Save Our Dad

Update: Save Our Dad

8/19/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

We've moved! Read this post and more on my new website.























































































































Grandpa Den petting Daisy

After a month of frantic house hunting, packing, cleaning, etc. (if you missed all that fun, read about it here), our family is finally back together in California, and just in time too! My father-in-law's "not doing well" is actually cancer. He has B-cell Lymphoma which has spread to his back, but we're told that if you have to have cancer, this is the kind you want because it's treatable. He starts chemo in a few days. This type of cancer has better than a 50% - 5 year survival rate (which is encouraging, especially when they'd originally told us it was terminal).
Grandpa Den

Den is one of the coolest grandpas you'll ever meet. He's a been a comic book fan since forever, so the kids love talking Captain America and Green Lantern with him. He's an amazing card and pool player and something of a legend at the local senior center. He's been schooling the newbies at cribbage, pinochle, pool, and more for so long that they've nicknamed him The Godfather (and made/featured this portrait of him at the senior center).

We are so happy with how much better Grandpa Den's already doing after just one month of Erik taking care of him. His spirits are high and he's already gained five pounds! It's a good thing too. Chemotherapy will be very hard on him, especially with how weak he is already, and the nausea will make it very difficult to eat. We're also working on turning his room into a germ-free bubble since the medicine will cause his immune system will crash.

We want to say thank you so much to everyone for their support in helping us get here. We really could not have done it without your prayers, encouragement, and generous donations via GoFundMe. The next few months will be critical, so any additional support you can offer will help immensely! There are many more hurdles to jump (medical costs, left over moving expenses, etc., not to mention the physical and mental stress and exhaustion we're all going through, and the hardest part hasn't even started!) If you could take a moment and pray for our family, we would appreciate it.

Our Journey from Utah to California

Our daughter and her cousin during our last meal in Provo (at Cafe Rio)
Packing up and moving is always hard, but since Erik needed to stay in CA with his father, the kids and I had to do it by ourselves. We weren't alone, though! So many friends and family members pitched in and helped. When it was finally decided we would move into my father-in-law's house, we had to move fast. School was starting in a week, and we needed to have the kids there for it.
The boys playing Legos on the train
While so many things went amazingly well, some things went comically awry. With my health problems, me driving the moving truck or even just a car with the kids was out of the question. But, as it turned out, taking the train (which the kids LOVED) was the best and most cost effective option. We were even able to get a moving truck (and even find a driver who would even transport our cats!)

The boys enjoying the observation car of the train



But moving day was.....interesting... We weren't able to get everything packed before the time the movers (friends from our church, I couldn't believe how many people showed up to help!) arrived. It started pouring rain while they were loading the truck, and the power went out. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry as everyone wandered around, lighting up my house with their cell phones, and looking for things to move. Our wonderful neighbor, Charlene, invited everyone into her home, across the hall from ours, for pizza and drinks (chocolate milk, Hawaiian Punch, lemonade, and water), which we enjoyed by lantern light.

Breakfast on the train
Then came the big problem: the moving truck was too small. We had to start picking and choosing which boxes could fit and what to leave behind. In the end, my incredible friend, Christina, was able to arrange the truck's load to fit a lot more than we'd thought possible, but we still had to leave things behind (the boy's beds, the entertainment center and tv, shelves, chairs, cabinets, and other things). I'll admit, I shut myself into a nearly empty room and cried, trying to figure out what to do. Later, we realized we hadn't even gotten to our shed, which was full. Christina the wizard was able to get some of the most important things to fit, and Erik's brother will be bringing us the rest of the boxes a bit at a time when visits.

The kids and I boarding Amtrak's California Zephyr
 We spent our last day in Provo frantically cleaning, packing up what we could, and trying to give away or sell the rest, before boarding our train late that night.

Lots of tears as we said goodbye to my sister and Erik's brother, my sister-in-law, and nieces
I left feeling that so much had been left undone, which it was, but I did my best. Really, it was more than I should have been able to do, for which I am thankful. I pushed myself past all sane limits and have been paying for it. But the price is worth it. Being back with my husband and seeing Den actually eating and smiling, even joking with the kids.... He's always been a quiet person, but in this short time, we've grown closer to him than ever before. My kids are getting to know and love the grandfather I thought would always just be a distant name and a face to them.

I am so grateful that we were able to come live with him and that we get to care for him during his illness, and humbled by all the strength, love, compassion, and kindness we have been shown. May God bless you all for everything you've done for our family during this crisis!

*Read the next update here.


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