Cancer has a sharp learning curve. Biopsies, thoracentesis, pleural effusion—it was so hard for me to keep all of the terms and procedures straight. The amount of information overwhelmed me. And I wasn't the one living with cancer; I can’t even begin to imagine how he felt.  

Late last fall he'd developed a cough he couldn't shake. He never told any of us about it though. It was no big deal. Just a cough.  

A retired industrial electrician and former smoker, my father had been cigarette free for almost a decade. It never occurred to him he had cancer. 
It never occurred to any of us he had cancer. 
In hindsight, we should have known something was wrong, long before he developed the cough. He hadn't been himself for months. He was always slightly grumpy (my kids even called him Grumpy), but over the previous year, he'd become withdrawn and irritable. It seemed like he was always complaining about something. 

"Your mother never listens to me."  

"Your mother can't remember a thing I tell her."  

Your mother this, your mother that. My poor mother couldn't seem to do anything right.  

We chalked it up to old age.  He’d turned seventy-five on his last birthday, and had definitely slowed down over the last couple of years. He didn’t seem to have the same energy he used too. But it wasn’t just old age, it was cancer. His fifty year, two-packs a day smoking habit finally caught up to him ten months ago when the cough first started. 

But really, it caught up to him long before that. He’d had a ticking time bomb in his lung for years and had no idea. 
My dad was dying long before we even knew he was ill. 
Last January, I'd sat beside him as the doctor gave him the results of his first biopsy. Non-small cell carcinoma; squamous cell carcinoma to be exact, the type of lung cancer most strongly linked with smoking. He had a tumour the size of an orange nestled against the membrane of his heart. Surgery was impossible; his only options were radiation, to shrink the tumour, and ease his symptoms, and chemotherapy to try to stop the cancer from spreading. 
And then the news went from bad to grim. Two more biopsies subsequently revealed he had a different type of cancer, adenocarcinoma, in his right lung. 
Concurrent primary malignancy.  

My Dad was living on borrowed time.  

His mood didn't improve after his diagnosis. He was angry—angry at the world, angry at cancer, angry at the health care system that was letting him down, angry at himself for ever having smoked in the first place.  

“Everyone else is making the decisions. It doesn’t matter what I say,” he’d grumbled to me after his last visit from the palliative care nurse.  

“I’m just a passenger along for the ride.”  

Yes, Dad and cancer was driving the car.  

He had every right to be angry.  

Cancer is such a cruel, merciless disease. My once strong father, who could haul lumber and logs effortlessly, was bedridden for the last six weeks of his life.  

Cancer robbed him of his breath and his strength, it took his dignity and then it took his life.  

He never made peace with his death. He clung to hope for a miracle cure, until the bitter end.  

For months, I silently watched my father die. I didn’t have the heart to tell him there would be no miracle, at least not for him. Hope was all he had left. And I couldn’t take that away from him.  

I knew he would never have chemo. His cancer was far too advanced, and he was far too weak. Chemotherapy would shorten his life, not lengthen it. 
At his last appointment, his oncologist explained to him why he couldn't have chemotherapy. She outlined the side effects of chemo as she told him how ill it would make him and then asked him what he thought.  

 “It sounds to me like I don’t want to have chemo." 
His shoulders slumped as he said it, his voice barely a whisper. He was exhausted. I knew he was nearing the end. I wondered if he knew it too.  

If he did, he never said it out loud. 

"We don't have to worry about that for quite a while yet," he told me, two weeks before he died.
He adamantly refused to speak of his death. 
The week before he died, my mother had to call the EMT's three times. The palliative care nurse called me the morning after the third visit and told me it was time, we had to move him to the hospital. At that point, my father was refusing to go. As his medical guardian, it was up to me to sign the papers. 
It was a position I'd never wanted to be in. I knew my father wanted to die at home, but I had to do what was best for him, and for my mother. 

Fortunately, I never had to sign those papers. By the time, I arrived, he had relented and agreed to go. On his terms, of course.  

"I'll go, but just for a week until I feel better. Remember what the doc said, I can come home whenever I feel up to it. A deal’s a deal. Right, Lib?" (Lib was his childhood nickname for me.)  

