By Katt Cooper

If it isn't one thing.

My dad broke a rib leaning over the center console of his car last year. He healed and life went on.

Then the hospital called. Labs showed kidney failure. Dad scoffed. No symptoms, feeling fine, the nurses must be wrong.

Something was wrong.

No one could say for sure, but it was the type of something no medical professional says “let's check back in six months and see where you're at” type of wrong. A test here, a test there. Specialist A through N tossed their hands up in defeat. Specialist O, from Oncology, was the only one to raise their hand with an answer after dad had to be taken to the ER.

Multiple myeloma. Cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow. Makes your bones brittle and weak. The broken rib made more sense.

It's hard to see your parent in a hospital bed when just that last week you were sharing the news of your big promotion and laughing over his superior pickleball skills vs my sisters mediocre ones.

The panic was sickening and hard to communicate to my boyfriend who waited patiently as I shared the diagnosis back at our apartment through tears he rarely sees. I asked questions of my best friend who works in the medical field. She gave reassuring answers about the treatability and recovery rate. Mom went to support groups and found the answers to her questions. The panic resided the more we learned about the process.

Panic and information collection in December. Chemo in January. Check ups through February. Transplant in March.

He's cancer free now and ready for lake season with the neighbors, but now he has to worry about sun burns on his bald head. Don't worry, I got him the perfect hat.