Father’s Day

Kayaking Father's Day 2014

Kayaking Father’s Day 2014

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 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Father’s Day

  1. I totally agree that you have an awesome Dad! He has been there for you day and night in your fight against cancer. I have seen him be your cheerleader and encourager countless times when things were very rough. He has a patient way of breaking down a huge obstacle that feels overwhelming, one determined step at a time. Maybe I’m a little bit biased because he’s my son, but I couldn’t be prouder of the father he is to you and Kelley!

    With much love,
    Grandma

  2. What a nice tribute to your dad, Nathalie. I bet out of all the Father’s Day gifts he’s ever received from you, this one will mean the most. We on Team Nathalie/Andi’s Army Division think he’s a pretty great guy, too! As we’ve gotten to know you, your parents, Kelley and Missy through the videos, Facebook and Twitter, we think the entire Traller family is pretty special. It’s reflected in so many things, not the least of which is the faith, hope and courage everyone shows every day. Hang tough, Nathalie. We’re rooting for you!

  3. Dearest Nathalie! I have been thinking a lot about you lately and praying for you of course. As Father’s Day was approaching, I had wondered what you might say – how you would define your Dad and you have spelled it all out so beautifully! Over time, we at Team Nathalie – Andis Army have gotten to know you all in a variety of ways. What sticks out most to me is the ‘strength and courage’ you show and the way that both your parents are handling all of this to get you the medicine that you need. Not a single person has given up – your support team is incredible ..the love of your family – shines brightly each and every day. Your own zest for life is no surprise, because you were raised to move forward, to learn as you go.. to not give up… Our Father in Heaven never gives up on any of us, and your Dad sure has not given up, nor will he. I cannot speak to what you are going through with this rare cancer, I never had Cancer but know of several who have had it. My husband for one – yet he never once allowed Cancer to define him and I see you are the same way. Your Dad’s love for you is as genuine and as pure as the pristine snow from the icy ski slopes… You have climbed mountains only to ski down them – despite your fears and had your Dad there to encourage you to make that climb again… He continues to do that each and every day. You have a mountain of support and are loved by so many! As Nancy Anderson said: ” We are rooting for you ”

    What a lovely Father’s Day message you wrote!

    God Bless!

  4. Nice message, Nathalie. With two daughters of my own, I can relate somewhat to what you wrote, and obviously YOUR dad is really special. 🙂

    Steve in Minnesota

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