Right, Daddy.

He would never get to make that trip home.

He died the next day.
I started composing his eulogy in my head months before he died. 

"My father died of lung cancer. I would like to say he died after a courageous battle, but the truth is he never had a chance to fight. The war was over before the battle even started. Lung cancer was the victor, as it all too often tragically is.” 

The other day, as I was stopped at a stop sign, a man with his little girl crossed the crosswalk in front of me. She had dark curly hair and was talking a mile a minute. He held her little hand in his. With his other hand, he took a drag off of a cigarette. 

I could feel the tears welling in my eyes. She reminded me so much of a little girl I used to know. 

As I wiped away a tear, I couldn't help but wonder if she would be holding her father's hand in his doctor's office one day.  

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer for both men and women in Canada. Lung cancer kills more Canadians then breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer combined. Despite the large numbers of Canadians dying from lung cancer, lung cancer research is the least funded in the country. There are no national or provincial screening programs for high-risk populations. Partially because of this lack of screening, most lung cancer patients are diagnosed in late stages.
The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is a dismal 17%.
More than 85% of lung cancer cases in Canada are related to smoking tobacco. The risk of developing lung cancer increases with how lung you have smoked, how old you were when you started smoking and the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. The risk is also higher if you smoke tobacco and have other risk factors such as exposure to asbestos, radon, certain chemicals, and air pollution.
For more information on lung cancer and lung cancer prevention please see the Canadian Cancer Society

To learn more about grief, resiliency, and life after loss, follow Monica Bobbitt on Facebook:



  1. I'm very sorry for your loss. Cancer is a merciless thief that steals our loved ones most important gift which is the gift of life.

    1. Thank you so much for your condolences. Yes, it is a cruel, merciless thief that takes far too many, far too soon.

    2. I was having Herpes Simplex Virus then i came across a review of people saying that they got treated from Herpes Simplex Virus by Dr VOODOO., So i gave a try by contacting him through his email and explain my problem to him. He send natural medicine herbs to me and told me all the things I need to do and also give me instructions to take the medicine, which I followed properly. Before I knew what is happening after two weeks the HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS that was in my body got vanished . so if you are also heart broken by any deadly diseases like HERPES HIV, shingles,low sperm count or bringing back your ex lover, this great man is extremely the best in which I have seen if you also need a help, you can also email him at Add Dr voodoo on whatsApp +2348140120719

    3. HOW I GOT CURED OF HERPESThere is a treatment that can get rid of Genital herpes with traditional herbs from Dr. Shaibu. I was positive about this infection (HERPES) and I lost hope because I was outcast and rejected even by my closest friends. I searched online to know an inquiry for a cure for HERPES and I got a testimony posted by a patient on how she was cured of HSV by Dr. Shaibu herbal product, So I decided to contact the same herbalist Dr. Shaibu because I know that nature has the power to heal everything. I contacted him to know how he can help me and he told me never to worry that he will help me with the natural herbs created by God Almighty! After contacting him, he told me that the cure has to be prepared and he will send it to me via (UPS Delivery service) and unfortunately, it got to me after 5 days! I used the medicine as he instructed me (MORNING and EVENING) and I was cured! it's really like a dream but I am so happy now! That's the reason I decided to also add more comments on Him so that more can be saved just like me! and if you need his help, you can email him on or whats-app +2347017709481 God bless you.

  2. I'm sorry for your loss...
    I know exactly how cruel lung cancer is - my mother-in-law was it's victim and passed away 4,5 years ago. She died month and a half after she was diagnosed, it was in a late stage 3 when we found out. I was with her at the emergency when she was first diagnosed and I was the one who had to translate it to her, as she didn't really speak English.
    The even worst thing (if something can be worst after seeing somebody fighting for its breath) was that she was taken to the hospital for the last time few hours after we moved to our first PMQ... Thank God it was only an hour away, so we left everything unpacked and drove back to the hospital to say the last good bye.

