my dad's story and prayer

Yesterday I asked for your prayers for my Dad. Let me share with you why I asked for your prayers.

my Dad and I on my wedding day
It was January 19th. Saturday morning craft sabbath. My dad called.

I was sitting on a chair, glue-gun in hand chatting with the ladies around me while making a headband. I figured my Dad was calling to FaceTime (since we had just discovered how fun it was a few weeks prior). I quickly answered the phone. It was pretty typical for him to call on the weekends. Our conversation was short. He asked me what I was doing. I said I was crafting. Can I please call you after, at noon? Yes, please.

But the day got away from me. I forgot and went on with my day without talking to him. He didn't call.

Diesel telling Dad (Poppy) a story on vacation, summer 2012
On Sunday I left church early to do something (I can't remember now what it was). I was alone. Chris stayed to hang out with some friends after church. I was walking in the door when he called again. This time he asked if I had some time to talk right now. Immediately my heart stopped. I knew something wasn't right. My mind raced. I quickly went to my grandparents. Something was wrong with them. My heart was racing. I sat down at the kitchen table.

I remember the sun was shining. It was a beautiful day in January. The light reflected off my white hutch that I loved. The table was clean. All was well. But this.

Yes. What is it? Is everything okay?

At that point my Dad began to tell me what would become a large part of the following months. My Dad had been diagnosed with stage four throat cancer. He had known for the previous two weeks but had decided to wait to tell us kids until after he knew more information. He had waited until he knew his prognosis. His reports were that the prognosis was good.

Ashley and Dad at Wallowa Lake, Oregon, summer 2012
My Dad lives in Kennewick, Washington, which 2000 miles from my home. His home. Up until two years ago, he was always close. A change in his career led him, and half of my family, to the Pacific Northwest. Since moving I had been fortunate enough to visit my Dad a few times. But a few times never felt like enough. Just that Christmas break he had visited for the whole week. He and my step-mom even visited our new home and had dinner at the kitchen table.

Now I was sitting at the kitchen table figuring out how soon I could see him. Figuring out how to deal with this. Figuring out what that word meant for my family. Cancer. My heart was broken.

He was quick. He shared his amazing story and the miracles that led to his diagnosis. (That story is for another time). He was calm and thoughtful and sweet in sharing the news. The burden of the news, I'm sure he felt. And the burden had been lifted, slightly, in finally sharing with me and others in my family.

He asked me if I had any other questions? Yes, I have a million was what I wanted to say. But I said no.

Grandpa Jerry, Sawyer and Dad on vacation, summer 2012
It's a weird thing to experience. We all know our parents aren't invincible, but that doesn't mean we believe it. My Dad is young. He's 51. My Dad has energy and excitement and motivation that beams out of him. My Dad loves and loves and loves so well. He cares for me. He calls me. He tells me I'm beautiful and that he is so, so proud of me. He tells me he can't wait to hug me the next time he sees me and gives me advice. My Dad sends me surprise checks for a fancy dinner out and sweet packages with my name on it. He even reads my blog! My Dad is so good and caring and so wonderfully my Dad.

And when you find out news like that, you just don't want to believe it.

I sat at the table for a while after our conversation ended. I don't know how much time passed. All I can remember is that Mr. Christopher came home and said oh, why are you crying? And I told him and his heart broke for mine. For ours. For my Dad. For our family.


A little over four months from the day I found out, my Dad has been through three surgeries (two of those involving robots), lots of meds, tough phone conversations, appointments and appointments and trips to Seattle back and forth, back and forth. He's been through plans are set, then no, let's change those plans. He's been sad and in pain and excited and flexible and thankful and caring and honest and real.

He's been so, so strong. Even though I haven't seen him, I hear it in his voice. He doesn't complain. He's hopeful. He's encouraged me. And he is doing so well!

Yesterday was my Dad's first day of radiation. He will have radiation treatments each weekday for the next five weeks. Everyday at 12:30pm PST. Those are his plans. The doctors believe that they were able to remove the entirety of the tumor from the three surgeries and that with the five weeks of radiation he will be 100% cured. Our family is encouraged and super hopeful and very, very thankful for what I believe is the Lord's hand in it all. Protecting him. Providing miracles of discovery. Allowing him to be a candidate for surgery. All of this is amazing.

Yet, we would still love your prayers. Maybe you can pray for him once or maybe you can set a reminder on your iPhone to tell you to pray for him each day. I truly believe in the power of prayer. And so whatever you decide, any prayers would be a blessing.

I bought my plane ticket to visit him. My sister too. We will be heading out to Seattle on June 10th and returning June 17th. Just us three. It will be lovely. My Dad doesn't even know what he's in for.

I am counting down the days.

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