Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Baking cookies with Papa and a diagnosis

My mom was gone and my dad sent me a text at work asking if we wanted to come over and bake cookies with him.  Haha.  I literally laughed out loud because I'm pretty sure my dad hasn't ever baked cookies in his life.  But he wanted to and wanted to do it with Charlie and Maddie, so off we went!

Now Jimmy on the other hand, he is the cookie baker in our house, so I stepped back and let him take over.  Let's just say besides buying the ingredients, but dad was happy to left Jimmy take over!!  

But the kids had fun, Papa had fun and the cookies were just ok.

While these are not the best pictures (at all), as I just snapped them with the my phone, these pictures and this time are a little more special all of a sudden.

In addition to a generally busy fall like most people had, our family got rocked with the news that my dad had aggressive prostrate cancer in August.  My dad just retired from teaching for 30+ years at the same school for 20 in May and was going to all his doctor's appointments before his insurance stopped and he got on my mom's...as his full retirement was about to take effect.  Prostrate cancer runs in my dad's family.  His dad had it, all his uncles have had it, so he has been diligent about each year getting his PSA (prostrate specific antigen) screening to monitor himself.  Well thankfully he always did because this year, his levels were elevated a lot.  That led to a biopsy to get the official diagnosis.  Of course he and my mom were acting all nonchalant to my sister and I about this test, but when the results came in and we found out it was aggressive...then was the scary part.  The tests that followed were CAT scans and scans to see if the cancer had spread anywhere else.

After testing and waiting, the results were the best they could be.  The cancer was aggressive, but contained to the prostate.  Praise the Lord.  While it wasn't an "easy" fix, it was something that the doctors all felt like they could remove and rid him of cancer all together if effective.  Or he could do treatments instead of surgery.  I mentioned that his dad (my grandpa) had prostate cancer as well - he beat that and then ended up losing his battle at a ripe old age to other cancers taking over.  My dad decided to bite the bullet and get surgery even with some potential long term side effects.

So on October 13, my dad went into surgery to have his prostate removed.  When I went to up to the hospital before he went into surgery, he was in a great mood and ready to get it done (not surprisingly because he has a great attitude overall).  The surgery went great and even better, were the results after they tested him to see if they got all the cancer.  All gone.  Cancer free just like that.  His surgeon was amazing (did the surgery all robotic which amazes me).  While it's been a hard road during recovery (and he is still hanging in there), as hard as it was to keep a good attitude, he did his best and we were all there along with him.  It was very hard for him to not to be able to pick up his grandkids and not let Charlie and Maddie jump all over him, but he kept his head up.

And it's crazy that just under 3 months have passed and he seems like his normal self again.  From what was a severe and scary diagnosis to cancer free in just a short time shows you just how amazing modern medicine is.  We are so thankful for my dad's diligence in continuing to get his levels checked and fast action by him and his medical team to test him and move forward with next steps.

Did you know that "prostate cancer is the most common nonskin cancer in men, and it's the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men after lung cancer.  Early detection may be an important tool in getting appropriate and timely treatment," (according to the Mayo Clinic).  So while my dad was one of the many prostate cancer diagnosis's that happen every year in men - there are so many dads, husbands, brothers, sons that aren't as lucky as he was to have caught an aggressive cancer and get it out and become cancer free.  So encourage your husbands, dads, grandpas, etc. to keep up with their annual tests - you never know.  My dad has also had skin cancer several times and that has always been caught early enough to be treated or removed (even if the treatment was no fun at all) - so please, remain diligent.

I literally cannot imagine our lives without my dad, my kids Papa in it.  He is just such a positive and wonderful person that is so helpful and fun and just a blessing to be around.  I love talking to him, his laugh, his stories, his faith and devotion to his family (including his mom!).  I'm just so thankful the way his prostate cancer story ended for now.  Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for that.  And not a day goes by that Charlie doesn't say "pray for Papa and that the ow-y on his tummy feels better".  Yep Charlie, we are all so thankful for that!

Speaking of, I also need to get back into the dermatologist for my own annual skin check up.

And in case you were wondering if Maddie is my child - here is a fun picture of me that I found at my parent's house that night that is me about Maddie's age.  #twins or maybe just #twinhair


  1. Praise God that the cancer is gone! What an excellent outcome considering the severity of the disease.

    1. Yes we are so thankful!!!! So glad they were able to get it all and he caught it early!

  2. So amazing and so, so, so thankful!

  3. So happy you are getting to do lots of these sessions!
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