Growing up, I always felt my dad was the strongest man in the world. Of course, that's a natural thing for a little girl to think. But part of it was that he was tall and hefty. I was a very petite little girl and looking up at his 6'2" frame, to me, meant he must be strong. And, in reality he was strong. Very strong. He had his own carpentry business, so therefore he was hauling shingles up ladders, lumber around job sites and moving heavy power tools. Looking back, I think the best way to describe him back then is robust. And muscular. And...well,...strong. A child often sees their dad as the most amazing person in the world. For me, my dad was indestructable. Superman-like. Even when he was injured, he wasn't hurt.
In June of 1996, my father was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. At the time, they gave him six years to live. That was if he went through all kinds of treatments. If he decided to do nothing, six months to a year. He had his first two grandchildren, and there was no way he was going to miss out on watching them grow up. Thus started the treatments. Chemo. Radiation. A bone marrow transplant in 2002. There was no question in any of our minds. He was going to beat this thing.
And here it is, 2012, and Pop has out-lived all predictions. Some of the treatments he has had were experimental and are now obsolete. Some worked, some didn't. But he was able to see my nephew and Bud reach the age of 16 my twin neices the age of 14, and Ladybug the age of 7. He is now back on chemo, again.
Saturday night, our church group went to a minor league baseball game. Looking at Pop, sittting a few seats down from me, I was taken off guard. His arms and legs looked so thin. So weak. He looked so...frail. I literally had to swallow back the tears. At almost forty years old, I finally noticed the toll that cancer had taken on his body. He isn't Superman, no matter what my inner five-year-old might think.