There is such a variety in all the types of fathers in the world, it’s pretty much like rolling a dice to see what you will get. Some fathers don’t even bother to spend time with their kids, let alone support and help them work towards their dreams. Good fathers can be harder to find than you might think. Personally, I feel pretty blessed to have the one that I do. Some good fathers will be there for you throughout childhood, offer you some wise advice, and support your goals and dreams. And yes, I’m lucky enough to have a dad who expertly accomplishes all of those things, but I also have a dad who has gone above and beyond for me in the toughest of times.
When I was first diagnosed with rare ASPS, he could have crumpled down and given up. He could have taken all of the tough blows our family has been hit by with a victim mentality. He could have focused on himself and how his life would now be affected.
But he didn’t. Both my dad and my mom rose to the challenge of fighting this stubborn, mysterious, tricky, & TERRIBLE cancer. My dad researched cancer fighting foods and stocked the fridge and pantry with healthy food. He helped me create adapted exercise plans that would help strengthen parts of my body that were weak. I can always count on getting the best encouragement when I’m feeling kind of down or depressed from bad news. He helps me on days when I feel bad, where my body & mind don’t want to do anything, and gives me that little (sometimes big, I admit!) shove I need to get out the door and face the day. My dad is the biggest motivator, cheerleader, helper, and teacher in my life.
Although my eyes were really opened to just how much my dad cares about me after my initial diagnosis, honestly, he’s always been there for me many times before that as well.
One memory that really sticks out to me was when I was first learning to ski, about 9 years old. I was terrified about almost everything to do with skiing; the lift, the uncomfortable space boots, and hurtling down a steep icy slope. And the experience was in no way an easy accomplishment. I fell on my rear countless number of times, tears staining my face as I gritted my teeth through the entire ordeal. Trust me, I was NOT a fast learning student! I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up, sit down, take of my skis, and clomp down the hill on my own two feet. But for every wipeout, for every discouragement, for every fear, my dad was there to comfort, encourage, or show me the love I needed to give it another shot. I will never forget how my dad refused to give up on me that day. The incredible patience and perseverance he showed permanently stayed with me. It taught me one of many lessons I’ve learned through his example. Finally, when I managed to struggle to the bottom of the hill, I let out a big exhale. It felt wonderful.
I now watch him fight just as hard through every rejection we get from drug companies, as we desperately plead for an age exception to a possible life saving medicine (PD1 or PDL1) before its too late for me.
Since then, I’ve taken into account several lessons. I’ve learned not to just give up because something’s really, really, tough. I’ve learned to do the best you can with imperfect circumstances that you don’t necessarily understand. I’ve learned that sometimes the first step is the hardest, but once you get past it, you can do anything! I’ve learned that a positive mentality can turn around a situation faster than almost anything. I’ve learned that a little extra kindness just might make you a new friend. And all of these things I learned from, you guessed it, my dad! Through these indirect lessons, I’m inspired to become the best person I can be. I can’t think of a better gift that my dad could give me. I’m so appreciative of all of the time and energy he’s poured into me, my interests, goals, and dreams. And most of all, I enjoy the time we spend together and the sense of humor we share.
So this Father’s Day,even though I could never repay him considering what he’s given me, all I want is for my dad to know how grateful and lucky I feel to have him as a father. I love you 🙂