Friday, June 20, 2008

May 2008

May is a Month for Family in Korea.
It's a month full of days of celebration- children's day, parent's day, teacher's day, family day, etc.- but May for our family, in the year of 2008, it was not so much about celebrating. May 8th is Parent's day in Korea there isn't any Mother's day or Father's day but rather it's in one day,on that day we found out that my dad has cancer.

A day when we could be having a good time, we were struck down with an earth-shattering news. We were hopeful, hopeful that it wasn't so bad, hopeful that it was just the kidney and anywhere else, hopeful that there are 2 kidneys in a human body. However, there were more tests to be done and more results to be heard and the bad news became the worst.. and left our family speechless...

Renal Pelvis and Ureter Cancer

who knew? and how could we have known?

Yes, I heard of cancer, I heard of people having cancer, but I never in my life thought one of the people I love and treasure would...
Maybe somehow I thought we were immune to diseases that we were disconnected to the world of sick... that we were safe.. and there could be no harm done to my family. I couldn't have been SO wrong.

The hard part is not knowing about it... but actually acknowledging it. It's really hard to believe that the man who was so healthy, taking good care of his health, and making stupid jokes is not so healthy and high spirited anymore. Another difficult part is how to be yourself in all this. How to react, to deal, and to be.

I still have to figure that out... I feel that I'm moving in slow motion.. I feel numb and like an idiot next to him. I don't know what to do or say to make him feel better. I can't ask 'how are you?' because I know how much in pain he is, well, may be not actually know.. NO, I don't think I'll really know how painful it is just to sit, or lie down, or even to breathe.. I don't know his pain but I know it's painful. I don't want to remind him of the pain or remind him he's sick by asking such stupid questions; How are you feeling today? How the hell do you think it'll feel if you're sick and dying? I want him to be happy. I want him to be able to forget the pain he's in and be happy. But I don't know how to do that... I really don't and because of that I feel so useless..

What is Renal Pelvis and Ureter Cancer?

Renal pelvis cancers are cancers that start in the middle of a kidney, where urine collects before going to the bladder. Ureter cancers start in one of the tubes that connect the kidney to the bladder. Cancer is a disease caused by a group of abnormal cells that grow and multiply without stopping. As these cells grow and multiply, they form a tumor or lump. The tumor cells replace the normal cells of the organ. Tumor cells crowd out the normal cells. This leaves fewer healthy cells to do the job of that organ. The tumor can also block passages that help the organ work. Tumor cells can grow from one organ into nearby tissues and other organs. They can also travel through the blood and lymph to other parts of the body and form more tumors. These tumors are called metastases.

Renal pelvis and ureter cancers start in the cells that line the inside of these structures. The lining tissue is made up of two types of cells, transitional cells and squamous cells. Most renal pelvis and ureter cancers start from transitional cells. Cancers that start from this type of cell are called, “transitional cell” cancers. Another name for renal pelvis and ureter cancer is urothelial cancer. Tumor cells grow in the lining tissue, and can invade through the layers of the renal pelvis or ureter, and spread to lymph nodes and other tissues nearby.

Renal pelvis and ureter cancers are not common cancers. When someone has one of these cancers, the person is also examined for tumors in the bladder. 30% to 50% of patients with cancer of the renal pelvis or ureter have or will have bladder cancer at some time.