I think college will do that to you. After three months of a wacko sleeping patterns and late nights, my body just isn't ready to be in bed at midnight. My mind is still going. So, I think it is about time that I put down a little update for everyone...along with a few of my own thoughts and things over the past couple months. And no better time seeing as it is early Thanksgiving morning!
First things first, update on Iron Dean. He has been going in for weekly visits to have blood tests done, check-ups on his progress, prep for chemo rounds, participation in an experimental study, ecc. Well, you could say he is the shining star of the neuro-oncology unit at Huntsman! Doctors are elated by his only-positive progress. Treatments are being as effective as possible, Dad is reacting well to everything, we're just waiting for that hair to come back in nice and full! Seriously though, what amazing blessings that are coming our way. The only bad thing is that he is doing so well that they are going to treat the cancer more aggressively. Instead of double-dose chemo, our dad will be on a triple dose. I guess I wouldn't expect anything less from an Iron Dean. Keep the support coming as we head forward with fingers crossed and hearts full of prayer. Next week we will have results of the second MRI post-surgery/radiation.
Life has been so sweet; not the manly kind of "sweet" (sick/cool/awesome), but the kind of sweet that comes when you hold a new baby, or watch as people come together for an inspirational cause, or see God's hand as it works miracles in people's lives -- the beautiful and inspirational kind of sweet. That sums up what has been happening in the Bullock family world.
Cole Dean Nielson and Nixon Harold Bullock were both born within the last month (just putting this out there...babies are AMAZING!) I feel comforted every time I hold those little guys. The same power that orchestrated their growth, development and health is giving my dad the strength necessary to keep up the fight. I'm powerless in both situations. There is absolutely nothing that I can do to make a baby's heart beat or my dad's brain to heal, but I can trust that it is in God's hands and things will turn out right. I am going to use the cliché and say heaven feels closer when I get to hold those boys...and when I get to hug my dad.
That sweetness was only added to by the incredible amount of support we have witnessed as we threw our first annual IronDean 5K! It was so inspiring to see all the people who came out on a cold November morning to put their hands in for a giant "Kick Cancer's _______" cheer. It was also the first time that I had heard my dad say anything about cancer and his situation. Kind of a weird thing to think that the man who is suffering is the one who has talked least about it. He is a man of few words. I love him for that though because what he lacks in words he makes up for 100x over in actions.
Now I think I am going to copy my brother Jeff and make the rest of this post a letter to my Dad:
It's Thanksgiving; our first Thanksgiving as a "cancer survival group" :) I think the situation calls for a little extra thanks this year, so I am going to start this list that I can add to when I need to to let you know what I am grateful for. FYI: There is no order to this.
I'm grateful for Costco hot dogs. Without them, getting you into the hospital could have been a lot more complicated...
I'm grateful for the care and affection you show Mom. This is something that has never lacked in your marriage up to this point, but I have been noticing more sustained kisses and hugs around the house between you and Mom. Thanks for showing me what love DOES.
Thank you for being a Bullock. That darn stubborn/fighter gene is what has kept you going through this and a lot of other things in life. I'm grateful you passed that on to me. Now one of my character flaws is a prized possession because it reminds me of you haha!
I'm grateful for your sense of humor, before and through this trial. Thanks for throwing up the peace sign first thing out of surgery. Thanks for enjoying our brain jokes and radiation puns. You really do "glow".
Thanks for not ever complaining about anything. It is always refreshing to be with you because, like I said before, you never talk about what is going on. You just keep things cool and classy :) I think I worry more about if you are tired or when your hair is going to grow back than you do...
I'm grateful you agree without fail to my weekly lunch requests. I know you are busy at work, but they mean more than you will ever know to me. One day it will be me treating you :)
I'm grateful for the above-average amount of hugs lately.
Thanks for teaching me how to drive. And thank you for passing on your sense of direction to me! I pride myself in being almost as directionally apt as you!
Thanks for picking me up and letting me ride home with you at least once a week. I know Greg thinks I am a gas mooch, but its mostly just so I can spend a little time hanging out with you. Living out of the house now...well it kinda stinks when the only place I want to be is home. Anyways, thanks for picking me up, taking me home and then just taking me back in the morning for class.
Thanks for putting up with my annoying questions during our car rides, even though some of your answers are a little...boring and unjuicy as I try to delve into the mysteries of your life :)
Thanks for teaching me how to appreciate girls. The way you treat mom, your sisters, and your daughters is special.
I'm grateful your "leaky-faucet" gene passed on to me.
I'm grateful that you are a little more tired these days. It lets me do stuff for you for once, even if it is usually just some yard work.
Thanks for being so unique. These days I feel like everything is a living memorial to you. At least 5-6 times each day something happens that makes me think "that TOTALLY reminds me of my dad!" A few include:
- Black licorice
- Stubbornness (as stated before)
- The words "Buckwheat" and "Girl Scout"
- Eating things that have fallen on the ground hahah! (when I do it or when other people do)
- 16 oz. water bottle drink mix packets from the dollar store
- Finding and taking advantage of good deals by buying in bulk
- Talk radio...i.e. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, ecc.
- To be continued...lots of things are slipping through my mind right now...I should have written them down
I feel sorry for the people around me all day. They probably get sick of hearing, "My dad loves/hates/acts/does that!"
I'm grateful for two of the most INCREDIBLE weeks with you and Mom in Italy, just 2 months before your tumor hemorrhaged. (See pictures below)
Our first day in Rome my dad and I were going to just run a couple miles in the morning...turned into a 5 miler through every major tourist site in Rome...Oops...that is the Colosseum just ahead of us
Mom and Dad in San Remo on the Italian Riviera
Maybe the tumor was having more effects that we didn't pay attention to...
Like father like son. I should be embarrassed of this, but it represents well a lot of what was going on during our trip. Ridiculous.
Mom and Dad in Rome
At the top of the tower in Siena, Tuscany
Hiking the Cinque Terre
Dock posing with San Remo in the background
Fog on Lake Como
Running in Rome
This is the Mouth of Truth. Supposedly if you tell a lie while your hand is in the mouth it will get cut off. As a test my dad said "I love you" to my mom. Needless to say his hand remained intact.
Look closely at the steering wheel guard...my dad loved it
This was the weeny elevator to our first hotel. It scared my mom to death just to get in it. My dad and I would wobble around and hop in it just to get a rouse out of her :)
The rental my dad was ashamed to drive. He said it was the ugliest car he had ever seen.
Biking the pistaciclabile in Liguria
St. Mark's Square
And as a final few things, I just wanted to tell God a couple things I am grateful for:
Thank you for giving me more time with my dad.
Thanks for making that time the sweetest I have ever had. Knowing that there could be a slightly shorter time-limit with someone changes your perspective. I needed that.
Thanks for the little things throughout the day that give me boosts and remind me life is amazing.
Thanks for my amazing brothers, sisters, mom and dad...and all other extended family.
Thanks for the gospel that brings hope in a happy future.
Thanks for miracles.
To finish off, here is a link to an AMAZING talk for anybody who needs a little boost. Elder Richard G. Scott puts it so amazingly. Luckily I ran across this because of a homework reading assignment.