Thursday, November 5, 2009

They All Are Important, But This One Is Significant.

Today is my Dad's birthday.

Some of you know from my old blog that this past summer my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 bone cancer (not bone marrow, just bone). He had a tumor that had developed in his scapula and he underwent two months of rigorous chemotherapy and radiation. In fact, the type of chemotherapy he was on is referred to as the "red devil" as it is one of the harshest types of chemotherapy out there. It was a long summer and this whole journey has felt like there were a lot of unknowns. But, through it, I had to accept that sometimes there are things that exist within God's sovereignty that we just don't understand. And we won't ever understand. And, really, there's protection in that, somehow.

On Monday, Dad had a CT scan and on Tuesday, he went back to the doctor for the results.

And they were CLEAN! COMPLETELY CLEAN!! I jumped and screamed and cried. The tumor is gone. The cancer is gone. As of right now, Dad is cancer-free. I can't even explain to you the weight of those words.


SO. Knowing that today was his birthday, my husband and I concocted a plan to go visit him last night and surprise him, as this birthday was obviously a very special one. I decided we would pick up food from Red Robin and drive it to my parents' house. My Dad loves Red Robin and every time he and Mom visit us here, we always eat there. 

So, I drove over to Red Robin yesterday and explained the situation to the manager there, Mitch. I told him how much we had appreciated the good service they had given us and I told him Dad's story, and why this birthday was so significant. He said he was thrilled for us and would take care of whatever we needed. "Well," I said, "I need to know how to transport four burgers for over an hour without them turning into a soggy mess!" He laughed and said they would take care of it. So, I placed my order and returned back later that afternoon to pick it up. 

They had two huge bags waiting for me. After I paid, they helped me carry them out to my car. I'm telling you, smelling the deliciousness that is Red Robin while we drove to my parents' house was quite tempting. I would be lying if I didn't admit that, more than once, I crawled to the very back of our car to snag a fry for my husband and Cub and I! We arrived at my parents' house and Dad was definitely surprised. Mom had the oven heated so we could warm up the burgers and as we unloaded each one, I realized that they had disassembled everything. The buns, the burgers, the veggies, the cheese, and the sauce were all in their own containers, grouped together by each burger, so we knew which sauce and such went with what burger. All we had to do was put the buns and the (already cooked) burgers in the oven for a few minutes to heat them back up! Needless to say, everything was delicious. They even threw in a new huge bottle of ketchup, too. :) 

(Dad and I enjoying our respective sandwiches--mine was the Whiskey River BBQ Burger and his was the Crispy Chicken on Ciabatta bread.)

I understand that it is a restaurant's obligation to do as you ask, but I've worked in food service before and I know how frustrating it can be to have high maintenance customers. But, they really went above and beyond and I know it took a lot of extra work to get our order right. We appreciated it very much. 

It was so great to talk with Dad and hear more about his doctor's appointment. The doctors think that within a year, he will have most, if not all, of the function in his arm back (the tumor did some hardcore damage that will require some bone-strengthening treatment). It was so refreshing to hear good news and then more good news, after a summer of seemingly endless bad news. Dad was happy and relieved and I can't explain how healing it was to see him back to his old self. There just aren't words.

After everyone was finished, I picked up the dishes and as I went to throw some of the Red Robin bags away, I noticed a card tucked in one of the bags. I pulled it out and it had "Happy Birthday!" written on the envelope. I handed it to Dad and he opened it. It was a card from the manager at Red Robin, signed by the people that helped assemble our order! There were notes of encouragement and congratulations. Good job, Red Robin! That was a very pleasant surprise.

All in all, it was a great evening. After dinner, we sat and chatted while Cub played with his Memere and Pepere. 

(Check out Cub's relaxed double-chin! Little chunky monkey!!)

After a while we loaded up and headed home. It was a short trip, but definitely worth the drive. 

Happy Birthday, Dad.


  1. Smiling as I type. What an awesome night for all concerned.
    So absolutely thrilled with your dad's health "report card".
    Glad you went the extra mile to surprise him.
    Your dad looks even better than he did at Caleb's birthday and he looked pretty darned good that day!
    Makes me want to eat at Red Robin because they were so nice.
    Happy Birthday to your dad.
    Bet this one will be the sweetest ever.

  2. Oh Katie your posts make me happy cry! That was so sweet what Red Robin did for your dad with signing a card. I'm so glad that you can say that your dad is cancer-free!

  3. I am so excited to hear about your dad and His blessing from the Lord!! You know, I've always loved Red Robin but I think I love that place more now!

    Sounds like he had the greatest birthday!

  4. Katie this made me cry! I love that Red Robbin took such great care of you, and I love that your dad is free and clear and on the road to recovery!

  5. What a perfect evening! Just SO happy for your family.

  6. Here's to a wonderful year of health and happiness for your dad(and family)!! So glad to hear that he is doing great!!

  7. awe...I'm so glad that everything worked out and that the burgers still turned out great! what a fun surprise for all of you to remember for years to come!

  8. This is an incredibly significant birthday...praise God for such incredible news regarding your dad! I am so glad to hear about Red Robin going above and beyond, it made for a very special party!