One Moment to Mark a Lasting Change
Have you ever stopped to think about a moment in your life that changed everything? Whether it changed you as a person, the course of your life or those around you, that one moment was such a significant one that you will never forget it.
This is what I thought about when I wrote this piece:
It’s amazing how something small and so seemingly insignificant can affect your whole life. But one call, just one phone call was all it took to change everything. Back then, almost twelve years ago, I was aware that my father had regular check-ups to find out whether the asbestos on his lungs had moved or changed. For ten years he had known about this small piece of poison sitting on his diaphragm. No one could say whether, if at all, it was likely to cause any ill effects. But it couldn’t be removed and so it remained there, a silent, but potentially deadly, ticking bomb.
In 2002, the annual x-ray showed a shadow and tests revealed fluid on the lung. The asbestos had awoken from its slumber, triggering the bomb and setting off a new timer, one that would be the count down to the end of my father’s days.
That was when the phone call came. I was at work at the time. My mother explained that the asbestos had caused a type of cancer to form, called Mesothelioma. It was present in the lining of his lungs and on the diaphragm and it could not be treated with chemo or radio therapy. There was nothing they could do.
After speaking to my mum I remember putting the phone down and staring at my computer screen in shock. I didn’t believe her at first. This was the sort of thing that happened to other people, to people you hear about on the television. It wasn’t real life, it wasn’t happening to my family.
I looked up the condition on the internet, desperate to find something that would show they were all wrong. But I didn’t find anything, there was only one prognosis; death.
It was with a heavy heart and much resentment that I watched my father turn from a lively outgoing character, to a shrunken, depressed recluse. The pain came quickly and within a year he was gone.
It was the 20th April, 2003, an Easter Sunday and a day that I will never forget.
One moment to change everything. For my father, that moment was the day he went to work and unknowingly breathed in a deadly poison. For me it came when I found out that the day we had all been dreading had finally arrived. There was no chance of surviving it; no hope. One phone call that marked the beginning of something that would change our lives forever.
Sharing this for What I’m Writing.