  3. What i don’t realize is in reality how you’re no longer actually a lot more well-favored than you might be right now. You are so intelligent. You realize thus considerably when it comes to this topic, made me personally consider it from so many varied angles. Its like women and men are not fascinated unless it’s something to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs outstanding. At all times deal with it up!

  4. I am continually amazed by the amount of information available on this subject. What you presented was well researched and well worded in order to get your stand on this across to all your readers.

  5. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post.

  6. I think this is a really good article. You make this information interesting and engaging. You give readers a lot to think about and I appreciate that kind of writing. Asbestos Cancer Organization Stage 2

  7. I have a similar interest this is my page read everything carefully and let me know what you think check my reference.

  8. Thanks for your insight for your fantastic posting. I’m glad I have taken the time to see this. the asbestos cancer organization

  9. I love the way you write and share your niche! Very interesting and different! Keep it coming!
    The Asbestos Cancer Organization

  10. COMPLETE CURE FOR CANCER THROUGH BEST MEDICAL HERBS...:> How i was completely cured from Cancer, I have tried different methods of treatment to get rid of this disease but I could not, few months ago a friend told me about (Best Dr. Alabi) Medical Herbs. that Dr. Alabi could cure me totally from pain with his herbal medicines and Cancer oil, when I heard about his good works from my friend I requested for the contact Information of this man, after some days passed as I was praying to God for mercy, I said to myself that God could use this man to heal me totally, after giving myself this thought I Immediately contacted Dr. Alabi on> and I told him about my condition, he responded to me and told me not to worry that he was going to prepare his herbal Remedies and cancer oil and he will send them to me that all I needed was to provide him my home address where he can send my medicines to, after some days of Communicating with Dr. Alabi, I received a package from UPS courier service, while I was with this medicines I told Dr. Alabi that I have received the medicines he sent to me, he gave me prescription on how to take the medicines, Today all I can share with you now Is that I have been cured permanently from my Cancer Disease. It's been 6 Months and I have  not experienced the symptoms again, God has used Dr. Alabi to do some great works in my life, I'm a living testimony.. Dr. Alabi's cancer oil, and Medical Herbs has no Side Effects. Please contact him for your help on..Email: call or Whatsapp him on: +2348155011610

  11. I am not sure that I've ever read such a wonderful article like this. No doubt this article is much better than millions of articles which contains excitement, madness, passion, hope and many more elements. Dissertation Editing Service

  12. I think you should share this post on facebook. Buy fb post shares from this site

  13. Put in layman's terms, excitotoxins "energize your synapses to death!" and have been found to drastically advance cancer development and metastasis. how to make cbd oil from isolate

  14. I likewise viewed a video on You Cylinder about a woman around sixty years of age who had five cancerous tumors all through her body. what is isolate cbd oil

  15. Can you prevent breast cancer? The individual cannot control the most important risk factors for the development of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Treatment

  16. I want to give all the glory to a herbalist for changing my life by destroying the yoke of Herpes Simplex Virus from my body system with herbal roots and herbs medication from his dr Excel his website

  17. Thanks for sharing this is awesome! The timing is also perfect! I am working on water bottles for the cancer survivors at my church and was doing something very similar just different wording.
    cancer care in madurai

    cancer specialist hospital in madurai

    breast cancer specialist in tamilnadu

  18. I'm 61 years old. I contracted hpv in 2011' I has be taking lot treatment for it and embarrassed some months ago the wart stated coming out seriously, I used lot recommendation because there was lot warts around my anus and was so . but today I'm totally happy I got the virus eliminated by using natural treatment from Dr voodoo herbal center after his treatment I got cured. all the warts went away' seriously believed Dr. voodoo he have the cure for human papillomavirus because he has eliminated hpv been in my body since 2011, Dr. voodoo make it possible for me. Here is Dr. voodoo email: or WhatsApp him via +2348140120719 he is welled capable of curing terrible diseases.

