Looks catch attention, but character catches the heart

Throughout my entire life I’ve heard “you look just like your Dad.”

(I still don’t see it).

I did however know with certainty that I looked like my Dad’s side of the family as I was built exactly the same as all the cousins I’d spent summers with throughout my childhood.  My brother on the other hand was more of a blend of both parents.

From a very young age I knew that Nature had a lot to do with the differences between my brother and I (and not just in looks) as although we were bought up in exactly the same way we were very different people.  I was much more defiant than my brother and would push just to see how far I could move the boundary and where I was shy surrounding myself with a select few people, he was (and still is) outgoing and sociable.

However, although a lot of what makes us, us is hardwired I wholeheartedly think that raising a child very much a case of “monkey see, monkey do” ..

For as long as I’ve been on earth, I’ve watched my Dad “just get on with it” regardless of what obstacles are presented.  I can still vividly recall that Friday afternoon when he and I sat in the cold concrete interview room at the Auckland Hospital being told the he had a massive cancerous tumor in his throat and that on Monday the doctor needed to remove just about everything in his mouth and neck (ok it was slightly more technical than that, but I’m summarising). His surgeon stated Dad had a 50/50 chance of even making it through the surgery and if he did make it, he would then be subjected to both chemo and radiation therapy.  In short, it was going to be a long and arduous journey, he would never be able to talk, he would be fed through a tube and life would never be the same from this point forward.

Dad’s response?  “OK – just do whatever you need to do”

That was nearly five years ago and although I could hear the surgeon’s words “you have a 50/50 chance” ringing in my ears, I should have known ALWAYS to bet on Dad! He just got on with it, just as he had always done. Even during this past year whilst living in vast amounts of pain as his jaw is basically pumice from the chemotherapy treatment he underwent, he’s done whatever needed to be done to get strong enough to have a jaw reconstruction.

It started out as such a viscous cycle – it hurt when he ate, so he didn’t eat enough and as a consequence he’d loose weight.  Then as he’d lost so much weight he couldn’t safely be subjected to surgery – all while ACC tried to get out of paying for the surgery as “as a pumice jaw should have been expected as a normal side effect of treatment” – argh! Dad agreed to have the feeding tube refitted so that he could get enough calories into him and ACC finally came to the party.

Dad underwent surgery on Monday.  Once again he was told that he wouldn’t be able to talk post surgery and that he’d wake up with a trachea inserted to enable him to breathe. Yeah .. Dad had other ideas 😉 He woke up with no trach and he was talking in the recovery room!  And in his typical Dad style during my visit on Tuesday he was asking his nurse if he could get all the drains removed and his moon boot fitted as he wanted to get up .. bless him!

My Dad is the one resounding reason I never worry about anything because he’s always shown me that everything will work out – you just have to get on with it.

Till next time #fuckcancer





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