Les Patterson??Ÿ?¦Ÿ??s Monday Morning Boost: Finding joy and richness in cancer

Find joy and richness in the journey.
That was the thought I shared back in the spring when my dad started his journey with cancer. The journey went well, at least for a while. Then the cancer returned. It’s called non-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, and it’s returned with a vengeance, spreading to his lungs, lymph nodes, five spots in his spine, and delved into his bones.
The last four weeks have been tough for dad. Just after Thanksgiving, the tumor in his left lung caused the lung to collapse and he spent a week in ICU. He came home but the next day was back in the ER when his oxygen levels plummeted. He’s spent a couple weeks in rehab centers and is now on oxygen full-time.
PHOTO #1 Dad and Rebecca at Thanksgiving, just before the journey of cancer continued for dad.
Forgive me if it seems I’ve shared a lot of the not-so-good details. Trust me. I don’t share to complain, nor to draw sympathy. I share simply to point out a little bit of the journey dad and we as his family have been on.
So where’s the richness and joy? It is found, just as it was when I took my own journey with cancer, in the people. May I share a few who have made the journey much richer and much more joyful.
Dad’s brother Gordon has been there every day, checking on him generally two to three times each day. Gordon’s daughter Roxy, my cousin, has been helping out tremendously, and her kids Ian and Brianna have been proxy grandkids, so to speak. Brianna’s sweet and confident smile especially has a way of brightening dad’s day. Dad’s sisters Darlene, Shirley, Julia, and Lea have also been in regular touch.
Boyd Cook, a longtime home teacher from dad’s church, has been a consistent source of comfort and strength. He has rallied helped from neighbors and other church members. Boyd and his wife Denise are the kind of friends who don’t show up just when there’s a need. They are simply always there, and have been since I was a teen.
Clint Fullmer is dad’s longtime boss. Clint’s and his dad Chris hired my dad about twenty years ago to irrigate their farm south of Richfield. It’s a big job, and dad takes water pretty seriously. One of dad’s biggest worries is he’s not going to be able to irrigate for them anymore. The trust the Fullmers have given to run their farm has been unmatched in dad’s working life.
PHOTO #2 & #3 Dad moving the sprinklers on the Fullmer Farm south of Richfield
Dad’s two key doctors are Jeff Brown, his longtime physician, and Craig Donaldson, his newly found oncologist. Both have been very kind and helpful, patient with my repeated questions, and persistent with dad when needed. Tonya Coats is the home health RN who has helped with the transition home, and helped us understand how hospice works, for when the time comes it’s needed. There have been many other doctors, nurses, and aides who have helped the journey become more bearable and more joyful.
There have been many other family, friends, and new acquaintances who have been a huge source of help. Each has made the journey richer and more joyful, especially as all of dad’s kids are spread around the state and the country.
Last Wednesday we gathered with dad to celebrate his 75th birthday. A few weeks ago he wasn’t sure if we would make it to 75. We’re grateful he did, and we’re hoping and praying we can join him to celebrate 76.
Have a great Monday!  Thanks for letting me share.
Les Patterson
p.s. Take 15 minutes today to enjoy the richness and joy of your own journey.



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