  19. HOW I GOT CURED OF HERPESThere is a treatment that can get rid of Genital herpes with traditional herbs from Dr. Shaibu. I was positive about this infection (HERPES) and I lost hope because I was outcast and rejected even by my closest friends. I searched online to know an inquiry for a cure for HERPES and I got a testimony posted by a patient on how she was cured of HSV by Dr. Shaibu herbal product, So I decided to contact the same herbalist Dr. Shaibu because I know that nature has the power to heal everything. I contacted him to know how he can help me and he told me never to worry that he will help me with the natural herbs created by God Almighty! After contacting him, he told me that the cure has to be prepared and he will send it to me via (UPS Delivery service) and unfortunately, it got to me after 5 days! I used the medicine as he instructed me (MORNING and EVENING) and I was cured! it's really like a dream but I am so happy now! That's the reason I decided to also add more comments on Him so that more can be saved just like me! and if you need his help, you can email him on or whats-app +2347017709481 God bless you.

  20. These attacking cells can happen in a wide range of creatures and vegetation the same. Our concentration, in this accommodation is fundamentally a more critical glance at cancer, and a-emphasis on-humanity and the genuine danger to our wellbeing and life.
    wigs and hairpieces for cancer patients

  21. These include hospitals, clinics, office of physicians, nursing care facilities, residential care facilities, home healthcare facilities, federal healthcare facilities, community care facilities, rehabilitation centers, etc. qdoba diabetes low carb meal

  22. I contacted herpes' I was told there is no herpes cure except treatment to
    control it. I totally lost hope. All I could think was losing my life it
    was so embarrassing to have this virus, few weeks ago I ready about a
    possible natural herbs cure which was guaranteed. And I ordered the natural
    herbs treatment from Dr voodoo after some weeks I got 100? cure. Now I'm so
    excited to share this testimony contact Dr voodoo WhatsApp number
    +2348140120719 also e-mail him at:

  23. I frequent many SEO and Web Marketing forums on a daily basis and every so often there is a debate about the SEO industry and ethics. After being involved in a number of these debates, it has become really obvious that the main problems are the facts that no two SEO companies are alike and there is no unified methodology.

  24. Clinical assessment by a trained professional and further examinations becomes important to analyze muscular cancer.

  25. The course of cell division goes crazy during the cancerous intrusion process when cell modules are ceaselessly delivered, boundlessly more than required. Exacerbating the situation, these unnecessary cells persistently produce more superfluous (or needed besides) cell tissue.

  26. Call to Actions, great intelligibility of the text and is the website dynamic just to give some examples models. onohosting

  27. Not all tumors are harmful or life-threatening. Some of these "tumors" are benign. Albeit, being of no use to the body, they could easily interfere with its normal activities. These type(s) of tumors are usually surrounded by a "skin-like" membrane, limiting its growth, preventing the invading cells from spreading into other regions of the body. The killer-cells, called "malignant," are not contained... They have no walls holding them in - keeping them from spreading into other areas or regions of the body. They invade all normal cellular tissue - they grow and spread rapidly, invading, dominating, and destroying all normal cellular tissue - these monsters are also tumors - THESE MONSTERS ARE CANCER! Suture needle singapore

  28. You really got my attention by writing this post. Thanks for sharing this.

  29. Hello everyone. Dr. Oduku Herbs is a good remedy for herpes Virus, I was a carrier of herpes virus and I saw a testimony on how Dr. Oduku cure Herpes Virus, I decided to contact him, I contacted him and he guided me. I asked him for solutions and he started the remedies for my health. After he finish he sent me the herbs which i took for 21 days before asking me to go for a check up and getting there i could not believe that i was confirm HSV 2 Negative after the test, Today i am so happy because i'm free from herpes disease with the help of Dr. Oduku. Thank God now everything is fine, I'm cured by Dr. Oduku herbal medicine, I'm very thankful to God for making it possible. you can reach him on his email, i strongly recommend him to any one out here looking for a cure.Contact Dr Oduku via email: or through whatsapp +2349064430408


  30. I was diagnosed with HPV which they said there is no cure for this virus. but I'm surprised that after taking Dr IBOZUA herbs i got cured out of it. and also I have referred a lot of people to this herbal medical doctor for a cure and he has never failed. Here is dr IBOZUA information, call/whatsapp him +2348156768667 or his email address:


© A Goat Rodeo With Monica Bobbitt. All rights reserved.