Dad Cancer Hero

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines a victory as

“an attack of defeating an enemy in a battle.”

Courtney, Aubrey, Carter, Dad, Camryn and Brynlee- The Day He Rang the Bell

My Dad was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Stage IV in July. After surgery and rehab, he handled six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy like a superhero. We were not surprised.

He IS a superhero.

Like a superhero a great Dad gives you hope, protects you and keeps a watchful eye. He has taught me that tough times are temporary and you show how tough you truly are by how you respond. I have always admired the way he reacts and handles the things that truly matter, so why would this be any different?

Glioblastoma should be called Glioblasucka.

If you spend a few minutes reading about Glioblastoma on the American Brain Cancer Association website you will understand my sarcasm.

From the day my Dad was diagnosed, medical professionals have been cautiously optimistic and kind as they’ve shared the harsh realities of GBM. We have heard statements or words like:

  • No single therapy has had much success in the field
  • aggressive
  • bad illness
  • serious
  • The median survival rate is 14.6 months
  • Research hasn’t changed much in decades
  • terminal

What Glioblastoma doesn’t know about my family is that we won’t let these statements dictate life.

When the words Glioblastoma Stage IV were said to my family, I struggled with how my Dad would handle a personal battle. My Dad is a person who has fought for and alongside me when I was not able to. He spent the first year and a half of Aubrey and Courtney’s lives with me. During the 121 days in 2011 that I was unable to be with my newborn babies, my dad sat with me, showed up, listened, let me cry, and fought so hard for me to get better.

During some of those very dark days, I was crippled by psychosis. I wanted to give up, but my Dad showed empathy and encouraged me that the finish line was close and would be all worth it in the end. HE WAS SO RIGHT!

By the grace of God, I made a comeback, but faced 3 surgeries in 2012 that would prevent me from lifting Aubrey and Courtney for an additional 126 days.

Mentally, I was stronger and “Kristi” was back and wanted to kick this whole thing to where it belonged, in the past. For 126 days though, I needed help. I required someone with me full time so my body could heal properly. In order to heal, I wasn’t able to lift Aubrey and Courtney for 126 days. My Dad helped me the most, but will never take credit for that! I had the fight in me this time, but just needed a little help getting to the new finish line.

Aubrey (Courtney?) and Dad

Seven years ago, the thought never occurred to me that my Dad would face a shocking diagnosis. For anyone who knows my Dad, shocking is the best word because my Dad is a man with dignity who drops everything to help others and just has a way of helping to heal your soul.

The negative connotation of the word shocking though does not define his journey. Synonyms like remarkable, unforeseen and stunning are more like it.

And I questioned, how he would handle it?

He taught me how to fight for and alongside someone and he is continuing to astound me by the way he continues to demonstrate what this looks like. He has the best attitude, is determined to increase his strength through Physical and Occupational Therapy, has had no negative effects from medications and handles it like he does everything else- with dignity and strength.

Trust me, this stinks. Because of where the tumor is located, he has motor difficulties with his left side. He gets fatigued. He can’t drive. He is addicted to candy. He watches Fox News. He tells bad jokes. Oh wait, two of those may not be cancer related.

Yesterday, was 6 months since diagnosis and his follow up appointment that included scan results. The doctors, nurses and therapists celebrated his astounding response to GBM so far.

The tumor is slightly larger, but dead inside. With GBM there are cells left behind that need to be monitored, but the doctor scheduled to see him in March and told him to travel and enjoy life.

We will. No walker, walker, wheelchair, God decides when we take our last breath. While we are all alive, we choose to live and not worry about the mode of transportation.

Don’t be surprised if you see this 79 year old rockstar in a medical journal. He has already beaten so many odds.

Drew, Jill, Cater, Mom and Dad

Read more about my Dad.

The youngest child, the oldest grandchild and my poor Dad watching The Masked Singer
I only speak the truth
Late night candy eating



  1. Thomas on January 19, 2019 at 3:24 am

    As a recent cancer survivor myself this strikes a real chord with me. The doctors on my case have also been impressed with how I responded to aggressive and intensive chemotherapy. While I freely acknowledge that coping with all that has happened over the last few months has been very difficult most of those around me are impressed by how well I am managing to do so. I have written a number of posts since being discharged from hospital, including this one:

    All respect to both you and your father for the way in which you are handling this 🙂

  2. St on January 19, 2019 at 8:39 am

    So happy for your dad! I can’t imagine the joy in ringing the bell! We spent this last year with the harsh reality that life is short and made it our mission to spend as much family time as possible. Love seeing that you guys are too!!

  3. bsmiskoaolcom on January 19, 2019 at 10:03 am

    As always, you tell us the unvarnished truth with valor, honesty, and humor. This piece is such a beautiful testimony of your relationship with your dad, who sounds like a real superhero. Thank you for sharing grace and hope with us. Your words are not wasted.

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