On October 16, 2015, my dad was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). I remember the day as if it was yesterday. It is so crippling. Right away, my dad transferred to OHSU to start treatment with my mom by his side. With three rounds of chemo and a bone marrow transplant on the calendar, my dad's days came to an end on February 3, 2016. This strong, funny, humble, and loving man that is my dad is gone.
He fought the hardest battle of his life. Each day, he followed his normal routine. He would wake up, read the newspaper, watch the news drinking coffee. He then would get dressed and go on with his day. Even around the third round of chemo, he still followed his routine. I think it made him feel “normal” as if he didn’t have cancer. This illness has made the smallest moments like making laps with my dad around 14 floors so he could reach his daily mile, our dog laying next to him resting her head on his hand, requesting dinners that I would make for him when he was able to come home feel amazing, yet makes my stomach turn with grief.
The day my dad decided he was done with treatment the doctors were going to tell him there was nothing else they could do. The cancer never was out of his body even with all the chemo treatments. It’s hard to think how someone so healthy and strong could all of a sudden have cancer and a cancer that was so strong and active. When you are kids you think your parents are untouchable like nothing bad will ever happen to them. But that can all turn around in a blink of an eye. The day he called my sister and I to let us know he was done with treatment and ready to come home and be with family will be a memory I will never forget. However, each one of us have special memories with my dad, ones we will hold and cherish forever. He was an amazing man and loved by so many people, especially his wife.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my dad. The cancer did not win. He did not give up. He fought the hardest battle of his life. He is a hero. He is strong. He is humble. He is my hero.