To my father, Tom

Losing my father to glioblastoma was something I wouldn’t have imagined even in my nightmares. I’d never experienced the loss of a loved one before and it all happened so fast.

He was diagnosed in Albania when my mother saw the first signs of the tumor like memory loss. We all thought it was normal since he was 58 but we suspected something else was wrong when the memory loss became frequent.

He had his first tumor removal in Tirana and then we went to Italy for better treatment options.

At first I still didn’t know the exact thing he had, but I knew it was bad because after two months there was another tumor and began losing hope. I cursed myself for knowing Italian the moment his doctor said that even if he received treatment he would not live past six months. I blacked out and cried for hours. I couldn’t bear to go into his hospital room thinking all hope was gone.

Things have been tough since that day. My father stopped speaking the last 6 months of his life. The tumor caused difficulties in speaking. Things like that made him angry because we couldn’t understand him.

I know deep down he never gave up.

On his birthday in November, we found out the therapies we tried hadn’t worked and another tumor was forming. He died one month later on December 2 2019. He spent his last two weeks in Albania and gave his final breath here with us.

I hope he’s up there watching us. He will forever live in our hearts. I love and miss you so much.

Your little daughter, Kristela.

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