Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad... May Your Chemo be Strong and your Hands Blister-Free

Today is my dad's birthday, and boy am I happy he's here.

It's his third birthday since being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer the first time, and the fact that he's still here and going strong is a miracle.

The other day, at a soccer field on the top of the Laguna Hills, my nephews were looking for a goalie.

Boldly, my dad volunteered. He is literally half the man he used to be, and he made the large soccer net look even bigger.

No, that's not a pole in the center. That's my dad.

My sister warned the boys - one 12 and one 10 years old - to take it easy on my dad. But it's hard to rein it in when you're a young kid and your whole life has been soccer.

My younger nephew, Josh, started slow, but as Grandpa blocked shot after shot, he increased the power. Finally, he wound up and sent a zinger that he was sure would go in.

My dad reflected it. 

Josh stared at him, mouth agape. Then, with a hand on his hip, he said, "Grandpa, are you sure you have cancer?"

Last Saturday night, my dad's pediatric practice - which he started from the ground up -held a retirement party for my dad. We were a little worried the scene would turn emotional. Thankfully, my dad placated our fears by donning a superman t-shirt and a visor complete with a full head of gray hair sticking out.

He bought the ensemble at Venice Beach.
My dad at his retirement party. Never was known for his fashion sense.
He said Pediatricians don't retire. They simply morph into their superhero alter-egos permanently. 

Recently I watched him conquer a full week with six grandkids, neverending games of beach smash ball and topsy-turvy rides at Disneyland. Knowing how the chemo ravages both his innards and outards with equal ferocity, I couldn't help but think he's already a superhero. 

Happy Birthday Dad. Here's to many more. 


  1. Happy Birthday to your dad! He IS a superhero! I love, love, love that last pic of you guys!

  2. What a great post! I'm glad you were able to celebrate with him. He sounds like a wonderful man and a real-life superhero! I'm so jealous!

  3. L.T.- Thanks!

    Jenni- He is pretty awesome. Thanks!

  4. Hey! Your dad's birthday is the same as my youngest brother's birthday! My brother was excited to discover that Brandon Sanderson issued a teaser for The Alloy of Law in honor of the day. In case your dad is a Sanderson fan, too, it's on :)

    Happy Birthday Brodi's dad!

  5. Wonderful post. I'm sure your father's making the most of every gifted moment he's got. Yay for him and Happy Birthday!

  6. It looks like both our dads have the gift of fashion...must run in the family! Happy Birthday Uncle Dennis!

    - Karalee

  7. Robin- That is good to know!

    Donna- Indeed, every moment is a gift.

    Karalee- Our dads... seriously we can't take them anywhere!

  8. Ohh ... happy belated birthday to your dad! May my girl kidlet who just turned 6 yesterday and is lucky enough to share a birthday with such an amazing man grow up to be just as amazing!

    thank you for sharing a little piece of him with us!

  9. Windy- How nice! Happy birthday to your kidlit too!

  10. Dang Brodi, you're making me well up! :) I just love Uncle Dennis. Definitely a superhero. And there's no better pediatrician. Go Dennis, go!

  11. Chrissy- Sorry about the welling up! But we all need a good cry once in a while, right?

  12. It's true. So a few months ago I was talking to a friend from my ward and I had been putting off finding a new pediatrician for as long as possible. Anyway, I decided to ask around for recommendations, and this is what happened.
    Me: So I need to find a new pediatrician before this baby pops out. Who do you take your kids to see?
    My friend: Well, you might not want to go see ours because it's a bit of a drive to go out there, but it's worth it to us because we LOVE him so much.
    Me: I totally know what you mean, I'm in the same boat. So who do you see?
    My Friend: His name is Dr. Ashton.
    I couldn't help but give my most obnoxiously proud smile and say, "Yep. He's my uncle."

  13. Chrissy- that is an awesome story. I can't wait to share it with my dad. Thank you.

  14. Definitely a hero! Here's to many more birthdays Dennis!

  15. I am so glad that your dad is doing well. The pictures are great. :) Tell him happy late birthday from me! May he enjoy many many more!

    Sorry this comment is so late. I am on vacation, and the leaves much to be desired. :D