As I sit here at my childhood home in Ohio watching my Dad take a nap (wanting one of my own, by the way) I am thinking over the past 10 months of his life. He has struggled more in those 10 months then I imagine he has at any other time in his life. I never thought I would be one of those who could say that my dad is sick..or I hope he will live until I can get there..or hear the words “your dad has cancer”. But here I am – having heard and thought all of those things in the last 10 short (but yet very long) months.
My dad has always been the leader. He’s always been the strong one. He never let anything get him down. There have certainly been battles over the years. But he has always preached, taught or sung his way through. When I was growing up he was always the youth choir director, children’s church leader, Sunday School teacher or Pastor. But 8 years ago he noticed a change in his voice. After battling it on his own he went to the doctor who diagnosed him as having Papillomas on his voice box. But that was easy enough to remedy. The doctor did surgery and removed the growths and after his voice box healed his voice was back. Easy enough! He continued on with his preaching, teaching and singing as before. The only problem was that every year and half or so the papillomas would grow back and the process would have to be repeated. This went on for 8 surgeries over the years until last June (2009). He had another typical surgery. But this time something was different. His voice didn’t return as it had in years past. Two months later he had to have a repeat procedures because the growths had regrown in those 2 months. He still had no voice return after that surgery. His breathing also became labored. It had now been approximately 2 years since my dad had been able to fully preach or teach and much longer since his voice had been strong enough to sing.
Each day would find him more and more challenged to breathe. Why? What could possibly be the cause of this new problem? It would be several weeks and a number of scary trips to the hospital and emergency trips to Ohio from Nashville before we would truly find out.
(To keep this from being so long I have decided to break it up into more than one