By Kasey Grizzard
Four years ago, my father, Robert Grizzard, was diagnosed with stage IV Adenocarcinoma. This is the type of news that no one wants to hear about a loved one, especially a parent. It hits you like a ton of bricks.
My father and I have always been close. When I was a kid, we did everything together. He taught me how to hunt, fish, and my favorite, how to play baseball. We practiced together every day. It wasn’t until I was older, looking back on those memories, that I realized how dedicated he was to, not just baseball, but to everything in my life; always pushing me to be my best self. What I admire most about my father is that he has given me the tools and guidance to help me succeed in everything that I do.
My father’s lung cancer diagnosis has definitely made our relationship even stronger. We talk all the time even on days when we don’t have anything important to talk about. We both have a greater appreciation for one another and our time together and know that staying in touch has more meaning today than ever before.
Cancer is a negative thing, but that does not mean it needs to be a negative in your relationships with loved ones. If anything, it sheds a light on how precious each and every moment is that we have together. Cancer has helped me to see a new side of my father; one of pure strength and will. He has refused to let cancer control him, and instead, made it a minor speed bump on the road of life.
My father has done things I never thought he would be able to do after his diagnosis. He remains committed to his golf game, continues to pursue his love of scuba diving and, recently, he parachuted out of an airplane! He is a man full of adventure, drive and life and he inspires me every day.
My advice to other families starting this journey is easy: don’t let cancer take over. Spend as much time with your loved ones as possible, always have a positive attitude and strive to meet and exceed goals. For my father, I knew he wouldn’t miss my wedding for anything, so he fought harder and reached that goal. Now, he is on to the next goal: attending my brother’s wedding! I know he’ll be there.