noun 1. the study and treatment of tumors.
Sometimes, while I wait for the elevator downstairs at the hospital, I can tell that other visitors are wondering which floor I'm going to. I wish it was any place other than 3, the Oncology ward. My Dad is too young—only 60. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer over Labor Day, when I was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire filming a video.
The day my parents told me, I had just spent the afternoon stand-up paddle boarding. My husband, Adam, and I headed off into Portsmouth Harbor to check out a house boat we had spotted from the road. Getting to the tiny, floating house was easy, as we were paddling with the tide and the wind. The return trip—against the tide, against the wind—was a fighting challenge. I found out about my Dad's illness less than two hours later. He's been fighting ever since.
And now I'm here, at my Dad's bedside in the Oncology ward.
The walls of his room are hand painted with a mural of Hokkaido, Japan, cherry blossoms in bloom. I'd like to go there with my Dad. I'd like to take the elevator from here, back to the lobby, and head off and away. But instead, we'll look inward, finding beauty in small moments, in being together with family, back in L.A. where I was born.