In honor of Father’s Day, part 2 of our special blog series features PearlPoint staff members who are paying tribute to their caregiver dads. Their positivity, support, and loving care were invaluable in these cancer journeys. Do you have a tribute for your dad?
Abby Henry – Client Support Representative
Over the years, my dad made many sacrifices for me. He spent many nights sitting through soccer games, plays, and recitals just for me. When I was little, he let me “cut” his hair. My eight year old barber skills included putting shaving cream all over his head. He’s a very brave, very patient man. I know he would do anything for me, and I am eternally grateful.
During Christmas break of my senior year at Belmont University, I received a cancer diagnosis. Even though I knew I faced a tough road, I was determined to finish my final semester. In my naivet , I also thought I would be fine returning to campus by myself. I didn’t want doctor visits to disrupt my class or social schedule any more than absolutely necessary. I wanted to handle my diagnosis alone.
About two weeks into the semester, I knew was wrong. After a night spent crying on the phone, my dad called and told me he was moving to Nashville from our home in Sevierville to be with me. I wasn’t allowed to say no. My dad put his life on hold to help me through treatment. He lived in a hotel and came to all my appointments. After my surgery, he drove me to class every day.
Over the years, my dad has been there for me through everything skinned knees, tragic haircuts, teenage heartbreaks, and cancer treatment. I couldn’t have navigated any of these hardships without him. Thank you, Dad, for everything you do and for helping me become the woman I am today. What would I do without you?
Tracy Rode – Director of Client Services
When I think of the impact a father can have on a cancer patient’s journey, I don’t need to look far for an amazing example of love and support. My husband, Ed, was the captain of the team that helped me get through cancer treatment twice. My children, Edward (14) and Maddy (12), and I are honored to salute him on Father’s Day.
From the night I told Ed that my biopsy showed malignancy, he shifted into “let’s get this done and be positive all the way” mode. I knew he was upset, but he remained steadfast in his declaration that things would be alright. I am so grateful to my dear friend and survivor role model, Deb Palmer George, for letting me in on a little secret: Husbands don’t show all their pain related to the wife’s cancer diagnosis. She helped me understand that, in subtle ways that might have gone unnoticed, Ed would change in order to deal with the day-to-day impact of cancer on our family. She advised that I be alert to help him express his pain and remorse toward this unwelcome visitor in our lives, so I could be a positive influence on him when needed.
Even through recurrence and second treatment, Ed has remained steadfast in his positivity, support and loving care of me and our children as we all journey through cancer together.
Joseph Conner – Communications & PR Manager
In the spring of 2006 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her year-long fight included 12 chemo treatments, 30 radiation treatments, and 2 surgeries. This battle was not one she fought alone however. My dad was with her through it all.
Often a cancer journey is especially trying for the caregiver. Although mom lost weight during chemo, seven years into survivorship she jokes that my dad lost more weight during her treatment than she did. With a grueling 45-minute commute for treatment, mom was often sick before arriving home. Some days she felt she couldn’t take one more chemo session, but dad was there encouraging her. A cheerleader and champion, he would gently push her to keep fighting.
While mom was taking chemotherapy, dad spent countless hours building a screened-in porch for her. The “rehab center” he called it; this labor of love was his therapy. He would go out and hammer away his fears and frustrations, coming in every hour to check on mom. Built with his two hands, the “rehab center” became a place of refuge for both of them.
Like many survivors, mom faced depression post-treatment but the one thing that brought her comfort was relaxing in the screened-in porch dad had built during her treatment. Cancer requires support from the moment of diagnosis throughout survivorship, and I’m so thankful for my dad and his incredible support through my mom’s cancer journey. Even today you will likely find my parents sitting in that screened-in porch after supper. No doubt reflecting on a trial that created a bond of thankfulness thankful for health and for each other. Happy Father’s Day!
To check out Father’s Day Reflections Part 1: Our Courageous Dads click here.