A Father’s love, joy and sorrow

Naomi Cannon BeachThe doctor said my life will most likely
End in months not years,
Unless of course I get run over by a bus tomorrow.

The cancer invades my body,
Spreading as it pleases,
I take chemo twice daily to slow it’s progress.

Watching my daughter graduate from college,
Walking her down the aisle,
Teaching my grandchildren how to fish,
All seem to be an impossibility,

My daughter is so precious,
Sparkling like Sirius in the heavens.
I could not be more pleased
With how she has applied,
The passion and talent that burns within her,
In twenty years I have witnessed her amazing trajectory,

I have told her that I will always love her,
But not nearly as much as I do now.
I am as proud as any Dad can be.
Yet I struggle with finding more to say.

I am not a hugger.
But hugs feel especially good right now.
And all the love from my family and friends,
I drink up like a camel.

There is nothing left on my bucket list,
Except to live each day to the fullest,
Until I hope to have the strength,
To greet Death,
With grace and dignity.

© 2013 M. Tsai

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Second Cut

1-IMG_1023
36 glistening staples punctuate my belly,
The incision retracing much of the scar.
From my prior liver resection.

Lucky am I to have another operation,
Pregnant with hope and opportunity,
More quality time.

My bowels are frozen,
My abdomen gradually tightening,
Like the skin on a timpani drum,
Over the last six days.

I have reached the tipping point,
No more food can be packed in.

She sits exhausted and anxious
In the cramped emergency room chair,
While I lay in the gurney,
IV drip into the left arm,
My index finger pointing my heartbeat,
Into the monitor.

Waiting for the doctor,
to review the x-rays
With my surgeon.

The levity of narcotics slowly wearing off,
I begin to feel,
The searing pain of my incision,
And the tightness of my belly.

2-IMG_1027I wait anxiously,
Until 4:30 am,
To get all of my medications,
My heart beating
Loud,
Steady,
Strong.

Carpe diem

© 2013 M. Tsai

The Battle Continues

Over a year after my liver resection, my cancer has returned in my spleen.  My surgeon will remove my spleen this coming Friday.  It will be another big abdominal incision.  The past year has been filled with many firsts.  First time I could not do a single sit up. First time I tried with all my heart to show my wife and daughter how much I loved them.  First time I read a poem out loud at an open mike instead of playing the fiddle.  First time I tried to reflect on my life and actions.  First time to blog. 

The trained engineer in me wants to analyze and build structure.  Words do not stream from my consciousness to paper.  I know I have more to share.  But for now my posts may become quite rare.  Rest assured that I will be doing a lot of reading during the weeks ahead on WordPress.  A place where I can meet amazing people, learn through our common struggles and joys, and also learn how to open up and express myself.

 

Living the Dream

Wisps of steam rise above the Red Square bricks,
As they soak in the sun rays,
after a sudden downpour.

Thousands of footsteps merge and converge,
Creating random paths,
Overlapping and intertwining with each other,
At different times during the course of the day.

College students blur before me like the sifting gray clouds above,
I spot her golden hair and yellow rain coat across the square,
I make my way to cross her path at the steps.

Time stops as we each reveal our pleasure,
Her green eyes smiling deep into my soul.
Though she is pursued by a marching band of players,
I hop, skip and jump right into the fray
to gain her affections.

Emotions long forgotten like waves on a Mexican beach,
Resurface as I inspect old photos with happy poses,
And smiles that have lost their way,
A proud father and a young husband,
When did I grow so old?

Now in the midst of life, a dream momentarily shattered,
We struggle with a dark hour,
But the darkness reveals many miracles.
Time feels compressed, it has no dimension.

As my chrysalis of death begins to harden,
Her penetrating love blazes within my cocoon.
I am not alone as I transform,
Not yet ready to emerge into another world.

I will fly into death with the lightness and passion,
Of a an unseen butterfly,
I will flutter about and through her,
Filling the infinite dimensions with my love,
My energy will warm her.

Our dreams will intersect,
In another place,
Where we will awake together,
To discover ourselves again.

© 2013 M. Tsai

Am I still Cancer Free?

One year ago I had a sharp abdominal pain under the right rib cage. I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a very large tumor, liver cancer. Even though the tumor was twice as large as they normally will operate on, at 10 cm, I found a surgeon who convinced the tumor review board to allow him to cut it out. Otherwise he said I would be dead within the year as the cancer would spread to my lungs and brain. Continue reading