Thursday, August 9, 2012

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Whitney here. Like Sean mentioned yesterday, my dad started his chemotherapy pills yesterday. Today he starts radiation. It still seems surreal to me that I am using words like that while talking about my dad. My brothers gave my dad a beautiful Priesthood blessing last night before he started his treatments so he has all the power and medicine he needs on his side right now. What a blessing it has been to have the Priesthood in our home during this time. 

So last night dad's "super secret spies" followed him up to the bathroom for his inaugural pill. We were all gathered around him, getting ready for it, I was getting the camera ready to document it, and during all that my dad just dumped a pill into the lid (the bottle says to handle the pills with gloves which we find ironic because he is then putting it into his mouth to swallow....) and took it! My mom let out a little panicked scream and told my dad to get some water or something. We all laughed because I'm not sure what we were expecting...his tongue burning up from the pill? A big bang? A little more fanfare? My dad just rolled his eyes and said "It's just a pill!" 

I made my dad re-pose for the picture since he went so fast the first time :) I love that he can still be goofy at a time like this...I don't know if he realizes how much it eases the anxiety I feel and makes me feel calmer. 

This was his reaction to my moms little scream...guess he thought the gasps and screams were a little much for "just a pill." :)

So it is done. The first day of chemotherapy has officially begun, and after today it will be the same for radiation. After he took the pill, we gathered in a circle with our hands in the middle and let out the first cheer of what will be many, "KILL THE CANCER!!!" You can bet that will be our cheer (and fervent prayer) every single day and hope you will add your cheers (and prayers) to ours! 

So I know that on some of the previous posts, we have talked about some of the tender mercies and miracles that have been happening since this whole "opportunity" began, but I just wanted to share a couple that are a little more specific to me. As lots of you know, my husband and I live in my parents basement apartment. We have lived here since 2009 and have loved it! It has been such a wonderful blessing in so many different ways. And one of those ways has become apparent since my dad was diagnosed. I have an opportunity unique to any of my other siblings to be here every single day. And although those days have had their ups and downs, it has been a tremendous blessing for me to be able to see my dad progress more and more every day. I love seeing him do his normal things every day...check the mail, go to work, joke with Jack, love my mom, be stern with Dillon etc. I don't know exactly how my dad feels about doing his "normal" things - I can imagine it is frustrating as it isn't his complete "normal"- but it gives me a little more comfort and hope and happiness every time I see it. 

Besides seeing the progression my dad makes every day, it has been a huge blessing to just be able to spend time with him. I'm sure it might get a little overwhelming sometimes for my dad to always have someone hovering around him, asking him questions, talking to him etc. but being the perfect dad he is, he puts up with it...with or without knowing how much it helps us, I don't know, but I certainly hope it helps him in some small way. 

This was taken last week but seeing this warmed me to the core. Jack has always loved using grandpa's iPad or iPhone. It was always a form of bribery my dad would use to get Jack to sit next to him :)

This was also taken last week. Jordan mentioned that the grandkids love sharing grandpa's eye patches :)

Jordan, Greg, Sean and I invited ourselves along on one of my parents nightly walks...but we did it in style...roller blades, long boards, ripsticks and all :) I don't know about my parents, but we certainly had a blast! :)

My parents, Chris and I, and Ryan and Jordan went to Wicked on Tuesday night. It was amazing!

And speaking of amazing, doesn't my dad look it?! 

I just want to say one more thing about my dad. For those of you who know my dad, you know that he isn't Mr. Chatty Pants. He isn't a stresser. He isn't a worrier. He isn't a complainer. He isn't dramatic by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, he is optimistic. He is determined. He is goofy and silly and fun. He takes life as it comes to him and doesn't complain. He is happy. He runs with whatever comes his way. I know many of you know what I am talking about...please don't hesitate to share how my dad's positive, happy attitude may have affected you- we love reading your thoughts and comments. 

Anyways, I have found myself wishing at some points during this "opportunity" that my dad was a little more chatty just so I could know exactly what he was thinking about everything, but after talking to my mom about this a little, I realized I was forgetting something very important about my dad....

 My dad is a doer, not a sayer. 

I realized that I was only looking to hear the pep talks about how he was going to fight this or how he wasn't going to let this get him down or how everything was going to be o.k. But now I've realized that all I need to do is take a step back and I'll see that my dad is saying all those things loud and clear, every day. Not in his words but in his actions. He has said it since day one post-surgery when he was released from the ICU after barely 24 hours. He said it when he was released from the hospital just 5 days after having had major brain surgery. He said it every day during his recovery as he talked more and moved around more. He said it when he was back at work just 14 days after surgery. He said it on Sunday when he went to church all 3 hours (my siblings couldn't even do that! ;)) He says it every day when he goes to work. He says it every day as he sits with us to watch and cheer on the athletes in the Olympics. He says it every day when he jokes and laughs with us. He says it every day when he comes down in the morning, dressed and ready for what the day might bring. Last night he said it when he didn't make a big deal out of taking his chemo pill. And today he said it as he left for his first day of radiation, iPad in hand, a smile on his face as we called out that we couldn't wait to see him looking more "radiant."

So now I know that I don't need my dad to sit me down and give me a pep talk and tell me that things are going to be o.k....all I need to do is watch him and he will tell me that every second of every day. Actions speak louder than words. 


appetersen said...

That "doer" legacy has been passed on so well from Dean & Kris - to all their amazing children & grandchildren. My family and I love you and add our prayers to the MANY that are being offered every hour of every day.

Jordan said...

Thanks Whid!! That was perfectly said. I am super jelly cat that I am leaving in a couple days and can't be a super secret spy with you anymore. I love you!

Todd said...

Great analysis of your dad, Whitney. Yes, he's a doer. He's reserved sometimes and speaks up when he needs to be heard. He taught me so many things in our bishopric. I grew to know if he said something I had better pay attention because it was always the right thing to do or very good advice. He's a determined man who isn't afraid of what comes his way. He can stand and face the rain and let the rest of the world do what they may. It's resolution. It's strength in motion. It's Dean!

Jessica Hall said...

Great post! Before I ran my first marathon Dean gave me advice and cheered me on. Now, I am glad to be cheering him on during this journey to kicking cancer's butt!

grammajill said...

As a sister to Dean I can say that we all feel the same way. He just looks at the situation and quietly goes about fixing it. We all saw that as we handled the last few years of our parents on this earth. We all trust him implicitly and can say he "fixes" things to everyone's satisfaction without a lot of fanfare, or talk. He is definitely a doer not a sayer.

Kent said...

I love reading all your posts. Your family is so amazing and it really strengthens me just to read about all of you and how you are handling this. Kent, Ben and I are all praying for you. Love Nancy

You are a great example Dean!!

Brent Nielson said...


What a great insight into your amazing Dad. We are doing the "chemo cheer."