Kidney cancer caregiver: Advice for appreciating life with cancer

My dad was initially diagnosed with stage II kidney cancer in January 2002. But the tumor in his kidney was contained, and surgery successfully removed the cancer. He remained cancer-free for 13 years. Things changed in July 2015, when he coughed up a teaspoon of blood. He went to the doctor and underwent an X-ray that revealed multiple spots on his lungs. Additional CT scans confirmed the spots. His doctor referred him to MD Anderson. Though my dad was very scared, he was eager to get some clarity on his diagnosis and plan his treatment. My dad’s second kidney cancer diagnosis After he underwent additional testing at MD Anderson, he was diagnosed with stage IV renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer. Our family was devastated. My dad had had no symptoms other than the one occurrence of coughing up blood. Our family has accompanied him to many doctors’ appointments, tests and even attended a few pity parties. I struggled quite a bit with trying to find new meaning after his diagnosis. My dad is currently participating in an immunotherapy clinical trial that uses an experimental drug called NKTR-214 in combination with nivolumab, under the care of Adi Diab, M.D. This is actually my dad’s second clinical trial. Prior to this one, he was on a different one under the care of Nizar Tannir, M.D. That clinical trial showed great initial results – shrinkage of the tumors in his lungs! As we go through his treatment and wait to see what happens next, I find it’s a struggle some days to reconcile what I imagined life...