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Jodie’s personal story

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My father, like most girls, is my No. 1 hero. So I was concerned when he called out of the blue one Sunday morning and asked me to come by and check his blood pressure. I'm an RN and am usually the first call in my family with signs of ailments, but my father had always been the healthy one in the family, walking 3 miles a day, beating my teenage son in a push-up competition (over 50 without breaking a sweat while my teenager struggled with 20), golf three times weekly, etc.

I checked his vitals, all within normal limits, and he had no other symptoms except some dizziness, but since it was spring, I figured he had a sinus issue or something and recommended he follow up with his doctor. We chatted for a bit, and then I headed home.

Later that night my mom called to let me know she was taking Dad to the ER; he could not lift his right arm and felt weak. He was initially diagnosed with a stroke at our local ER and transported to a Nashville hospital, where he was found to have a brain tumor. One week later he underwent surgery, and it was diagnosed as melanoma.

I don't know how many of you believe in miracles, but I tell you, my father is a miracle. Although he was not able to walk without assistance due to the tumor’s location close to the motor strip and the effects of full brain radiation, which we now know was unnecessary, he was mentally intact and still cancer free five years later, from melanoma of the brain! They never found the primary site, and the doctors shook their heads in disbelief that we were so fortunate, as did we all, and we thanked God for the blessing of each day we spent with my dad after his diagnosis.

Moral of the story: Never give up, always have faith, and hope miracles do happen. Oh, by the way: My father's birthday is May the 6, during Skin Cancer Awareness Month.